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Board index » All Posts (CaptainBristol)




Getting a jump-- a followup
#51
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
I replaced the old battery with a new one I picked up at a local CarQuest outlet. It was basically this model:

http://www.batterygiant.com/Product/3EH-925

CarQuest charged me $136 for the new battery but gave me $12 for the old core, so the net to me (before sales tax) was $124, which I thought was fair.

Once installed, the new battery performed very well and I had no trouble firing up the engine. By a happy coincidence my mechanic, Jerry, was also at the CarQuest store. He assisted me in installing the new battery (out in the store's parking lot) and then pulled out his voltmeter to do a quick check on the electrical system. He announced everything was working satisfactorily. I was a little nervous I'd adversely affected the generator or voltage regulator, or whatever, with the 12-volt jump, but Jerry assured me all was well. He did a quick check on the old battery and declared it had a bad cell.

Aside from needing a jump, the whole battery-change process was about as painless as could be. Less than 24 hours after the old battery let me down I have a shiny new one installed in the car and I'm now back on the road in style!

All the best and thanks to everyone for the advice.

Mark

Posted on: 2011/9/16 17:16
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Re: Getting a jump--reply to HH56's question
#52
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
Hi, Howard,

The battery was not a fancy repro model. It was an Interstate that 01-1972 that I bought at a NAPA store. In my experience using the Packard as a daily driver I get about three years out of a battery.

Thanks for your interest,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/9/16 12:54
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Getting a jump
#53
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
Just a quick question I can't find an answer to: did I damage my 6-volt system by getting a jump from a 12-volt battery?

Tonight the three-year-old battery on my 1950 Standard Eight failed. The car was in a flat place when the battery died, so doing a rolling start by popping the clutch was out of the question.

A good Samaritan stopped by with a modern Ford truck and jumper cables. I made sure none of my electrical accessories (such as the radio or heater fan) were turned on. Then I connected his 12-volt battery to my 6-volt unit and asked him NOT to turn on his engine. I hit the Packard's starter button and she fired up instantly. We disconnected the jumper cables quickly. I thanked him and drove away. The Packard seemed none the worse for wear and I have already ordered a replacement battery.

I'm curious as to what the proper procedure is, when getting a jump from a 12-volt system. Any comments or ideas? Do I need to check my voltage regulator or any other electrical component? Thanks in advance for any comments.

All the best,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/9/16 0:15
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Road trip report
#54
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
I have just returned from a trip of more than 2,000 miles from Seattle to Sacramento and back. My 1950 Standard Eight performed exceptionally well despite some challenging conditions. I believe the new electronic ignition played a part in this.

I traveled south through interior Oregon and took the Packard to the 7,900-foot-high summit at Crater Lake. I got there with power to spare. I did experience some vapor lock at the lower altitudes (where the air temperature was higher), but flipping on the auxiliary electric fuel pump cured that problem. The engine did well in California temperatures approaching 100 but I confess it was so damn hot in the cab that I left a very moist print on the wool upholstery.

I traveled the coastal route on the trip north; car and driver both appreciated the lower temperatures.

I've owned this car since 2004 and have put nearly 30,000 miles on her since then. I'd have to say that in terms of travel ease this trip was the best thus far. The car accelerated very well and the engine ran smoothly despite the fact I was unable to find any ethanol-free gas while en route.

When I bought the car in 2004 I collected it in Northern California. I wrote about the original drive to Seattle in the attached article. Re-reading it tells me how far I've come. Of course, spending more than $40,000 on that damn car has probably been a factor, too.

All the best,

Mark

Attach file:


pdf Size: 52.43 KB; Hits: 32

Posted on: 2011/9/15 12:26
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The relay's function
#55
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Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
I'm not sure, but I believe the relay I've described above has something to do with the kickdown function of my R-11 overdrive. If I understand things correctly, hitting the kickdown switch initiates a process that temporarily cuts power to the engine, permitting the overdrive solenoid to disengage. Somehow the old relay won't work with the new, PerTronix system--hence the need for the new relay or switch.

Posted on: 2011/6/1 18:04
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The relay switch
#56
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
The switch is roughly cube-shaped, about 1.25 inches on a side. It has gaudy plastic-covered wires coming from it (I have opted to stay with the original, fabric-coated wires) and those wires are too short to permit its being mounted anywhere safe and out of sight. It might be possible to camouflage it by hiding it under a larger cabinet. That's not a bad idea. Thanks!

Posted on: 2011/6/1 18:00
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Update: Transmission linkage bushing source?
#57
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
Hi, All,

Ever since I bought my 1950 Packard in 2004 I've had trouble with the shifting mechanism. When using engine braking while going downhill in 2nd gear the car would suddenly pop into neutral. My solution to this was very high tech: hold on to the shift lever!

A couple of years later the car started getting stuck in neutral while I was shifting from first to second or first to reverse. This was always a nuisance and was sometimes a dangerous nuisance if it happened in traffic.

Over time the situation worsened and I decided to have it fixed. Doing some research I read that I needed to replace the "First and Reverse Shaft Lever," (part 360417) the "Second and Direct Shaft Lever," (part 360419) and the bushing that fits between the two (part unknown to me). I bought these parts from Max Merritt and had them installed. Sadly, nothing changed.

My mechanic told me the problem was the linkages and bushings these shaft levers connected to. He reported they were just plain worn out. I tried to locate a linkage kit but could not find anything like that.

I posted the question above in this forum and Howard very graciously did a little research for me. Thanks, Howard! Turned out Packards1 had four of the 360432 bushings @ $15.00 ea. Not cheap, but a damn sight better than the alternative, which was to machine new bushings by guess and by gosh. I was seeking a total of 29 parts and ended up finding only four. I hoped they alone would be enough to solve my problem.

I gave these four little bushings to my mechanic and he installed them. He also fabricated a rubber bushing for the transmission housing. Bottom line: problem solved! The car has never shifted so smoothly and it never gets stuck in neutral. It also stays in gear when I'm going down steep hills.

This has been the first time I've been so unsuccessful when looking for parts for my car (I'd call 4 out of 29 a pretty low ratio). Apparently the good sets of these linkages are all gone. This makes me a little sad for the future of my Packard, but it's not going to stop me from driving it!

All the best,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/6/1 16:34
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Electronic Ignition conversion report
#58
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
My 1950 Standard Eight had been running rough, so I had my mechanic check the points and adjust the timing. He made some corrections and the car's performance improved. As he was tinkering with things I mentioned I'd been looking at converting to an electronic ignition module that fit inside the distributor. He expressed surprise that I could get one for a 6-volt, positive ground system but went on to recommend the upgrade.

I had been looking at a conversion kit offered by First Street Ignitions, of Ponca City, Oklahoma:

http://www.fsignitions.com/FSI_CONVERSION_KITS.html

I read the online literature carefully and then called the business, telling them about my car and making sure they sent me the right stuff. The people on the phone were helpful and seemed competent.

My car's starter, generator and distributor were all by Delco, so I wanted to keep things that way. I contacted Dave Moe, at Seattle Packards and asked him to send me a rebuilt Delco distributor. My plan was to install the new electronic system in the rebuilt Declo and then return the 'old' Delco to Dave. That way if the new system refused to work right out of the box then I could just put the old one back in and be mobile again.

My problems with the First Street system began the moment I opened their box and read the instructions: the system was designed to work with Autolite distributors only. This was never mentioned on the company website nor was there any hint of that when I spoke with two First Street people on the phone. So now I had to swap the "new" Delco distributor for an Autolite, which was a bit of a nuisance but not a huge hassle. I ended up driving the ~40 miles to Seattle Packards (and back) because I had an appointment at the shop and I didn't want to miss it.

Once I got everything assembled I handed it all to my mechanic, who is a very competent man. He charges me $65/hour but it's usually money well spent. Jerry went to work and in a reasonable amount of time he had things ready to go, except for one problem: the existing rotor wouldn't fit inside the newly upgraded system. Nowhere in the instructions provided by First Street was there any mention of this. I later found out that this was addressed in a separate, trouble shooting guide. However I believe they should also have noted this in the instructions.

Jerry had tried to squeeze the old rotor onto the new system provided by First Street but all he succeeded in doing was breaking the rotor. He was apologetic when he called me--he didn't understand why the rotor broke. I located the replacement part number and he called his local NAPA store and was told it would take a couple of days to get the rotor delivered. In the meantime I called First Street and reported the problem. I spoke with one of the owners, who gave a merry chuckle and informed me that this was a known problem and that all Jerry had to do was file down the base of the rotor. I was so surprised by his response that I didn't ask him why this was never mentioned in the company literature. The instructions are below, verbatim:

"Install cam then place magnet sleeve (white side up) onto the point cam from the top and push the sleeve down firmly. Air gap between magnet sleeve and ignitor is not critical. It must not rub and can be up to .060" clearance. Place your rotor onto point cam (above magnet sleeve).
Distributor can now be installed in engine."

I gave the First Street guy Jerry's phone number and the two men talked. The Oklahoman told Jerry that he needed to shave 50/1000ths of an inch off the rotor and all would be well. When Jerry got the NAPA rotor he did that and tried to put the system together. This rotor broke, too.

Jerry then did some searching and found a rotor that was made a little better than the NAPA one. He ended up shaving 120/1000ths from the base. Everything went together well and he then installed the system in the car.

I figure that Jerry put in between 1-2 hours of time, chasing down the rotor issue.

First Street's literature claims that their conversion system preserves the car's original appearance because the guts fit snugly inside the distributor housing. This is a misrepresentation because a very modern-looking relay or switch is bolted to the firewall. There is no way that device looks like it belongs in my car!

With the new electronic ignition system (including a new coil, supplied by First Street) in place, I decided I might as well replace the ignition wires and spark plugs. After adjusting the timing the car fired right up.

I suppose it would be a fitting end to this story if I reported I didn't notice any difference with the new system, or even that it turned out to be a fiasco. But that is not the case. I'll be honest and say that the car has never run better since I've owned it. It's my understanding that my spark plug voltage has doubled and it seems that I have a noticeable jump in power. Also, it sure seems to accelerate more smoothly.

So am I happy with First Street? No and yes. No because their instructions were lousy and cost me time and money, not to mention the tacky relay or switch I now have to look at. But on the positive side the improved performance is a real treat.

So maybe this story has a happy ending after all. But just between you and me, I've got that old distributor tucked away in the trunk, just in case....


All the best,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/6/1 15:12
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Re: When deciding what to buy....
#59
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
If I may offer my two cents.... In 2004 I paid $4,500 for my Standard Eight, which I bought sight unseen on eBay. At the time I was in Alaska and the car was in rural California, so rather than fly there to check the car out (a $1,500, 3-day proposition, at minimum) I decided to take the seller at his word that it was in "excellent condition." The purchase price was well within my means and I figured that if the car was not as advertised I'd just sell it.

I'm a lousy mechanic and had neither the time nor the patience to fix up the car. I flew to California, collected the car and drove it to Seattle, where I'd located a mechanic who was familiar with Packards. My idea was that he would do the few minor repairs expected the car would need. But the trip north was harrowing for many reasons, not the least of which was that only one brake actually worked. There were so many minor emergencies and unexpected complications en route that by the time I reached Seattle I was a jumpy wreck. "Excellent condition," indeed! If I had not already arranged for the mechanic to take in the car, I probably would have sold it on the spot.

It is now seven years later and I have spent more than $40,000 to restore the Packard to a reasonably good, daily driver condition. If I were to try to sell it now, I figure the best I could expect would be about $15,000.

When I bought the Packard I'd never owned an antique car before, so I assumed I'd experience a steep--and expensive--learning curve. The curve was steeper and longer than I expected, but I like to think I've learned a thing or two along the way.

If I had it to do again, I would wait for a car like the one I now own to come on the market. I've seen several cars like it on eBay with asking prices in the $15-20,000 range. If the seller is able to document the restoration work, and if I could personally inspect the car and verify its condition, then I know from personal experience that a $15-20,000 price tag would be a bargain.

Bottom line: unless you like fixing up cars (like Big Kev does), buy a car that has recently been given much love and attention by the seller!

All the best,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/5/22 12:11
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Overdrive Lockout Cable source
#60
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Mark Buckley
I recently replaced the R-11 OD lockout cable in my 1950 Standard Eight. My old cable had become rusted and just wore out.

After much searching, the only source I could find was Seattle Packard, owned by Dave Moe. The price was a bit staggering at $395 plus a $150 core charge, but I went ahead with it anyway and it worked well. At least I had a core to swap out.. without that the price would have been $545.

Please be aware there is also an overdrive lockout switch that is associated with the cable assembly. That switch keeps the electrical parts of the overdrive from attempting to engage when the OD is physically locked out when you pull on the cable. If you forego installing the switch you risk damage to the overdrive when it is locked out. Seattle Packard sells that switch for $95.

Lastly, Seattle Packard's lockout cable assembly does not come with the plastic knob that screws onto the driver's end of the cable. Kanter sells that knob for $40.

All the best,

Mark

Posted on: 2011/5/18 13:48
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