Written by Mike
Our transmission returned last week with new seals, gaskets and the spline properly sweated into place; I arranged for Adam to return on the weekend to handle the installation. On Saturday I attached the new damper plate and started to install the oil cooling unit (it cools both the engine and transmission oil). By that time Adam had arrived and we finished attaching the four oil hoses and two water hoses. It actually took both of us to tighten the hoses – cranking on the brass hose fittings can deform the soft copper body of the cooler unless you support the brass fitting with another pair of pliers.
Then the real fun began. Adam and I found it much more difficult to get the transmission back in over the top of the engine than it was to get it out. We had to lift, roll, twist and shift 135 lbs of oddly shaped metal over the engine/under the cover without jarring the high-pressure fuel lines – which run along the top edge of the engine just to one side.
Once it was resting on top of the engine Adam had to position himself to catch the transmission as I moved it back towards him.
It’s a great way to lose a finger or a toe.
We managed to get it in and Adam set to work inching it into position – six holes in the flange had to match up with six bolts in the back of the engine. That’s a tricky proposition when the transmission needs to be lifted up about two inches, braced at the perfect angle and then shifted forward till the spline meets the drive plate.
After that it’s easy – just align the spline teeth with gear in the drive (without shifting the transmission on any axis) and slide it forward.
Okay, so it’s not easy – that part took us an hour. Only one of us can get in there at a time and I’m glad it was Adam, because he knew what he was doing. I’d probably still be in there. The engine mounts went back on and after that we focused on the rest of the hoses, cables and other attachments.
I had pumped out most of the engine oil earlier in the week so I gave the Perkins a drink of some fresh stuff. I then filled the transmission with oil and we all crossed our fingers.
This would be the first time we had run the 4-108 since mid-December – it had been a cold four months, although we had warmed the engine spaces quite often to keep the water lines open.
We turned the key, pressed the start button and listened to the familiar sound of a marine diesel rolling over… and over…
And then it caught! After four months and only ten seconds of ignition the iron jenny fired up and ran like a charm!
Adam felt around the transmission while the engine warmed up – after five minutes he gave me the cut-off signal and said those five magic words…
“The transmission is still leaking.”
$1,400 was the bill and they hadn’t fixed the problem. I was not happy.
Adam explained that it was leaking from the gear selector on the port side of the transmission.
“You take the cover plate off on the starboard side and pull out the neutral switch assembly – there’s an O-ring on the port end that should have been replaced.” I observed that this would have been a lot easier to do when the transmission was in the shop and he agreed!
I sent an e-mail to the mechanic and he arranged to send someone out the next day to look at it. Wendy pointed him into the abyss and he confirmed that the neutral switch assembly was the culprit.
“This would have been a lot easier to do in the shop.”
He had no idea how ironic that was!
Once again, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without Adam’s help – I probably would have spent another $800 to have the mechanic pull and install the transmission. That’s why Adam and Ellie have earned a lifetime membership in the Ohana Cruising Club!