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Driving to DC and car problems

May 20, 2009

 Driving to DC and car problems

Today was all about driving to DC. Along the way our transmission started acting up. I have this funky car where there is no dipstick or fill for the transmission fluid. It has to be serviced from underneath with a special tool. Low gears started slipping so I figured that it was low on fluid due to my negligence. Naturally the area we were in had just closed down at 5:00pm. Everything was closed including Walmart service department. I would have normally just stayed the night and relaxed, but I already had $140 in to a hotel in DC for the night and I didnt want to waste that, so I was motivated to keep on the road.

I decided to try to add fluid myself at this one auto store that hadnt closed yet. I got some fluid and a tube and crawled under the car in their parking lot. It was easy to determine which of the two screws was the drain plug and which was the fill/service plug so I went to town. Unfortunately, amidst the frustrations of the problem and not being able to source any help, I had forgotten the one simple thing that most guys know which is that transmission fluid must be checked while the engine is running and the pump is primed. Trans fluid is part of the system and is normally pressurized up in the pump and such, so when I removed that bolt with the engine off, all of the trans fluid was just sitting there in bulk and out it came, very hot, all over my arm and then down their nice parking lot...

I hesitated for a second then grabbed the bolt and stuck it back in to stop the flow. Naturally my arm is covered in hot stinky messy fluid and this river of oil is flowing its way down the parking lot.

We grabbed some towels to dike up what we could and I cleaned up a bit and realized my error. Running the motor proved to allow me to remove the bolt safely and add some fluid. My method of adding fluid throught a tiny hose using gravity didnt really work so well and I think most of it just came down my arm so I gave up, accepted defeat and decided to wait the night.

I went back into the place to get some cat litter to throw down on my mess and they came up with a name of someone who could help us and was still open.

We drove over to a very 'bad' part of town and this little corner place was apparently a hangout for the local folk as well. I found our guy and discussed the problem at great length because he didnt seem to understand why I couldnt add fluid. Finally after crawling under my car and doing his own investigation he came to the conclusion that I had no transmission fill tube and needed a special tool that he didnt have.

Angrily, I went on my way, and lowe and behold, the transmission light goes out and the thing seems to be working fine. I keept driving. We make it to DC hotel at 2:30am after getting lost in Downtown DC due to highway construction, poor signage and one wrong turn and exhaustion...

I think that the transmission filter may have gotten clogged and messing around with the fluid may have cleared the issue and allowed it to work again. It got us along the rest of the trip and then home again. I'll take it in for servicing later.

And to make things even worse, we had hit a bird the evening before on the highway and came to find it still on my grill the day after. But at least now I know why it was flying so low and across the highway...


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avatar kazko
Gender: Male
Occupation:computer geek
Member since: Jan 24, 1997
Posts: 6733
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NUTHOUSE (3) Pican 4/30/2002, died 6/02/2010 Buddy 5/01/2006 Hazel 2/01/2007, rehomed 11/28/2011 Maya 4/25/2007 Pili 4/25/2007 MISFITS (3) Big Guy 9/23/2003, died 1/29/2014 Lil Guy 9/23/2003, died 5/13/2015 Hunter 4/19/2006, died 3/23/2014 JP 8/12/2006 Shikoni 2004 Kioko 2003 Washi 2003, died 5/27/2014 SUGARSHACK (3) Chico 1/15/2006, died 9/14/2011 Cookie 10/15/2005 Kimmie 10/15/2005 Lucky 5/25/2007 Spritz 8/24/2007, died 7/06/2011 Ginger 8/24/2007, died 12/16/2012 Rock 9/09/2007, died 3/23/2013 Crystal 9/09/2007, died 11/01/2012


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