By 1941 Packard wanted a new look to replace its beautiful, but aging pre-war styling.  They turned to the designer of cars of the stars Howard DutchDarrin.  Dutch had a shop in California and designed for the movie stars, heads of state and industrial tycoons.  He was known for his famous Darrin Dip, where the belt line dipped on the sides about halfway back, and front fenders that flowed from the front, disappearing into the rear quarter.  Dutch took on the challenge of designing the new Packard Clipper,and there are stories that he only had ten days to design it!  He designed the front fenders to fade into the rear door, but Packard changed that to have a quicker fade into the front door.  No Darrin Dip, but his famous short trunk and long hood was kept.  The result was a classic-looking car that was all Packard with the Dutch Touch.

        The Clipper design was introduced in 1941 and ran through 1947.  In 1946 and 47 the Clipper was the only series Packard offered.  My first Packard was a 1946 Packard Standard 8 (282 CID) that I still have.  I wanted the big 356 CID Packard and had looked for years before finding one in Atlanta in the early 2000s.  It had spent most of its life in a museum, so it had the original drive train and interior.  The paint (black) had been redone and all of the chrome replated.  After the deal was made, I went down to Atlanta and drove it home.  After that, I drove it around locally noting that the clutch began to slip and there was a slight clunk when I moved from a dead stop.  We removed the clutch assembly and the clutch had oil on it.  Taking the clutch parts to my clutch service, they resurfaced the clutch disk, refinished the pressure plate and I got a new throw-out bearing from Terrill Machine.*  

        With the clutch out, I had the clutch disk balanced since it spins, for even more smoothness.  We cleaned every part and put it back together and all was well with the clutch, but I still had that slight clunk upon take off.  We stay covered up with projects here and the lift had a car that would have been difficult to remove.  It was a 67 Jag Mk 2.  They really are a lot like cats, taking up more space than necessary and holding up the project while you have a bolt sent from England.  I thought all along that the problem with the Packard was the rear U-joint.  After close inspection, the U-joints were fine, but the emergency brake cables were rusted onall of the time and the rear wheel cylinders were locked up, keeping them on all of the time.  There was my clunk when the car accelerated from a stop.  The semi-locked-up wheels would free up just enough to let it roll.  I took the packard over to talk to my friend Steve at Spicer Automotive*.  After we had the car in the air, it was decided that the emergency brake cable, wheel cylinders, inner and outer axle bearings and seals would have to be re placed.  Max Merritt Packard Parts* had everything and the project began.  Heres the way it went:


        Removing Axle Shafts

        1. Remove one wheel and the axle shaft cotter pin and washer.  Remove the brake drum and hub assembly using puller (figure 1).  Disconnect the hydraulic brake line from the wheel cylinder.  To avoid the possibility of fracturing the thrust block or axle shaft bearing, never use a knock-out type wheel puller or hammer on the end of the regular puller screw to loosen up wheel hubs.

        2. Remove the nuts holding the oil seal and the brake support plate to the rear axle housing and then remove the seal guard, gasket, retainer, oil seal, brake support plate, and axle shaft bearing shims.

        3. Remove the axle shaft and bearing.  In the event that the inner axle shaft seal was renewed recently and if it is not the intention to renew the oil seal at this reconditioning, care must be exercised to prevent damaging the seal.  The axle shaft must be slid out completely by lifting slightly while removing, as shown in figure 2.  Be careful not to damage the seal by pulling the rough shaft across the seal.

        Do not allow the shaft to remain partially pulled out of the housing, as the weight of the shaft on the lower part of the seal will stretch and deform the seal.  This will result in oil leaks occurring when the shaft is installed.

        Always completely remove axle shafts.

        4.  Remove the inner axle shaft seal.

        5.  Perform previously described operations on opposite side of the         rear axle.


        1.  Wipe the axle housing axle shaft bearing flange and the brake support plate free of road dirt to prevent any dirt from contacting the axle shaft bearing during installation.

        2.  Install a new axle shaft inner oil seal by placing the seal on the pilot end of driver and driving into position.


        3.  Pack the axle shaft bearing with two ounces of  Fiber Grease.  Work the grease thoroughly under the roller cage and around the rollers (see Figure 3).  Do not apply extra grease on the axle shaft or in the housing when installing the shaft.

        4,  Install the axle shaft in the axle housing and mesh the end splines in the differential gear.  Slide the shaft into place (Figure 4).  Be careful during the axle installation not to drag the shaft across the oil seal.

        5. Install the axle shaft bearing cup and shims, having previously wiped the shims free of dirt.  Make sure cup does not cock or wedge itself in the housing or backing plate will become bent when tightened.

        6.  Install the brake support plate screws, support plate, new oil seal retainer gasket, new oil seal, oil seal retainer, new seal guard gasket and the seal guard.  Install the nuts and lock washers, and gradually snug up all nuts before final tightening.  Torque to 35-40 ft/lbs.

        7.  Due to the possibility of the axle shaft thrust block rotating out of proper position in the differential, make frequent checks during the support blade tightening        by pulling the axle shaft in and out to see that the axle shaft has sufficient end play.

        8.  Perform previously described operations on opposite side of rear axle.

        9.  Attach the Axle Shaft Remover and bump the shaft back and forth several times to seat the shaft and bearings in place.  Remove the bumping tool and install feeler gauge.  With the axle shaft forced in towards the differential, pull the shaft outward.  Check with feeler gauge to determine the clearance, which should be .004 inch to .007 inch (Figure 5).  Shims for this adjustment are available in .005 inch, .007 inch, and .020 inch thickness.  Add or remove shims at the backing plate to obtain the specified clearance.

        End play of less than .050 inch can be adjusted at one side only.  Remove shims from both sides if end play exceeds .050 inch in order to keep the thrust block centralized.

        10.  Connect the brake hydraulic line to the brake cylinder.  Thoroughly wipe all oil and grease from the tapered portion of the axle shaft and bore in the wheel hub; hook up emergency brake cable, then install the brake drum and hub assembly.

        11.  Install the axle shaft nut washer and nut and tighten as tight as it will go, then drive around the block and re-tighten.  Install and bend the cotter pin.

        12.  Perform previously described operations 10 and 11 on opposite side of rear axle.

        13.  Bleed both the rear brake cylinders and fill the master cylinder (we use Dot 3).

        14.  Mount the wheels and remove the car from the stands  or lift.  After completion of the road testing for differential performance, re-inspect the differential for possible oil leaks and correct if necessary.




        Parking brakes affect the rear wheels only.  A pulling force on the hand brake lever is transmitted to the hand brake equalizer lever by means of a connecting cable and linkage arrangement.  Divided by the equalizer lever or bridle,this force is applied equally through a cable to the shoe strut lever of each rear brake assembly.  The shoe strut lever is pinned to the secondary shoe, while the notched ends of the shoe strut bear against the primary shoe forward, and against the shoe strut lever at the rear and below the pivot plane.  A force applied to the linkage first engages the primary shoe, then, the notched end of the shoe strut acting as a fulcrum, engages the secondary shoe.  The self-energizingprinciple will apply as usual if the car is moving or has a tendency to move.


        With everything back together and working properly, I should have many miles of smooth Packard motoring! 

        See ya next month, and keep em driving!