Turbo 350 Transmission Project – Fits and Starts

When I last left off, I was waiting on some parts to arrive so I could prep the new transmission for installation.  Thanks to the miracle of the internet, everything showed up pretty much at once:

Clockwise from the top, that’s a pan gasket and filter, two crossmember brackets and their rubber cushions, a new vacuum modulator, two seals, and a new crossmember mount.  I lined up the new seals over the input and output shafts and, using a large socket as a drift, tapped them into place with a hammer:

I also removed the crusty old mount from the bottom of the tailshaft and installed the new one.  The remaining parts will wait until the tranny is up in the car.  Speaking of which…

At some point, I seem to recall writing that I was going to skip installing new fuel lines so I could concentrate on the fun projects like this one.  I should have known those words would come back to haunt me, as the transmission installation has turned into the single most frustrating automotive project I’ve attempted since the time I tried to fix the entire front suspension of a $700 Sunbird convertible.  I can’t get the car high enough on my jack stands to fit the transmission under the car on a floor jack, and I’m not strong enough to muscle the transmission onto the jack from under the car.  After several sweaty nights, I finally succeeded in getting the tranny on the jack under the car with the help of a piece of plywood as a kind of ramp and every “plumbing word” I could muster.  Even then, I wasn’t able to get the transmission lined up between the exhaust pipes, in front of the crossmember, and behind the engine before the whole thing went sideways and slipped off the jack.  I’ve pretty much resigned myself to removing the exhaust from the car – something from which there is likely no going back, since I will probably have to cut it out.  I was thinking about having a new exhaust installed this summer, but I wasn’t planning on having it forced on me like this.  We’ll see if I come up with any better plans in the meantime, but the next post might involve a healthy dose of air tools and a sawzall.

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