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1956 Clipper Power Seats
#1
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PackardDon
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I have a pair of the power seat actuators for my 1956 Clipper Custom sedan along with the switch and the plastic bolsters but they were packed so poorly with the plastic pieces just dumped into the same box that they arrived in pieces. However, they were for Packard rather than Clipper (different emblems) so can my non-power seat bolster be converted and/or is there a knockout for the switch? Otherwise what would be the chance if finding a black one? Is the switch the same between Packard and Clipper?

Also, I imagine to be able to install these I'll need a seat frame for it. Is this the case or was the seat frame the same between power and non-power? Was the wiring part of the main harness or did the seats use their own?

As for the seat actuators, they are simply ball-screws and as I went through my apprenticeship at Ball-Screws & Actuators here is San Jose, rebuilding them should be a piece of cake!

Posted on: 2016/5/23 15:43
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Re: 1956 Clipper Power Seats
#2
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HH56
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Finding a decent trim panel may be challenging and in a specific color even more so. The panels crack and split so many people have been looking for some in good condition. There have been attempts to repair them with varied success and some have managed to recolor a decent or repaired item to match their trim code. Recoloring to black would probably be one of the easier to do if you can find a decent piece. There is a difference between manual and power because of the size of the cutout for the switch vs lever. Mounting brackets are used to hold the trim pieces but are the same power vs manual.

You will need the correct seat frame for whatever movement system you have. Not sure the cutout for the lever vs switch size is different but there is extra reinforcement and mounts for the actuator assys that are welded to the power seat frame. The manual frame doesn't have those mounts but I believe the manual frame has a support and attachment point for a large assist spring that the power seat doesn't use. That spring connects between the seat frame and tunnel .

Seats have their own harness. Just a short piece -- maybe 12 -18 inches -- between the switch and motors. The components are the same Clipper vs Packard. The only connection to the rest of car is a single wire power lead from the seat harness to the window relay area on firewall in front of driver.

Some of the ball part of actuator comes apart and may be cleaned or repaired. The actual housing cover tube and connection to mounts are mostly crimped together and some areas may be more difficult to disassemble.

Posted on: 2016/5/23 16:40
Howard
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Re: 1956 Clipper Power Seats
#3
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PackardDon
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Thank you, Howard! Oddly I didn't get notice of your reply but happened to see it.

Anyway, although I've not tested the motors, rebuilding the actuators themselves should be easy considering my background but I don't recall tubes covering the screw as I do remember seeing on my two 1954 Patricians. I'll have to check whether I took any photos while there recently at my shop. Likely I am just not remembering correctly, which seems to be happening more and more.

The bolster I got looks to be in good condition and not brittle at all but the poor packing broke it, not any aging of the plastic. I know what you mean, though, as the paper-thin plastic in my '65 Imperial LeBaron crumbles at a touch when the rest of the car is built like a brick wall.

The '56 seat is the 4-way version and I saw a hint in another posting that there was also a 2-way version similar to '54 but haven't yet researched it. I do have a spare '54 2-way frame but, of course, it would not be the same.

Posted on: 2016/5/24 2:16
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Re: 1956 Clipper Power Seats
#4
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PackardDon
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I found the photos and see that the sleeves are definately there on my actuators but should be removable if necessary even if they are crimped on. One of the leadscrews is rusty so will need polishing and possibly oversize balls but that's all part of what I did when I was in the trade so shouldn't be a problem as long as it's not too pitted. If it is pitted, then I'll have to replace it. Likely it was made by Saginaw but there are several manufacturers making them to the same specifications Sid an original proves difficult to locate, I'll make a new screw.

On the seat, is it possible that the difference is only in the slides and not in the main seat frame itself?

Posted on: 2016/5/29 18:08
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