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49 engine stopped
#1
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ErikT
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Hello! Long story short I’ve kind of inherited a 1949 packard convertible. I was driving it today and was accelerating up a hill and the car died. The starter would not engage after that. I had to push it back home. Any ideas? It is a newer restored car with a 12v system. We do not know anything about these beautiful cars.

ErikT

Posted on: 12/30 20:00
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#2
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HH56
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Without knowing what all was done or changed in the 12v conversion and what stock ignition and starter components might still be present it is hard to guess reasons or even places to check. If the car has the 356 engine the gear reduction Autolite starter used on that engine had a unique safety interlock circuit that prevented the starter from accidentally engaging if engine was running. Sometimes that safety circuit acted up but with a 12v conversion the solenoid would probably have some other issues so starter and solenoid may have been changed. It it does still have the original a small relay in the solenoid may have burned out which would prevent the starter from working. If it has the smaller 288 or 327 engine, those starters would still work at 12v (very hard on starter leading to damage) but would probably have had the solenoid changed to a 12v version. That starter and circuit is no different from other cars of the era.

If the stock starter actuation is still done by pressing the accelerator pedal to engage the starter check that 12v is present at one of the terminals on the black carburetor switch at the rear or side of the carb used to actuate the starter solenoid. Pressing the accelerator should pass that 12v to the other terminal and on to the solenoid.

You might also check voltage at the coil and see if a voltage is always present on the terminal coming from the ign switch. Expect somewhere at least 8 or 9v. Check the other terminal going to the distributor and if points are open, it should also read the higher voltage. If points are closed, close to 0 volts. The voltage at that terminal should fluctuate as the engine cranks. If it does not change then depending on voltage either the points are staying open or something is shorted. The stock distributor has a flexible lead inside with a fabric insulation that connects the points to the outside terminal. The fabric frequently rots and a chunk falls off which can allow a short in the lead and prevent a spark. Condensers are also known to short. If the point ignition has been changed to something like a Pertronix electronic module that could also be having issues but if either the lead, condenser, or module were acting up the engine might not start but also should not prevent the starter from at least turning the engine.

Posted on: 12/30 20:21
Howard
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#3
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humanpotatohybrid
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Check battery voltage and age, what's the voltage read?

Probably you have a loose connection. Check voltage at the ign switch, both bat/ground and (with key on) ign/ground voltage.

Also check the voltage across the starter interlock, should be 0 when the car is able to be started. But that wouldn't explain the engine dying.

Posted on: 12/30 20:55
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#4
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ErikT
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New battery. I believe it is the larger engine. I’ll check it later this weekend.

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Posted on: 12/30 21:25
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#5
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HH56
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Looking at the grill and what I can see of the engine, I would guess offhand it will be one of the smaller engines.

Easiest quick visual to identify the engine is check the location of the distributor. In the large 356 it will be in the middle of the block directly under a freeze plug. On a smaller block the distributor will be slightly forward of center between two freeze plugs.

Also note the starters. The Autolite gear reduction type that is stock on a 356 will have an offset housing with a large solenoid on top that has a squarish end holding 4 terminals while the other engines will have a smaller starter with an ordinary round solenoid and 3 terminals.

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Posted on: 12/30 22:05
Howard
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#6
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BDeB
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Erik,

From the photos, your car is a 22nd Series Super 8 Convertible Victoria and should have a 5 main bearing 327 Cu. In. engine.
The larger 356 Cu. In. engine was used in the Custom 8 model and has a cast iron water outlet on the cylinder head as one of the differences from the 327.

Posted on: 12/30 23:39
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#7
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humanpotatohybrid
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If it stopped and shows no signs of life electrically now, there must either be a loose connection or the ignition switch is faulty. There's not really any other common denominator aside from the charging system not working. Check the voltage on the battery.

If it cranks but won't start, the it's probably the condensor, coil, resistor, or other such ignition problems.

Posted on: 12/31 1:13
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#8
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ErikT
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When I turned the key back on I could roll up the windows. There was a click when I tried to activate the starter.

Posted on: 12/31 14:10
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#9
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humanpotatohybrid
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So the starter is engaging, just not turning.

Most likely your charging system is faulty and the battery is dead. Try jumping the car with a different battery... be careful you get the polarity right. An old battery at low charge often will still power accessories that use just a few amps, but will completely fail at delivering the hundreds of amps load the starter needs. This happened to me just a month ago, exact same situation, car stalled when driving then would not start.

Again, can you check the voltage and date code on the battery?

Posted on: 12/31 14:54
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 49 engine stopped
#10
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HH56
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Also, when checking battery voltage I would suggest doing it under load. The meter alone pulls minimal current and may give a false reading on the true condition. It could well read 12.6v but that might be what is called surface voltage. As soon as a load is applied the voltage might drop by several volts. Headlights alone may do it but they usually pull around l0 amps which isn't very much load. Better would be trying to crank the engine while checking the voltage. If voltage at the terminals drop more than a couple of volts suspect a discharged battery or dirty terminals. If the battery turns out to be discharged then the charging system would need some checking.

In addition to checking the charge, I would suggest removing the battery cables and cleaning the terminal posts and ends to make sure a layer of oxidation or worse, corrosion has not started on the battery terminals. In some instances and if conditions are right it does not take sitting for very long to have a dirty layer form between the terminal posts and cable ends. The layer will have a high resistance which acts exactly like you are describing.

Posted on: 12/31 15:18
Howard
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