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1940 Seems to be running on six cylinders


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I'm not very familiar with working on these (more involved with Packards). However, this one apparently belongs to me now, and while I brought it home almost a year ago, I haven't had any chance to do anything with it, let along play with it. Today, I wanted to make sure there was enough antifreeze in it, so took it out for a drive to put in fresh gas, etc. It seemed to run and idle just fine, other than it seemed like it was only firing on six cylinders.

 

Is this a common problem? Is there something I can try easily, before removing the distiributor? I made sure the covers were on tightly, but that's about the extant of my ability at the present time.

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You really need to go through the ignition system including plugs, wiring, distributor issues, fuel issues with the carb!   If you're not familiar with the V12 the you need to send the distributor and coil to Skip Haney in Florida to have him check it out, repair as needed and reset the distributor as it requires a machine to do it off the car.  The old coil....the black device sitting on top of the distributor can be rebuilt with new coils, and the rest of the distributor can be repaired and reset.  Also get new spark plugs and plug wires.  Plugs can be obtained at Napa and such, the wiring sets from Rhode Island Wire will work well.  There are people who will repair the carb too and put in parts that tolerate ethanol (alcohol) in today's fuels.  Once that's all done and working you can then see if that fixed it, or do you need to look further at the valves and engine compression tests.  Perhaps you can find a good mechanic in your area to help, but most of the good ones are gone!  These younger guys don't really understand these flat head engines with hydraulic lifters.  Lots to think about!  Good luck!

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Thanks, Ray. It was running fine (or so I'm told) before it was stored for a year. Spark plugs look brand new, as do the plug wires. I drove this car on the Glidden Tour in Tennessee/Georgia several years ago, and at that time we took off the distributor (Honest Charlie's Garage in Chattanooga), and they did a pretty good job of getting me back on the road without any more problems. I suppose its possible that the distributor is still giving us more problems. Sending it to Skip Haney sounds like a good idea. Will check out possible carburetor troubles first.

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Not bad idle, but sluggish acceleration can be bad coil on one side. There are two coils in one assembly, one for each side of the engine. Pull a plug wire off on one side of engine and hold close to plug with insulated pliers. Have some one start the car and see if there is a spark. If no spark, try the plug beside it. If still no spark, then the coil that serves that side of engine is dead. If there is spark on that side of engine, then try the same on the other side of the engine. I had this happen on my car. One side of the coil assembly went dead. Just something to try first before a big cash outlay to fix a bunch of things that might not need fixing. 

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Do you have spark at all plugs?  One set of points may have  corroded or a points spring arm is  broken or sticking  after sitting for a while or a condenser could have developed a short causing engine to run on 6 cylinders, if in fact it is. Does it rev. up from idle freely? Lincoln Zephyr V12s have 2 sets of points and  2  condensers, one set  for each 6 cylinders. The points arm has been known to snap and become inoperable.  Also you may have a fuel jet blockage in carb, there are 2 main jets in there, one for each bank and/or  you may have old/bad fuel in tank!
Interesting gear change pattern .What about a W/W II  GMC. truck  gear shift pattern?  

Edited by 38ShortopConv. (see edit history)
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All of the above are likely suspects.  You can check the points at the screw terminals on top with a dc volt meter.  Should have 2-3 volts when running,  Just keep fingers away from fan.  If one side says 6 volts or 0 volts you can suspect a problem.  I like to use a timing light on individual plug wires to avoid shock.  Otherwise, hook up a spare spark plug with a clip -clip on the ground electrode and watch for spark.  Lincoln distributor is an elector-mechanical marvel.  Engine is odd fire, and each set of points fires three cylinders on each side.  Nice looking vehicle.

Abe

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On 1/9/2021 at 7:06 PM, 38ShortopConv. said:

Interesting gear change pattern .What about a W/W II  GMC. truck  gear shift pattern?  

 

I believe it is unique to the 1930-31 Packards. First gear is a stump-puller, except if your car is equipped with the 3:31 rear-end ratio (which ours is). Otherwise, many many many 1930-31 Packard owners aren't even aware that their car has a first gear, as you have to move the shifter to the left and down to find it. Most start out in second, even if they DO know about the first. The 1930 Speedster is the ONLY model that used the 3:31 rear end, and I find that starting out in second is a little hard on the clutch.

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West,

One possibility that I did not see discussed. There are two ignition resistors under the dash to the left of the

steering column mounted to a junction box. They reduce the voltage to the coils.

I have found these open (no voltage to the coil.)

If the car was running good before being parked, this is a likely suspect.

Dennis

 

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, Dennis. I will certainly check that out before anything else.

 

Now, I'm wondering if there is any good advice on removing the distributor (if need be)? A quick look-see under the hood, and I can only "see" two of the three (or four?) bolts, and they aren't easy to get to, and coming up from the bottom is not an option (in my opinion). Do I need to remove the fan to obtain working space???

 

Thank you for all your help.

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Hi, its been a while, Have all the other suggestions  been checked?? There are only 3 bolts, all difficult to get at, dont need to take fan off, thats even more difficult. Sending  distributor away to someone who understands them to set timing and synchronizing is a good start. When you refit it note offset drive.
Happy Daze. Roy

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I have driven those small V-12’s. When running on 12, they feel like a stove bolt six. I recommend a five gas machine on the tailpipe. Don’t guess, diagnose. If it gets warmer where you live, I might fly in and fix it for you.

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Footnote, My 38 LZ. would not start after sitting 8 months,  I smelt stale gas. Drained fuel with onboard electric auxiliary  pump. Put in 3 gallons fresh fuel, started right up. My neighbor used the stale stuff in his lawnmower.   

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To remove the distributor, I use a 1/4" drive short universal socket with an extension that is just long enough to allow the ratchet to clear the front of the distributor. The extension that I use is the Proto J4769 and the socket is similar to the SK 43608. Mine is a SnapOn 6 point socket.

 

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/PTQJ4769?cid=paidsearch_shopping_dcoe_google&campaign=GSC-Tools-Equipment&campaign_id=8553470562&adgroup_id=107047174069&adtype=pla&gclid=Cj0KCQiAhP2BBhDdARIsAJEzXlGG1LCdMnO70_0sDifOZy8x4XfOOtN_Kxohwy7RhLTB5okrSVIfCbUaAjnMEALw_wcB&

 

To make it easier to install the distributor, cut the heads off of 2 extra bolts and use them to hold the distributor while you get the tang lined up and the 3rd bolt started. Then remove one of the studs and replace it with a bolt. Tighten the 2 bolts hand tight to make sure that the distributor housing is flush with the timing gear cover. Then install the 3rd bolt and tighten all of them.

 

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Thanks. I haven't tried anything yet, as the car seems to be fourth or fifth down the list of things that need to get done. However, I had a few minutes the other day to do a visual in regard to the possible things to do, and before I went through the aggravation of pulling the distributor, wanted to investigate that I shouldn't be removing something else, first.

 

I read another post somewhere else in regard to symptoms, and the poster's symptoms were exactly what I'm experiencing. He had the distributor sent out to specialist and all became fine. I will try a couple of the above mentioned tests first.

 

Thank you again for everyone's suggestions.

 

PS. Ed... starting to warm up here. Plus, we have that great airplane museum here.

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Because the engine has not run for a while, your problem could be either ignition or fuel related.

 

To determine if it is distributor related (coil, condenser, ballast and points):

Run the engine at a fast idle(about 1,000 rpm) and short out one spark plug at a time. Note which plugs do not change the rpm. If the plugs that fail to reduce rpm are all fed by the same side of the coil, check the input voltage to both coils. You can check the point dwell for each side by connecting your dwell meter to the condenser connection.

 

If the plugs that fail to reduce the rpms are not related to one side of the ignition system, you should check out your carburetor high speed circuit.

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