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The 55 Clipper comes out of hibernation
#1
Quite a regular
Quite a regular

Tom Still
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Due to a series of unfortunate events, my son's girlfriend's Mini Convert is taking a thirty day vacation. The resultant car shuffling put the Packard back in commuting duty for the first time in about 14 years. The major problems, clutch and gas tank, have been resolved and it has been driven locally enough to show reliability. A daily 30 mile round trip, Pasadena to Glendale on a freeway, however, warrants a bit more attention. Obvious things, tires, brakes and blinkers are fast and easy. Sore thumb lenses and obsolete wiper blades aren't and this needs to be ready yesterday, I'll start by asking here.

I have one, intact tail light lens but it is not accessible until late tomorrow at the earliest. The right one on the car is gone and the left one has pieces missing but red tape will buy time. Are they left and right or universal?

Does anyone have a serviceable right lens they would be willing to part with for a small fee? I don't care if it's damaged as long as it has enough of its shape to patch. Two new repros are in the near future as is the $400.00, but by then the immediate problem will be resolved.

The wiper blade issue came up when I wanted to drive the 62 Mercedes in one of our few Calif. Rains. Blade refills are available locally if I look long enough but the arms aren't. I'm hoping the 52 bodied Henny ones will work. Otherwise, I scavenge friends garages for a Ford or GM cross. Anyone Know what it might be.

The plan for tomorrow is to get it safe, clean and address all issues that would warrant a mechanical violation. I think I have it surrounded but I'm not sure how long the lens I made out of a clear plastic cup, red paint and silicon will last. Tomorrow it gets a bath, oil change, registration, insurance and working brake lights and blinkers. I will postpone the gas gage but need to T/S the temp gage and Speedometer. If all goes well, it will go in service at 4 AM Wednesday. I hope, when the dust settles, a more practical solution will surface and the Packard can go back to being a neat toy.
I'll report the outcome, Tom

Posted on: 2015/3/31 1:54
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Re: The 55 Clipper comes out of hibernation
#2
Home away from home
Home away from home

ewrecks
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You have more guts or faith than I.. Hoping to pull any car out of dead storage after 6 months of Winter and expect it to start and run, much less serve as dependable daily transportation is a stretch. Attempting this with a vehicle that is over a half century old after 14 years storage goes beyond wishful thinking into the realm of delusion.
A well sorted out Clipper of this vintage can , no doubt, operate with relative safety at freeway speeds. It can probably function as a commuter with regular service intervals, but it will not compare to virtually any modern vehicle for safe stopping, starting and handling.
After extended storage, I would be more concerned with deteriorated brake lines and wheel cylinders or steering components than tailights or wiper blades.
There are just so many things that can fail on old cars coming out of extended storage that can leave you stranded or wrapped around a tree, that I would be very reluctant to risk it without adequate time for sorting out potential problems or test miles on uncrowned highways.
I would take the money that it will take to replace the wiper arms and tires and apply it to a " rent a wreck." for the month.
It will turn less heads, but it has a better chance of having you and the Packard in one piece for the Summer.......and it will probably have working air conditioning.

Posted on: 2015/3/31 10:51
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Re: The 55 Clipper comes out of hibernation
#3
Quite a regular
Quite a regular

Tom Still
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I agree with all of the above; however I left out some history. The car was running well until about 2002 when the clutch got to the point it would roll backwards down a mild grade in low gear. About three years ago, I lifted it off 4 flat tires high enough to pull the trans / OD. While it was up, I also went through the fuel and brake systems. ALL rubber pieces including hoses were replaced and lines were inspected for rust holes. It does not have the DTV (Dreaded Treadle Vac) so I was spared that problem. Fuel tank problems delayed its return to the road. That was resolved about 3 months ago and it became drivable. Since the car was a work in progress, dent removing and parts collecting took precedence over blinkers and brake lights. Update with a bit more history; several years ago, I sold a 55 Clipper needing lots of work to a recent retire who wanted a project. Tragically, he had a fatal heart attack not long after. The new owner called me for history and information and I kept his number. I called him yesterday and he gave me back the original faded lenses it was sold with. One problem solved. Today was clean all Light sockets, connections and switch contacts and replace the brake light switch. All lights and the radio are working. The temp gage was a non issue; There was no thermostat so it never got hot enough to register. Removing the housing also removed the threads from the back hole in the water pump. There is enough clearance under the flange to use a longer bolt with a nut. Tire issue; One of the company Dodge Caravans blew an engine last year and it has been relegated to parts donor. It had just been fitted with 4 new 215 70 R15 tires a couple months earlier. The one I drive has about 50% ware. The new ones go on my car and the others go on the Packard. Tomorrow it gets an oil change, good tires and alignment. As far as reliability, it is neck and neck between the resurrection of the Clipper and the demise of my 90 Ford Ranger. The commute is 12 easy freeway miles and a 3 mile drive to the studio. I don't see a problem for the few weeks it will be needed. The only problem I see is that I can't go 6 blocks before someone flags me down to talk about it.

With fresh tires, it will get a break in run with backup car. I will report, Tom

Posted on: 2015/4/1 22:54
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Re: The 55 Clipper comes out of hibernation
#4
Home away from home
Home away from home

ewrecks
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Tom- I wrote a long reply and apology, but it disappeared. I was not being critical but I have three old cars that spend each Wimter in heated storage. Our cars are required to undergo an annual safety inspection to be operated on the roads. I always replace the entire brake system with the best new or rebuilt,parts available and try to keep up with periodic inspection and maintanence. Despite my efforts,I have had a Hydrovac fail on my Cadillac, wheel cylinders fail on my Lincolns and I am more,paranoid than most.
I was under the mistaken impression that your vehicle has not been used regularly for some extended time and was going to be used for daily commute on the freeway.
Good luck with your plans. I will keep my fingers crossed that you do not experience any problems. Finding repair parts is a challenge but finding a new arm or eye due to old equipment failing tends to be more daunting,
Stay well and keep the shiny side up.
RJR

Posted on: 2015/4/2 5:06
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The 55 Clipper comes out of hibernation Pt. 2 a few issues.
#5
Quite a regular
Quite a regular

Tom Still
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Posted on: 2015/4/25 22:36
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