Turbo 350 Transmission Project – Roadblocks

The last sentence of my previous post proved to be a bit of a jinx – I thought all I had left to accomplish was installing the dipstick, reattaching the modulator line, and rig up the kickdown linkage.  With the to-do list dwindling, I figured it would be no sweat to have the car running this week.  Alas, much like the best laid plans, that didn’t happen due to a combination of bad luck and work I forgot to include in that to-do list.

I decided the car deserved an oil change, so that was accomplished easily enough.  The vacuum modulator line couldn’t be installed until the dipstick tube was in place, so I opened up the new tube I purchased many months ago and got to work.  I got everything lined up… and the tube end wouldn’t fit in the transmission!  After much swearing and attempts with both brute force and finesse, I determined that the tube was slightly oversized for the hole – apparently the Taiwan chrome was applied a bit too thick on this one.  I attempted (poorly) to grind it down to size and scuff it up with emery cloth and got basically nowhere.  After consulting with a machinist at work, we decided there was no fixing it and I was going to have to buy a new one.  This whole process, which should have taken about 15 minutes, had now taken up two days.

I got back under the car last night and had the second new dipstick installed in about – gasp! – 15 minutes.  With that finally out of the way, I reinstalled the modulator line, fixed a broken engine ground wire, and cobbled the exhaust back together with the help of a few adapters and a coat hanger (it’s going to be loud for now).  I finally ran out of steam at about 1:30AM, with the remaining tasks to simply lower the car from the jack stands, top off the oil, transmission fluid, and gas, and hook up the kickdown cable to the carburetor – which might take some field-expedient fabrication skills on my part.  I can see the finish line at this point, but I’m starting to think it might just be a mirage.

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