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1929 Packard woes


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Hello all. I am currently working on a 1929 Packard 633. It's supposed to be a full resto but I've already run into incorrect items. To name one, the dashboard choke control was hooked up to the carb backwards so when it was pulled out the choke was open.

 

It seems to start right up every time with the throttle about 3/4 up on the steering and the choke fully out but to keep it running I have to quickly close the choke. It won't idle very well unless the idle is set high (usually a little over half-way up). When the choke is closed it automatically puffs out black smoke but ceases as soon as the choke is opened again. It will hardly run with the choke out unless the throttle is very high. Although, even when the engine is warmed up plenty and you turn it off it will not start again unless the choke is out and throttle high. I've removed and completely cleaned the carb and I have cleaned the plugs and points and fuel bowl. Does anybody have any ideas? If I need to provide more info please let me know. Thank you in advance.

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Could be a sticking or badly adjusted air valve. Check against the manual.

Not totally sure what you mean with the choke "out". If the engine only runs with a lot of throtle and produces dark smoke out of the tail pipe, it could be that the seat of the air shut off valve in the fuel pump has fallen out. In that case the petrol is sucked in through the vacuum pipe straight into the manifold. Not a good way to bypass the carburettor!

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Thanks for the reply. By choke out I mean dashboard choke knob pulled out. So I need to remove the fuel pump and inspect inside it? I just got a manual downloaded today. I'll dig around in there for the fuel pump section.

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Chokes aren't necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. Try a little less choke? My '29 Cadillac likes about 1/4 choke for normal starting, about 1/2 choke if it's cold out. Never full choke and it won't run for long at full choke.

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SmartT

 

I would not mess with the fuel pump unless neccesary. Even a small air leak could stop it from working properly.

 

Check when your choke knob is "in" (agaist the dash panel) that the butterfly valve in the bypass is fully open and that the spring assembly of the air valve is fully down. As you mentioned, a previous owner has been fiddling with the choke control.

 

It also pays to check the fuel flow out of the pertol pump chamber, there could be a buld up of debris around the outlet or if fitted, the filter element.

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I have had many cars that when hot have to have the choke closed to start.  Think engineering - how are you going to pull gas up (a couple of feet to #1 and #8 on a Packard) from the carb. into the combustion chamber  - remember it is an updraft car and not a downdraft car.  And, Matt is correct - there are often Magic spots on chokes.

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A '29 Packard does not have a fuel "pump." It has a vacuum tank, and if your work on the carburetor and linkage do not resolve your problem, you will need to investigate the vacuum tank mounted on the firewall. It has a mesh screen in the top where the line from the gas tank enters. You'll need to make sure it's clean. You also may need to pull out the inner tank and ensure that the flapper valve at the bottom is smooth and clean so it seals properly (I sanded mine with 1,000-grit to restore the surface). You'll also need to check that the brass bushing at the inside top, where the rod attached to the top of the float rises to seal off vacuum when the tank is full, has not come loose and fallen down. I had this problem on my own '29 Packard. Once I pulled the vacuum tank apart and figured out how it works (it's really simple once you have it out and start looking at it), it was easy to fix. The tank now works properly. 

 

What happens if that  brass bushing is loose is that when the vacuum tank fills with gasoline, the float cannot shut off the vacuum source from the engine. Gasoline then overfills the vacuum tank and flows through the vacuum line directly into the intake manifold, flooding the engine. It will continue running -- badly -- smoking and coughing. It seems odd, but you can mistake flooding for fuel starvation. At least until gasoline starts running out the carburetor. And the bushing can fall down, then you hit a bump in the road and it pops back into place and the car runs perfectly -- until you hit another bump and the process starts all over again. 

 

I've found vacuum tanks to be reliable and easier to maintain than electric fuel pumps with their wiring, noise, mounting challenges, fire risk and sensitivity to ethanol.

 

Here are some tips --

1) There are fellows who rebuild the inner units. You might find them advertising in Hemmings. Or some on this forum can supply their names and numbers.

2) Some of the Packard club websites carry images of the original Stewart-Warner diagrams and instructions.

3) The Packard vacuum tank sits directly over the exhaust manifold, and the tank and its contents pick up a lot of heat. I covered the bottom and sides of my tank with a sheet aluminum enclosure that contains a layer of insulation. I've seen guys try the lazy approach of putting a piece of aluminum over the top of the manifold. That does not work as well.

4) If you find trash in the vacuum tank screen or chamber, you better check the fuel tank as well.

5) Take care to ensure that there are no vacuum leaks anywhere in the system -- from intake manifold to vacuum tank to fuel tank.

 

Bottom line -- my Super 8's vacuum tank supplies my car perfectly at any speed I've driven it (I cruise at 55 and my max has been 75 MPH) and the only time it failed to supply enough was in the high Rocky Mountains, climbing at about 9,000 feet floorboarded for 5-6 miles. Then I pulled over, let the car idle for a few minutes, and started up again.

Edited by jrbartlett (see edit history)
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That's fantastic information! I will definitely take a look at the tank. The previous owners installed an electric fuel pump on it. It's my first time dealing with a sealed fuel system like this but I'm usually pretty good at figuring out how something works by carefully taking it apart.

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  • 1 month later...

My first car w/tags,,,,was a 633  7pass sedan like yours

I drove it 27,000 miles,,most of which was when I was in high school

It was a dependable ride,,,

The vacuum tank is more trouble free than electric or engine pump

and generally can be tinkerd on the road,,Somehow I think it will even work without the gaskets!!

How is she now??  Have you made peace with it??   Cheers,,Ben in Maine

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  • 3 years later...

SmarT,

I too am working on a 1929 633 roadster and am experiencing exactly the same fuel system issues that you described.  I've made notes of the suggestions made in response to your post and will be exploring them soon.  Good luck and I'll be watching for any solutions you discover.

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