In the December 2021 issue of DOC, I said our longtime project (see SW Archives) of restoring/preserving my 51 Packard Mayfair (2 dr h/t) was finished and would now be driven to see what, if any, repairs would need to be done and only two things showed up: 1-No brake lights and 2-The headlight dimmer switch didnt work. During the restoration, all of the brakes had been done, including a new master cylinder. The brake light switch is mounted on the master cylinder and was replaced at the time, but not tested. We got under the car and checked to see if the switch was tightly screwed in. It had no leaks and the two-prong wires were plugged in, but we found the wire plug was worn and fit loosely on the brake switch prongs and the wires at the cap were frayed. Woody was on this project. He disconnected the battery and cut the bad connector end off.
TO TEST: We used test leads with alligator clamps and ran them between the newly stripped wires from the harness and the 2 prongs on the brake light switch, then re-connected the battery and applied the brakes. Both lights came on! To finish the job, Woody soldered in new wires with ends to match the switch and shrink-wrapped them for a good, tight seal.
Next was a headlight problem. When the headlight switch was pulled out, the headlights would come on, but the right one was dim, and when the dimmer switch was clickedthe headlights would go off. Looking at my wiring diagram, power went first to a terminal block on the left fender well behind the headlight, then to a terminal block on the right side. It, too was on the inner fender well just behind the headlight. The left side wires were good and connected according to the diagram, but on the right side, the wires were good, but one was disconnected. It was the ground wire. Using my test light, I found that I was getting power to my right side. I connected the ground wire and my right headlight glowed bright like the left side. To further check the wiring, I disconnected the battery and removed both headlights to check the wiring and plugs. They were both fine and both bulbs were glowing as brightly as they could (its a 6-volt positive ground system). I still had a headlight problem, though and it was in the dimmer switch. The headlight switch has a circuit breaker located under the dash, just behind it and it was good. On these 51-250 Series, there is no fuse box. You have to refer to the wiring diagram and check each unit, ie: HL Switch, Radio, Heater Fan. I would rather have a box, but thats the way Packard did it. Using my test light with the battery connected, I ran a lead from the HL switch to the dimmer switch. To do this, you must pull the carpet back away from the left kick pad, exposing the dimmer switch, then remove the mounting bolts which will allow the switch to drop down under the car and run your test lead to this. I was getting power, so I disconnected the battery and installed the new switch. These switches have screw wire mounts, so you have to mark the wires and mount the switch, for a good ground to the car. The battery was reconnected and I clicked the dimmer switchit worked. Everything was put back and the car is ready for the road. I have moved this car to a garage where its easy to get to and will let you know in future issues if it is that dependable driver I expect it to be.
We have multiple projects and one of them is to get brakes back on my 67 Jag Mk/2. It is on my lift and it just doesnt want to leave. Bad cat! In a previous issue of DOC, we did complete brake jobs twice in the 7 years Ive owned the car. The Brits use LMA (Low Moisture Activity) brake fluid to keep the moisture down in the brake system and a type of rubber in the caliper pistons that will swellif regular DOT3 is used, resulting in locking up the calipers. After my last rebuild, I bought all new calipers and master cylinder, bled it, had good brakes, left it on the lift and moved on to other projects, (51 Packard and a 48 Packard Custom Coupe (Club Sedan). When I got back to the Jag, the brake pedal would push down, but was very slow to return. I re-bled the system, no change, then replaced all of the brake parts AGAIN. With all brake parts on and tight, we re-filled with DOT 3 LMA brake fluid (never use brake fluid that has been opened more than a year.) Im still testing. The takeaway is, Dont let a car sit without pumping the brakes monthly!
BLEEDING THE BRAKES: We first checked that all connectors were tight and filled the reservoir. The manual states to bleed the nearest caliper to the master cylinder, on our right-hand drive that's the right front, then the left front, right rear, then left rear. When bleeding, the brake pedal should be moved slowly up and down in its full stroke until only fluid comes out without any air bubbles, keeping the pedal depressed until the bleeder is closed. After we bled the system twice, we re-filled the master cylinder to the correct level marked on the reservoir and held the brake pedal down for 2-3 minutes to check for leaks. There were none, and our pedal stops about halfway.
With everything on and working, we adjusted the emergency brake (it was causing drag). This has to be done with the wheels off. The emergency brake assembly is attached to the rear calipers and has its own pads. Our pads showed almost no wear so we didn't replace them. To adjust, fully release the hand brake, remove the cotter pin from the adjustment screw (front side of caliper), insert a feeler gauge between the hand brake pad and the rotor, then screw in or out the adjustment screw so that there is .004" (.10 mm) distance between the pad and the rotor. With the feeler gauge in place when the rotor is turned, it should just touch the feeler gauge. Repeat on the other side. If further adjustment is needed, the hand brake cable can be adjusted, screwing the adjustment screw in to lock up the rotor, then with the hand brake lever fully released, remove the cotter pin, securing the fork. Back off the lock nut on the cable and adjust the position of the fork end so that with the cotter pin fitted there is no slack in the cable. (The cable can not be under tension.) Reset the hand brake pad-to-rotor clearance to .004 as described above. Put the locking cotter pin in the adjustment screw and you're done.
The Mark II's are known for great handling and for performance, and have many engine and suspension similarities to the XK-150's and early XKE's. I can't wait to get this one back on the road. Look for an upcoming drive report.
Enjoy your cars, and keep 'em driving! Dont let them sit!