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Ignition Coil


MBL
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Hello again. Tim here. I was just wondering what kind of coil needs to be used on the 1955 Packard 400. I looked on Kanter and the one other site for the price and its a bit expensive. Is there something special about the one for this car? Is it because it is a Pos Gnd? Can I use just a regular 12V coil. Just wondering?

Tim

MBL

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Tim,

Be careful, Packard as well as other makes used a 6 volt coil with a ballast resistor on the primary lead. The ballast resistor reduced the voltage from 12 to 6 volts. Only on starting with the key in the start position and during starting is 12 volts applied to the coil. When your ignition key is in the run position the 12 volts is applied to the ballast resistor and 6 volts goes to the coil. The wiring diagram in the Shop Mannual bears this out. It shoudn't make any difference with it being Positive or Negative ground. It also pays to have a spare Ballast Resistor. If the car starts and then dies when the key is put in the run position the Resitor is gone.

Any of the older Parts Stores that have been in business for years with competant counter people will know about all this and have a 6 volt coil on the shelf for less money than you can buy it from Kanters.

Bob Bosworth

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Tim,

Try some of the older Parts Outfits in your area. There has to be some that have been in Business for 40 or 50 years. Especially ones who have old Delco-Remy stuff on the shelf. You would be surprised. They exist. Delco has a big Parts Warehouse in Chicago. All they have to do is order it. It could be there in 2 days. How I know about it is about 5 years ago I needed a new Vacuum Advance Diaphram Conrtol for the distibutor on my Clipper.

This is a True Story. The Counter guy at C.E. Beckmen's in New Bedford called Delco in Boston while I was there. While the guy in Boston was on the phone with the guy in New Bedford he was also in touch with a guy in Chicago. They had the Vacuum Advance Diaphram unit on the shelf in Chicago. The Guy in Chicago was going to Boston the next day by air. Packed the Part in his suit case and brought it to Boston with him. The guy from Chicago along with the Guy from Boston came to New Bedford the next Morning and Delivered the Part to C. E. Beckmen personally. I even didn't believe it even when I had it in my hand. It seemed that the Guy in Chicago liked Packards from what I was told and couldn't bear the thought of seeing my car out of commission because of such a small thing. I never got the chance to thank that guy in Chicago. Although I do know he got the message.

$40.00 is a little steep, was that list or net? For the record there are Various Secondary Voltage outputs. Get one with a higher secondary Voltage for better Spark. You will be surprised at the results.

Bob Bosworth

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Standard UC12X I used on the '55 Patrician and I believe that cross references to NAPA Echlin IC17 which I believe I have on my '55 Clipper Super. Note the external resistors are different for the two cars. Other A/Z, CarQuest, Advance Auto numbers anyone knows could help other folks out in the cross ref. index Keith started.

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I believe that the reason a ballast resistor and 6V coil is spec'd for the 1955-56 V-8 is to reduce the current through the points so they won't burn out under continuous operation. In a pinch you could probably use almost any good (even used) Delco 12V ignition coil.

An alternative to solving the point burnout problem is to use an aftermarket electronic ignition such as MSD-5. These can be used with the stock points when wired per their installation specs will reduce the current across the points to almost nothing. Then you can use darn near any 12V coil you want, including aftermarket ones which will provide 40-50KV of spark. I have had MSD-5 on both my 1955 Pat and 1972 Eldo since I purchased them and NEVER have to adjust the points or plugs. Of course the downside is the purchase $$$. You should be able to good find used MSD boxes at swap meets or maybe even wrecking yards for cheap. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif" alt="" />

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i think you'll find that all 12 volt systems require a 12 volt coil. See pages 18 and 19, section VIII of the 55-56 Packard service manual for an explanation of the ballas resistor.

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Packard V-8,

I would have thought the same thing as you, but this is not the case. Jim Morrison at Morrison's Auto Parts in New Bedford, Mass. staightened me out. The Delco part number for a 6 volt coil used on pre 1953 G.M. cars is the same for 1955-56 Packards. That was mighty interesting. He had one on the shelf. He also had a replacement 6 volt coil on the shelf that produced a higher secondary voltage. This is the one that I bought.

When the Key is in the start position, naturaly this engages the starer motor and at the same time though a finger in the solenoid applies 12 volts directly to the primary lead on the coil. When the Key is in the run position the 12 volts runs through the ignition switch to the ballast resistor and is reduced to 6 volts to the coil. This is typical G.M. circuitry of the era. Later models used a 12 volt coil and did away with the ballast resistor. However, some G. M. vehicles still used the tang in the solenoid to apply voltage to the coil during starting and run voltage though the run position on the ignition switch. Later still G. M. stuff, used no tang in the solenoid and and the 12 volts for the coil was applied from both the start and run positions on the ignition switch. Mr. Morrison gave me a very interesting lesson on G.M - Delco Remy ignition cicuits. The solenoid on my car is actually a newer one that did not have the tang. However, the undrilled boss in the Plastic was there. I took a Tang and connection bolt out of an old G. M. starter cleaned it up and drilled out the boss and used it on the new solenoid. It works fine.

These are the little things that you learn from the experience of the old timers. Thats why it pays to consult them. Most of the time they are willing to help and it doesn't cost anything to ask.

If you Look at the wiring diagram for the car. You will find that you could get rid of the ballast resistor and use a 12 coil. Just connect all three wires together that are connected to the ballast resistor. That will work too. However, be carefull that the ignition switch and the points do not over heat. This will bear watching.

Still I would get a coil that had a higher secondary voltage out put for better spark.

Bob Bosworth

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Cannot say for later than 1970, but both my '68 and '70 Chargers still use the ballast resistor on the firewall, so the 12v resistor reduced to 6V coils were still being used at that time.

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Re: MSDs on "junkyard" cars. No cars were equipped from the factory with MSDs (at least that I am aware of). However, MSDs have been manufactured since the mid-1970s (I used to be a distributor in the old H-O Racing days) with the lower-end units (MSD-5, MSD-6) virtually unchanged thru today. Millions of these have been sold over the years, so the likelihood of finding one installed on ANY junkyard car is reasonable. Here's the link to the website:

MSD Ignitions

All the external packaging looks pretty much the same, just look for the "red box". Oh yeah, on my 55 Pat, I hid the box inside the passenger fenderwell so you cannot see it without looking carefully. One could also have mounted it inside the passenger compartment. Look at the coil wiring for "extra" wires and follow them. Being electronic, these units either work or they don't work, so if you buy one cheap it's a shot in the dark. However, they are extremely reliable, so I think you have a good chance with a getting a workable used one.

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I sent an email around to most of you with an attachment copied from a 1958 Motors Manual explaining the difference in ignition coils. PackardV8 is correct that the 55-56 12-volt coil is different than a regular 6-volt. AlK - yours came back saying it was too big for your mailbox. If anyone wants a copy, let me know.

YFAM, Randy Berger

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I don't know what voltage mine is but I am assuming that the one they gave me is the right one. They looked it up in the computer and thats the one it said. Now with the ballast resester....what can be used there. Can other ones be used?

Tim

MBL

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