Turbo 350 Transmission Project – Late Nights and Near Disasters

After last week’s post, I was able to get a well-used but not rusty crossmember from a fellow old-Pontiac-0wning gentleman on Craigslist, and spent some time this week working on the car.  I got a new filter and gasket installed in the transmission, maneuvered the new-to-me crossmember into place, and got everything bolted down.  Before heading to bed, I decided to reinstall the driveshaft so I would quit running into it while scooting around under the car.  I lubricated the new seal in the tailshaft with some old transmission fluid that was pooled on the ground, lined up the splines on the output shaft, and slid the driveshaft yoke into the tranny.  I rolled myself to the rear of the car and lined up the u-joint with the pinion yoke and hand-tightened the nuts holding the shaft to the rearend.  I noticed that the driveshaft seemed a little high, so I rolled back to the transmission and saw that the driveshaft was rubbing on the floor of the car (I later determined this was the result of an odd and unnecessary adapter plate that was between the mount and the body of the replacement transmission).  Puzzled, I started spinning the driveshaft and wiggling it around, hoping it was somehow out of alignment with the tranny, when I heard a clunk come from behind me.  I looked back in horror as I saw the caps from the u-joint lying on the ground – I was in no mood to collect hundreds of tiny needle bearings from my cracked and filthy garage floor at nearly 2AM.

Luckily, the tiny rollers stayed put in the caps, so I quickly jammed a knee under the driveshaft while I pushed the caps back on, then finished tightening the retaining bolts all the way.  Disaster averted, I decided to call it a night.  Up next, dipsticks, modulators, and kickdown linkages.

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