by Stein Eriksen and David Blackman, Buildings & Grounds
This month we brought the 1929 Packard back to life. As with any car that has been sitting for the last 5 plus years a few things needed to be done before it would fire up. There’s 3 things that are required to run an engine, compression, fuel and spark. First we did a visual inspection of the motor, checked compression and oil. Then moved on to spark where we needed to clean and gap the points as well as repair the coil wire. Once we had good spark we could move onto fuel. The carburetor was in relatively good shape, besides a cleaning of the float and valve the rest was in good order. Now that we had compression, fuel and spark it was time to start it up. The Packard came back to life and that straight 8 motor ran flawlessly for about a minute and then stopped. From here we knew we had a fuel supply issue as the Packard is gravity fed from a Stewart vacuum fuel pump. Next logical step was to take the Stewart fuel pump apart to see what was going on. The Stewart vacuum fuel pump is an interesting piece of technology as it uses the engine manifold vacuum to draw gasoline from the fuel tank and fill the gravity fed reservoir. Once apart it was apparent that fuel had completely evaporated inside and left a fair amount of corrosion and the vacuum shutoff was completely seized. After a good cleaning and lubricating the mechanical shutoff, it was time to reassemble. Time to try again and the engine fired right up and ran flawlessly. The next day we took it out on the road and everything worked well and provided a smooth ride.