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(1) 2 »

Ignition switch rebuild
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

54ocmac
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I think my '54's ignition switch has given up the ghost! It was working fine, but has stopped engaging the starter. It will work in the ACC and ON positions, but not START. SO, was wondering if anyone has any experience having one rebuilt? Not having much luck locating a replacement! Thank you!

Posted on: 2013/7/15 22:59
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#2
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BigKev
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Those switches are hard to come by as they were the first year for a "Key Start" and they have problems. Usually the problem was them getting stuck in the start position. I figure if the switch is bad, try taking it apart and have a go at it. Possible it may just need a good cleaning of the internal contacts.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:20
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#3
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Randy Berger
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I fixed one switch by tearing it apart and carefully silver soldering the contacts for a nice smooth contact. Have to be careful relieving the staked potmetal so you can remove the bakelite piece.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:57
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#4
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BigKev
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Worse come to worse, you can use an aftermarket "Ford" style switch until a original replacement can be found. At least this will keep you driving.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 11:07
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#5
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HH56
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There's not a lot of options for a real Packard item but I don't hold much hope for rebuilt units long term unless they are completely taken apart and new guts substituted. One of the vendors does offer rebuilds but after hearing of another posters recent experiences with one of those on a 55, not sure it is a wise investment. If a rebuilt is ordered and there is no evidence of it being taken apart at the crimp and reassembled then I'd be suspect of just how much was actually done to call it a rebuild.

A couple I've taken apart had a problem with the contacts getting pitted and very worn on one edge. Generally the contacts were in very rough condition. One had even overheated so the bakelite in the rotating section where the sliding contact is secured was charred and the plate was loose.

As Randy mentioned, If you attempt a rebuild yourself, IMO the crimp is going to be the hardest thing to deal with. You can gently work a section up at a time but the pot metal is very brittle and breaks easily. Just be patient and work slowly. Once you have a bit out of the way the back can usually be worked out and off. It might be possible to swap the guts from a similar size universal switch although the rotating part will be an issue and you will need to get creative. Packards lock cylinder engagement to the rotating contact doesn't mesh with the same geometry the universals I've played with do. I went the other way and adapted a universal switch to the V8 bezel. Made a small plate type adapter for the cylinder to turn the different style contact section. Not sure that method is an option on the 54 because of the way they mount in the dash.

If the rest of the switch is functional then as a temporary measure until you find a switch you could add a heavy starter type pushbutton under the dash edge to at least start the car. Kev mentioned a Ford switch and that might be a better option but with their slot mount method I think their bezel would also be needed.

Not really pertinent to your issue but offered as an observation. I'm trying to find a modern substitute switch for another car. Most ignition switches I've been looking at have fairly low current ratings even at 12v. 6v would be worse. With the failure rates of the 54-6 key start types in comparison to the older switches, I'm wondering if Packard severely overloaded them and didn't have time to realize it.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 11:14
Howard
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#6
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Ross
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The 54s with pull in solenoids on the starters (all seniors and top line Clippers)did indeed overload the keyswitch. There is a service bulletin somewhere about adding a relay between the keyswitch and the solenoid to minimize current draw and insure the solenoid pulled in fully.

Lucky for the guys with cheap Clippers that still used bendix starter drives and the small solenoid. Their keyswitch was not overloaded and usually lasted. The one in my 54 is still perfect at nearly 100K miles. Something to look for when at the junkyard!

Posted on: 2013/7/16 11:57
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#7
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Randy Berger
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Ross, thanks for confirming my suspicion about installing a relay to take the load off the switch. It's gratifying to see at least one other person arrive at the same conclusion.

Attach file:



jpg  (6.32 KB)
23_51e59868563cf.jpg 203X203 px

Posted on: 2013/7/16 14:01
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#8
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HH56
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Quote:

randy berger wrote:
Ross, thanks for confirming my suspicion about installing a relay to take the load off the switch. It's gratifying to see at least one other person arrive at the same conclusion.


The form factor of the modern universal ign sw I finally decided on for my conversion is rated 15A continuous and 5A for the start circuit at 12v. Way too low for much of anything practical at even 12v let alone 6 but was pretty typical of those I looked at. I'll be installing a couple of relays along with the switch.

For anyone interested in adding a relay to their existing car, YnZ's Yesterdays Parts online store has the 6v Bosch style 40A plug in relays and a matching socket. $10 for the relay which isn't bad considering not many carry that 6v coil voltage. 12v relays are also available but those are found for much less many other places.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 16:07
Howard
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#9
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54ocmac
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THANKS guys for the all the options/suggestions! I think I'll give the Ford-style switch a try first and keep looking for a Packard replacement as well! Regards, Mark

Posted on: 2013/7/16 21:42
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Re: Ignition switch rebuild
#10
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Owen_Dyneto
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Yes, the 1954 ignition switches are hard to find, but I'm advised that Kanter's has a supply of NOS ones available.

Posted on: 2013/7/19 8:49
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