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The Master Mechanic

Updated on May 4, 2016

The worn out truck

I want to tell you about a repair made to an old pickup I had many years ago. I have no photos of the truck under discussion. The pickup in this photo is mine. But a different pickup. Also, the words "RUST BUCKET" on the door are not really there. They are only in my computer. Just like you, I play with my photo program sometimes. But I think it makes the photo more interesting.

Why do I keep an old pickup like the one in the photo? Out here in the country I do not have to have a nice new shinny one like you do in town. As long as it does the job - I keep it. And this one is still doing a fine job for what I want. When it can no longer do a good job, I will throw it away [Give it away?] just as I did with the pickup I want to tell you about.

The pickup with the problem I want to tell you about was an old 1961 "Chevy". 6 cyl. 3 speed manual transmission pickup. It was one of those where "Chevy" went after the "Ugly" award. And boy did they ever win it. Ask your grandpa about them. They had a couple of ovals on the leading edge of the hood. I think there were parking lights or turn signals in the ovals.

Give General Motors credit. When they got rid of that hood in a year or two they came up with a nice looking pickup.

The time of the situation I'm telling you about was probably in the mid 1980's.

The transmission

No that is not the pick up either. But it is a truck and you can see the automatic transmission on it. Beside, we both like to see pictures.

I was no stranger to the pickup. It belonged to my best friend and I had borrowed it from him a number of times. I knew it "popped" out of high gear once in a while. Generally when you hit a good bump or pot hole in the road. So he did not take advantage of me in any way. Besides, it was cheap. If I bought it - it was.

At the time I was a technician (We called ourselves mechanics back then. Remember those guys?) with a Lincoln Mercury dealership. And overhauling manual transmissions was a part of my job. So, big deal. i could fix it.

As time went along the truck got to where it jumped out of high gear more and more. In fact it got so bad I counted it jumping out of high gear 16 times in my 12 mile drive to work one day. I tried every adjustment I knew how to do. But, it was all to no avail.

Why didn't I just fix it? At that time it was like this. It was my only transportation to work. When we would work on an automatic transmission we generally could get parts over night. But when we worked on an manual transmission, we tore it down to see what it needed - then pushed the vehicle to a side for a week or two and waited for the parts. And a 12 mile walk each way was too much - especially at the end of a hard day.

The best way would have been to simply to order in a rebuilt transmission. Then I could have just slipped it in on a Saturday. There was only one problem. MONEY. Some of the kids were still at home and the wife was not working.

Now I'm getting desperate.

The transmission repaired

Calling the master mechanic

I do not need to tell you that it was getting very frustrating just going to work and back. And as I mentioned - I was getting desperate.

I can still clearly remember coming down what we call "slaughter mountain" here. Just after getting to the bottom of the hill and onto the straight away - It popped out of high gear again. I pushed in the clutch and slapped it back into gear. When I let out the clutch it simply jumped out of gear again.

I remember yet in desperation calling out loud, "Lord I don't know how much longer I can put up with this.

The next morning taking one of the boys to either work or school he ask me if I had fixed the transmission. I said "No. Why?" He pointed out that it had not jumped out of gear and we were half way to town.

I started waiting to see how long it would be until it jumped out of gear. (I wish I had written it down.) I would guess that it was about one and a half years before that truck ever jumped out of high gear again. Then I just gave it to the boy who had been riding with me.



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