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Packard V8 clutch housing?...How many do You need?

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  • Packard V8 clutch housing?...How many do You need?

    Looking at the photo of Phil Brandt's '56J that Bob Palma posted, and the mention that this car is a 'rare stick o/d model', brought an article that I saw once to mind. I'd guess that many owners of '56 Golden Hawks (as well as other Packard V8 powered vehicles) would not mind having one of those indestructible T-85 o/d transmissions behind that torquey engine. Probably the hardest item to locate, when converting one of these cars from auto to standard, would be the Packard V8 clutch housing. In the article, the owner of a '56 Golden could not locate the clutch housing.....so He adapted the torque converter housing from a Packard V8 Twin-Ultramatic trans. I'm not sure if He went with the '55 version (cast iron) or the '56 version (aluminum), but indeed, both of these converter housings unbolt from their respective automatic transmission cases. They turn out to be very similar in overall size, shape, and depth as the original clutch housing. With a custom flat steel plate installed on the trans end of the converter housing, (certainly this would be the tricky part), the standard transmission can be bolted up. I suppose at that point other standard (4 speed-5 speed) transmissions could be adapted, if one didn't want to go with (or couldn't find) a Borg Warner T-85.

  • #2
    Probably the hardest item to locate, when converting one of these cars from auto to standard, would be the Packard V8 clutch housing. In the article, the owner of a '56 Golden could not locate the clutch housing.....
    Anyone who says he can't locate the OEM parts usually means he doesn't want to pay the current market price. They're out there, just priced according to their scarcity.
    They turn out to be very similar in overall size, shape, and depth as the original clutch housing.
    Not exactly. They're quite different. Anything can be made to fit anything, as long as cost is no object. Once, a CASO prospective customer asked me to do this modification.

    1. The T-U housing is 5" deep and the standard shift is only 3.5". This means the T85 input shaft would require a 1.5" extended pilot bearing and the clutch disc would fall off the front of the splines.

    2. The center hole would have to be machined to fit the front bearing retainer and reinforcing plates welded to the inside of the housing so the bolt pattern could be drilled or the aforementioned adapter plate would have to be bought or made.

    3. There's no provision for the mechanical clutch linkage, so the access hole would have to be cut and a pedestal for the pivot ball welded in. I recommend a hydraulic throwout bearing.

    When all the machine work was added up, the "costs-too-much" standard bell was less expensive. Besides, the standard T85 would bolt up.

    The only time I'd recommend modifying the T-U bell is when a transmission with a 1.5" longer input shaft was the one desired to be used. Even then, it would be less expensive just to buy a commercially available Ford pattern adapter and use the standard bell.

    BTW, Packard V8 flywheels don't exactly come up every day, so factor in that costs in the equation.

    Your opinions and results may vary.

    jack vines, who has several of each on the shelf.
    Last edited by PackardV8; 08-11-2013, 09:18 AM.
    PackardV8

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    • #3
      Jack, Your points are all well taken...and I realize You speak from experience. The key here ..as you point out...would then be to NOT use a T-85, but go with a standard trans with a longer input shaft. In that way You 'beat' the rather major problem of the Ultramatic converter housing being 1 1/2" deeper than the Packard standard shift clutch housing. This is possibly for the best, as later five (or six speed) overdrive units might be a good alternative to the rare T-85 anyway. As far as the standard shift flywheel goes....I do have some thoughts on how to work that problem out. One point I do disagree with you on though, is that finding an original Packard V8 standard shift clutch housing is merely dependent upon whether or not the purchaser is a CASO...these items...as You would surely know...are quite a rarity...SN-60

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      • #4
        I have been wanting to ask this question for awhile now,
        and this might be as good'a chance as any to ask...

        I have given some thought to dropping a Packard V8 into my 2R16A StudeBus.
        I would hope to be adding a Dana 70HD at the same time.

        What manual transmission options are out there for me?
        I'd rather not have an automatic.


        For the record~
        she currently weighs about 9000 pounds...
        StudeDave '57
        US Navy (retired)

        3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
        SDC Member since 1985

        past President
        Whatcom County Chapter SDC
        San Diego Chapter SDC

        past Vice President
        San Diego Chapter SDC
        North Florida Chapter SDC

        Comment


        • #5
          Dave,---Just a thought...but if I wished to adapt the Packard to ANY manual transmission for the bus, I'd round up one or two of the V8 Ultramatic converter housings we're discussing here to experiment with. Decide which tranny You wish to use, and then craft an adapter plate, either store bought or 'home made'. As Jack pointed out, the 'key' will be finding a trans with a long enough input shaft. (If You really get serious, the Packard Twin -Ultramatic converter housing could be shortened at a machine shop...the '56 aluminum version of it could be anyway. (And this part is 'relatively' common, and worth almost nothing)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
            Dave,---Just a thought...but if I wished to adapt the Packard to ANY manual transmission for the bus, I'd round up one or two of the V8 Ultramatic converter housings we're discussing here to experiment with. Decide which tranny You wish to use, and then craft an adapter plate, either store bought or 'home made'. As Jack pointed out, the 'key' will be finding a trans with a long enough input shaft. (If You really get serious, the Packard Twin -Ultramatic converter housing could be shortened at a machine shop...the '56 aluminum version of it could be anyway. (And this part is 'relatively' common, and worth almost nothing)
            Ever noticed how much heavier the Studebaker truck 5-speed bellhousing is than the car version? It weighs nearly twice as much. Studebaker engineers weren't into wasting cast iron. They knew the torque from the low gear multiplication necessary to start a heavy load has to be held by something strong. The aluminum T-U bellhousing in a 9000# bus would most likely twist in half.

            This is the same reason the truck 4-speed and 5-speed transmission mounting bolts are about twice as far apart as the car 3-speed. They need the leverage of widely spaced bolts to resist the twisting torque.

            Therein lies the problem of adapting a real truck transmission to the Packard 3-speed bellhousing. The Ford pattern bolts are too close together. An adapter plate could be made to physically bolt up a truck tranny, but it's unknown if it would stand up to loaded truck use. If the 9000# bus were driven with some care and concern, it would probably be OK.

            I'd have to re-examine the cast iron T-U bellhousing, as I've never considered whether it would be sufficiently strong to use as a basis for a truck transmission conversion. As I said in the previous post, with enough money, time and talent, anything can be made to fit anything.

            One point I do disagree with you on though, is that finding an original Packard V8 standard shift clutch housing is merely dependent upon whether or not the purchaser is a CASO...these items...as You would surely know...are quite a rarity...SN-60
            Yes, they're a rarity; only 4071 56Js and approx. 20% had the standard shift, so maybe 800, plus the few Clippers with a 3-speed. That's why I buy, stock and sell the Packard V8 manual transmission parts.

            I could ship a complete '56J bellhousing, flywheel, clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, pilot bearing, clutch fork, transmission, shift linkage and pedal assembly on Monday.

            If someone is contemplating a Packard conversion, I've got the individual parts as well. I've installed Ford Toploader 4-speeds, T10 4-speeds, T56 6-speed manuals, TH400 and TH700R4 automatics.

            jack vines
            PackardV8

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            • #7
              That makes sense Jack. An aluminum bell probably would be overcome by a heavy truck/bus. Still, the '56 aluminum converter housing...with considerable work, could in all probability be made to work for a passenger car application. Or the cast iron coverter housing could be made to work if a transmission with a long enough input shaft is sourced. Jack,...if You have a few of the original Packard V8 clutch housings for sale...that makes YOU a rarity!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                There used to be a 2R16 that sat idle, not 3 miles from my place. Twice I went to look at it - with mild interest towards owning it - but could never come to terms with the old farmer that owned it. It had a 56J engine as I recall - somehow mated to a truck 4-spd if memory serves me right. The story was that after the Big Six gave out, he went across the street to Stones Auto Wrecking and got a 352 to use in the truck. He used the truck weekly, to run loads of hay to customers up in the Sierra Nevadas. Eventually, the Packard motor gave out and he got another one from Stones. But the "new" motor never got installed and was still waiting out in the barn when I last inquired. Sadly - the truck, the house and the barn were all removed a few years ago.
                No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                  I'd have to re-examine the cast iron T-U bellhousing, as I've never considered whether it would be sufficiently strong to use as a basis for a truck transmission conversion. As I said in the previous post, with enough money, time and talent, anything can be made to fit anything. jack
                  That's just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the input.

                  I guess I'll be staying with Stude Power for awhile...




                  StudeDave '57
                  StudeDave '57
                  US Navy (retired)

                  3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                  SDC Member since 1985

                  past President
                  Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                  San Diego Chapter SDC

                  past Vice President
                  San Diego Chapter SDC
                  North Florida Chapter SDC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, Dave, you got me thinking and I'm looking into what it would take to mount a real truck tranny. It appears some heliarc welding and machining would be involved.

                    so He adapted the torque converter housing from a Packard V8 Twin-Ultramatic trans. I'm not sure if He went with the '55 version (cast iron) or the '56 version (aluminum)
                    Since I don't do much with Twin-Ultramatics and prefer the '56 engines, I didn't remember all the V8 T-U bells are aluminum. The '55 tranny case is cast iron, but the bell is aluminum. The Packard guys were nice about educating without embarrassing the heck out of me when I asked for a '55 cast iron bell.

                    jack vines
                    PackardV8

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                      Well, Dave, you got me thinking and I'm looking into what it would take to mount a real truck tranny. It appears some heliarc welding and machining would be involv

                      Since I don't do much with Twin-Ultramatics and prefer the '56 engines, I didn't remember all the V8 T-U bells are aluminum. The '55 tranny case is cast iron, but the bell is aluminum. The Packard guys were nice about educating without embarrassing the heck out of me when I asked for a '55 cast iron bell.

                      jack vines
                      ooooooooooooops!!......I thought the aluminum bell was '56 Only' also.............Guess I better stick with Studes!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Did any of the AMC cars that used the Packard V8 get manual trannys?
                        Paul
                        Winston-Salem, NC
                        Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by r1lark View Post
                          Did any of the AMC cars that used the Packard V8 get manual trannys?
                          Quite sure the manual trans was not available on the '55-'56 Hudson and Nash models that used Packard V8 engines.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                            Well, Dave, you got me thinking and I'm looking into what it would take to mount a real truck tranny. It appears some heliarc welding and machining would be involved. jack vines
                            Whoa- thanks again Jack!!!
                            So maybe this idea is not dead yet...?



                            StudeDave '57
                            StudeDave '57
                            US Navy (retired)

                            3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                            SDC Member since 1985

                            past President
                            Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                            San Diego Chapter SDC

                            past Vice President
                            San Diego Chapter SDC
                            North Florida Chapter SDC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
                              Quite sure the manual trans was not available on the '55-'56 Hudson and Nash models that used Packard V8 engines.
                              Didn't they use four speed hydro-matic in those years? That would be a nice swap, wouldn't it?

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