Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When Is An Oil Drain..... Not?

I nearly wrecked my $40K Luxury Car a few weekends back. No, I don’t mean wrecked in the collision sense, I mean wrecked in the Maintenance sense. You see, I have a 2002 Jaguar X-Type, and like all Jag’s, it came with a 4 year 50K warranty, which included all routine maintenance. So, since it is a 2002, that warranty has run out, which means, no more free oil changes. I guess I could still take it to the Jag Dealer, where they charge only $39.00 for an oil change, and they even wash the car, I could, if I want to wait around for 2-3 Hours for them to get it done. Or, I could take it to the Jiffy Lube, where they’ll do it quicker….. And charge me an arm and a leg. They have an additional “oil charge” for the synthetic oil, and a “service charge” because they have to pour the oil from the bottles, instead of pumping it from the 55 gallon drum, and of course for some unknown reason they also add on an additional “oil disposal fee”, because of course for some strange reason disposing of synthetic oil MUST be more difficult (cough). Last time I had it done there, they charged me $70.00 for an oil change. Must have been that “Let’s soak the Jag owner, he has money” type of oil change.

So, being the “Tom The Handyman” that I am, I had the brilliant idea to do it myself. Why not? The oil filter, and synthetic Motor Oil totaled $24.00 in Wall Mart, and I’ve done it plenty of times on my other cars, right? Just pop that sucker up on the car maintenance ramps I have, pop that oil drain plug off, swap the filter, reinstall the drain plug, refill it, done deal, right? I look under the car, the drain plug was where I thought it would be, I drive it up on the ramps, put my catch pan under there, pop that plug off, and start draining. I go back inside and have a beer to let it drain, no problem, right? So I go back out, and pull the pan out, and I notice that there’s only about 3 quarts in the pan, which is strange, since the oil capacity is 7 quarts, so I stick my finger into the fluid and hold it up to the light, and I notice the fluid color is….. Red.

For those that don’t know, used motor oil IS NOT red, it’s brown. There is however, a common car fluid that IS red…… Automatic Transmission Fluid. YUP, you guessed it, I accidentally drained part of the transmission. I verify this by putting the plug back in, climbing into the car, starting it up, and shifting into reverse…… Nothing happens. No gear change, no car movement, nothing. GREAT, just great, the car is up on the ramps, half in, half out of the garage, and I can’t move it. No problem, right? Just locate the transmission dip stick, drive the other vehicle over to Wallmart, get 3 quarts of fluid, and refill it like I've done in the past, right? NOPE.

I went on-line, to, and I discover, the transmission is sealed. No maintenance required, no dipstick installed, nothing. Plus, one guy replies to my message that "special" Jaguar transmission fluid is required, at $43.00/quart. WHAT? What's up with that? What is it, Gold Plated Fluid? Plus, he recommends to have the vehicle flatbed towed up to the dealer (20 miles away) to have it done. BUMMER! At least, in the meantime, I try letting the car idle for awhile, and shift it into reverse, and this time it grabs, so I'm able to get it off the ramps, and into the driveway, so at least I can close the garage door. SHEESH, what a bummer.

Fortunately, the next morning (Sunday), a former Jaguar Mechanic replies to my web post, and becomes my savior. He says that since Ford Motor Company took over Jaguar in 2000, I no longer need to put that "special transmission fluid", and can use good old Ford Standard Dexron 2, which Wallmart has for $1.89/quart. He tells me about a "filler bolt" behind the battery, on top of the transmission that can be removed with a 10mm Allen Wrench, to refill the transmission. So, after a quick trip to the hardware store to buy metric allan wrenches ($11.00), and to the Wallmart for 3 quarts of fluid, I stick the allan wrench into the bolt..... It won't budge. I twist and twist, put a pair of pliers on the wrench..... nothing. I'm so close to fixing it now, this darned thing IS NOT GONNA BEAT ME. So I remove the battery to get more clearance, and I clamp the largest pair of vise grips I have on the wrench, and muscle the allan wrench..... and it breaks free! I later find out that Jaguar had put loctite on the bolt, which is a liquid plastic to keep bolts from loosening.

So, I pour in 3 quarts of the fluid, reinstall the filler bolt, reinstall the battery, and start the car. I shift the transmission into reverse, and..... It grabs! So, I spend the next 5 minutes shifting back and forth through Park/Reverse/Drive, back and forth, until I'm certain that the 3 quarts I've put in have thoroughly mixed with the 4 remaining quarts still in the transmission, then I SLOWLY drive it around the block about 5 times, letting it shift up and down through the first 3 gears..... No problems. The car needs fuel, so taking it over to the gas station on roads with speed limits of 50mph will certainly be the ultimate test. The trip to the gas station and back..... Smooth shifting, No problems. WHEW! It looks like I dodged a bullet, and I may be imagining things, but I think the car even shifts smoother now. You know, I STILL haven't located that oil drain plug, and there's still one "Major" issue with the car......

Removing the battery, lost all my programmed radio stations :-)


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