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Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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Joined:
2009/12/27 17:55
From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
This is my first project blog post, it might need a few edits so apologies in advance if I don’t get it right straight up.

Just back from a week away, 4-wheel driving in the Victorian Alps. Here’s a view of what it’s like down that way. These photos are taken on ‘Blue Rag’, a spectacular range with altitude 1715metres. There is a reasonably challenging 4WD section towards the peak. A few mates and myself do a 4WD trip each January in the Alps.

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_______________________________________________

As I’ve only recently joined packardinfo.com this project blog starts off in retrospect, as I’ve been working on my ’51 Club Sedan for quite a few months now . . . So I won’t go back too far into the past, just mainly focus on what happens from now on, apart from a few of the more interesting or different ‘happenings’ to date.

There are a few blogs on the website with people doing a great job of documenting their 1951 / 24th Series restoration projects, and I don’t want to totally repeat the information that they have capably provided. So mine will be a minimal blog.

First a bit of history . . . Some years ago, while driving through Canberra I found myself following a 1948 Hudson . . .it was mean looking and matt black. A very sinister looking car, and one I wanted to have a good look at. The driver stopped for a chat and told him I had a 1948 ‘Motor Magazine’ that featured his Hudson as the Cover Story, and that I’d fax him a copy. Told him that I had always wanted a straight eight, preferably a Buick or Hudson. He told me that his mate knew a fellow who had a straight eight Packard for sale, he’d send me the details. Well, a few weeks later after a quick look at the ’51 I had decided it was the car I wanted to own and to restore.

Why a ’51 Packard? Right era – I prefer a car that is ‘early days’, not too many around, and they have high interest (for me at least). The 40’s and 50’s spawned some beautiful cars, and they’re ones I remember seeing (and driving in) when I was a kid. Good memories. Then there’s the history of the Packard marqué – a famous car, luxurious, but doomed to go out of production. That makes collecting them more interesting. Finally, give me a straight eight for something different and interesting. Love the lines of most Packards, the extreme long bonnets, the size of the cars.

Mine came in pieces, the body stripped almost totally. Sadly, there was a lot of rust in the rear quarters both sides and the floor was peppered in several areas. Still, it was a worthwhile vehicle, and being a Coupe gave it more appeal in my opinion.

So I spent a year part time and hollowed out a large area under the house, removed around 40 tons of earth, and built a workshop for the ’51. Then it sat there for around six years while I was still working. I did a few minor things like getting the Parts and Service Manuals etc, and got organized. I didn’t want to start on the resto full time until I retired, it would have been frustrating having a full-on job and having only a few hours a week to spend on the Packard, so I decided to wait.

In the meantime I

Bought the 48-54 Parts & Accessories List and 1951-54 Service Manual
Bought all wire (original cloth-covered) to fully rewire the car from Rhode Island Wire
Had the grille, parking and tail light surrounds chromed
Catalogued my parts, and restored a few of them as time permitted
Researched Packards.

Here is a pic or two involving moving the car to and from the blaster . . . .Note the rust in the rear quarters. I'll be posting a comment about this in this blog soon. (At the moment I have an ace metalwork chap removing the rust. Work is almost completed on this part of the restoration).

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Pics of the way the chroming job turned out for the grille . . . . I'll discuss problems with chroming the grille later in the blog.

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(Comment: The car came with the sharks teeth inserts, so I intend to use them, although I may not be adhering strictly to an accurate restoration. I will make some changes to the car, they will be fairly minimal and leaning mainly to presenting a more eye-worthy restoration. Of course, likes and dislikes are a very personal thing so what I choose to do may or may not win the approval of all).

Posted on: 2010/1/16 4:33
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1951 Packard Club Sedan | Larry's '51 Club Sedan Project

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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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From New Jersey
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You state that the VN tag is missing, but is the Briggs body number tag still on the cowl (near the heater)? I'd like to match it with the thief-proof number which you have already given, as data for postwar RHD cars is sparse.

Posted on: 2010/1/16 7:28
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/12/27 17:55
From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
Thanks for the offer Owen. Unfortunately the Briggs plate is also missing, I don't have anything apart from the TPN . . . I am reasonably sure that there are no tags amongst the bits and pieces that I have but must admit I have boxes of parts that I haven't checked thoroughly yet. Maybe a tag will turn up.
Is there a chance that you can provide some details just from the TPN?
Also, I am concerned that when I want to register the car I might get knocked back because there is no VN etc. Need to check this.
I have heard that at times people have needed to buy a similar model of car (typically a wreck)to get the identity plate from it, and then use it on their car. I suppose this differs depending on the country.
Do you know if I would need to do this?

Posted on: 2010/1/16 15:28
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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From New Jersey
Posts: 16023
I wouldn't worry to much about the DMV registration, all states have their own, sometimes strange, procedures when the VN is missing, like the motor number, the TPN, or some even issue their own VN plate. In any case nothing thousands of vintage owners have been thru successfully before you. BUT it does beg the question why SO MANY VN and other number tags are missing - it's a shame as there is almost with certainly no real way to re-establish the original number unless you can get it from prior doucmentation or owners.

Your TPN puts you car squarely in the mid-1951 range, and that's all that can be established from it.

On the very few 1951 and newer RHD cars, the one thing I have observed, and this is only based on less than a handful of them, is that it's not unusual to find the TPN establish the body shell was from the prior year, perhaps an indication of how long it took, and what the factory's priority was, in doing RHD jobs.

Posted on: 2010/1/16 17:06
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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Joined:
2009/12/27 17:55
From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
Thanks Owen, I feel a little more positive about the (eventual) registration getting approved!

I remember reading your post regarding some cars sitting around for perhaps a year awaiting finalization of the build. That would skew the figures slightly for Packard model imports in a given year I guess.

Do figures exist that state the actual numbers of Packard imports into Australia, or have they been lost? Could I find out how many 2465's / 2495's came into Oz in 1951 (and 1952)?

Posted on: 2010/1/17 3:43
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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2009/12/27 17:55
From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
Now I am experiencing a more positive feeling about the project, because I am fairly advanced with the initial stages of a full bare-metal restoration.

Here are just a few shots of how the car looked several months ago, around September 2009. My biggest problem (as most 24th series owners would agree) is the considerable rust in rear floors, in sills and rear mudguards (fenders).

The car, before any bodywork was started . . .

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Reasonably bad rust in the rear floors, adjacent to the Coupe rear windows. This is a known problem, there is a manufacturers kit which was retrofitted to Club Sedans to reduce the ingress of water. See Section XIX of the Service Manual (Fig. 65 relates).

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Here is a mystery hole - This square opening has been cut into the LH side of the transmission tunnel, and I don’t know why. (The other rounded hole was apparently cut by previous owner to mount body on a rotisserie). I have had it covered and welded so am hoping it was just a ‘short cut’ someone created to get to a linkage etc. If I need to ‘reopen’ it I can do so.

If anyone has an idea as to why it was put there then I’d appreciate your thoughts!

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Here the car is loaded and ready to go off to be blasted. The drivers side quarter panel rust can be seen here, it is about as bad as on the passenger side (RHD car).

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I had considered chemical stripping, that would have been nice to do, but the cost is high. The company I spoke with said they could not fit the entire shell into their tank, nor the chassis (frame).

Also, I would have needed to transport the car a considerable distance. After a lot of head-scratching and getting opinions from people, I chose blasting, but not of the turret, boot lid (trunk lid), guards and doors. All these I have manually stripped using paint stripper and stripper discs.

I had many bits and pieces blasted, including wheels, brake drums, petrol tank. The chassis (frame) was done separately.

Body and frame were media blasted and primed (excepting front fenders, hood and trunk lid, which were chemically stripped and cleaned to avoid any risk of distortion).

Here the chassis is loaded and ready to be blasted. Close-up of the finish achieved.

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Special trolley made up to sit the body on while it is repaired. This has proven invaluable, as I can proceed with work on the chassis while the body is being repaired.

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Here are some views of the body, mounted on the 'trolley' I made for it, and ready for repairs at the metalworker's shed.

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Posted on: 2010/1/17 4:10
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1951 Packard Club Sedan | Larry's '51 Club Sedan Project

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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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From Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
Posts: 10439
Quote:
Larry51 wrote:.....Do figures exist that state the actual numbers of Packard imports into Australia, or have they been lost? Could I find out how many 2465's / 2495's came into Oz in 1951 (and 1952)?
Larry,

Probably if anyone might know it would be Sam Irwin. Sam has an extensive collection of Packard records and literature and if doesn't know or if he can't find out then it's not available. Sam's number is (02) 9419 6617, tell him I pointed you in his direction, and be prepared to spend an hour or two on the phone, at least!

Attach file:



jpg  Sam's original survivor '24 1st series 8 cyl sports tourer.JPG (52.79 KB)
226_4b540f5b613f9.jpg 640X480 px

Posted on: 2010/1/17 23:38
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"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

'38 Eight Sedan 38's are great! (Sold July 2009)
'41 120 Club Coupe 41's the One! (Sold October 2017)
'48 2222 "Almost" Rolling Limo Chassis and Engine (Sold Sept 2019)
'50 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold Feb 2020)

Project Blogs:
'41 120 Club Coupe - Locked
Wade's Workshop - Locked
'50 Eight Touring Sedan

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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
Thanks for that Mal, I'll give Sam a call. It would be fantastic to find out the history of my car.

Posted on: 2010/1/18 4:00
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
Home away from home
Joined:
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From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
There’s a huge amount of work involved in restoring a car, but the cleaning of parts is one of the most time consuming of them - a monumental task (- I’m not telling you anything you don’t know!). I have spent about six hours today cleaning and painting parts for my ’51 (- brake backing plates, brake shoes, handbrake cable, etc). Reckon anything that assists with parts cleaning is worthwhile information to have.

I’d like to share with you an experience that I had . . . .

I’ve learned a bit from the blogs here, about using MarineClean and MetalReady. Haven’t used MarineClean yet, but I’m an avid fan of POR-15 and have been using it extensively. Generally use kerosene for the foulest greasy parts, then wash the parts down with water-soluble degreaser, then use PrepWash or Prepsol etc. For quite a few items I’ll use dishwashing detergent as the final cleaning wash. Then it’s Deoxidine (- Phosphoric Acid) for the flat panels that will be primed / sprayed.

Footnote: There is some good information at the following site on POR-15, MetalReady, etc.
http://www.ppc.au.com/need.htm

Interesting that it mentions MetalReady can cause a light orange effect . . .

I’m sure their 'light orange' colour was not as dramatic as in my recent experience using Deoxidine.

My story relates to a (- or possibly THE most) commonly used metal preparation product in Australia. It is a version of Phosphoric Acid called Deoxidine TM and is widely used by panel beaters for degreasing and metal preparation prior to spray painting.

I had just gotten my chassis back from being blasted, and it looked beautiful, clean as a whistle. Just like that day 59 years ago when it was made in the factory.

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I grabbed the Deoxidine, and mixed it 1:3 with water as recommended. Then I brushed it onto the chassis, to degrease and prep the metal. It is recommended on grit-blasted metal, so I was doing what I thought was the right thing). I had used Phosphoric before, sparingly, on flat panels before spraying a car, so it was nothing new. You put it on, you wash or wipe it off!

But I had never used it on a grit-blasted surface like the chassis.

As I brushed on the acid, it frothed, but within a minute or two it started to turn a rusty brown colour. Panic! I grabbed the bucket of water and sloshed water onto the chassis to rinse off the Deoxidine. Too late . . . the metal that I had ‘treated’ had already turned VERY rust-coloured, in just a few minutes. There was around a third of the chassis, now looking like it had stood naked in the weather for months . . . .

So, here my lovely chassis had gone rust-coloured within a few minutes. I started drying it off with compressed air, then I got the ScotchBrite pad and started rubbing the orange rust off. It was a lovely shade, reminded me of the auburn hair of a girl I used to date.

There was still a little rust after my couple of hours' hard yakka with the ScotchBrite pad . . . .

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A few hours of energetic rubbing and I had most of the rust off. Then I rang the local spray painter and asked him what I’d done wrong. A bit mystified, he said he had never brushed Deoxidine onto grit-blasted metal in his time. He had wiped it onto sheet metal panels then wiped it off with a clean rag, as soon as possible, and never had a problem. Funny though, there had been another chap who had called him this very same morning, with the same problem I had!! This bloke had created ‘instant rust’, just like I had done. (I think my painter-friend had given him the fob-off, then I called, to confirm that this sort of thing really does happen. He had become a believer).

He reckoned that you wipe the acid onto a small area, then wipe it off a short time later. He was undoubtedly correct.

Amongst other wordage, I told him I was very disappointed.

Now the chassis has been primed and painted, and I will from this day on use treatments with caution, firstly testing them on a small area. Lesson learned.

Posted on: 2010/1/21 0:06
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Re: Larry's 1951 Club Sedan Project
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Joined:
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From Bathurst, Australia
Posts: 486
Almost three months ago I transported the car to the ‘metal maestro’(a local bloke named Ralph), who is an excellent sheet metalworker. He has built and restored quite a few cars, and currently owns a couple of very nice ones – a ’32 Ford Victoria hot-rod with blown 350 Chev, and his recently completed ’50 Ford Single Spinner ute ( US=pickup). I’ll get some pics of his cars soon and post them here . . .

We removed the car body from the chassis and lifted it by means of an engine crane onto the trolley I had made.

Now the body was at last ready for Ralph to work some magic on. He’d need to sharpen his wand somewhat as the task of removing the rust was going to be a long and difficult process to do properly.

However I had seen a few of the cars that Ralph has restored and so had absolute faith in his ability to make the ’51 as good as new. Some of the cars he has at his shed are more missing than there . . . at first glance you would reckon they are beyond repair. He was telling me that his ’50 Ford pickup was so badly rusted that it had no floor, no tray and was a mass of rust. Now it is very eyeworthy. Likewise, the ’32 Victoria rod was a mess, but it is a great restoration and has been featured in a magazine or two.

One of the biggest challenges Ralph was going to face was that Barbarians had done some repairs on the car in several areas many years ago . . . . So it would be difficult to reconstruct some areas as original shape and dimensions no longer exist. He would have to work at times from photos that I would provide.

There were in places up to three layers of sheet metal overlapped on rusted and accident damaged areas. This was accompanied by some thick body filler, which usually had just been forced into rust holes around the rear quarters. A totally bodgied job.

Now – back to the chassis . . . . .

The chassis after grit blasting was primed with a single pak epoxy etch primer, which is loaded with Zinc for corrosion control.

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Then I sprayed it with 2-pak epoxy urethane gloss, in a Charcoal colour in lieu of straight black.
Comment: The frame colour appears much lighter and bluer in the photos than it actually is.

My parcel of parts had arrived from Kanter, and included the full steering and suspension rebuild parts.

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Here is my son threading the control arm pin into the lower outer. We managed to compress the spring using only one jack, by jamming a 4x2 timber against the lintel / arch bar above the garage door to prevent the chassis from lifting as the coil spring was compressed. The side shown here was the easy side, as the pin threaded in without any difficulty.

However the other side was a totally different story, and we had a hell of a job getting the pin through without ripping the inner grease seals and destroying them. The NEW rubber seals are a circle of rubber having a square profile. The original seals were basically like large ‘O’-rings (round profile). This made a big difference in terms of the thread of the pin catching on the seal as it was wound through the thread of the lower control arm and bushing. The old original seals would not get captured by the thread, however the new seals (- one or the other) constantly got grabbed and chewed. We greased the seals etc but to no avail, and had to back the pin out many times and start again, adjusting the angle and pressure on the wishbone until eventually after an hour of trying we got the pin through both seals without chewing them to bits.



My opinion is that these Kanter replacements should be made the same profile (round) as the originals to prevent this problem. The square profile is a pain. Once a seal has been chewed a little it is prone to getting grabbed more easily the next attempt. A real headache.

Pics


Meanwhile, all front suspension components had been checked, and although the only parts with any significant wear were the lower outers (Lower Pivot Pins) on both sides, I replaced fully the uppers and lowers (with Kanter replacement kits), plus I also dismantled, checked and reassembled the king pins. There was no wear in the kingpins or needle rollers, but I had new ones so fitted them anyway.

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It was interesting to find that my ’51 has needle bearings on both the top and bottom around the knuckle pin. This is on both drivers and passenger sides, and is contrary to what the manual indicates. The manual says there should be a bronze bushing in the bottom of the knuckle. Also, Kanter provided bronze bushes in their knuckle recon kits (as expected).

I wonder how many other Packards have this different arrangement.

Comments welcome!

Perhaps my car had work done sometime in the past, and bushes were not available but needle bearings were, so they were substituted. Only guessing. The only limitation I can see with needles in the lower area is the cages (my car) appear to be a looser fit than a bush, so may be prone to slowly working loose and ‘falling out’ if the lower grease retaining plug is not inserted tightly.


Burnishing the Steering Knuckle Bushings

Since fitting the new Kingpins and bushes, reaming and burnishing I have read various comments here regarding burnishing the lower bushes. Seems the matter has been discussed here but perhaps the advantages of burnishing are not widely understood.

As a bloke who did some mechanical work many years ago I remember burnishing being a fairly common procedure. Today it is not commonplace, but there are considerable advantages to be gained by burnishing mated surfaces involving bronze / brass bushings.

I approached two large engineering workshops locally and enquired as to whether they had the equipment to burnish the bushings for me. One company had heard of burnishing but never burnished bushings that they had reamed for customers, and didn’t know why burnishing might be a good idea. The other company hadn’t even heard of burnishing.

The problem is - where do you get burnishing tools these days? Basically they are hard to find.

Here is one method which I used as an alternative to using a burnishing tool.

Packard restorers could just ream the lower bushings but with time it is likely that what was initially a good snug fit of kingpin in the bushing could become a fit that is a bit looser than ideal. This can be prevented by burnishing.

Burnishing will compress the surface material of the bushing, change the metallic structure, and even out (‘smear’ is the term I’ve heard) the highs in the reamed bush, and it can be expected that around 2 thou additional hole size will be gained by burnishing. See the Manual for details.

With a careful job of reaming the bushing to exactly the right tolerance (2 thou undersize, as per Manual), the kingpin can be used to burnish the bushing (- after the bushing has been pressed into the steering knuckle).

A ‘correct’ amount of reaming is a matter of a couple of thou (as mentioned in the Workshop Manual). Pin should be a ‘very tight fit’ after reaming. In other words, you can just introduce the end of the pin into the reamed bushing but you cannot push it in with bare hands very far into bushing or turn it by hand in the bushing.

Note - buying an ‘extra’ bushing to set correct reamer size, and to practice the following technique on is worth considering.

Grip the end of the kingpin very tightly with a pair of vice-grips (caution - with a layer of material to stop any marking of the pin).

Rotate the kingpin down through the bushing, making about ten or more full rotations of the pin. Don’t lubricate the bushing with oil. You may use a bit of kerosene (paraffin) if necessary but I avoided doing so. After two insertions rotating the pin, the pin should become considerably looser as burnishing takes place.

Now oil the pin and test for tolerance. It should have loosened considerably, but still be much too tight.

Next heat the kingpin moderately by leaving it in boiling water for a minute or two, to expand it. Then while it is hot, introduce it again into the bushing (again – no oil used). It should be a tight fit, as before, too tight to rotate by hand, but able to be rotated using the vicegrips. In the unlikely event that it is very tight (- difficult to rotate even with the vicegrips) then extra reaming of the bushing might be necessary. Take the intermediate step of letting the pin cool down a bit and try again.

There is a bit of trial and error involved. But if reaming again be careful to not remove too much metal thereby creating a loose fit.

Cool the pin (cold water), oil it and try it again for fit in the bushing. It should be a good fit, not too tight (- and certainly not too loose!).

If it is still too tight when cooled, and you have only done the process twice, you will still gain an extra small amount of clearance by reheating pin and repeating the process. You can heat the pin to more than boiling point temperature if necessary and gain a little more clearance.


Posted on: 2010/1/24 5:11
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1951 Packard Club Sedan | Larry's '51 Club Sedan Project

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