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First steps? '49 Packard
#1
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Tristar500
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I picked up a '49 Packard that needs some work. Hasn't run in 30 years or so but was stored in a barn.
It's a Custome 8.

The engine will turn by grabbing the fan. There is some oil in the pan however the dipstick is missing. My plan here was to find out the capacity of motor oil then fill the engine with that amount and modify a doner dipstick to show the level when full.

I know virtually nothing about these cars.
Battery, 6VDC or 12? Positive or negative ground? If 6 volts, should I do a conversion? This would affect a lot of things from bulbs to radio, starter motor ......

carburetor will certainly need a rebuild,

Anything else I should be on the lookout?

Posted on: 6/25 10:38
He who is without oil shall throw the first rod
Compressions 8.7:1

'49 Custom Eight
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#2
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TxGoat
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I would NOT convert to 12 volts. There are a number of things that need to be checked out on a car that has not run in a long time. The brakes will probably need work, and the fuel system and carburetor will need attention. Everything that moves on the car will need lubrication, including items like door latches and hinges, hood and trunk hinges and latches, and some under hood items. I would be sure there is coolant in the radiator and fluid in the mater cylinder before trying to crank the engine or press on the brake pedal. Parking brake linkage will need lubricated. Battery cables must the right type and be clean and tight. Much of this can be done without special tools or spending much money. There is a very good chance that the gas tank will need to be cleaned and the fuel line, fuel line flex hose, and fuel pump and carburetor will need attention. There is a wealth of information on this site in the Literature Archive, including owner's manuals and shop manuals for most Packards. Most parts can be had, either from vendors or individuals, and rebuilding services and parts for fuel pumps and carburetors, as well as brake parts and more can be found.

Posted on: 6/25 10:52
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#3
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Packard Don
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To confirm what TxGoat said, do not convert to 12v and to add, it is positive ground.

Before trying to start it, I would remove all spark plugs and fill the cylinders with oil and let it set a few days with the plugs screwed back in loosely. This is to be sure there is some lubrication to the upper end before starting. Then, with the plugs out, lay an old towel down the length of the engine to catch the oil, crank with the starter it to push out the excess oil, then put the plugs back in. When it starts, it will smoke a lot so be sure it’s in a well ventilated location!

As far as how much oil, use the engine number and enter it into the Packard Decoder which should pull up basic specifications/

Posted on: 6/25 11:39
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#4
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HH56
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Good advice about placing some oil in the cylinder and also pay attention to the valves. If the engine is stock, the 49 Custom should have the 356 which was Packards finest engine but could be a bit prone to rusted and sticking valve stems on long sitting engines. After 30 years yours could be affected. You might need to do a compression test to verify their condition if the engine does not want to start. Whatever you do be sure and use fresh gas when trying to start the engine. Old gas and additives sitting in cans or worse, lines and tanks deteriorates and even if the engine does manage to start the gas has been known to deposit something on valve stems when they are hot. After the engine cools and is then tried starting again a day or two later the deposit on the stems has turned to something any adhesive company would be proud to market. In several cases it has taken major disassembly and brute force to free the valves.

If you try cranking several times without results then after a few tries also recheck the plugs. Often on those inline 8 engines a lot of cranking without starting will tend to wet and foul the plugs which doesn't allow a spark to form. Also make sure the coil is getting a good solid voltage. Make sure the battery cables are the stock cables or at least a 0 gauge and better at 00 gauge. Unless everything electrical is in pristine condition it is a good idea to NOT use any cable sold today at a local parts store. Even those offered as being for 6v tend to be a bit too small for Packard large engine use. Battery also needs to have a fairly large CCA capacity because the large starters will cause some voltage drop. If the voltage drop at the coil in the wire coming from the ign switch falls close to 5v the spark may be too weak to jump even a plug in good condition.

Here is a chart showing the various dipsticks Packard used. The stock dipstick for the 356 would be D for the Custom 8.

Attach file:



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Posted on: 6/25 11:57
Howard
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#5
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TxGoat
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Bargain priced batteries and cables are no bargain!

Posted on: 6/25 12:51
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#6
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su8overdrive
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Follow through on everything Tx, Don, HH suggest. Optima Red Top 6-volt battery is the way to go. Got a decade each from my last two, and know of a '41 Cad that got 14 years service from one. Make sure your battery cables are double aught (00) solid copper, ends both crimped and soldered. Do not get "heavy duty" cables from the local auto parts store. HD in today's 12-volt world is still too skimpy. A big rig/Diesel truck supply house will have these cables.

While you're at it, install a Cole Hersee marine grade battery disconnect switch. Mount it in the firewall so you can reach under the dash and switch it on and off. A real boon when working on, servicing, storing the car. A must. Summit Racing, Amazon or Optima themselves for the battery, shop around. Not cheap but they don't off-gas or leave fuzz on your terminals, are eight times more resistant to vibration than regular wet cell batteries. They are also a fraction the weight, and the 1948-50 bathtubs are under-tired to begin with, very heavy cars.

My Cole Hersee is brass, but probably doesn't matter in most automotive applications. It's also rated for more amps than your big gear-reduction starter draws, which is critical.
Do not install one of those cheap battery post switches so you have to open and close your hood each time. Keep it simple. Quality first, like Packard.


Click to see original Image in a new window

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Posted on: 6/25 14:37
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#7
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humanpotatohybrid
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First thing is don't run it on what's in the tank. Pull the plugs and get some ATF, MMO, or fogging oil in the cylinders, to help with initial lubrication. 1 tbsp per cylinder is plenty. Make sure the engine spins 360 before cranking on it. If so, then you don't have any stuck valves.

Next disconnect the old fuel line before the pump. Careful you don't spill a bunch, but on these I think the fuel line runs well over the rear axle so it won't spill out from gravity aside from what's in the line. Fire hazard.

No dipstick? Just drain the old oil and put 7 qts in of cheap 15W40. These don't need fancy oil or ZDDP added. Won't hurt to use a high ZDDP oil but shouldn't need it.

If you want to then try running it on starter fluid or a squirt bottle of gas, or a boat tank feeding the carb. Probably the accel pump is shot so pumping the gas will do nothing. Consider plumbing in an oil pressure gauge before you start, since the dash gauge (actually the sender) may well not work after 30 years and it's not great to not know your oil pressure.

In terms of getting it back on the road, at the minimum you will need to rebuild the carb and fuel pump, and redo the entire brake system. Fortunately both of those are pretty cheap as old cars go. Also very educational. Also new battery and tires, but hopefully that was obvious.

Reference the parts list, parts x-ref, and literature archive on your left. Let us know how it goes and if you have any questions. As you can see, many here are happy to help.


Posted on: 6/25 14:50
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#8
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Packard Don
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Oddly, something posted above made this impossible to read as it scrolls off the screen and no scroll bars appear! Probably the ultra-long Walmart link. For those, please use the link icon and link to some words rather than posting the long links directly where they are visible!

Posted on: 6/25 19:51
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#9
Not too shy to talk
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Tristar500
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Thanks, everyone for the wealth of advice!

I haven't had it transported to my place yet but am going to visit the the old girl tomorrow and will bring a spark plug socket and some oil for each cylinder.
I'll try turning the engine over by hand to check for stuck valves.

Is regular gas ok?

Are '49 spark plugs the same as today's 5/8ths, and 13/16th's?

Thought I'd drain the oil and see what's in there. Maybe run a magnet over the bottom of the oil pan to check for signs of wear.

What's a good source for a carb rebuild kit?

Thanks again all!

Wish me luck!

Posted on: 6/25 19:56
He who is without oil shall throw the first rod
Compressions 8.7:1

'49 Custom Eight
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Re: First steps? '49 Packard
#10
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humanpotatohybrid
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For parts, first thing I do is check Parts X Ref on the sidebar. Carb kit ain't there, so I check Chicago Carb's site. Here it is, DP1201.https://www.chicagocarburetor.com/carburetor-kit-search.php?carb-number=531s&searchtype=oem

But you need to confirm what you actually have. If you can't figure it out, call the Carb Shop or Max Merritt and they can help you. But it will be a little more expensive lol. Or post a picture here...
Carb Shop has nearly everything Carburetor and Max Merritt has nearly everything Packard.
https://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Kpackard.htm
https://packardparts.com/

For "parts car" parts I message Ross on the forum here. Packards Southwest is another good vendor for that type of stuff.

Regular gas is OK. If you use starter fluid get the stuff with oil built in. This engine has about the same compression as your lawnmower. High compression did not come until 1956. Won't hurt to mix in some 2 stroke oil in your squirt bottle. Just don't panic when you see blue smoke out the exhaust. Honestly on an engine this old the rings are probably mostly stuck anyway, which will provide plenty of upper cylinder lubrication.

I wouldn't worry about plugs for now. Though they are similar enough.

Just bring a spare dipstick or pull the one from your own car and check the oil with that. Sure the level will be off, but it should still look like oil. Don't try to run it if it doesn't look right, though it will look dirty. Remember if you use any ATF or MMO that will end up in the oil pan. These engines are not prone to catastrophic damage, only normal wear. What's the mileage on the car?

P.S. Send some pictures and how much money are they asking for it?

Posted on: 6/25 23:22
1955 400 | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Deluxe | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Super Panama | Registry
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