1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

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Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Sun May 28, 2017 6:40 am

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Several weeks ago I picked up my new 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe. I found it near my friends junkyard up here in Rhode Island and got it for $3,500. It is solid but is missing the gas tank (been running it with a small can in the trunk until the tank arrives) and needs brakes only one brake works. (more on this in a later post as we have gotten into the brake system) but it is all there and I fell in love with the car. I currently am employed at Narragansett Reproductions where we make replacement wiring harnesses for many cars and truck including Packard's I always loved them and when I saw the deal I had to have it. Anyways here is the car below and will show you my progress in getting her going. As for the aqua color on the car looks like a previous owner went to Sherman Williams or something and brushed it on as we think it used to be originally white looking at it underneath. However I do actually like the color.
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Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Sun May 28, 2017 8:17 am

So getting into the brakes. Took the car for a few spins (did not go very far or fast!) and seems only one brakes engages. My friend has helped me out and we started with the master cylinder which was quite dirty. We have since rebuilt the Master cylinder after cleaning it and reinstalled it and blew the lines. Currently we are working on the wheel cylinders. My friend says this is about the worst he has seen and has been around brakes etc. his whole life. Looks like previous owner let it sit for probably 10-15 years we are guessing.
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Master cylinder just taken out of the car
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Inside of the Master Cylinder
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What came out of the Cylinder!
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All rebuilt and clean! New seals and everything! Even put on a coat of paint and clear coat to protect it!

Howard56
Posts: 1140
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Howard56 » Mon May 29, 2017 10:31 am

It looks like a very nice Packard and best of luck on your project. One concern is the Easamatic or Bendix TreadleVac used for the power brakes. That has been a subject of intense discussion re sudden failures and various theories or reasons why have been expressed. Kanter did a survey and examined several "failed" units. The common thread seems to be failures were due to neglect causing pitted seal surfaces and general deterioration of parts due to sitting and then doing nothing but add fluid and drive.

I am glad to see you have done the rebuild but one signifiant question comes up. Did you verify the relief port is open? The use of that port has been a subject of discussion at the packardinfo forum. From the looks of your power side and all the liquid and junk collected on the power piston I would wonder if yours was open. If the port is closed off, any fluid leaking from the ram seal on the hydraulic side is forced into the vacuum side. Also, any leak in the vacuum side seal cannot draw atmosphere but rather is forced to draw fluid from the hydraulic side.

The venting and methods have been a question over the various units. On the first version Treadlevac Packard used, the port was lower in the reservoir. They also used a solid flat lid and with the port lower, there was no way it could be closed off. Later versions raised the port flush with the top of the reservoir. Other mfgs using the Treadlevac had various type lids which had a channel in the lid over the port where air could enter and fluid could escape. Packard seems to have stayed with the flat lid from the factory and to top that off used a gasket with a hole for lids with channels. With the flat lid, the gasket completely blocked the port. I believe 54 was that way.

From some views in the 55 service manual, it appears at some point Packard realized the problem and made a small channel on the side of the port that would allow fluid to exit. That channel has not been seen on a lot of units though and when sent in for evaluation and rebuild, some passages were so solidly blocked with congealed fluid they were of no use. Adding to the problem it was found some rebuilders were also putting silicone into the channel and for what reason is unknown. Your lid looks like it may have a channel but that could also just be the stamping. If your lid is flat inside and the unit does not have the small side notch or channel on the port casting the gasket should be cut to provide a bit of an area between the lid and port where fluid can exit.

If you did not verify the condition of the port during the rebuild it would be a good idea to go back and do so. Also, any sign of pitting on any seal surface where fluid could seep past the edge of a seal as well as the condition of the spring and rubber on the compensator valve is most important.
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Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Wed May 31, 2017 4:00 pm

Thank you for the information. Yes my friend who is helping with the brakes made sure the relief port was clean. Hopefully tomorrow we can get it finished. Have a wheel cylinder that don't want to come off.

Art Vandelay
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:26 pm

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Art Vandelay » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:31 am

Looks like a nice solid start, and the price seems pretty reasonable. I like the color; if it's not original I'd try to find a factory color as close as possible to it. Any updates?

Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:17 pm

Put new wheel cylinders in and brake shoes on the front just need to put the lines back into the wheel cylinder. Looking underneath it seems to have been white originally?

Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:44 pm

Finally got an update been doing some work to the car. First off we finally got the brakes taken care of rebuilt master cylinder all new wheel cylinders and new brake shoes (looked like the originals where on it) so we have 4 out of 4 brakes working good! I have replaces the busted Tail light which I got from Packard Seattle Company. I also put in a gas tank as when I got the car there was none and was surprised how easy it was took my friend and I about a half hour. Got that from Kanter as my graduation present. Only issue was the wait for it since May but it was worth it. I took the car out the weekend before I put the tank in ran it out of a 5 gallon gas can. Just had issues with it the car went well until we piked up my friend then it would be going along and it would just die out. We also re adjusted the carborator so it is running great now especially with a tank! Got some pictures below.
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Busted Tail Light
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NO TANK so had to run it temporarily as the last owner did with a gas can in the trunk
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We got a gas tank in!

Adam
Posts: 1069
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:15 am
Location: lincolnshire, uk

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Adam » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:05 am

Good work! A fair bit safer than a 5 gallon can in the trunk, I should think.

Looking forward to reading more about your progress with the car.

Adam..
"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

Senkettle
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 6:01 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Senkettle » Tue May 28, 2019 7:56 am

I did not do much with the car last year other than change the spark plugs, and went to some local cruise nights as I have unfortunately been going through some difficult times personally. This year however I have been trying to do things a little at a time. It did not start off good as my car refused to start so had AAA tow it to my mechanic who got it going again it needed a carburetor tune up, new cables, the distributor and rotor was shot. I have put new shocks in this past weekend, My friend helped me out because we needed his impact gun to get the old ones out. When we would push the old ones into the floor the shocks would do nothing they where completely shot much smoother ride now! While I changed the shocks I took out the blower motor and the battery tray so I sanded & painted them quick. I noticed that some previous owner thought it was a great idea to use a stove pipe they painted black because the original cloth hose was disintegrating. I took all the cloth hose and stove pipe out and am waiting for the cloth pipe to come in this week from Max Merritt. I also ordered a pair of windshield wipers because the others had no rubber on them. A previous owner also put in a 12 volt radio and speakers so I took them out and trying to get the original radio going again but cant find the 14amp (I can use 15amp) fuse but they ones around here in stores are all too long. So now I have several projects I see ahead and I have ordered the parts finder list from Jim Hill (Thank you Jim!) My parents asked last night "What else does the car need?" I replied "Well pretty much everything" However I know Rome was not built in a day. I am looking for any feedback and guidance on what I should tackle next. Also next Saturday I am taking it to a local show and would like to polish the chrome up and clean it as best it can ( I know the car is far from mint) my friend in the Cadillac club suggested using steel wool which will help restoring the chrome a bit and taking out some of the raised bits in it. Anyways below is a list of projects I'm considering tackling let me know what you think I should do first or any tips or feedback or anything else I should consider this summer? I am doing things a little at a time as Time/money allows. Pictures will follow soon.
1. replace rubber hood bumpers
2. replace cowl gasket
3. Hub caps
4. Windshield wipers are not working. Anything I should check first?
5. Speedometer does not work along with all gauges on the dash. Any suggestions? Everything looks like it is attached the only thing that lights up is my Hi beam indicator when engaged.
6. "Clipper Deluxe" Trim is missing from trunk
7. Front hood bezel/emblem is missing
8. Rubber flooring in front seat needs replacement. It is my understanding this is not available anymore? I heard carpet was an option (as well as the oil filter, which the car does not have!) so that would still be considered original. Has anyone encountered this before?
9. Replace Trunk Rubber
I am well aware the paint and body work needs to be done but am saving up for that to have done one winter.

Howard56
Posts: 1140
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe

Post by Howard56 » Tue May 28, 2019 5:36 pm

You might check in at www.packardinfo.com and look thru the forum. In a project blog entitled Big Kevs 54 Packard Clipper Deluxe he has gone thru the exact car and has lots of info on various work, parts used and where a lot of things were obtained.

Not sure you are meaning an actual thin stove pipe with a seam down the side but there is a metal 3 1/2 foot or so tube under the battery that does look like a stove pipe. It is factory with a cloth duct on the drivers side only 6-8" long. The cloth duct just spans the distance between the short metal piece that contains the flapper valve and the long metal tube.

In all probability the wiper motor needs a rebuild. If you have vacuum at the hose connected to the motor then age and heat has done a job. Assuming the motor is intact and nothing has been damaged Ficken will have it working like new. https://rebuildingtricowipers.com

The speedometer is connected to the transmission by a flexible cable. The speedometer needs an occasional drop of oil and if that has been neglected the speedo could have seized and the cable or the plastic gear in the trans could be broken. You can unscrew the cable connecter on the back of the speedo and using some rags carefully pull the cable out and check its condition. The cable will be greasy and want to go everywhere so try and coil it as you pull and take care it does not flop around and stain your upholstery. If the cable is good then things get more serious.

The gauges have a voltage regulator that mounts at about the rear center of the cluster behind the speedometer. It is a small rectangular box with two screw terminals and provides approx 5 v to the temp and fuel gauges. It could be the regulator has died or become disconnected. If you don't have it already the 54 wiring diagram can be downloaded from this site or at the packardinfo site. There was an error on the diagram and I believe the one at packardinfo has the correct info.

The dash lights are fed by a small jumper from the head light switch tail light terminal and go thru a rheostat on the end of the headlight switch. Corrosion of rheostat parts after a long sit has been a common problem and once it happens the dash lights don't work. You may have some success in removing the switch and using contact cleaner and vigorous rotation of the knob as you spray in the cleaner get them cleaned enough to work. If the corrosion has started growing under the rivet connections between terminals and rheostat parts then it generally is a lost cause in getting a permanent fix. Here is a photo and where to look for the dash light problem.

Packard used SFE fuses in which the length of the fuse and holder is specific to the amp rating. Napa generally has a selection of those fuses.
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