tom b

packard engine retrofit

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I am looking to replace my straint 8 with a new v8 engine. anyone have any experience with this type of project?

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Packard manufactured a V8 in 1955 and 56. They were 320,352 and 374 cubic inch engines.

If u are intent on using a 'modern' V8 then a Chevy 350 would be the only wise choice. Keep us posted on your progress.

DO consider a Packard V8.

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A while ago I bid on a 1955 Packard with a Buick V8 on Ebay. I figured the swap reduced the value of the car from $5000 to $2500. The owner figured he paid $4500 for the car and $3500 to have the engine put in so it must be worth at least $8000.

The final bid was $2200.

Unless the rod is sticking thru the block you can rebuild your old engine for less than installing a new V8.

If it is not a poverty issue and you really want a V8 I suggest you sell the car and buy one that has a V8 in it. You will save a lot of money and time, and have a more satisfactory car.

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Generally making a hot rod out of a car does increase the value, if it's well executed and the quality is good. A stock 49-51 Ford woodie is good for $30,000-$35,000. Rodded, $40,000-$65,000. But a Packard is nowhere near as popular as a Ford or Chevy.

As to the rebuild being cheaper, if you buy a $500 runner, use it's motor and trans, can weld or at least make mounts ready to be welded, odds are it will be way cheaper than rebuilding the stock motor. You can junk the donor body when you're done for $100 or so a ton, have $300 or so in your motor, and I'm sure get a driveshaft made and mounts installed, plus replace the wiring harness, for $700-$1000 more. Just the parts to rebuild a motor will cost that much.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Pontiac59</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Generally making a hot rod out of a car does increase the value, if it's well executed and the quality is good. A stock 49-51 Ford woodie is good for $30,000-$35,000. Rodded, $40,000-$65,000. </div></div>

Yes, and a good looking 18 year old girl can skip college and all of the costs associated with that and start stripping at a club (with all of the "offsite" work that comes with that job) and start making BIG money right away.

But that doesn't make it right.

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I doubt Tom has the chops to do his own engine swap. And if he did replace his straight eight wih a worn out second hand 100000 mile Chev where is he ahead?

You can actually buy a rebuild kit for a Packard straight eight for under $1000.

Allow another $1000 for machine work and incidentals (spark plugs, new antifreeze, etc) and he could have a rebuilt Packard engine for less money, and probably less time than throwing in a second hand junker engine.

This is a question that comes up all the time. Newbies with no mechanical knowlege seem to think they can cleverly bypass all the hassles of dealing with an old car by throwing in a Chev 350 like the guys on TV.

They are wrong.

After 40+ years of messing with old cars I can tell you it is better to keep the engine you have, 9 times out of 10.

The 10th time it is easier and cheaper to sell the car you have and buy a different one.

That is what I advise Tom to do. In all seriousness, if you want a Camaro buy a Camaro. But do not try to turn a Packard into a Camaro. I guarantee you do not have enough time, money or talent.

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Rusty

The straight 8 that I have is rebuilt and in great shape. The reason for wanting a V8 is due to several reasons. I want to use this car for weddings and "if" I were to have a problem with anything on my engine I could not replace it in a timely fashion which could cause some problems in providing the service that I intend to provide. So my need to do this is not necessarily what I want to do.

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Tom, it is your car and you can do whatever you want.

However you asked for advice and you are going to get plenty of it.

Here is mine....

Fix anything that is wrong with the engine and don't worry about it. Things break on new cars while under warranty. There is no reason to believe that a more modern engine will be more reliable than a correctly restored and maintained original engine.

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Packard built one of the finest automobiles that money could buy, whether or not their styling or technology was cutting-edge for a given production year (and it was fairly "cutting edge" at least through 1948).

If you go through the car and its mechanical & electrical systems thoroughly and methodically, and make everything clean, tight, and correct, and use good quality parts, and DRIVE the vehicle frequently enough so that fuel doesn't go stale and stuff gets gummy, you should have no reliability issues.

If you want to be extra-prepared, keep a road kit of spare parts such as:

New/rebuilt Fuel pump; points & condensor; coil; fuses & bulbs; e-tape; 12-volt "jump-pack", oil, coolant.

If you're planning to use this as a "hired car" for wedding and the like, I would think that ammenities like A/C would be as important to your clients as whatever power plant makes it go.

Speaking for myself, my oldest driver (presently) is a '41 De Soto - a car never on-par with Packard, even when new.

My unrestored, 67 year-old, 103,000 mile, rusty, squeaky, smoking De Soto still runs on 6-volt positive ground electrics, and VERY RELIABLY starts, runs, and goes whenever I need it. And I do travel up to 100 miles away from home with it.

During its first year back on the road, I chased down some minor electrical problems ( due to poor repairs made by previous owners), rebuilt the entire braking system, and took care of some other minor maintenance items. This was all done within the first 5,000 miles I put on it.

Since then, I have had over nine years and 15,000+ miles of essentially trouble-free driving with the car. It has required mostly just gas, oil, and tires. It has never broken down on the road, I have never needed a jump-start from another car, it has never "come home on the hook".

( And I don't carry the extra stuff I mentioned above. Which will be MY problem, if the car fails on the road. And I have probably just jinxed myself for "bragging" so much!)

It is not now, nor is it likely ever to be nice enough for someone to want to use it for a wedding, but it IS bullet-proof reliable.

I would be willing to bet a Packard's tank of gas, that if all the operating systems on this car are put right BEFORE the car goes into service, and you keep a relatively well-stocked road-kit on-board, you won't have any more trouble from it than you would a modern car.

Just my opinion; I've been driving old six-volt vehicles since I got my license in '84, and I have probably logged close to 200,000 miles cumulative driving on pre-1955 vehicles since then. I have not experienced crippling failure on the road on any vehicle that was properly checked-out before being put into service.

Check it out, make it right, drive it enough to work out all the bugs, and once the bugs are all chased-out, continue to drive it enough to keep things limber.

Good luck !

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Frank as well as all others who replied;

First of all thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. After reading your opinions, all of which were unanimous against swapping the engine, I have decided not to change the engine. I plan to spend a few bucks to make sure that the things that could cause problems such as my fuel pump, water pump, etc. are up to par. Thanks for your opinions

Tom B

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Under the circumstances I suggest you need 2 things:

An old grey haired or bald headed mechanic. He needs to maintain that car by the book and take care of any problems that crop up.

If you have an owner's manual check it out. You probably need to grease the chassis every thousand miles, change oil every 2000 and do many other chores such as tuneups. But if you do all the maintenance by the book the car should be practically as reliable as a modern car.

The second thing is to lay in a stock of parts such as fan belt, spark plugs, points, fuel pump, oil filters etc.

Most maintenance or wearing parts can be gotten in 3 days either thru your local NAPA dealer or an antique parts specilist.

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Tom, Glad to see that you have come to what we all see as the right decision.

Now, one other decision you should make would be to join AACA if you have not done so.

Welcome to a great hobby and be sure to ask here if you have any other questions. You will get excellent advice here on most any car related subject. Take care.

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One of the things I like best about my 47 Packard Super Clipper is the easy with which it can be serviced. Common service parts such as points and plugs are readily available and easy to install. My car has never had to be towed home or left me stranded in the 6 years I have owned the car. I am glad that you are planning to keep the original engine in the car. You won't be disappointed with it's reliability if you maintain it.

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Rebuild the Packard engine, once rebuilt they are the most reliable smooyhest running engines I have ever driven.

I have three Packards now and have had 5 others that have never let me down and I use to drive a 48 through the mohave desert daily for 4 years, I put almost 200,000 miles on that car on top of the 48,000 original miles.

Now I have a 36 business coupe, 41 business coupe and a 40 180 5 pass. touring, and I drive them all the time as I only own one new car and thats for my wife to drive to work and shopping. The only thing I have changed on the Packards is the generator to an Alternator as that seems to be the only hard part to get. and yes they are 6 volt pos ground Alts.

You will wish you had never swapped out the original engine in the long run.

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One thing I would like to point out. Cars of that era can be very dependable but they do require regular maintenance, far more than today's cars.

The maintenance is easy and cheap to do. As others point out, parts are much simpler and easier to get at than on modern cars. And most regular maintenance parts are still available cheap.

Provided you maintain the car properly there is no reason it won't give thousands of miles of trouble free service provided it is not shot to hell already.

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After reading all of the comments - I with drawn my question concerning replacing my Packard 288 with an updated crate 350 for the long runs or interstate driving.

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If you plan to drive the Packard for weddings as a business, you should probably have two wedding cars to assure you always have one road-worthy vehicle.

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We use State Farm ins on both modern & antique.  Our 2 antique cars cost about $115 each.  State Farm commercial ins goes up to $1,000 dollars above antique ins.  At a wedding, people are milling around and should something happen, they will sue everybody in close.  If you get hit on the road, your car is not as safe as current models.

 

My 1931 car is requested for weddings several times a year.  

 

I only do weddings for friends with the understanding they can tip me after the event if they Ask about a price.  Also, they need a plan B should my car elect to not run.  Last year I did a prom & his plan B was a newer Corvette if needed.  They did go home in plan B.

 

For others I decline the request.  I make sure they know my effort takes longer than the 15 to 30 minutes to the reception.  The car needs cleaned, time to get to the wedding early, waiting during the wedding, photographer photos, couple will leave first but arrive at the reception last, more photos, and then the drive home.  When pressed on what price they should expect, I get the response that $100 or $200 is high for a 30 minute drive.

 

I wish you the best in your business.  Weddings are fun because everyone’s enjoying themselves.

 

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I agree, I've done three weddings in the last 15 years, two for my daughters, one for a very close friend. 

 

There is no upside doing it as a casual thing.  Even if you get by the insurance issue, and get "tipped", there's still the liability issue.  If the bride gets one smudge on her white wedding dress, who do you think will be blamed?  Or trips getting out of your car and ends up in hospital, or any of the bad things that could happen and have you end up in court?

 

Hate to be negative about it, weddings ARE fun, but in today's society, blame is all too easy to discuss with a lawyer.

 

If you're doing it as a business, top notch equipment and excellent business liability insurance are not suggestions, but necessities.....

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I have done weddings for friends and frinds of friends and mostly it goes OK but one time the girl didnt know what old cars were about and just complained nonstop. My Olds doesnt have AC so she complained about how hot it was because it was August. Then she said she could smell the car all day and it was in her hair and her dress. Then she wanted it moved about 15 times for pictures and was angry that I would not let the bridemaids and groomsmen to sit on the hood and roof for a photo. I wont do it again. One bad apple and all that.......

 

Im sure not all brides are trouble but you really open yourself up to problems if things dont go perfect. The father of that bride was a guy in our car club and he apologized but things were always awkward afterwords. Too much hassle for too little reward IMHO.

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I have been thinking about doing some weddings on the side. Right after I teach my Wife not to slam the car door.

Bernie

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