1940 Packard 1801 won't start

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bobhattler
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Sanford NC

1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by bobhattler » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:41 pm

Just installed new starter solenoid, engine cranks better than ever. Trying to figure out why it won't start. The car was in a running condition when parked in the garage with old solenoid.

Old solenoid starved the coil of volts. Is it possible the new solenoid is bad.

Fuel good, pulled top off checked float level and pump.

Spark unknown, plugs clear no sign of contamination

The only abnormal happening was the radiator overflow tank located over the regulator, flooded the regulator with antifreeze when car was idling too long. The tank is an add on connected to the radiator overflow pipe. I don't see any connection, maybe there is.

New coil, plugs and wires were installed with engine rebuild.

Always something new,

Bob Hattler

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

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by Howard56 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:50 pm

Don't believe the coil goes thru the solenoid on your car so it shouldn't be the cause. The only connection is that the battery cable goes to the large solenoid terminal and the wire feeding the ammeter, ign switch and ultimately coil also connects to that same terminal to get their power. The old solenoid was probably making a poor connection to the starter motor causing the motor to draw a lot of current and lowering the coil voltage. With the starter turning at an apparently good rate the current draw should be normal giving the coil full voltage.

I would verify the coil is getting a good voltage. Since I believe your car has one wire in an armored cable and hard to get to, you can do the meaurement with a voltmeter placed between ground and the terminal on the coil which connects to the distributor. If the points are open you should measure about 6v with the key on. If the points are closed it will be at 0 volts or maybe a couple of tenths higher. If the reading is at the 0 volt end bump the starter so the points open and measure again looking for the 6v. If you have it then check the quality of the spark. If you have no 6 volts at the terminal then the ign switch or the wire in the armored cable would be suspect or something in the distributor has shorted. If the low end is higher than two or three tenths of a volt the points are suspect or the ground to the distributor is bad.

If you have good voltage at both extremes you should also measure while the engine is cranking. If the voltage goes below about 5v while the starter is turning the spark will be very weak and could possibly be the reason for not starting.

The cover on the regulator should have a gasket to keep out moisture so it is probably OK. If it were damaged by the antifreeze the generator and charging would be affected, not the starter.

bobhattler
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Sanford NC

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by bobhattler » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:16 pm

I not sure yet but something serious is wrong. Compression is low: 25 psi. 6 volts is good. Fuel is good.

What is so strange is that I parked a running car. Put in a new solenoid on the starter and the engine turned over better than ever.

Engine rebuilt 2014/03/25 51276 miles
today 2016/01/04 55123 miles

Could the reason it turned over faster was because the compression dropped to zilch. Timing off? Why?

This could be catastrophic

Bob

Adam
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Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by Adam » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:24 am

Do you mean that all compressions are only 25psi? or just one?

If all of them, are you sure the throttle was wide open when running the compression test? If just one is low, it should still start. I doubt compression is your problem if it ran before.

Have you confirmed that you have a spark at the points? and then at the plugs? Turn the engine until the CB points are closed, then, with the ignition on, flick the points with your thumb nail to see if there is a spark across the points. Next, remove the HT lead that runs from coil to distributor and hold it about 2mm from an earth (cylinder head nut or similar). Flick the points again and see if you have a HT spark. For something to fail so suddenly, I would be suspicious of the condenser, not much else.

You say you have fuel; is the choke working?

It would be worth checking these basic items, then we can talk about checking for a voltage drop across the starter.

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

bobhattler
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Sanford NC

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by bobhattler » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:18 am

We did a complete voltage and spark plug check. There is little suction when holding palm over carb.
All cylinders are between 0 and 25 PSI. Normal compression is 85 PSI.
This leaves timing as the problem. The exhaust is opening too early.
Question; what happened to change the timing. When trying to start the car earlier it backfired, any reason to suspect that?
It seems to have jumped a notch or two on the timing chain.

I'm hoping I don't have a disaster on my hands. I'm not sure what diagnostic remains.

Thanks for help,

Bob

Adam
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Location: lincolnshire, uk

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by Adam » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:32 am

Bob

That sounds truly bizarre. It is very doubtful that the timing chain could be so slack that it jumped a tooth without you noticing (!) and unlikely that the crank or cam pulley bolts were so loose that the woodruff key stripped. For early opening of the exhaust valve to affect compression, it would have to open 90 degrees of crank rotation early.

You really need someone to go through it and check everything from first principles.

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

bobhattler
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Sanford NC

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by bobhattler » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:55 pm

All repairs completed. The car runs great again; however its hard to start. It was blown head gasket.

Could the starter be bad? The + pole melted and I had to replace the new battery. The car starts on a roll down grade with the first turn, hot or cold. I'm afraid to use the starter lest I burn the battery again.

How do you check the starter without removing it?

Bob

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:23 pm

Glad to hear it runs great.

50+ years of involvement with most all facets of old cars and I have never experienced, and never, ever heard of a melted battery post terminal!!! All I can think of is that it must have been a MASSIVE direct short circuit - lucky the battery didn't explode and you didn't loose the entire vehicle. You might use a meter specifically designed to measure the current draw of the starter motor (pix attached of a typical one) and compare that to specifications, but I would remove the starter motor, it's a very simple job of no more than 15 minutes, and take it to a reputable starter/generator/alternator repair shop for an evaluation. And while it's off and being tested, give a good look to the ground and starter cables - they should be "0" gauge at a minimum, 00 preferred. Any welding cable shop should be able to make them for you, and buy new ones from places like Brillmans.

If you test the starter it should draw about 65 amps at 5.5 volts running "free" at 4900 rpm. My tester wouldn't be able to do it but the "locked" test results should be about 670 amps at 4 volts.
Attachments
Starter motor tester.jpg

bobhattler
Posts: 381
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Location: Sanford NC

Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by bobhattler » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:41 pm

Thanks Dave, If the starter drew excessive voltage and the terminal was loose would that cause the meltdown?
NAPA installed the original battery so I never checked to see if all was snug. They changed it out after admitting they installed it.
It seems all the trouble comes from the starter.
We will check the voltage draw and take it back to the rebuilder for further analysis.

Bob

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1940 Packard 1801 won't start

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:44 pm

It's the amperage, not the voltage that's the concern and I don't see how a loose connection could be the cause of a battery post meltdown, a loose connection would limit the amount of current (amperage) that could pass thru.

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