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Trying to fix my 56
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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I’ve spent the last four weeks reading through a lot of topics with amazement of the wealth of knowledge that is collectively out there. About five weeks ago, I purchased a 1956 Packard Patrician that was sitting in a driveway for the last sixteen years. I can’t give a rational reason why I fell in love with this car nor why I won’t part with it. Most of the parts are there and it will need so much before I can drive her. I’m not trying to make her a show car plus to be blunt, I can’t afford to. What I am hoping for is just to drive her and have a blast doing so. Right now, I am trying to hear the engine come to life. It is frustrating and painfully obvious that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous.
What I know so far:
I’ve removed the valve covers and observed all 16 valves moving up and down freely. All of the push rods appear straight and rotate slightly as they move up and down. I’ve performed a compression test on all 8 cylinders with the plugs out and carb off. All are between 100 – 135 psi. My thought is the low numbers are because it has sat for so long. The distributor appears to be 180 degrees off. I attempted to check this by rotating the engine to the timing mark while holding my finger over #1 spark plug hole. When I felt a strong gust of air and the marks lined up, I assumed this was the compression stroke and the rotor was 180 from the figure in the manual. Also, l noted the rotor turned counter-clockwise. So, I went from that point placing the wires in the firing order that is in raised letters on the intake. I have spark. Now on to the fuel. I rebuilt the carb and have it in place. (Not connected to the fuel line) I used a vacuum pump to remove 6 gallons of foul fuel from the tank. It was a dark amber in color. The fuel pump is not producing any suction or pressure from either hole. Judging by two complete fuel pumps and three dissected along with an electric pump in the “part totes”, I’m guessing this was an issue for the previous owner. What also doesn’t help, is the fact that he started multiple tasks without completing one. Wiper assembly is in pieces, heater is in the trunk, etc. Plus, the exhaust I fear is held together by stubborn pieces of rust, (many holes)
Don’t know anything about the condition of the coolant system, brake system, or the push button transmission. The wiring looks sad. Some of the connections are actual wire nuts and a few are just bare copper wires twisted together and covered in scotch tape. Thinking about re-doing the wiring one component at a time.
All of this being said (written), I feel joy every time I pull into my driveway and see her. She has style. Last weekend I found an out of the way switch and flip it to the left. It took a minute, but she rose up to level out. Before she looked like she was dragging her tail. I was elated.
What I am hoping for from this post, is the ability to post on her resurrection and be able to ask dumb questions like what is that tan thick stuff under my carpets and where do I find a replacement when it comes time for new carpet. Thankfully the car had thick clear vinyl on the door panels and seats. I’ve removed the back seat vinyl and it appears to only require a good shampooing. I was trying to examine the carpet and looking for signs of rust. What I found were three mouse nests and a very sad strained and worn-out carpet. I also discovered why the radio appears small when looking at. Because, what I thought was the radio is only part of the whole radio. I haven’t seen vacuum tubes since the 70’s. No clue how to diagnosis. Decided to save that one for the spring. My hope is to have it drivable by spring. If anyone lives near Williamsburg Virginia and wants to stop by, I would be very appreciative. For now, it’s just me and the cat. The cat just looks at me like she has answers but won’t share.

Posted on: 12/15 21:23
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#2
Home away from home
Home away from home

64avanti
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Longest journey start with single step...
How does the sheet metal look?

Posted on: 12/15 21:50
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#3
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Forum Ambassador

Ozstatman
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Quote:
64avanti wrote:...How does the sheet metal look?

Like this.

Posted on: 12/15 21:54
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#4
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Owen_Dyneto
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I'll note a correction to the theft-proof number, the first character is a "D", not an "0". By 1956 the stamped characters were no longer as sharp and crisp as previously, but careful inspection will confirm.

Posted on: 12/15 22:40
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#5
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Jim in Boone
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Marvin, attractive vehicle, of course I never saw a Packard that I didn't like, drove a 55 as my daily driver in about 1962, wish I had just a touch of the energy from those days.

Many talented folks on this forum, I don't count myself among those with the talents, yet I come most morning to read and learn.

Look forward to seeing/hearing of you progress, and take care of the cat, maybe she will share the secrets one day.

Posted on: 12/16 4:51
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#6
Home away from home
Home away from home

CarFreak
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Welcome.

I also have a 56 Patrician that I am trying to get back on the road as well. I chose the route to take it all the way down so I wont be able to get it on the road for another year or so. But I also started a build thread on this forum in the project section. I believe mine is titled Vacation Car- 56 Patrician. Or something like that.

good luck!

Posted on: 12/16 10:24
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#7
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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I haven't crawled under the car, but 95% of the sheet metal looks great. Under the lower trim on the passenger rear door has been touched up and appears to have a bad primer job. Not sure what is going on there. Plus, the front passenger door "pops" when opening. Guessing a shim or alignment issue with the hinges. When the car is dry, there are spots where the primer shows through. It appears red. Just picked up a Y292 fuel pump. Will be working on it this Saturday.

Posted on: 12/16 17:01
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#8
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Mr.Pushbutton
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Congrats on the purchase. The stuff under the carpeting is called Jute, it's basically scraps of cotton material compressed into a sheet. It is still available, but I hesitate to use it because it attracts and holds moisture. Most V-8 Packard floors have a lick and a promise of primer as the only coating, and plain primer does absolutely nothing to prevent rust. I like materials like Dynamat today, it helps quiet the sound from underneath better than the Jute padding, and does not encourage moisture to hang around.
I'm your guy should you need help with the Pushbuttons. I've restored over 100 of the Autolite actuators, and make people love and trust their cars again.

Posted on: 12/16 17:37
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#9
Home away from home
Home away from home

R H
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Timing.

Watch the valves. Only way that you where your at

And you can watch the rotor.

The bolt on crank should be 1 inch.

Posted on: 12/16 20:53
Riki
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Re: Trying to fix my 56
#10
Home away from home
Home away from home

Leeedy
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Quote:

Marvin wrote:
I haven't crawled under the car, but 95% of the sheet metal looks great. Under the lower trim on the passenger rear door has been touched up and appears to have a bad primer job. Not sure what is going on there. Plus, the front passenger door "pops" when opening. Guessing a shim or alignment issue with the hinges. When the car is dry, there are spots where the primer shows through. It appears red. Just picked up a Y292 fuel pump. Will be working on it this Saturday.


I've owned lots and lots of 1955-56 Packards over the years. My buddy, Joe Clayton owned dozens and dozens of V-8 Packards. Between us, we had fleets of them.

In the 1960s and 1970s you could buy these cars cheap –especially from someone who imagined they had some kind or horrible technical problem and just wanted out of the car. V-8 Packards were and are very sophisticated (and yes complicated if one does not learn about them) automobiles.

I strongly advise you to learn about your Patrician prior to attempting to work on it. I strongly advise against guessing. Get yourself a factory workshop manual and an Owner's Manual. The mysteries tend to no longer be mysterious once one learns about these wonderful Packards. AND you have the added benefit of preventing injurious and potentially expensive blunders to the car. Owning the manuals doesn't cost –it saves.

Most mechanics have never wanted to learn about Ultramatics. And people in general were baffled by the Torsion-Level suspension–and still are. Even today, there are still people (even in auctions and magazines that ought to know better) claiming these cars had "air bags" or saying other things about the suspension system.

My favorite was the one where the transmission was supposedly "locked up" and hopeless. If it had a selector lever, I would hand the owner some money... reach under the car, push up on the linkage and watch it pop out of "Park"... and then drive away. On pushbutton cars I had several tricks to get it out of "Park" (usually when the unit had over-ridden proper position)... and even more tricks to keep the selector from over-riding. Old electronic devices are... old electronic devices. But that's all. And yes... today if one needs pushbutton issues repaired and addressed, by all means, see Mr. Pushbutton who is the pro from Dover on this Packard system.

Now. For the issue at hand...

People who come into these cars years later after the car has been sitting (and even people who owned the cars previously) never understand two very important issues related to fuel delivery :

1.) Flex coupling hose at the fuel pump (sooner or later) dry rots. They ALL do. This is not a Packard fault,as often thought. It is merely the nature of the item –on any car. The result are tiny cracks (sometimes invisible unless you bend the hose to extremes). On occasion, these tiny cracks allow AIR to be sucked instead of gasoline. Result? You get starved carbs, erratic flows, stalled engines. Far too many think these conditions are caused by the fuel pump, vapor lock or even fuel filter. Even mechanics jump to these conclusions when the real problem is very simple. First thing I would replace is the flex hose coupling. These are guaranteed to go bad. Not IF... just when. And don't rely on mere visual inspection. These little flex hoses can look beautiful and appear perfect, when in reality they can have more holes than Swiss cheese!

2.) What I call "the index finger"... the small metal intake tube inside the gas tank that bends up and angles down is prone to plug with rust. Especially in the elbow bend of the tube. So badly does this occur that I have seen compressed air fittings BLOW OUT trying to pressure-clear this tube. The sharp elbow in this tube makes it nearly impossible to un-plug and clear with a wire. And this condition is made far worse with today's Ethanol blend gasolines that encourage rust to occur.

The upshot of all this is that most people blame the factory mechanical fuel pump (or even the carbs or fuel filter) and never realize the real issue causing the problems. People waste huge amounts of money and time going out and buying fuel pumps, hooking up electrical circuits, and playing with the carburetors. But all the fuel pumps and carb rebuilds/replacements in the world will never repair either problem listed here.

Of course if the index finger intake tube in your tank is clogged or plugged solid (and they very often are), the easiest fix is also expensive, but it works: replace the tank. A typical "boiling out" of the tank usually will NOT repair a clogged intake tube.

Also...people yank the permanent ceramic gas filters thinking these are bad and imagining a paper unit will somehow improve things. In reality the original ceramic filters were sophisticated and very good units that should last a lifetime. And they are easily cleaned. No need to replace them.

Packard engineered some very fine automobiles. If these cars are merely re-set back to the way they were when new, everything should work very well.

Posted on: 12/17 12:26
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