Monday, August 31, 2009

The tranny transplant that didn't happen....yet

So we have been a bit busy moving the oldest daughter up to college. In between, I got the C4 Transmission for my Mustang rebuilt. I forgot to tell them to NOT paint it. I had to strip off the paint, mask off some parts and repaint it so it is close to how they looked from the factory.
I also spent a few hours running new stainless steel transmission coolant lines and getting 40 years of grease and gunk off the underside of the car.
Yesterday I went ahead and tried to see if I could get the car up and the transmission in place under it. That part went fine, but then my jacks were not cooperating and I couldn't safely get the transmission close enough to actually bolt it to the engine.
It will have to wait until a friend can assist.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life changes

This past weekend was one of those times when you pause and say "did that really just happen?"
Our eldest has now moved to a college dormitory! We did that on Sunday. We got home from church and she had already filled the foyer with her boxes. By 2 PM we were up in Denton, and parked in a dirt lot next to the Honors dorm. She got checked in and a room key and we checked out a big cart to use to transfer everything. We only made two trips and had her all moved in. A young man from Denton Bible Church walked up while we were unloading the truck and volunteered to haul something. Mission work by the church. We spoke to him since we knew his pastor had health issues. We had the eldest moved in and wife and I went to see about paying the bill, since all of UNT's online bill pay, seems screwed up. Unfortunately, there were closed for the day. I tried again Sunday evening and it worked! Wife and I then walked about the campus and down to a Sack N Save to pick up a few items for her. We then went back home with a short list of other items needed. Printer cable, ethernet cable, hooks and such.
Hard to believe she is now up at the dorm. Classes start on Thursday, but she is staying up there, getting settled in, meeting people, checking out the campus.

And then today (Monday), the youngest had her first day in High School. She was a bit apprehensive about it, but will do fine.

Somehow with all that going on, I was still able to work on my newly rebuilt automatic transmission. It is almost ready to go back into the car. I need to crawl under the car and install the new transmission cooler lines and clean up a few other items.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, A day of rest

Sometimes. Sometimes you get a wild hair and take a transmission out of a car.

First we need to rewind about 6 weeks, or 15 years. I have a 1969 Ford Mustang. It has been a member of the family since 1971. I quit driving it on a regular basis in about 1983. It has the small V-8 engine and an automatic transmission, a C4 in Ford vernacular. The shift linkage on the C4 goes through the side of the transmission case, where it has a seal to keep the transmission fluid inside. Unfortunately, the seal can only be serviced from inside the transmission. The shifter rod is actually designed so that it is above the normal level of fluid in the pan. But when you quit driving the car and let it sit for some time, then the torque converter, which is the device hooking the motor to the transmission, slowly drains its fluid back into the transmission pan, raising the level of the fluid up to the shifter seal. Result? A small seepage of transmission fluid on the floor.
15 years ago, I’d drive the car on a weekend and park it. It would take about six days before the seepage would begin, and then it would only leak maybe a bathroom Dixie cup of fluid. That went on for about 14 years.
This year I started to notice that I’d drive the car on a Saturday, and by Sunday, there was already fluid leaking.
About six weeks ago I decided to do a dirty nasty task and change the transmission fluid and filters in both the old Fords. We also have a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach1. Changing transmission fluids on old Fords is about my least favorite task on them. Ford pinched penny’s for years and never installed drain plugs on the transmission, as it isn’t a regularly required task. Most people just take it in to a shop. Not me. I lie on the floor with the car jacked up and start loosening the pan bolts. That causes the fluid to start leaking out. All over your arm and floor. But that is how it is done. So I change the filter and fluid and hope that some of the leaking on the C4 is from the pan gasket. Well some of it might have been, but you couldn’t tell it from how much was still leaking all over the drip pan under the car.
I hit the internet to see if there are some write ups on replacing the shifter seal with the transmission still in the car. I found a few write ups. Unfortunately, the task requires again draining the fluid, and then removing the shifter body from inside. So a few weeks back, I go back under the car, transmission fluid running down my arm, but I get the shifter body out. Except my car has a kick down linkage that also passes through the shift rod! That is in the way of getting to the large nut which holds the shifter arm. The shift rod can’t be removed, as the main gears are in the way. In disgust, I bolt everything back together. I pull out 40 years of maintenance records on the car and start looking around to see if there was ever any work done on the transmission. I can’t find any records about the transmission, except fluid and filter changes. I crawl back under the car the next weekend and start inspecting all aspects of the transmission. I find 40 year old Ford tags and markings. I also realize that the transmission has multiple leaks. Not only the shifter shaft, but the modulator valve is leaking, and it seems that the torque converter is also leaking. I decide to remove the transmission and take it to a shop for a rebuild.
So the next weekend I climb under the car and start loosening and removing all the parts so I can remove the transmission. I also call a local shop that has been in business since the late 1950’s and they confirm they can rebuild antique automatic transmission.

So this past Sunday another car friend comes over and we work on some parts for his Mustang. We mess with that for about an hour and then he convinces me that with his help, we can have the transmission out of the car in a little while. So we head under it, him on one side and me on the other. About two hours later, the transmission is lying on the floor. No injuries were sustained, which is always a good thing. The only broken parts were the transmission coolant lines. We tried to get the one off we could reach, but after 40 years, the steel line and the nut that holds it to the transmission, had become one with each other. The steel line twisted and cracked. The other line has to be removed when the transmission is lowered a few inches. Since the coolant lines are sold in a pair, I made the executive decision to use a pipe cutter and just cut the line off. I’ll have to order new lines and plan on getting stainless steel lines.

So I need to order some parts, the fluid lines, plus a new steel vacuum line. I don’t have to replace the vacuum line, but might as well at this point. Plus a new transmission mount, which is rubber and had about dissolved from 40 years of use and leaking fluids.

So after 40 years, I have to spend $475 to get the transmission rebuilt.

Should I call up Ford and complain?

The photo is the C4 transmission and the torque converter in the back of my truck, ready to be dropped off at Hackler Transmission.