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Straight 8 Info Request


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A friend just dropped off the straight 8 out of his 1949 Packard <BR>Super Eight at my dad's shop for a rebuild. It's a model 2302 with <BR>7:1 compression 327 with adjustable mushroom solid tappets, rated <BR>at 150 HP. Tranny is a 3 sped manual with overdrive. Dad's looking <BR>for information on increasing the engine's power while still keeping <BR>the proper Packard period look. From what I've been able to gather <BR>thus far, there were four straight 8 used by Packard in the late 40's <BR>and early 50's:<P> cubes bore stroke<BR> 288 3 1/2" 3 3/4" <BR> 327 3 1/2" 4 1/4"<BR> 356 3 1/2" 4 5/8"<BR> 359 3 9/16" 4 1/2"<P>It looks like the last 359's were 8.7:1 compression with 4 barrel carbs <BR>(Carter WCFB's?) and 212HP. I'm looking for interchange information <BR>for these engines. Are these engines all from the same family, that is <BR>could you bore and stroke the 327 to 356 or 359 cubes by swapping in the <BR>crank/rods/pistons? Do they share the same bellhousing bolt pattern, <BR>motor mounts, intake and exhaust manifolds etc? Do the cylinder heads <BR>physically interchange (ignoring any compression ratio changes)? Does <BR>anyone know what the maximum safe overbores are? There appears to be <BR>room to go an 1/8" at least. The camshaft appears to be very lazy with <BR>little duration at max lift. Has anyone had a custom cam ground? <P>Any tips, answers, suggestions, or leads on information (especially <BR>dimensional data like deck heights, connecting rod and piston specs, <BR>crank data etc.) greatly appreciated. <P>Dan Jones

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The 288 - 327 - 359 were of the same family..same basic block casting, designed to be built on common tooling, introduced in '49 (or was it '50).....? The 356 was an older heavier design, introduced in 1940. Hopefully, one of the guys who has a parts book will "sign on" and let you know what parts are interchangeable in the 288-327-359 series...my recollection is NOTHING from the earlier 356 will exchange.<P>Given the inherent "breathing problem" of ANY "flat head"...I think the easiest way for you to get a WORTHWHILE increase in power is with a belt driven super-charger. I would have some piston shop like Egge Machine in Southern Calif. make up some LOW compresson pistons, and leave the engine otherwise 'stock'. <P>Remember, these are "flat head" motors, so they have restricted breathing when you start spinning them fast....and there isn't much you can do to help a "flat-head" breath better at high rpm. And at low rpm, the normal "hot rod" tricks arent going to do much. Packard assumed MOST of its customers would want the torque range in the lower rpms, where most of them operated their cars. For those Packard buyers who wanted faster more aggressive performance...they just piled on cubic inches...(along with a few hot rodding tricks...such as "canted or wedge shaped bores and pistons, as you find ONLY in the Packard V-12 of the 1930's )!<P>The big weakness in ANY Packard engine is head gaskets - they just didnt have enough studs to hold the heads down..dramatically increasing power would place you at increased risk of head gasket failure, but proper (and requent) torquing technique could reduce that.<P>Remember the old saying.."there aint no substitute for cubic inches"...I would think that the '54 359 in. Patrician engine would be a "drop in", assuming you could find one.<P>Another problem...post - war Packards had pretty weak rear axles...I used to break em at regular intervals in both stick AND "ultra matic" equipped cars. My recollection is that there was some kind of heat-treating error that affected SOME but not ALL of them..I may have just been unlucky....!<P>Good luck !<P>Pete Hartmann

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The 288 and 327 were introduced in late 47 for the 22nd series, and are derived from the 282 used in the Junior Clippers. Although the 356 is older, it does have the advantage of the 9-main crank.

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CLEARING THE AIR: The Packar 288 and 327 five main bearing engines are of the same family. In order to get the 327 cid from the 288 packard increased the stroke. The other Packard 327 is a nine main bearing engine thus I doubt it share the same casting as the 288's and 327 five main bearing engines. The 327 9 bearing engine was found in the 400 series only. In 1953 they came equiped with Cater 4 baller carbs. In 1954 to get the 359 cid nine main bearing engine they increased the stroke and the bore. This was the only time they increase the bore and that was by a 1/16 of an inch. I think that you will find that Packard straight 8 from 51 to 53 all had to same bore diameter, whit the exception of the 359 which I stated prior. Packard palyed around with the stroke to increase the cubic inch displacement

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