'41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

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RHO
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:56 pm

'41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by RHO » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:25 pm

The '41 stick has just gotten progressivey worse with hardly any distance separation on the gear shift lever between neutral and 1st and a couple days ago it all jammed in the road. I got it unjammed as such but now it can't find neutral to start and the linkages are very widely separated. Then there's the flip the switch to activate the 6-volt solenoid and pull the OD cable in and out depending on forward or reverse; in order to try to continue to enjoy this car, I am seriously pondering trying to go to an automatic tranny. I do NOT want to replace the Packard 282 engine. I finally did get the car to restart, but driving the car has become too cumbersome. 1st and neutral are right on top of each other practically. So, on another forum I found others having difficulty with the '41 shifting as well and someone posted this website http://www.transmissionadaptors.com/pro ... opment.htm
PACKARD STRAIGHT 8 TO CHEV AUTOMATIC TRANS-WILL BE DONE SUMMER OF 2009
So I emailed inquiring and the repsonse I received was this has been designed for a 50s Packard engine but which one unknown. But the email I received back requested a sketch of the bellhousing bolt pattern and crank bolt pattern for the '41 Packard 120 and am looking for that information. I have only the very limited owners/service manual for the 120.

Dave Czirr
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Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:44 pm

I'd consider solving your current problems rather than converting to another transmission for two reasons, (1) maintaining authenticity of the vehicle will enhance value which, even if not now, will someday be of importance. And (2) solving the current problems should be far easier than a conversion. The transmission and OD in your car were very rugged and trouble-free units.

Problems with column shift linkage were common to all makes in those years, and even later, and Packard devoted quite a few pages to it in their Service Letters. Probably 99% of the time the shifting problems are a combination of misaligned shifting fingers at the steering column, and worn bushings in the linkages. First step is to drop the linkage at the steering column, insert a proper size drill rod up into the two shift fingers to center them, and then adjust the linkage turnbuckles to fit. Then if not solved, you could go look for worn bushings on the linkage rods. Do you have copies of the Service Letters dealing with this?

I'm not sure I understand your issues with the overdrive, so please give me more detail. Is this an original overdrive installation (Aerodrive in 1941), or some later adaptation? I'm not familiar with that earlier overdrive, but the R-9 unit used into 1949 has an electrical "reverse lock out switch" operated by the linkage to kill the OD for reverse. Does your car not have that feature?

Dave Czirr
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Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:28 pm

RHO, here's a copy of a couple of pages from the 1941 120 owner's manual which details the adjustment of the shift linkage and gives a bit of info on the overdrive. Much more detailed information is given in the Shop Manual and Service Letters which, If you're serious about keeping and maintaining your car, I encourage you to purchase and become familiar with. Both can be purchased as reprints from several sources, including Kanter Bros., and are invaluable resources. You may wish to download and resize the attachments.
Attachments
41 Handi-shift.jpg
41 shift and OD.jpg

dmdelavan
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Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by dmdelavan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:10 am

I had lots of trouble with my '40 shifting rods binding until I installed a bronze bushing inside the arms on the bottom of the steering column. We simply opened the part, took measurements and found a bushing on line for $10. It has been easy shifting since then .
Don Gutting

RHO
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by RHO » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:11 pm

OK, I do have Service Bulletins and the owner's manual. About three years ago we tried to make some of the adjustments suggested on page 45 of the owner's manual but as I recall, we ran out of tolerance to adjust any further. The persistent problem that has just gotten worse and worse is that to shift from neutral to first is so very little. I probably do not pull the gear shift lever down more than 1/2 - 3/4" to get into first, unlike what I am accustomed to. Going down a hill it wil jump out of 1st right back into neutral. But it's bothersome and often I think I have it in neutral when it's in first, and it gets a little aggravating opening the hood to see how the linkages are aligned. This last time out I have to ascend a hill immediately and had it in first building up speed and then shifted to 2nd ok but the car died. Then I tried to shift back to neutral and the gears got all jammed and wouldn't move at all. And I'm not sure I have the mechanical expertise to make the necessary fixes. But that's the big problem, very little distinction between neutral and first and I have no idea how the gears got jammed and only got them unjammed by a sharp upward blow to the gearshift lever while the clutch was in.

IF I could remedy the above problem, then I can live with the OD situation. That is this car was converted to 12 volts with an alternator for air conditioning. The previous owner went just short distances and apparently didn't bother about the OD. The wiring was really bad and the condition of the 6-terminal relay and the other associated switches unknown, so I took the easy way out and just wired up a toggle switch to the OD solenoid from a 6-volt battery I mounted on the right front frame. I get up to speed, let up on the accelerator pedal, flip the switch and it's in OD.

So the two major issues are the neutral to first and the jamming of the gears, which has only happened this one time but then I didn't know how to unjam them.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have another friend, who once he gets back in town, said he would try to help me with this as he has a tremendous amount more experience on stick shifts than I do. But any suggestions zeroing in about the neutral and first situation will be appreciated.

Dave Czirr
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Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by Dave Czirr » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:19 am

Curious if you've made any progress on your problem. Did you check the shift arms at the base of the steering column for excessive wear (some are die cast, others are steel castings)? Did you check their alignment with the 3/16 drill rod? How about the adjustment of the turnbuckles? Inspection of the bushings?

If none of those points need attention (which is unlikely) you might check for bent shift rods or even a bent fork inside the transmission case.

Waiting to hear back on what you've found.

RHO
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by RHO » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:41 pm

Dave, thanks. I'm waiting for a friend to return to town before tackling this again as he has much more experience with shifting setups. Hope to get on it in a few days. I have the notes from this forum, the owners/service manual, and the service bulletins all set and ready to go, so soon as my friend returns, we'll check it out. Really appreciate the help. I'll report progress soon as I can.

RHO
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: '41 Packard 120 3-speed conversion to automatic

Post by RHO » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:37 pm

Well, other priorities surfaced and I had to park the 120 for awhile; more pressing things and my friend who was to help me as well has a full plate....perhaps over the winter we can look at it.

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