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A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Steve Davis
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I recently bought a 1954 Clipper 4-Door Super Touring. About two months ago I registered it on this great website. I have had the car about a month and have not attempted to start it because I removed the gas tank to have it worked on. (An old sealing job has peeled away from the tank walls.) While I await the return of the tank I have been going over the car front to back assessing anything that needs attention. The car has just 60,000 miles on it and has been driven less than 1,000 miles in the last 32 years. It's had several elderly owners in that time who put money into the car replacing numerous parts that naturally wear, yet rarely driving the car. I purchased it from a fellow AACA club member who is in her late seventies or early eighties. (Her dad was Sherman Fisher who owned the Packard Balboa concept car for a while. She sold it after his death.) She reports that this Clipper runs great, transmission and brakes are fine.
The car has Easmatic power brakes, Ultramatic, radio with electric antenna, heater/defroster and Solex tinted glass.
Based on the odds and ends I have discovered I am posting these questions in hopes that you experienced folks could help me figure out some of the mysteries. I have a shop manual and it's quite good, but some things just aren't covered. I apologize for asking sooooo many questions all at once. Please guide me if I should submit these individually. I'm new forums.

Loose Linkage
At the "cross shaft" behind carburetor on passenger side there is a rod attached to cross shaft and down to the base of the transmission pan. I believe this is called a "relay rod" and what I interpret from the shop manual it is attached to the "throttle valve lever" on the transmission. There is a light helical spring dangling from the relay rod and I can't determine any place that spring attaches to. It is quite rusty and thin. The relay rod, if that is what it is, is quite loose. Any suggestions about the mystery spring and is the loose rod acceptable? It is securely attached.

Fluid for Easamatic
I can't find in the shop manual guidance on fluid for the Easamatic device. There is a large nut on top that appears to be a place where fluid is placed. Is that the case? Should one open that and check? How can one tell if fluid is at the proper level? What is the proper fluid? Is this fluid under pressure?

Mysterious Casting on Intake Manifold
I noticed on the side of the intake manifold a "j-shaped" cast iron piece that pivots. When manually lifted up it reveals a hole in the intake, as best I can see. Gravity keeps the piece rotated down over the hole. Any idea what this is?


Interior lighting
The light located above the rear seat, lights fine but is constantly on. It is not impacted by the switch on the pillar or the plunger-type switches on the door. Any idea what causes this light to stay on? Would all switches need to be replaced?
A previous owner had messed around with the dash lights, apparently to get them to operate. None of the instrument lights light except the high beam indicator and turn signal indicators. The rheostat on the headlight switch does not impact this. (The switch apparently had been replaced.) Lights seem plugged into appropriate sockets on instrument cluster. I found two black wires with what appear to be sockets at the end, though one can't place a bulb in these sockets. They have claw-like teeth, as if they place into an open hole and are held in place by tension. I can't identify where they go and the wire length is fairly short. Perhaps they are for a fuse. Any ideas what they might be?
No light at radio and can't determine where light goes into radio. Any guidance?
I located just one courtesy light at bottom of center of dash. The shop manual and schematic references two. This one light operates and can be controlled by rheostat at headlight switch and plunger-type switch at passenger door. Switch at driver's side door does not have an effect on this bulb. Is it safe to assume the plunger-type switch needs to be replaced?
By the way it does have a functional glove box light.
I have understood that Clippers have a trunk light but I have not found one though I did find a loose, rusty old plunger-type switch when cleaning out the trunk. Should there be a light in the trunk?

Stop Lights
Headlights, taillights, parking lights, turn signals all work well. Brake lights do not light when pedal depressed either with key on or off. Would this be a case of stoplight switch malfunctioning? Is this the switch that appears to be mounted at the base of the shift linkage? It is ahead of the Easamatic but does not appear attached to the Easmatic device.

Spare Tire
This car, incredibly, has the original spare. Does anyone have a 15" wheel they can sell me for this car? I want to have a spare but don't want to touch the original spare. Do wheels from any other makes of car work? I plan to put wide white radials on the car. It has dry-rotted bias ply tires on it that probably only have 500 miles on them.

Posted on: 2009/5/7 21:05
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#2
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HH56
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Don't recall a spring on that side of engine however the original accelerator spring on drivers side was sometimes not enough so another could have been added somewhere. The rod does flop a bit but not too much. Should be held on with a spring washer, flat washer and cotter pin. Probably the most important adjustment on the Ultramatic so make sure it's working well.

The Easamatic uses ordinary DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. The large square is the fill plug and level should be just below the lid. It is not under pressure. If the Easamatic has not been used much, it would be a good idea to have it gone thru professionally. There are some on the forum that have had some bad experiences with sudden failure. Believe the brake light switch in mounted on the end of master cylinder at bottom end of Easamatic. If not there, then on a brass fitting on frame rail and connected by a short piece of tubing to end of master cylinder. The switch at base of steering column is probably back up lights.

No idea what the mysterious casting is without a picture--only thing I can think of might be the the stove area for automatic choke and a screw is missing from cover or the heat riser valve under carb. Both of those on exhaust manifold.

The lights may take a bit of detective work. Staying on means a short in wire to door or post switches or maybe the headlight switch. Will look at diagram and get back to you on a couple of suggestions there. There may only be one front light on the Clipper--will check or others will know for sure. The trunk light would be located right in middle of trunk lid and operated by a gravity type switch when lid is raised. Feed wire came from left side and up left hinge.

EDIT The dome light has 2 back door switches and the pillar switch in parallel--all going to ground. If staying on, either one of switches is bad or the wire to them is shorted.

The radio light depends on type radio. If just standard pushbutton, believe inside case at bottom of dial and radio has to be removed. If auto tuning type it is probably at center top of dial with same type holder as instrument lights but still have to pull because I don't think there is enough room to remove socket.

EDIT: Trunk light is optional and there is only one front lamp on Clipper. It should not be on the rheostat from head light switch--instrument lights should. There are two sections of the rotary part of headlight switch--a simple on off that gets a ground to turn on courtesy and is in parallel with both door switches and a rheostat for instrument lights. Sounds like headlight switch is miswired, or if changed maybe wrong one. Check the diagram and wiring is shown as if you were looking at switch from the top. The 4 terminals closest to knob are the rotary ones.

Posted on: 2009/5/7 21:33
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#3
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Ozstatman
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Quote:
Steve wrote: I recently bought a 1954 Clipper 4-Door Super Touring. About two months ago I registered it on this great website.......

G'day Steve,
to PackardInfo and for including your '54 Clipper in the Registry.

Posted on: 2009/5/7 23:29
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#4
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BH
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Steve -

Howard (HH56) gave you a good start, but I'll throw my $0.02 in.

Loose Linkage

I'd suggest you take a look at the exploded views in the parts book. If you don't want to download the PDFs, know that those parts book illustrations are also archived, page-by-page, in the photo gallery at:

http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/mod ... yalbum/viewcat.php?cid=70

Page through the thumbnails until you find what you're looking for, then click on it to get a full-size view.

Fluid for Easamatic
Easamatic was just Packard's (marketing) name for the TreadleVac power brake unit as supplied by Bendix - a hydraulic brake system with vacuum-powered assist.

Check to see if that square-topped fill plug is directly under the steering column. If so, you may have difficulty cheking brake fluid level and topping it off, because the cover ewas installed incorrectly. It takes a little perseverance and some offset screwdrivers to remove the six screws securing it to the top of the reservoir, but you shoud be able to remove and reinstall the cover so that the plug is off to one side of the steering column and accessible.

There's an excellent description of the operation of both the vacuum and hydrualic sections of this unit in the factory service manual, which is also archived in PDF at this site.

Interior lighting
In my 55-56 Patrician sedans, a sliding switch on the left center pillar turns on the light over the back seat when the doors are closed. I'd first check for a problem with that switch or if the single wire that runs to it might be shorted to ground at some point. If your car isn't equipped with that auxiliary, pillar-mounted switch, then it must be the one of the door jamb swithes.

Rotary motion of the headlamp switch controls the brightness of the backlighting for gauges and select driver controls. Rotated to full stop, it also turns on a lamp located on the underside of the top of the instrument panel - just above the radio.

Failure of the rheostat in the headlamp switch (a Delco unit IIRC) was common, and should be readily available from any Packard vendor. However, I'd recommend you first study the wiring diagram for your specific model, which can be found in the factory service manual, check the available equipment, and verify wiring hook-ups at the headlamp switch.

Sockets with claw/teeth dangling from up under the instrument panel could be either for backlighting the gauages/controls or the tell-tale oil or temp lights.

I believe a trunk light was optional equipment on your car. The factory-supplied unit on my 55-56 sedans had a self-contained mercury switch that was activated by gravity, via position of the trunk lid - not sure how the set-up for earlier cars worked.

Stop Lights
I believe that the ignition key must be in the run position to feed voltage to the stoplights, but failure of the stoplight switch is not unusual after so many years.

The front pipe coming out of the end of the brake master cylinder leads to a tee fitting on top of the left frame rail; that fitting feeds both front wheel cylinders, but also contains the hydraulically-actived stoplight switch. Most cars of that period used a two-prong switch that can still be found at local parts stores.

The switch located at the bottom of the steering column is the park/neutral safety switch. It has no effect on stoplights, but may require adjustment if you encounter a problem getting the starter to crank.

Hope this provides some additional insight to get you rolling.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 8:16
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#5
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HH56
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Brian, did I miss something. Thought he has a 54 S8 Clipper-not V8.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 8:22
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#6
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BH
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Oops, my mistake, Howard. So much of what I was reading sounded similar to my experience with the V8 sedans.

I've since edited my previous post to remove references to the V8 and corrected the link to the 48-54 parts plates.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 8:25
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#7
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Just can't stay away

39Pickle
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Steve, I have 15" Packard rims and tires available. Let me know if interested.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 9:20
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#8
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HH56
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Measure carefully what you have or need. If memory serves, there were a couple of discussions recently about wheels. Apparently 54 is a transition year for wheel & bolt patterns and model interchangeability between years is not necessarily what would be expected.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 9:30
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#9
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BigKev
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I have found 3 different bolt patterns that were used by Packard in '54. So make you measure the bolt pattern before buying a rim to verify you are getting the correct size. I have been bitten by that. From my research here is what I found on the rim:

54 Seniors, same as previous seniors
54 Super Clippers, same as previous Clipper
54 Clipper Specials and Deluxes, use the same rim as the 55 Clippers (smaller bolt pattern and different hub-hole size)

The same also applies to drums and most brake parts.

Download the '54 Wire Diagram from here:

http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/diagram54.pdf

This is a hi-res vector version of the diagram that you can zoom in with at greater detail. I redrew this a couple of years ago to correct mistakes in some of the other diagrams. This is also applicable to a lot of the previous years.

I think the piece you are referring to on the manifold is the heat riser on the exhaust manifold. It has a weighted arm on the back side (firewall side), and the front side it should have a thermostatic spring. This allows heat exhaust heat to warm up the carb when the engine is cold, and then the thermostatic spring closes that off as it warms up. A lot of times this thermostatic spring is missing. If it is, then Kanter carries new ones.

Just curious if you can tell us the 8 digit Briggs number (XXXX-XXXX) on the firewall body plate, and also the 8 digit Vehicle number on the driver side door jam plate. This will tell us where you car was in the '54 production run. You may have either the standard Ultramatic if your car was early production, or a Gear-Start Ultramatic if your car was very late production like my '54 Clipper Deluxe Sedan was.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 11:57
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Re: A variety of questions about newly acquired '54 Clipper
#10
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Steve Davis
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Thank you to everyone for the quick responses and guidance. I'll let everyone know how it goes as I continue working on this. No doubt I'll stir up more questions. It's great to have such friendly support.

Posted on: 2009/5/8 13:03
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