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55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#1
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Dave T
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I am a new owner of a 55 Packard and new to classic car ownership. I have a short steep driveway and when I back the car down, the tailpipe scrapes. I understand and have found the switch under the dash that raises the car. Can I safely use this while backing down the driveway and then switching it back to normal to then lower the car for normal driving?? This may seem like an obvious question to some but a lot of things to me are going to be a steep learning curve to enjoy a vintage car. Thanks

Posted on: 2022/8/30 13:33
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#2
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humanpotatohybrid
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First: check that the leather strap that holds the end of the tailpipe up is not broken.

The switch turns on the leveling feature, so that the car always assumes the correct stance after its loading has been changed. (It doesn't make it level like a builder's level, but level in the sense that the front and rear will be the correct height from the axles no matter the loading).

I assume what you're doing is turning the switch on, sitting on the rear fender until it rises, turning the switch off, getting out of your driveway, then turning the switch back on?

Yes that should be perfectly fine. In fact that trick was used by mechanics in the day to make tire changing easier, plus thousands of neighborhood kids going for rides up and down on the bumper until the battery was drained.

Congratulations on your purchase and be sure to check out the Literature Archive on the left sidebar. Filter by year 1955 and you'll see the Owners and Service manuals, info about the Torsion Level system, and much more.

Posted on: 2022/8/30 14:08
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#3
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HH56
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The manual suspension override switch was introduced as a mid 56 option so kind of unusual to have it on a 55. Could have been done by a dealer at the time or even a previous owner later on after Packard went away. Aside from a minor difference in wiring if your car still has the original style 55 control switch it was designed for and will work just fine as you are currently using it.

If it is not the factory switch setup and someone just used a modern type switch then as long as the switch was installed so the limit switches are still in the circuit and you remember to turn off the main TL on/off switch when using the manual, then it should work without issue. If your switch does not look like the factory switch I would verify the wiring to make sure limit switches are in the circuit. Some home made conversions completely bypassed the limits and compensator damage is usually the result.

Here is info provided when the switch was introduced.

Attach file:



jpg  manual sw.jpg (194.61 KB)
209_630e615fc61f1.jpg 1164X1420 px

Posted on: 2022/8/30 14:13
Howard
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#4
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Dave T
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Thank you for your prompt response. The minute I throw the switch, the car raises then just as quick once I switch it back the car returns to its normal position. So now this will be my normal practice to get it down my steep driveway and return to normal to drive. Thanks again.

Posted on: 2022/8/30 14:40
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#5
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Packard Don
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Sounds like - and probably is - an aftermarket set up so best to be sure that it does not bypass the safety limit switches! If that happens, there can be serious and possibly irreparable mechanical damage.

Posted on: 2022/8/30 14:46
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#6
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humanpotatohybrid
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If you can post a picture of the relay setup on the firewall then I'm sure one of us will be able to tell you if it is bypassing the safety relays.

Posted on: 2022/8/30 16:44
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 55 Packard Clipper Constellation levelling system
#7
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HH56
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For viewing purposes on a 55 almost everything in the TL electrical is under the car. It would be good to know what kind of manual switch is present and where wires connect. If the wires from the manual switch go directly to the control switch and connect there it should be good but if they connect at a solenoid or at the limit switch then what was done really should be verified.

Posted on: 2022/8/30 17:07
Howard
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