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What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#1
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55PackardGuy
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104.737 mph average (with stops) for 25,000 miles with an early 352 V8 and Twin Ultramatic transmission. Pretty impressive shakedown run, eh?

But there doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation on what the internals looked like after the run, and nothing about whether the lifters clattered, or low oil pressure, or a damaged transmission from overheating that I have seen.

I'd like to know how an engine that supposedly had "teething" problems apparently performed so well in such a test run.

Granted, 25,000 miles is not all that much in the life of a car, even in those days, but to live all 25K at over 100 mph average speed? That's quite an accomplishment.

Accounts I've seen of the test give minimal information on the hour by hour progress, how many stops, what was changed out during the run, (anything other than tires and oil would seem to be cheating) etc.

Just thinking someone might know more, and/or have an explanation of how this test apparently failed to point out later problems such as valve spring problems, lifter noise, low oil pressure, transmission failures, etc. that have all been cited as "demons" haunting the '55 V8 cars.

Many now insist that without a different oil pump setup, you can't even run a Packard V8 of any year at high sustained highway speeds, even if it's a low mileage car or one rebuilt with the upgrades Packard made to the oil pump and transmission.

It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Anyone suspect that these engines might have been pretty much designed and put together well--right from the beginning--in spite of the hoopla about defects?

Posted on: 2011/4/3 23:31
Guy

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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#2
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Reyman R. Branting
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I bought a 55 400 in the mid 60s with about 20,000 miles on the clock. I drove it another 50,000 miles with one transmission band adjustment and no valve clicking. It then burnt a rod. I had a brand new V8 (ordered for a Nash owner who did not accept it- stiffed the dealer)installed. Cost then was about $300. Put the car in dead storage for 30 plus years. The carb was stolen and a squirrel got into the manifold and couldn't get out. We found his skeleton and the mess he made of things. Rather than try to repair that motor, we put another motor in when restoring it. We all do foolish things at times.

Until the rod went, I had no complaint with the engine. The shift became rough toward the end. When it shifted, it slammed hard.

Bernardi

Posted on: 2011/4/4 0:27
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#3
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PackardV8
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It is grossly irrational to make ANY comparison or analysis between an engine used under SUSTAINED operating conditions such as SUSTAINED speed, SUSTAINED temperature etc to any engine operated under wide and varied conditions.
The 105 mph IS impressive relative to even modern high speed operation. That's what the engine was built for!!!

There may have been a few exceptions such as a few people out west that may have been able to SUSTAIN very high speed operation in a climate that SUSTAINS even high temperatures. THose would be the only engines that could be compared to the test engine run by Packard.

So the Packard proving ground test was a SUSTAINED high speed test and NOT a valid shakedown for real world operating conditions of the general public.

LEt me put it another way:

I would completely expect ANY engine operated under SUSTAINED operating conditions to out last the same engine operated under normal public use operation by a factor of at least 4.

So in the Packard test i would expect the enigne to run 100K miles before it needed ANY internal engine maintenace while expecting failures in engines at 30K miles operated by little old ladies that only drove the car to church on Sundays.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 7:51
VAPOR LOCK demystified: See paragraph SEVEN of PMCC documentaion as listed in post #11 of the following thread:f
http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=7245
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#4
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BH
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Nope, I've never seen any forensic analysis of this car/engine, either, but I suspect that the endurance run, though observed by AAA, was intended as more of a publicity thing - that is, to show off Packard's new V8 engine to the public (and allay any concerns for an all-new product).

This endurance run began on October 21, 1954. IIRC, the first 55th Series regular production cars did not begin to roll of the assembly line until November 1. So, it wasn't just an early 352-V8, but a PRE-production (pilot) car that was tested. In fact, if you look at pics of that test-Pat (also featured in the Kimes History...), you'll see the car doesn't have the final production "Reynolds Wrap" side trim, but a bare-bones molding treatment, similar to the Clipper Deluxe.

The 25K endurance run was truly quite an accomplishment, then.

However, as regards teething problems, those were uncovered much later. Keep in mind that this endurance run was limited to the high-banked concrete oval. While the full extent of the Proving Grounds' system of roadways, then, were probably more representative of real-world driving conditions than some modern facility in the Sun-Belt, I believe there is no better test track than what one encounters over the course of many miles/seasons of daily driving.

Yet, the V8s weren't the only Packard engines to exhibit hydraulic lifter noise. Working on content for a Service Index to the 41-47 Clippers, I discovered that pre-war Super 8s had similar problems that required replumbing of the filter lines. Continued reports of low oil pressure required redesign of the regulator valve. Ultimately, a high-volume version of the straight-eight pump was offered to address low oil pressure to compensate for engine bearing clearances that had "opened up", as well as pump wear. That last bit doesn't sound much different, in theory, than the high-volume adaptation now available for the V8s.

Nor were the 55-56 Packard engines the only V8s in the industry to exhibit hydraulic lifter noise. For example, a 1957 Buick shop manual that I have makes references to redesign of their V8, including a new style lifter.

Packard switched to an improved lifter design in 1955, but with the curtain falling in 1956, their engineers simply didn't have sufficient time to work out all of the problems. There were some attempts to manipulate flow and pressure in the V8s and enough concern for a sticking pump pressure relief valve that resulted in a redesigned pump for production (and a sump tube for the field retrofit). However, I believe the real problem was premature wear of the pump body and driving shaft interface. Rather than a bushing, Packard - like other manufacturers - had chosen to use a sacrificial casting. Whether the unusual wear in the Packard pump is a metallurgical or lubrication issue is beyond me, but I believe the condition can be effectively remedied by bushing the pump body and repairing or replacing the driving shaft - as has been done for many years, now. (Personally, I plan on adding an oiling groove, as well.)

I have full faith in driving the Packard V8 at interstate speeds. On the 300-mile trip from WV to home, it was a tired old front pump seal in the transmission that let me down, but that failure didn't require a rebuild of the Twin Ultramatic. I think the unique design of the Ultra suffered more from the hands rebuilders who were not factory-trained and never worked in a Packard dealership.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 9:32
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#5
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PackardV8
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I fully agree with BH that the Packard V8 engine, even as delivered from the factory with it's 'teething problems' IS absolutely suitable for ANY modern day driving demands other than perhaps gas mileage expectations of modern times.

Fast forward 50 years:
Various engine modifications that we make today may or may not be necessarily a result of deficient factory design. In some csaes it is due to availability of some (but not all) parts for rebuilding and possible core loss due to repeated rebuilds among a varitey of other factors.

I drive my 56 Executive routinely at interstate hiway speeds often for 100 to 200 miles at a stretch. THo it has some modifications from OEM production i would not be the least bit wary to operate a factory fresh Packard V8 in the same manner.

Again, any modern modifications are not necissarily due to OEM production short commings.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 9:48
VAPOR LOCK demystified: See paragraph SEVEN of PMCC documentaion as listed in post #11 of the following thread:f
http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=7245
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#6
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Owen_Dyneto
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BH gives a good overview, nicely said. It's worth noting that in the era of the mid-50s, 100,000 miles, +/-, would have been considered good engine life before some internal service was needed, be that a valve & ring job, or more. And certainly individual experiences with the Packard V8 varies considerably; some due to design and metallurgy limits of the day and perhaps others due more to poor maintenance and neglect as these cars fell into the hands of 3rd and 4th owners, some of whom bought them solely for cheap transportation and treated the accordingly.

My own experience with my 56 Caribbean has been quite good. I've averaged about 1000 miles a year in the 14 years I've owned it and it's now just over 90,000 miles. It was in the hands of a Packard-lover from the day it was sold new so no doubt it received loving care for it's entire life. It's never been layed up or dormant. It neither uses nor looses oil, has excellent oil pressure, but compression is beginning wane a bit in two cylinders, down to about 110 psi. It's been on several tours where 500 or more miles were covered at modern Interstate speeds; I've had a few issues issues but never any with the engine. As far as I can tell when I pulled the pan and several bearing caps to examine, it's probably "as sold" internally. I've gradually accumulated just about everything I'll need for a full rebuild at some point.

Unfortunately, I know not everyone's experiences have been so good. And yes, it would be interesting to find some details of the 55 test car engine which I'm sure Packard tore down to evaluate. Perhaps that info will yet surface in the years ahead. Carl(?) Atz who I believe as a Packard test driver and who recently passed away was probably involved in that episode, I wonder if, as he attended various recent PAC events, anyone every questioned him about it? There was a reasonable contingent of retired Packard-Detroit employees at the 1999 Centennial and it was a golden opportunity to interview them and get their remembrances into the record. I don't know if that was done or not - it would be a shame if it wasn't.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 10:40
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#7
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Charles Neuhaus
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I've always suspected that the 25k test 55 Patrician had a higher rear end ratio than the 3.54 which was standard. Does anyone know what rear end ratio this car had?

Posted on: 2011/4/4 14:56
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#8
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Owen_Dyneto
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Don't know which one it had for the test, 3.07 was the lowest (numerical) factory offering in 1955, and when they switched to Dana for 56 it was 2.87. I don't think anyone would equip a car for this type of run with the "standard" rear of 3.54. They also offered a 3.23 in 1955, replaced with a 3.31 in 56.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 15:23
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#9
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Allen Kahl
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Is there any documentation as to what happened to that car.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 16:11
Al

1955 Patrician
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Re: What about the 25K 105mph V8 Patrician?
#10
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Owen_Dyneto
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Good question, sounds like one for Roscoe (56Executive). I do recall reading that the car made the rounds of the dealerships for a year or so, complete with mud, dirt and broken windshield (wasn't it a pheasant impact?). After than, never heard anything about it. It would also be very interesting for my own study of the thief-proof and VNs to know the numbers it carried.

Posted on: 2011/4/4 17:27
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