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Replacing Heater Core in '51 Packard
#1
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Jim L. in OR
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The heating system in the 1951 thru '56 Packard looks like it is really easy to service - and it is if you know a few tricks that aren't covered in the Service Manual. The V8 heater and the '51 - '54 look the same from the outside but they are different internally and the cores are not interchangeable.

Tools needed are: 5/16 & 7/16 deep wall socket and ratchet; Medium phillips screw driver; medium flat screw driver and whatever is needed to remove the clamps from the water valve to heater core hose and heater core to water pump hose at the heater core. ALL OTHER HOSES CAN REMAIN IN PLACE - unless you're changing the hoses too.

First drain the radiator. You don't have to worry about what remains in the block, you just need to have the water level lower than the heater.

The next step is to remove the four phillips head screws that attach the fresh air supply/heater diverter section. The screws are at one, four, six and 11 O'clock. Removing the flexible ducting can help with this and it's going to have to be removed anyway.

Next remove the short hose that goes from the water valve to heater box at the heater box and long hose that runs from the box to the water pump at the heater core.

Next using a phillips screw driver, un-fasten the diverter cable and pull the cable off the diverter handle.

Going to the inside of the car, run the front seat as far back as it will go.

Next remove the glove box by removing the four small bolts that hold the drawer to the runners and set aside.

Next remove the phillips screws holding the control cables in place on the plenum and elsewhere.

Next remove the two phillips screws holding the water valve in place for a little fudge room for removing the air distributor.

Remove the phillips screws holding the air distributor to the dash panel. The one on the lower left is hiding but by leaving this screw to the last you can wiggle the distributor enough to find it.

Move the air distributor out of the way and remove the four 7/16 nuts with lock washers that hold the Air Distributor Adapter to the dash panel AND hold the heater box assembly to the fire wall. (see second picture)

Go back under the hood (bonnet) and gently pull and lift the heater box and diverter assembly up and out.

With the box out in the open you can take the flat screw driver and remove the 7 screws holding the top and bottom halves of the heater box together.

Be prepared that ALL screws will not want to be removed. You might want to shoot the screws with your favorite pennetrant and let it sit overnight.

Once the box is open the core lifts out of its slot.

Reassemble in reverse order.

I didn't have to do all that with my '55 as the top half came off with little trouble.

Now pour yourself your favorite beverage. YOU'VE EARNED IT!!!!

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Posted on: 2012/10/20 0:36
1951 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan
1951 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan (parts ?)
1951 Patrician Touring Sedan
1955 Patrician Touring Sedan
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Re: Replacing Heater Core in '51 Packard
#2
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HH56
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Very nice writeup for the next unfortunate soul that has the need for the procedure.

I would also vote for taking Kev's suggestion and leaving the back box cover screws out for the next time. Of course, that guarantees you the same situation as the gas tank sender hole. If you do it, you'll never have to repair or get in the box again as long as you own the car.

Posted on: 2012/10/20 8:51
Howard
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Re: Replacing Heater Core in '51 Packard
#3
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Jim L. in OR
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Thank you for the kind words Howard. I don't know when the boxes switched over to the V8 type with the attaching nuts on the fire wall side.

I did follow Kev's suggestion about the back screws and agree with you that like the gas sending unit access hold, I will never have heater core issues again. I think that the set up I faced was factory original as everything was done too perfectly. I do wonder if a heater core can last 60 years though.

Posted on: 2012/10/20 10:49
1951 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan
1951 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan (parts ?)
1951 Patrician Touring Sedan
1955 Patrician Touring Sedan
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Re: Replacing Heater Core in '51 Packard
#4
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Joel Ray
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I replaced my original heater core a couple of years ago. So yes they can last that long.

Posted on: 2012/10/20 14:38
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