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Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Ok I have a short in my push button system and can't find the short. When I press the button to engage in reverse it shorts out and the Green Wire get's hot (to reverse lamps), Brown (reverse) ; Yellow (Ignition) at Automatic Park switch

When testing the wires for conductivity the following occurs

Brown and White

Brown and Grey

Brown and LT. Blue

Brown and Purple

all have conductivity

I can not narrow it down to where the short is and have spent hours looking. Please help!

Posted on: 2006/10/15 21:28
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Re: Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Home away from home
2006/5/30 19:28
From USA
Posts: 6917
This is only a test post by PackardV8 from AACA Packard DF.

Posted on: 2006/11/30 18:26
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Re: Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Forum Ambassador
2006/11/29 20:35
From Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2855
Welcome aboard, PackardV8!!! This looks like a nice easy format for us to use

Posted on: 2006/12/2 6:31
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Re: Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Forum Ambassador
2006/11/29 20:35
From Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2855
WRT to the electrical short, I'm sorry for posting so late, but I only registered here last week. For over 30 years, the 55th-56th Series have been my favorite Packards.

If the dark green wire (which feeds voltage to the back up lamps, when needed) is getting hot, you must have a short to ground somewhere in the wiring harness - selector/column, main, or rear - or the connectors between them. Have you ruled out "rodent damage"? I would remove the bulb from the back-up lamp socket (to isolate the circuit form its normal ground) and commence with a visual inspection and probing with a continuity tester to ground.

Have you downloaded the Service Counselor (SC) sets for 1955 AND 1956? 1955 Issue #13 has the complete vehicle wiring diagrams for your car (as does the 1955-1956 Service Manual, which was recently added to this site). 1955 SC #11 introduces the push button control system, and it is revisited with supplemental information in 1955 SC #12 and 1956 SC #1.

You should also sign-up (for free) at the online Packard V8 Club. presently found at:

...and review and print the Index that I compiled to every service bulletin issued on the V8 cars - by both Packard and Studebaker, through 1961.

If you're still having trouble, report back and we will try to help - as time permits.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 6:59
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Re: Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Home away from home
2006/5/29 19:02
From Kansas
Posts: 3707
I too had this problem, and solved it by removing the tan wire on the automatic park relay as per the "auto park relay removal" STB that I got from BH. I have to remember exactly what it entailed, but it solved the problem completely. Before, it seemed as though every single wire would short out. I still don't know what caused it, but I know it's working now, and has flawlessly for over a year. (and knock on wood it continues to do so!)


Posted on: 2006/12/4 9:25
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Re: Push Button Short. Please help!!!!!
Forum Ambassador
2007/1/10 19:12
From Deee-troit
Posts: 1141
OK--sorry I'm a little late on this, you may have already found your problem and fixed it, but here goes anyway.
Lets start out by sorting out some terminology: when you say "short" do you mean "dead short to ground"--where 12V current is literally touching ground causing the 30amp (push button system)circuit breaker on the fender well to click on and off repeatedly, or does the system just not function, stuck in one gear?
When you say "hot" do you mean thermally hot, as in "hot to the touch" (the wire is actually getting hot) or are you using the term "hot" to indicate the presence of 12V current? (A common shop slang term, I use it a lot myself).
When you say that you have conductivity between all of the wires indicated on your post do you mean that with an ohmmeter you get 0 ohms between brown (brown is connected to the reverse gear finger) and the other indicated colors?
I'm going to assume that the unit is not shifting, no one speaks of their pushbutton system until it stops working!
The unit seems from you description to be stuck in neutral (not the worst gear to be stuck in, believe me). You have depressed the "reverse" key on the control panel (shift buttons on the steering column) this has sent 12V current to the reverse finger on the segment switch inside the actuator. The shorting bar of the contact segment is positioned such that the 12V current being applied to the reverse finger is also feeding back power to the white(high),blue(drive), and purple(low)fingers/wires. The switch contacts for all wires/gear functions are "open" (not connected to anything at the moment) at the control panel, by design, so that explains the conductivity you are seeing. One wire you did not mention is the pink wire, and this is where the trouble may be. The two outermost fingers on the segment switch are the leads that go to the motor control relay on the inner fender wall. The pink wire pulls in the relay for one direction of rotation, the orange/black wire the opposite direction. If you have power at the above listed wires and NOT pink, you could have a bent finger for the pink wire (the finger at the left side of the contact segment) OR: it could be fine and the coil for that side of the relay could be bad. Can you push "park" and get any action or is it just dead?
The worst case scenario on these is that one of the two outer fingers (pink on the left, orange/bk on the right) is bent. When this happens you ain't going nowhere. Power can't get from the key on the console to the relay coil to cause rotation.
If you need to see the fingers down on the actuator, disregard the "actuator removal" instructions in the shop manual. Do this:
you need:
A floor jack
Two good hefty jack stands
Normal mechanics tools, sockets, wrenches
A small scissor jack out of a little cheap car
Many varieties of right-angle screwdrivers

*raise the front end (or side if you prefer), put the car on the jack stands

* put the floor jack under the pan of the trans, protect with a scrap of plywood

*remove the rear trans support crossmember, supporting the trans as above

*insert the 'lil scissor jack between the frame and the tail stock of the trans on the pushbutton actuator side (driver's side) and push the trans (diagonally) away from the frame

You can't push the trans too far, there are "stops" sort of built in. This will give you enough room to get the cover off of the segment switch portion of the actuator and see what's up (this is where the trouble is most of the time)


When I service a P-B unit this way I replace the slotted screws on the segment switch bridge and the cover with Allen head cap screws. G__ forbid I have to go back in (I usually don't) The allens give you six positions to grab as opposed to two with the fillister head screw.
You may have a situation where the end of the reverse finger is touching the ground of the inner cover (inside the actuator) I have seen this, I have seen contact fingers glow red like a stove burner! this will distemper the contact finger and make it worthless. Follow the above procedure and get a look at what's going on inside the actuator.

Posted on: 2007/1/25 4:39
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