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September 30, 2006


Looks like I'm in the market for a transmission for this vehicle.
I tried replacing the pilot bearing with a brass bushing, like other models use.
No good. I even whittled down the input shaft a tad to get it more round.

I visited a machine shop to see if i could get the input shaft sleeved, and the brass bushing oversized to fit the sleeve. They said no. Probably just as well. At this point I dont really trust this transmission at all.

My friend Mat stopped by with his VW Golf. I put rear pads on it. Whoo-whoo.

no pics.

September 29, 2006


It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon!
My companion, a yellow canary, flitted about drunkenly.
The Red Baron, ignoring the pirates, insisted on riddling my doghouse with holes, as is his way.


It's almost 1:00AM on Friday. I have to redo the B2500 tomorrow.
This vehicle is mostly a Ford Ranger. I can't find anything Mazda about it except the upper ball joints are designed as slightly more serviceable. I documented B.joints on it a while back.

Wednesday, Sean O. dropped it off because it wasn't shifting. He also wanted me to do the left side ball joints before he got new tires/alignment. I did the right side last time. Left still wasn't loose, but when I got them off the vehicle i could tell they weren't long for this world. Good hunch.

Anyway, no shift. I thought we'd change the fluid. It was very burnt looking. It seemed to help at first, but then the problem recurred.
"what could cause this?" I asked myself. It's almost as if the clutch is not releasing, but i know it is.
Clutch pedal is fine, clutch releases and engages, no slipping, obvious release. It doesn't seem to be internal to the transmission. It acts quite like i have my foot off the clutch pedal in neutral.
I ran it by my brother the genius.
"pilot bearing" he says.
"D'oh" says I. "Of course!"

The pilot bearing is binding. This causes the transmission input shaft to spin, almost as if the clutch was engaged when it is not. It doesn't spin as fast as the engine, as it would if the clutch actually was engaged, but it spins enough to cause a problem.

So I got it apart. Dropped the trans, removed clutch. Clutch is down to the minimum, though not to the rivets yet. Spec says replace. It might last another year or so, but not worth the labor to drop the trans again. Pilot bearing is shot. The little needle bearings in it fall out, along with rust and dust, and some of the needles look like hand rolled play-dough.

The input shaft to the transmission rides in this bearing, so of course it also looks like crap. I de-burred it and polished it. It was very shiny and appeared smooth when i was done.
For the record, I've always disliked needle bearing type pilot bearings. Ford uses them on some vehicles. Most others use brass bushings.

I put the whole kaboodle in (it came with the kit), added fluid, dropped it down, started up.
"ker-chirp" then fine,- shut off.
"That sounded like the pilot was binding." thought i. "Crap!" thought i.
I started it again. Same.
3rd time no noise.
let's try to put it in gear.
I have to do the whole thing again tomorrow.

Whatever shall i do to make sure I don't have another needle bearing pilot failure?
I suppose it actually depends on what it all looks like when i get it out. The input shaft looked salvageable to me, but these needle bearings seem pretty picky.

to be continued..........
s.k. friday, 9/29, 1:19 AM

Friday, 9/29
Coffee and a trip to NAPA

I have removed the interior shifter, and successfully raised the vehicle. again.

Maybe I'll eat some cereal.

Operation "Eat Cereal"
Objective: Locate and engage oatmeal. Consume.
Mission Accomplished.

Oh, and i got the transmission out. Again.

The pilot bearing looks unharmed, but I am replacing it anyway. Removing it might not be too fun.
The input shaft looks as good as it did when I polished it yesterday.
Running my fingertips over it though I can feel irregularities. I slid the new pilot on it and it isn't entirely smooth spinning. I'll have to smooth the shaft a tad more.

input shaft appears to still be binding. Not as badly as yesterday, but still not good. Hard shifting still.
I should have measured the runout of the shaft.

3rd time's a charm.


Input shaft has .009" runout. I don't have the spec, but that's quite a bit of runout. .003"
might be tolerable. It actually looks like it's out of round rather than bent. There are dark heat lines on the high spots. Time to call the owner and discuss it.

September 28, 2006


The Honda Del Sol is pretty cool. It's like a civic, except only 2 seats, and sportier. I guess it's a little sportier than the CRX which it replaced. BTW, if you can get your hands on a CRX HF, they get 50+mpg. HF is for High Fuel economy. They're also plenty torquey.
This 94 model Del Sol has a removable roof, and the rear windscreen rolls down. It belongs to my sister's neighbor Justin (I documented a clutch on his Hyundai a while back). He called Wednesday morning.
Wednesday afternoon Sean O. stopped by with his Mazda B2500. I worked on that all day today too. Thought done-not done. I'll relay that tale when it is done.

For now, be content with Justin's Honda.

So this thing is pretty loud. Tao Auto wanted a ton of money for an exhaust manifold, so he asked if i could help out. He originally wanted just an o2 sensor, but the manifold is cracked.

I took care of it. Probably saved him a couple hundered bucks or more.
When he tried to back out from Tao, they tried to down sell some headers to him cheaper. Headers are good for the track, but IMO don't do a lot on the street most times, esp with no other changes... plus the manifold i found is still way cheaper. And I'm cheap.. possibly even tawdry, but i hide it well ;)

Err.. Anyway
Cheap parts usually come with a little price of another kind. This time it was just a little weirdness. The manufacturer could have just not included the outer heat shielding at all. I would've been fine with that. They didn't include the inner shielding. I ended up having to re-use both old shields.

new vs old outer shield:

Funny thing about the extra hole in the old heat shield. It needs to be there so you can CHECK THE OIL.
That's the dipstick jutting out in the pic for effect.

A couple of the bolt holes in the old shield were slopped out, so i added washers. I also had to add bolts/nuts where some were missing, and cut out a 2500rpm rattle on the center pipe... and of course, I installed the new O2 sensor.

So far the check engine light has not come back.

I had that done by about 10:30 I think. I spent most of the day after that on the B2500. I have to do it again tomorrow :( It'll work this time though. I'll post it tomorrow night prob'ly.

September 19, 2006

continue and click on images for full screen if desired

September 18, 2006

Mazda 322.5

I'm getting ready to pull the engine on the Mazda. Once I get the hood off, i just have to pull the axles and hoist up the engine. The rest I disconnected today.

This car is bent.

I noticed some brake problems indicating bent parts, and the inner tie rod on the left is visibly bent.
The left door pillar is cracked, and in front of it is visibly bent.

I get to pull the engine, and maybe we can clean some of this up.

While pulling off accessories, wires, and hoses, i noticed some more stuff indicating bent parts. The difficult part is determining what is bent, and how badly.
This engine mount should be straight, not crooked. The mount itself is fine.
bent1.jpg 1280x960

This line to the clutch looks like it's been replaced, looped around, and hung wrong. I think there might be another brace missing too.
lineloop1.jpg 1280x960

Here is the driver's transaxle mount brace, and a view from inside the fenderwell. It looks funny to me... like it was cut out and re-welded maybe, or just bent and "straightened"... or all of the above.
brace1.jpg 1280x960

I had some pictures of where the left frame horn dips down below the fender, but they didn't come out well. It's like the whole front end was pushed over and folded, and then partially straightened.

It drives well other than the acceleration pull. The extent to which we go into repairing these things is going to have to be weighed as cost versus effect. Obviously the one who "fixed" it after the accident was mainly concerned with cost. I still consider it a safe car to drive ...except after accelerating hard in a hard corner, such as one would mainly do in an autocross event... not acceptable street driving.

Before I pull the front axles, I expect to see one of them plunge further on the inner joint than the other. Getting them even will be an after-effect of getting the rest right.

September 9, 2006

lincoln transmission

Sean went to Dallas for a car show.
The Lincoln decided it didn't want to go.

The transmission started acting funny, and the engine had been stalling when cold.

After some checking, I found the transmission symptom is a common problem, and a change of the fluid and filter usually fixes it. It made a noise like driving over "rumble strips" on the highway.

I drained the torque converter (had a drain plug- whoo-hoo!), and removed the transmission oil pan (no drain plug- messy)
While I had the pan off, I found this weird plastic do-dad rolling around in the pan.

So, of course, I panicked.
Then I realized it was probably just a dust plug that got pushed into the pan when they installed the dip stick tube at the factory. I asked around, and I was correct. No biggie.
I seem to remember seeing one of these before years ago (also on a Ford product).

Then I removed the "1-2 shift accumulator" to upgrade it, but found out it already had the new version in there, so i put it back... and it was a pain too! Very stiff springs in there.

I added an auxiliary transmission cooler as well.

This all seems to have fixed the problem, though I didn't drive it much. If the problem comes back, we'll have to install a new torque converter I fear.

It still stalled when cold until i revved it up, then it ran fine. I think it has a bad IAC valve (Idle Air Control), also a common problem. The car has almost 98K miles on it, and is 8yrs old, so....

Update 5/22/08
Wow, just found this entry on a search. Transmission is fine still. The engine IAC valve operated or limped acceptably for a year or so after i cleaned it, then crapped out. BTW, I cleaned out that IAC back in 2006/original entry :)
It's a little electric valve on top of the engine, controlling idle air flow. Sean bought a new one when it started acting up again but never installed it. A month or so after he bought it, Vic couldn't get the car to start (cold out). 10 minutes later plus the new valve and it's been going good since.

Update 7/04/08
Trans still strong. Idle issue recurring intermittently. I again suspect the IAC though I haven't the time to inspect it. I don't trust the brand he bought. That brand has sold me many parts which failed within a year. I don't buy from them anymore. Age has its benefits.

September 3, 2006

sunday, 9/3

I had to clear out some fuel turds from the Mazda. Each line dipping into the tank had about a 20x10mm cylinder of tar. That's 3 turds. One is now rolling around in the primary tank, 'cause i had no way to get to it other than blow-through with compressed air. It'll be fine. The car runs terrific, and the loud pump quieted down quite a bit once fuel started flowing.

We put some mufflers on the Pantera. I think somehow it produces higher decibles now, but at a lower frequency. It's a little quieter. The Mufflers still need a little tweaking to fit just right. Sean has pictures somewhere.

Today Lewis and Geneva are here to put a transmission in their red diesel. It should be fun.