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31 Packard Standard Eight Ignition trouble


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Could use some help in trying to resolve ignition troubles on the Dowager. She purrs like a kitten on the highway with lots of power then gets balky and refuses to start or run at a moments notice if shut off . If she does run there is ignition breakup and missing. I put her away for 24 then go out and start checking after recharging the battery from all the cranking to try to get her going and she starts and runs like a kitten again as if nothing has happened. I have been through the fuel system completely and am reasonably satisfied it is in good order. The local collection of experts feel it is the original ignition coil and I agree but how do I check it out on the basis of hit and miss. They are getting to enjoy the problem too much since they get to ignore their own grief for a moment and I now have a multitude gathering on a regular basis as if a high stakes poker game is in progress <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif" alt="" /> Good company but no great help when they start discussing corona loss as a possiblity Does anyone know of a source of original replacement coils or other options if none are available since the local Packard Dealer Service Department won't answer the phone no more. ynorman @mb.sympatico.ca

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This may sound like a dumb question..but... what shape is the distributer in?

Are the bushings worn or does the breaker plate wobble. (this drove me nuts on a car because I could not figure out why the points kept re-adjusting themselves)

usually a car with a weak coil will idle fine but loose power under load and cut out or backfire.

Just my $.02 cents

Bill

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Tx Bill

The distributor is good with minimal play in the shaft. Points are serviceable and proper gap the condenser tests good. I swapped coils and the same thing occurred re strong running then failure to start. I have pulled the starter to find the brushes are short. They will be replaced in case brush tension or lack of it may be causing an extra drain on the battery which test to 95 percent of its capacity on a carbon pile tester. The next thing for a look see is the starter switch and connections. I am starting to think this is a murder of a thousand cuts in that no particular thing is the culprit but a combination of events. The only specific change the car has shown is the ampmeter is showing an output of about 16 amps and bounces a lot when it has for years run at ten and steady. The generator will get a bit of bench time as a result. Any comments?

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I might still change the condenser as a frist choice, if you are loosing spark, they have been known to cause problems when the heat up the paper can cause tempory shorts, was it tested with a high voltage capactor tester or multimeter? you can also check to make sure the breaker plate is also properly grounded to the case.

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Tx for the reply Albert. Here's roughly what took place to correct the problem. I put back every original piece that was swapped. plugs coil etc. I replaced the battery which tested good but time was against it. The car would not start so I went through the whole thing a terminal at a time and cleaned and polished all connections between the battery and distributor. The car fired up instantly and I might add as quite a shock. It still ran rough so I pulled the distributor again, removed the point sets filed and then polished them with 1200 sand paper and dialed tem back into unison with the multi meter and to be safe installed a new condenser. The car started and ran like a Packard should. It runs so good I am afraid after all this searching for clues that it is playing a joke on me but it runs like a top. I think it was easy to get used to something performing so well over twenty years of use and it is very easy to forget it is a senior citizen of the car world at 70 plus years of age. I wonder how many guys have been through the same thing and went on a hunt for an impossible to find Coil which I think only would mask the problem of simple voltage drop through all the connections. The most significant being at the ammeter inner securing nuts which hold the internal shunting bus of the meter and the greatest source of trouble at a guess. Its been interesting to say the least and thanks again for the input.

Happy motoring.

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