View Full Version : Michiana Packard-Troy Taylor

07-04-2015, 07:00 PM
My 56J transmission has never been "right" in my opinion. We had it rebuilt in 2002 by a local transmission shop, being that most trips for the trailer queen are behind my Chevy pick up the transmission has got us around any meet or car show functions as well local meets and cruise in.

This past South Bend May meet we met Troy Taylor and Michiana Packard, after a lengthy conversation we contracted Troy to rebuild an Ultramatic and Torque converter for Ellenore. Yesterday was install day, All went well, I had contracted a mechanic shop to do the swap with Troy available to make any adjustments needed. All went well until... on the install the last torque converter bolt broke! It was my decision to use my old converter as it was working fine. We had to pull the transmission a SECOND time! We change to the rebuilt converter and installed a second time. Linkage problems became a problem until we realized the shift rod had been installed backwards...........

A quick adjustment and fluid and Ellenore found a NEW life, all gears present and power she has never had!!!

For those around the mid west needing help with ANYTHING Packard I would highly suggest a contact with Michiana Packard 574-361-7857 or you can find them on Facebook.

10 hours two removals and two installs and I learned more than I will ever need to know on how a Ultramatic works. One quick word on the broke converter bolt........... I was standing beside the mechanic as he tightened the last of four converter bolts, there was NO torque applied, the weld just broke from age...... My guess.

Troy is a good guy and VERY fair in his prices, he drove from the South Bend area to Indy to make sure everything went well. I'll use him again if I need something above my capability. AND he gave a one year one time replacement warranty to boot.

07-04-2015, 09:35 PM
:) That's good news, Joe; thanks.

(Now if we can just get him to work on 1950-1955 Detroit Gear Studebaker Automatic Drives.) :D BP

07-04-2015, 10:01 PM
Happy to hear it went well Joe. I still remember the conversation we had about that the one time I drove the car. Glad to hear that Ellenore is running well again!

My only question.. Did they wax the transmission pan or are you waiting on me to do that?

I picked up a Packard Ultramatic adjustment (?) gauge set at a swap meet a couple months ago. I wonder if there's anyone that could use it.

BP, there's a shop here in Tallahassee that can do DG's.


07-04-2015, 11:27 PM
Our own Jerry Kurtz rebuilds DG transmissions.
He goes by Jerezstude on the newsgroup here.
No one know more about these transmissions.
Highly recommended!

Robert Kapteyn

07-05-2015, 07:46 AM
:) Thanks, Bob; duly noted. BP

07-05-2015, 09:18 AM
Hi Joe....sounds like (in your second paragraph) Troy rebuilt a spare Twin-Ultramatic that you had on hand? This was probably a good idea, since you mention the original one was rebuilt in 2002, and did not perform satisfactorily.

This does not surprise me, as that same transmission was 'gone through' using MANY NOS parts when I was working on your car in Boston around 1992. (Body off + engine work)

The trans work was done in '92 by a retired Packard mechanic whose name escapes me right now, but I do have it with my pics & notes on your 56J.

I drove your Hawk 'a bit' back then and, to me anyway, that original Twin-Ultramatic still wasn't 'right'.

So best of luck with this new replacement.....One could probably put a solid down payment on a home with all the $$$$$$ that's been spent fixing that car's transmission! :)

07-05-2015, 08:03 PM
The Packard mechanic whom I mentioned in my last post's name was Bill Gamble. Bill worked for Feldman Motors, at the time a major S-P dealer in the Boston area. Feldman's was located just south of the Studebaker-Packard Boston Parts Depot, on the Revere Beach Parkway.

Although admittedly Joe Bacon's 1956 Golden Hawk transmission didn't turn out entirely satisfactorily, Bill Gamble had quite a good reputation for rebuilding those cranky Twin-Ultramatic transmissions.

Packard folks who lived as far away as Long Island, New York would ship their cars to Feldman's in Boston for the 'Bill Gamble touch'.......Those were the days! :)

07-05-2015, 09:58 PM
Troy rebuilt a transmission HE had, I supplied a transmission I had for the short tail section that he did not have. Later we found the one I supplied had a crack in the housing and he found a NOS tail section. Troy is going to tear my transmission apart and see if he can locate the problem area.

Here is what I see as the original problem............

1. A car that had been in storage/display for many years, with little road time.

2. A new owner(me) who neglected to acknowledge the car had set for a decade without any road miles.

3. I trusted a local transmission shop who had a great radio ad......

Let me say this in case anyone has looked at this vendor for any tranny work.

The company I used was Edwards Transmission located in Indianapolis. Upon removing the transmission I saw that they NEVER used any gasket kits all seals were a silicone seal.

I got "what I paid for" a hard lesson learned..........

07-06-2015, 01:29 AM
Yes, as I've said many times before to owners of Studebakers equipped with Packard 'Twin-Ultramatic' OR Detroit Gear 'Studebaker Automatic Drive' transmissions,.....If your local transmission repair shop foreman says something like:....... "Sure,we can fix ANY automatic transmission here".....RUN, don't walk, the heck out of that place! ;)

07-06-2015, 08:05 AM
Unless they can! Parts are not that difficult to come by. Bands usually can be relined, as well as the TCC. I can get them relined in Kevlar and even super high performance carbon metallic. (for far far less than new old stock parts. ) The biggest problem with these transmissions is the torque converter is very heavy, and wears the input bearings and seals, and front pump then you get an internal pressure loss which causes slipping. Always check the torque converter drive hub for runout, some slipped by that were not perfectly centered. When they are taken apart, make sure all thrust bearings in the torque converter are good, and the stator sprag is a weak link too, check it for over centering, and cracking. One from a hydramatic 4 speed can be utilized and is stronger. 55 and 56 were different in pumps, and spline counts, and input shaft oiling. know what parts you require.

07-06-2015, 09:12 AM
Brad refers to problems that may or may not occur inside an aging Twin-Ultramatic transmission....a transmission with many miles on it.

What has to be remembered here is that problems showed up in these units when the cars were relatively new. In truth, these units were not up to the torque of the Packard V8.

Troy Taylor, Joe Bacon's transmission man, no doubt has had experience with Twin-Ultramatics and understands their weaknesses.

Once again, a contemporary transmission shop, no matter how well meaning, would most likely 'fumble the ball' here....ultimately costing the Packard owner much money and aggravation. (Just ask Joe Bacon!) :(

07-11-2015, 03:51 PM
One dramatic move made by S-P for the '56 Packards was an automatic transmission case cast in aluminum. By doing this there was a major weight savings compared to the '55 version of the Twin-Utramatic.

I believe Packard was the first domestic manufacturer to come out with an aluminum auto trans case.....a move almost universally adopted a few years later. :!: