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Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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I originally posted this in another section of the forum, not realizing there was a blog for project cars.

I’ve spent the last four months reading through a lot of topics with amazement of the wealth of knowledge that is collectively out there. Last November, I purchased a 1956 Packard Patrician that was sitting in a drive way for 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 she 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. Back in December, 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. 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.

March 26, 2022
It is warming up here but work is also increasing, so now I have a little spare money but little time. I raised the Packard on ramps in the rear, after deactivating the leveling system. I did this for several reasons. 1 to examine what remains of the exhaust system. 2 to look at the fuel tank and lines, 3 examine the shock absorbers, and 4 just to lay underneath and gaze in wonder. Its actually pretty cool underneath with the torsion bars and the way it is all put together. I haven’t actually done anything underneath, but did note the shut off valve coming out of the tank that was in the “off” position. I’m really hoping this is all there is to my gas problem. When I drop the tank and clean it, the shut off valve is going away. I’ve ordered a dual exhaust system. (Not sure when it will be done – they say there is a 12-week delay) I know that I need to replace the shock absorbers but not sure what to buy. Will need to do more research.

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Posted on: 3/26 8:37
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#2
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humanpotatohybrid
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We are here for the "dumb questions" after all. A lot of times easier than the actual hard questions.

I assume you've already been looking through the service manuals as needed. They're a good start to have a clue of what's going on.

Quote:

I haven’t seen vacuum tubes since the 70’s. No clue how to diagnosis. Decided to save that one for the spring.


As I hear, usually the vibrator in old car radios is usually what makes them go bad. Radios need DC voltage different than the battery DC voltage, but the only way to convert voltages is AC to AC. So the vibrator essentially produces a square wave from DC, which is fed to a transformer, after which it is rectified back to DC. The vibrator is an electromechanical mechanism and they do freeze/wear out over time. So that would be my first guess on that.

This is the power supply in your radio: the vibrator is "M1". You can see it powers a transformer "T1" which is connected to the rectifier "V7", which then powers part of the radio.
Resized Image


Yours uses this type:
Resized Image


The info is here: https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/56ClipperRadio.pdf

You'll also want to check for obvious things like corrosion, and make sure the capacitors look okay. And if everything else checks out make sure the vacuum tubes light up of course.

P.S. I'm by Clarion or Pittsburgh PA.

Posted on: 3/26 19:31
Owner of '55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#3
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PackardDon
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Actually, I worked on vacuum tube devices since I was able to stand (my grandfather was a TV repairman) and found that the vibrator, being the easiest thing to replace, was always the first to try. My tube tester can even check vibrators so it was always handy, then a check of the tubes themselves. The tube testers in stores would often show a tube as being bad when it wasn't so glad I had my own to use!

However, the capacitors go bad too especially after all this time so it's always a good idea to just replace them first before trying anything else as bad capacitors can be dangerous!

Speaking of vibrators, my 1954 Patrician has a solid state one and it seems to work well. There are a few solid state vacuum tube replacements too but none that will work in our radios!

Posted on: 3/26 19:42
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#4
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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I have a question about the suspension bushings and the shock absorbers. While gazing up while under the car I noted that many of the bushings seem tired and worn out. Plus, the shocks are a close second. I was hoping someone could steer me in the right direction on a supplier for one or both. Figured I could work on the suspension a little while waiting on the exhaust to arrive. Also, any tricks or points of concern with regard to the suspension. To be honest, the torsion leveling system intimidates me a little

Posted on: 3/28 19:39
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#5
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HH56
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Bushings are an extremely important part of the system as far as function and potential issues. Likewise the shocks are important to get the designed ride. Very little goes wrong with the hard mechanical parts of the TL system but after so many years deteriorated rubber bushings and dirty or oxidized electrical contacts and connections are the major reasons for todays failures.

If you have not already got a copy I would suggest you go to Dwight Heinmuller's site https://www.packardparts.org/products/ ... torsion-level-suspension/ and download the 6 page article that was written a few years ago on the mechanical aspects of the system. It was originally printed in one of the PAC monthly newsletters and is one of the more comprehensive explanations of how everything works together and why certain parts are recommended. If you are into the theoretical and development part and would like to know more on that story the SAE article as presented by one of the Packard engineers is available in the literature archive. https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/SAE_Torsion.pdf

Whether you actually spring for Dwight's complete kit with poly rear bushings is up to you but it is a complete kit with just about everything covered. If you are only doing piecemeal then suitable repro replacement rubber bushings for the rear are available from Steele and as far as front suspension bushings, the same type as in the kit are probably available from local parts stores and if not, Rock Auto. I believe there are some front bushing crosses in the parts x-ref section. If not several on site can supply the year and model cars that use the bushings that will work.

Electrically, the mechanism is relatively simple and there are several on site who can walk you thru almost any issue you will run across. It is all basic electric with straight forward contacts and relays so nothing exotic except maybe the heated bimetal strips that provide the time delay in the stock control switch.

Posted on: 3/28 20:58
Howard
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#6
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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I just ordered the Shocks from Summit Racing after reading the PDF "A Practical Guide To A Perfect Ride". I will be ordering the Torsion Level Suspension Bushing Repair Kit when I can. My concern is the special tool mentioned in the article. The Torsion Level Holding Tool. Anyone have any thoughts on the value of this tool? or alternatives
Thanks for all of the great suggestions

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Posted on: 3/29 18:04
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#7
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HH56
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The tool is certainly nice to have and maybe makes the job easier since it can be installed quickly. Many have held the front load arm up with a short length of chain. Add a bit of weight to the front to bring the load arm up a bit higher than ride position -- sort of like the position shown in the manual when the tool is in place -- and then loop the chain around the arm and frame and bolt the chain in place while the arm is up. When the front end is jacked up the A arms will drop and be completely unloaded while the chain holds the load arm.

Someone has found internet archive of stuff that was on Craig's old Panther blog in the past. If anyone knows where those are or how to find them, if the photos are more or less complete I seem to recall he had a photo of how he did the chain in his section on making the adjustable 55 load links.

Posted on: 3/29 18:24
Howard
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#8
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PackardDon
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After reading lots of struggles without one, I bought one with the kit but haven't yet used it. Seeing all the contraptions people have made to avoid having to buy it, if it works as it should I am happy!

Posted on: 3/29 20:58
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#9
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R H
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There is not much room on frame.

For that to set on. Make sure you double check and lower slowly.

Push it all the way against the frame.

Posted on: 3/29 21:19
Riki
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Re: Resurrecting my 56’ Patrician
#10
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Marvin
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Just an update:
I've had other projects come up so I haven't done much in the way of work on the car. I have been reading a lot. Managed to come across a box of SUN spec sheets and found two for the 56' Patrician.
I am waiting on the exhaust, have the KYB shocks in, but the weather teases me. When I have off, it rains. The weather is great when I am working, so the shocks are sitting on my pool table. I have removed all the drums and examined everything done by the previous owner. It all looks great. Haven't gotten into the master cylinder. Have removed all the flat tires (they were only flat on the bottom) and wired brushed/painted the rims and new tires. No hub caps, but I think they look great.

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Posted on: 5/6 16:34
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