"Fixing A Crank Shaft Problem"

        This past month has flown by. After buying our latest parts car, we got a call on a 1946 Packard 7 passenger drive train for $100, then a '48 Packard for $150. Just can't pass up deals like those! But space is becoming a problem, so we built another building, this one for engines and transmissions only. No matter how much space you have, it is never enough. This storage building was easy to build, and can be put up by a couple of guys in two weekends. We will feature it and its construction in a future issue.

        The car project is again the '36 Packard Coupe. Several issues ago, I mentioned that someone had put on an aftermarket oil filter with restricted oil lines, a 1/8" line in and a 1/4" line out, resulting in an engine starved for oil. (If you have a modern filter on your old engine, you night want to check your oil flow!) We removed this filter form the car, but the damage had already been done. The 9-main-bearing engine's oil pressure had dropped to 20 lbs running pressure and the engine was shuddering and making noise at speed (not a good sign). We lived with this a while, then decided to bite the bullet and tear down the old straight 8 before any more damage was done. Not having torn down a '36 320 ci before, we consulted the factory manual. This book assumes that you have already assembled the car. Instruction #1: Remove engine and disassemble...

        After we had studied the construction of the car, and talked with some old car buddies, we decided to remove the headlight lens (reflector type), the Cormorant, Trippe lights, all breakable parts, then the hood, radiator and shell, before pulling the engine, leaving the transmission in the car. To remove the radiator shell, there are flat head screws under the hood lace. And bolts all around the radiator shell. The radiator and shell come out together, then you can separate them by getting to the screws on the bottom side of the radiator shell.

        The engine mount is on the front of the engine. There is a side stabilizer on the right side of the engine, and transmission mounts. The bell-housing bolts can be removed from the engine with a ling extension and a socket. All of the intake and exhaust manifold can stay on the engine, after disconnection them at the exhaust flange. We disconnected the carburetor linkage and vacuum lines to the Bijur lubrication system. With the engine lift in place, the engine was ready to cone out for disassembly. We carefully pulled out the engine and set it down, then removed the head, the oil pan and the timing cover.

        With the timing cover off, we could see the configuration of the timing chain and its three gears (crank, cam & generator). The generator is run by the timing belt and is rotated when installing to get the right tension on the chain. It is always a good idea to punch mark all rotating parts before removal, to aid in correct reassembly. Also, bag and label all small parts as you remove them, and photograph everything if possible.

        With the oil pan off, we began to take out the cotter pins from the rod and main cap nuts. They will all be replaced with new pins on reassembly. All of the rods, pistons and caps were numbered and were plastic bagged to keep them organized. Soon the crank was out and the pistons were carefully pushed up and out of the block using a round wooden handle. Unfortunately, one piston was chipped by one of the rings, probably when it was put in during the last rebuild. The engine has been bored .060 (.045 is as far as standard pistons go), so we are having a new set of fully skirted pistons made by Egge Machine Co. (800-866-EGGE) to our specifications. We sent an old piston as an example. The rod bearings were scored and two of the mains were burned out (part of the bearing had burned away).

        All parts were matched and bagged, and a special wood crate was made for the crank to be shipped in. In 1935, Packard's 320 straight 8s changed from babbit bearings to insert bearings, although not a modern insert that can be easily changed out, but a removable bearing with a heavy steel back. The babbit can be melted out and repoured into the old shell. We chose Dutcher Engineering to do this (413-773-39730. They will turn the crank, make new main and rod bearings and fit them into the caps on the rods. The crank will also be balanced as will all rotating parts, such as the clutch assembly, flywheel, etc., and the harmonic balancer will be tested. These come apart and are rebuildable by Steele Rubber (800-544-8665).

        With the engine now out, it will be a great time to clean and paint the frame and firewall...right? Don't you love old cars? I believe my checkbook has left the building! See you next month with old cars..."Keep 'em driving!"