TEST-STARTING A PACKARD 356
With all of the parts back on the Packard Straight 8, we were almost ready to start the engine. All that was left was some wiring, finding the right hose clamp, and put-ting it though its tests. The original wiring looked good, with the exception of some of the wires running outside the harness to the generator & coil, and some under the dash. We cut back about a foot into the harness and found these protected wires in good shape. We decided to splice into the good wires, replacing only the bad ends. To do this, each wire was measured and checked for gauge. The original wires were tin stranded wires. We replaced them with modern copper stranded wires of the same gauge. 6-volt systems carry a higher amperage than 12-volt, so OEM or better wire must be used to carry the amps. After cutting out our old wires, we used our Napa solder wire connector system, which consists of pre-solder-loaded wire ends and a butane torch. Each wire was stripped back and a piece of shrink tubing was pushed over it to the opposite end, away from the heat. We then pushed on a solder connector and heated it until the solder flowed inside the plastic cover. When it cooled, we slipped our shrink tubing over the connector end up to the eyelet, then, using our mini torch and working from the eyelet end, heated the tubing. When the heat tubing shrank, we now had nice looking wires that will carry current well and are permanently connected. We checked our wiring diagram, making sure all of the wires were being connected correctly. With the dash out, it was a good time to trace each one of these wires as well. We had to replace some of them also. After all of the wires were done, we wrapped them back into the harness with a special cold-shrink tape, available from Eastwood. We like this tape because it won t come un-raveled. It stretches and vulcanizes to itself, making a permanent harness covering. We ran some of the exposed wires through a wiring loom. These are available from Buick World in several sizes, and have a textured matte finish wire loom that looks like the original.
As we put our water hoses on, we wanted OEM style hose clamps. We had a few original clamps on hand. The style is similar to the old Sherman brass clamps used on the cars of the teens through 30s. Our clamps are called strap clamps or classic era clamps and were used until around 1950, and later on some cars. They are available NOS in galvanized and cadmium finishes, and are wider and stronger (heavier steel) than the reproduction clamps we ve tested. When we tightened the repros down, they started to bend and twist, and when we started the car, coolant ran out everywhere as we tightened down the adjustment screw and the ears on the clamps folded, not allowing the clamp to be tightened any further. Needless to say, we replaced the clamps with some NOS ones. These are available from Restoration Supply, and from Kenneth Johnson in most sizes. One thing to keep in mind when ordering clamps is that modern radiator and heater hoses are now generally mea-sured in millimeters, so your original clamp size might not work. We used a caliper, measuring the OD of the hose with it in place over the thermostat housing, etc., to give us the exact ID clamp size over the OD of the hose. When the hoses went on, we put just a little Permatex 2-B in each sealing end of the hose before putting on and tightening down the clamps. We now have fitted hoses with OEM clamps, which really help to make the engine compartment look great!
We were now ready to start the engine! We had changed the oil, filled up with coolant, checked all wires and connectors, primed the carburetor, put in fresh gasoline, had a hot battery and a fire extinguisher close by, just in case! I turned the key as Joe pulled the accelerator linkage to activate the starter. VROOM! It started right up. We let it run a few minutes, then shut it off and checked for leaks. We were now ready for testing, using our Fluke clamp-type amp tester, hanging it around the battery cable at the starter and starting the engine. The starter pulled 225 amps at the first start and 278 amps on the third start. This is right in line with our other 48 4-door 356. Moving to our ignition peak voltage test at the spark plugs, we used our smart tach, hooking its antenna lead at the spark plug end of each wire. The reading should be around 20,000 volts at approximately 3000 RPM. We had rebuilt our distributor and used new solid wire spark plug wires. We put in some new M-8 plugs, which got our reading up around 20,000 volts. When using these Smart Tach testers, wear rubber gloves to prevent an electrical shock.
The engine was now up to operating temperature and we were ready to try out of new Mini Temp. It s very easy to use. Just turn it on, point it and pull the trigger. We started with head temperature, front to back. Front was 199 degrees, back was 210. Front driver s side of block was 194-204. Radiator return hose side showed 115 top, 154 bottom. Opposite side was 150 top and 170 bottom. Top radi-ator hose just above the thermostat was 182. These temps were taken at an idle. When we revved the engine, the temps came down slightly. At a later date, we will compare these temps with those of our other 256. After the car has its final coat of paint, we will final-tweak the engine and finish its details. See you next month. Keep em driving!