Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

General topics, not covered elsewhere, of all things Packard.
rebyar
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:44 pm
Location: up state South Carolina

Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by rebyar » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:18 pm

I have a 1937 115c that has developed an electrical problem and it will no longer start. When I purchased the car I changed the battery cables to 0 ga, replaced the plugs, had the starter rebuilt, replaced the points, condenser, spark plug wires. I drove it 4-5 times in a 1 month period. One day I found water in the spark plug wells. Checked the engine head nut torque. Found they were 25-35pounds. I replaced the head gasket and tried to torque the engine head nuts down to 60 pounds but could not. I threads on the studs had deteriorated. I pulled the head again, had it cleaned and planed, and put in 23 new studs and nuts. Nuts are now torqued to 60pounds. Now the car will not start. I plan on replacing the rigged wiring system that came with the car with a new wiring harness. But the car ran well with the rigged wiring system- before the leaking head. So I am unsure that just putting in a new wiring harness will fix the problem. So I am looking for a mechanic or shop that can diagnose and fix the problem. I live in upstate South Carolina. I have a friend that is a mechanic and very knowledgeable with Packards. He also is a car hauler.He and I have been working on this problem for 4 months and have been unable to find the problem. I love the car and for that 1 month it drove wonderfully. Its a driver sort of car & is not ever going to be a points car. But I want to do the best I can to restore the car.

Any advice would be most appreciated. And yes I did join a Packard club. But still no luck there either.

Sincerely,
REB

Adam
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:15 am
Location: lincolnshire, uk

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Adam » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 am

There is nothing very specialized about the engineering in a car of the era of yours. Any competent mechanic should be able to run through everything and get it going. The trick is in finding one!

Is there not a local old style garage near you who can help?

If you have had the head off, but no more than that, I would be looking at the live to the coil, the coil itself, the condenser and most likely, the CB points. Is there no spark at the plugs whatsoever?

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

rebyar
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:44 pm
Location: up state South Carolina

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by rebyar » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:38 pm

Adam,

I have looked for more than year and I have not been able to find any mechanic or shop that wants to try and diagnose and fix the problem. The mechanic friend I have is very knowledgeable. But he still cannot find the problem. I have checked the coil and it appears to be fine. I tried my spare Model A 6v coil. This did not make any difference. It sounds like it is trying to start. But not enough spark. The battery has been replaced. Both the condenser and points have been replaced with quality NAPA parts. They matched exactly what was in there- Delco. There is no spark. Or rather not enough spark.
This is why I am looking for another mechanic or a shop that can put new eyes on it and find the problem.
Any suggestions or recommendations, regardless of distance, would be greatly appreciated. Right now it is just sitting in my garage. Very depressing every month when I make the car loan payment.

Sincerely,
Randy

Dave Czirr
Moderator
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Location: New Jersey

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Dave Czirr » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:47 am

Sorry, no help of a local mechanic for you. But as Adam said, these cars are just plain simple when it comes to diagnosing problems.

Regarding the weak spark, the most common reasons are undersized battery cables, poor connections at the battery, poor ground at the ground cable end, and/or a worn starter motor which is drawing excessive current, leaving insufficient voltage for the ignition. A very simple diagnostic if you haven't done it already, just put a voltmeter across the battery and tell us what voltage you have as the starter motor is cranking. Anything less than about 5.3 volts and you've probably got a simple problem with cables, dirty connections, or less likely, a starter motor needing service. Are you sure the starter itself is well-grounded?

Adam
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:15 am
Location: lincolnshire, uk

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Adam » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:13 am

Hi Randy

Sorry to hear about your predicament. Very frustrating.

Perhaps the experts on this forum can help provide a few suggestions for your friend to follow up with, if he is willing?

Since it ran ok before, we can assume that the valve timing is correct. I assume then that the points are set correctly and that the ignition timing has been adjusted accordingly to the correct place. And that the problem is a present, but very weak spark. I strongly recommend that you follow Dave`s advice above and check the voltage drop across the battery when the engine is cranking. Perhaps you can report back with that and we can go from there?

As Dave says, the importance of battery leads with sufficient cross sectional area and clean contacts cannot be overstated with a 6V system.

Hope that helps for a start.....

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

Howard56
Posts: 1121
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Howard56 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:33 am

One thing I and a few others have experienced is if the engine has done a lot of cranking and no starting there is every possibility the plugs have fouled and even the best spark will have a problem jumping the gap. You might check the condition of the plugs or even buy a fresh set. After you make sure you have a spark then remove and clean or even replace the plugs and try again.

On the diagnosis part, have you done a compression test? Another thing some have found is after running a car on what may not have been the freshest gas they put it away only to go out and try to start it again a few days later and find one or more valves have stuck.

Bluedevil
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:07 am

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Bluedevil » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:34 pm

Randy,

Where are you in SC? I used to live in Greenville and I am out of Atlanta now.

Another approach may be to create a separate ignition circuit and bypass the starter. You could use a 6V lantern battery or a 6V charger. That would eliminate the starter/grounding part of the circuit.

Did you take the distributor out? If so, is it in 180 out? Also, just because a condenser is new doesn't mean it is good.

https://www.hunker.com/12226169/how-to- ... all-engine

Cap has no cracks or tracks and has the carbon brush that contacts the rotor, there is no excessive wear in the distributor shaft or distributor cam?

Point clearance is correct, a worn shaft can make clearances variable? 80 year old wires can be brittle, check continuity to make sure there are no broken ones, particularly from the coil to dist and ground. Also make sure the hot wire on the condenser is insulated from the contact plate and grounds thru the points not the distributor body.

If you are around Greenville I could look at my old contacts and see if I know of anyone that can help.

Bill

Bluedevil
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:07 am

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Bluedevil » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:49 pm

Randy,

You have gotten a lot of good suggestions from the group, just be methodical going thru them. It is probably something small.

Good luck.

Bill

rebyar
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:44 pm
Location: up state South Carolina

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by rebyar » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:03 am

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will try and address each of your thoughts.

The distributor cap does not exhibit any cracks. No wear is noticeable on the inside contacts. I have replaced the rotor cap. Eventhough the old one seemed fine with little wear. There is no wear on the distributor shaft or cam. The points and condenser has been replaced twice. The condenser is insulated between plate and distributor walls. I am not sure what you mean by insulated from the grounds?? The spark plugs are fine. I put new ones in when I purchased the car. It ran for about a month with these plugs. There is no carbon on the plugs at all. The starter was rebuilt when I first purchased the car. So no issue there. It is well grounded. The battery is new and the cables are 0ga and are new. Both replaced when I just purchased the car. All clean connections from the battery to the starter selinoid to the starter to the distributor. The coil does not seem to be the problem as I put in a replacement and there was no improvement. When I had the head off I checked the movement of all pistons and valves. All were fine. I sprayed Kroil around each just to make sure there was rust or lessen the chance of anything sticking in the future. I checked it again just before I put the head back on and all functioned fine. I tested the battery- volt meter registered 6.2v. At the selinoid it was 5.7v and to the distributor 5.5v. I do have a shut off switch between the battery and the starter. So I am guessing that is the reason for the drop from 6.2v to 5.7v.
I am about an hour and a half east of Greenville. I am about 45min south of Charlotte, NC. After 8 months I have done all I know how to do to get it back running again.
So again I am asking for recommendations for a shop or mechanic that has much more knowledge and has additional testing equipment that can locate this problem. I am sure it is a simple problem. But I am not a mechanic and I am unable to find this simple problem.
REB

Dave Czirr
Moderator
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Mechanic or Shop Recommendation

Post by Dave Czirr » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:50 am

Sorry, I still can't help with a shop. I understand you may not be interested in doing any further diagnosis yourself, but that's all I can offer.

A battery cut-off switch unless it's defective should NOT cause a voltage drop. With just the ignition key on, there should be no voltage drop between the battery and the coil input, somewhere you've got a significant voltage drop between your battery and your ignition system. Perhaps it could be in the ignition switch itself? A very simple way to check would be to take a length of wire and make a direct connection between the battery and the ignition coil, that way you have bypassed the switch, the ammeter, and all the related connections. If you still have that voltage drop is almost certainly has to be a ground.

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