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PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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Because I've been working on this 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan off and on since bringing it to my Oregon shop about fifteen years ago, it seems time to start a blog.

First a brief history. I have owned this car for at least 45 years after buying it from a good friend who was leaving the area. I had spotted it some years prior in a parking lot along a main street in Campbell, CA and someone in the past had painted it a solid gray over the original Dover White and Tangier Red factory paint.

Once I bought it a friend started sanding off the gray and after that, I drove it only a couple times. The friend I bought it from had put in new exhaust and Allstate Guardsman tires and I tinkered with it too while he owned it getting the Torsion-Level working and putting on new belts and hoses. Otherwise very little was done and it ran although obviously needing a rebuild.

However, one thing never looked at were the brakes so this is what happened the first time I drove it after having just re-cored the radiator. When I pivoted my foot from the accelerator to the brake while pulling into a parking space, they failed and the edge of my foot hit the accelerator, slamming the front into a large concrete support column for the cover over the walkway.

The radiator had to be repaired where it hit the fan but all in all it wasn't too bad. Most major body parts were replaced but over the years of looking at it parked in the yard and more recently in my shop I started noticing less obvious bent or broken bits and pieces which I am only now acquiring and have most everything needed. Whether it will be restored or not remains to be seen but my goal at this time is to make it roadable.

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Posted on: 12/10 22:20
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Re: PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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After it was at the Oregon shop where I come up to work every couple months, during one visit I noticed a large rusty area on the concrete below. I thought an expansion plug or worse, a cracked block, had happened so took a look but some are hard to see and nothing was obviously damaged from that angle.

On a later visit when I had time to do more work, I thought I would change the radiator hoses but in doing so, I found that the water crossover's thermostat flange was broken at the back bolt so I replaced the casting. Taking it off meant removing the Ultramatic cooler and immediately saw where the rust spot on the ground had come from! It was like Swiss cheese. I acquired another and installed it and also rebuilt the fuel pump.

At some point before I got it, someone had replaced the stock fuel filter with an aftermarket pressure regulator type and they cut the steel line near the pump. A new filter was purchased (and an NOS ceramic filter to go inside) but the steel line was another matter as it wasn't being reproduced. One could get them for the two-barrel models and for the dual 4-barrel Caribbeans but not for the single 4-barrel so I had some made. The old cut line is shown here but if I can find the photo with it replaced, I'll post it instead.

Update: I forgot to point out that the power steering belt was on the wrong pulley which has since been corrected but an interesting problem as the extra pulley shouldn't even be there. It is from a car with factory A/C which this car has never had!

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Posted on: 12/10 22:33
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Re: PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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So by now, I have, all uninstalled, a nearly complete factory A/C unit for it, power windows and door locks with a reproduction harness, a nearly complete NOS grille, all trim, new plastic lenses all around, Torsion-Level and front suspension rebuild kit, all brake parts for the wheels (I still need to get a master kit), new front u-joint, NOS heat riser and so much more that the inside is nearly filled with boxes and parts. I also have a new interior reserved with a deposit and will get that as soon as I send in the old.

Also, the 7.60 X 15 AllState Guardsman tires that were put on so many decades ago, then left for the elements in my yard, were rotten. It took some years but I finally found a set so got proper wheels and had them powder coated in a generic red to replace the mismatched set on it and had the tires mounted. Of course, they are old too so not for road use but they look excellent for a car that doesn't even run yet. As a friend described it, it's like putting lipstick on a pig!

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Posted on: 12/10 22:45
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Re: PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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For today, I thought I would again attempt to start it but it stubbornly refuses to even try to fire and I'm sure it is the distributor at fault. Being at the back center of the engine, it is rather inaccessible but the first thing I noticed was that the points were ensconced in cam grease as apparently too much was put on at some point in the past (pardon the pun!). Otherwise after cleaning with carburetor cleaner spray the gap seems fine but it was showing continuity at the side terminal whether the points were open or closed so I pulled off the rotor and spotted a lone blue wire with a burn mark in it. Someone had used the wrong condenser!

I have a spare distributor which has the proper condenser but, since it is so difficult to do anything to the distributor and I'm sure if I tried I would end up dropping the tiny screws inside, is this typically done by pulling it out? Other than noting the direction and putting it back in the same position, is there anything to watch for?

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Posted on: 12/10 22:57
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Re: PackardDon - 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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HH56
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Make sure the fabric covering the flex wire going to the outside terminal is not rotten. If any falls off when you work in the dist the wire can short and that has caused several on this forum some grief.

I also find it much easier to work on the dist when standing on a platform and almost laying on the fender. I think it would be much easier to have a backache and leave the dist in rather than pulling and then needing to retime.

Posted on: 12/10 23:20
Howard
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Re: PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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Thank you, Howard. I knew you would comment on the flex wire and I even meant to mention it myself but forgot to do so! It is excellent and so is the one in the spare distributor but you can rest assured that I'll check it carefully and replace it if necessary.

As for a platform, I have no room for something like that. I wish I did, though! Even so, I couldn't readily get the small screws back in on the spare distributor when doing it on the bench so I'm sure that it will be impossible doing it in the car and I don't want to lose them!

Posted on: 12/10 23:54
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Re: PackardDon - 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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John
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What is the bar in the picture with the tie rod end on it to the engine?? John

Posted on: 12/11 12:04
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Re: PackardDon's 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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PackardDon
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Those are the throttle rods although not sure why there are two but likely one is for the transmission kickdown. If I can't find one, I'll take a photo later when I'm back at the shop and post it.

Posted on: 12/11 12:15
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Re: PackardDon - 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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HH56
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The thick rod to the right is coming from the accelerator pedal portion of the linkage that is fastened to the firewall and goes to the carb. The thinner rod to the left is fastened to an adjustable bracket that is positioned at about midpoint on the thick rod. It goes back to the second lever which is attached to the throttle cross rod supported by brackets on the back of the engine. The other end of that cross rod has another lever which fastens to the rod going down to the transmission. The adjustment bracket and attachment for the thinner rod is provided to fine tune the throttle pressure to account for differences in carbs and linkage.

Posted on: 12/11 12:50
Howard
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Re: PackardDon - 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
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John
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Okay I was looking at it wrong....

Posted on: 12/11 15:01
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