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1948 Limo Super 8
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Duane Gunn
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I have owned this 1948 Super 8 Limo for 3 years. The family I bought it from had removed the engine, had it rebuilt and he died before installing the engine. The engine rusted. I bought it, had the engine rebuilt. I installed the engine in January 2020. I am now trying to start the engine and that's where I need help.
I own 2 other running Packards, a 1955 Clipper Custom and a 1940 160 Touring Sedan. So I know a little about these cars.
I have a rebuilt carburetor, distributor, generator, water pump, oil pump and starter.
The engine turns over very slow. I have checked the spark and I do have spark. I sprayed starting fluid as I don't have gas in the tank yet. I put the engine at top dead center and where the distributor rotor pointed to I put the #1 spark plug wire there and CCW with the rest of the wires in the correct firing order.
Why is the engine turning so slow? I have new battery cables.
The wires to the carburetor for the start switch measure a short before I attach the switch, I leave them disconnected so I am using a remote switch that was bought at Sears many years ago.
Would the slowly turning engine hamper it starting?
What else do I need to do to get this running?

Attach file:

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Posted on: 12/30 17:16
1955 Clipper Custom
1940 160 Touring Sedan
1953 Patrician
1948 Super 8 Limo
1948 Sedan, parts car
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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I would start by making sure the new cables are proper for 6v and battery is quality and has full capacity and is of higher rated CCA. Cables should be 0 ga or even better would be 00 ga. On that big engine best to avoid what they sell in parts stores today which say for 6v but are usually still a bit small. 12v rated cables are definitely a no. Also, if there is any disconnect switch on the battery make sure it can carry the high amps the starter will pull. On a tight engine it can be 7 or 800 amps.

On a freshly painted engine make sure grounds are not going thru paint -- where the ground cable attaches to the block and try to remove any paint between the starter case and the block and mounting bolts and all connections are tight. There is also a possibility the starter is dragging and in need of work. Friction in a tight engine would be making any deficiency in the electric worse.

Posted on: 12/30 17:29
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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On the short in starter circuit wiring, depending on how you place the meter you may be reading thru the solenoid coil. On the wire going to the ign switch, if the switch is off there should be no continuity to ground. If switch is on then you could be reading thru any number of items which are connected to ground on their other side. On the wire going to the solenoid you will read a short because the other side of solenoid coil is grounded and you are reading thru 1 ohm or less of coil wiring. WIth wires disconnected from the starter switch and checking the switch terminals to ground there should be no continuity on either terminal at any time.

Posted on: 12/30 17:40
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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Peter Packard
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I would look at the Starter Motor Serial number. Some of the interchangeable starter motors have much higher torque than others. I am sure there is a thread on this within info.com. I put a later higher torque starter in my 38 Six and it made a lot of difference. I am also aware that as starters get worn, bushes and brushes get wear which can affect the performance substantially. Are you able to borrow a starter from a friend with a good cranking motor and see if it makes a difference? Peter Toet

Posted on: 12/30 19:34
I like people, Packards and old motorbikes
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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Hi Duane
Nice car to take the ‘little Gunn’s’ for a ride!

I’m assuming this is the first time you’re trying to start the engine . . . the list is a bit longer if that’s the case. Yes a slow cranking speed can hamper starting, but with a fresh rebuilt engine that may be nothing more than a bit extra drag. Did the engine rotate freely following the rebuild? Perhaps a squirt of oil into each cylinder is in order as you trouble shoot the crank speed issue.

Battery: I would start the trouble shooting with the battery. I’ve had pretty good success with a NAPA group 3EH battery in my ’48. The downside it is an old school wet battery, so all of the memories of corrosion will come ‘flooding’ back, but the up side is the large capacity . . . close to 1000 amps available. My ’54 has an Optima six volt battery, and that seems to work quite satisfactory. A quick test on whether the battery is part of the problem is to jump with a known good unit, but only after you charge both the battery that is in the car, and the other battery as well.

Cables: I hail from ‘Double Aughtville’, with soldered terminals no less. I’ve been looking for a 00 braded ground strap, but never did find one, so I had to use ‘round wire’ for a ground. I used welding cable (more conduction area) as battery cable material.

Ground Path: As far as I know the current return is into the round portion of the starter case, and then into the nose piece. From there the current path is the bell housing, engine block, and the ground strap mounted near the generator bracket . . . lots of opportunities for voltage drop. I found my ’48 had a good amount of paint (thanks to previous owners Tom and Marvin) applied to the bellhousing where the starter mounts. I believe the design intent is a clean dry surface at this location. My ’54 had so much oil (rear main seal leakage) there; it’s hard to believe that any current could pass to the bellhousing. You mentioned a fresh rebuild of the engine, did that include a fresh ‘paint job’? Others swear-by a second ground path from a starter bolt to the chassis, and then from the chassis to the same location where the battery ground cable is attached. The pre-cautionary advice is to make sure if you use a different bolt at the starter that new bolt length does not come close to the flywheel.

Starter: You mentioned a rebuilt starter, so I would assume that’s OK, but a few checks may be in order. Commutator cleanliness, brush contact pressure, and bushing health are the items I would check. Another ‘off-the-wall’ comment is: The only difference between a ‘stock’ six volt starter, and one that has been converted to twelve volts are the field windings . . . quite interchangeable! The local custom for the ‘Brand X’ crowd is to paint the armature shaft red if the starter was converted to twelve volts. I think you have the opportunity to check a few items by removing the starter motor for a quick bench inspection of the starter, plus the bellhousing. Other members may help us understand whether a converted starter can be detected with a simple resistance check . . . again that’s just an ‘off-the-wall’ comment, but the previous owner’s intent may have been to convert the car to twelve volts.

Solenoid: If I remember correctly the solenoid design during those years did not allow for the inspection of the contact surfaces. If you decide to remove the starter, you could power the solenoid and measure the resistance at the post intended for high current. You must take some care as to avoid placing the multi-meter in the powered load path.

It took a while, but both my ’48 288, and the ’54 327 crank at a respectable speed. I would say the cranking speed is what you would expect in a twelve volt car from the same era.

Posted on: 12/31 12:42
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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Fish'n Jim
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It shows rebuilt everything but nothing about the battery condition?
I'd have it tested for amp draw to see if it's any good. New cables if the old ones are corroded.
You can have the starter tested at an auto electric shop, if no progress after addressing input power.
It's been sitting again almost 2 years, so was it properly stored? Sprayed the cylinders, etc?
Not noted if automatic, but maybe that's not freewheeling. If manual, clutch stuck, dragging, etc.
You can check all the wires to see if they get hot after cranking too. Indicates high resistance:corrosion or wrong size.

Posted on: 12/31 14:43
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Re: 1948 Limo Super 8
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Hello Duane. This is what I did with my engine post-rebuild. The first essential is to make sure the oil pump is primed, otherwise you need to buy a boat. You will have a ready made anchor if the engine fires without oil pressure.
1. Remove spark plugs and either the oil pressure sender or the feed line to the oil filter. Crank it and you should see oil, if not it means the pump is dry. Vital that is fixed.
2. If there is oil, then put some oil down the plug holes and replace plugs. Get a 6V battery and hotwire the coil, this eliminates the rest of the electrics.
3. Chuck some petrol down the carb. If possible fill the float chamber.
4. A new engine will be tight. Get a 12V battery, connect one lead to the block and put the other straight on the starter terminal. It should fire, if it does and runs out of fuel it means the next thing is fuel supply.
If it does fire up, it may run hot for a few minutes before settling down.
Hope this is useful

Posted on: 1/1 6:00
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