10:09 PM Eastern time, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA BABY!!!
I'm here! I can't believe it, but there it is... the Dog's in
the driveway and I'm sitting at the computer in boxer shorts!
So either I'm hallucinating in a hospital somewhere and on the
verge of a nervous breakdown or I actually finished this silly
trek. I think I'll go with the latter for now, if that's ok with
all of you.
It seems redundant
to say that the drive was uneventful, so I won't, because it wasn't.
I got up at 5AM to beat the rush hour traffic around the DC Beltway
(I pity those of you who read this and know personally why that
was necessary. Been there, done that, remember why I moved!
was successful and made it with no problems all the way past DC/Alexandria/Mixing
Bowl and was cruising along fine, enjoying the weather before
it got too hot when it happened. I was just coming off of a bridge
and it was one of those with a nice lip at the concrete decking/pavement
connection. BAM! It was one of the butt-clenching jolts like those
from the potholes back on the AlCan. Unfortunately, this time
it did cause a problem... the engine started reving freely.
My first though
was that I might have snapped the driveshaft, but I didn't hear
any clunking like I would have thought. I next checked the shifter
to be sure it was still in Drive, and it was. That got me really
worried, as did the semi coming up behind me at full speed as
I was cruising with no power. I managed to get over and off to
the side and as I did, this beautiful off-ramp appeared, leading
to a rest area! I couldn't have been luckier.
and taking a breath, I tried the shifter and noticed that I didn't
have Reverse either. A little more playing showed that I did have
1st and 2nd. Odd. I then tried to put it in Park to take a peek
underneath and the shifter refused, like something was physically
blocking it! I was totally befuddled on that one. I just hoped
the tranny hadn't disintegrated. I went to put it in Neutral to
put the e-brake on and lo and behold, it was reverse! What I found
was that all of the positions had shifted down one notch, N was
R, R was P, D was N, 2 was D and 1 was 2. I was thrilled to find
out that I still had everything (except 1, but who cared on the
highway), so I put it in R/P and got out.
What I found
was that the two bolts (there should have been three but one insert
in the frame had pulled out before I bought it) holding in the
right side of the transmission/transfer case support had disappeared.
I'm guessing that they simply vibrated loose because I'm fairly
certain we didn't use LocTite when we reassembled things in Helena.
Luckily, the other side held tight and it only dropped a couple
of inches. Check the picture.
Since it could
move, I nursed it to the next exit where there happened to be
a Home Depot, but not wanting to drive any farther than necessary,
I stopped in a gas station near the exit and parked. I took out
one of the bolts that was still there, checked to make sure the
two good inserts weren't stripped out and walked to the HD for
the replacement bolts. I got them and I also picked up a longer
bolt/lockwasher/washer/nut and a magnetic pick up tool to try
and get something in the third, empty hole to help support the
crossmember. A little walk to the Pep Boys to get a bottle jack
to raise the tranny and the plate and I went back to work.
(with lots of LocTite this time) went in and I taped a washer
and lockwasher to the long bolt and easily got it through the
hole in the frame just ahead of the crossmember so that I could
put the nut on it and tighten it down. I had to hold the threads
below the nut with my RoboGrips to get the thing tight, so it
might be tough to get off, but it's on there damn tight now and
I'm not worried about it coming loose again soon. I also undid
the bolts on the other side and LocTited them to kingdom Come,
Once I was
sure that everything was as it should be, a check of the shifter
showed that all had returned to normal and I was back on the road.
I made it the rest of the way with no troubles. I pulled into
Durham with no gas left, but I was shocked that I could make it
from essentially Baltimore to Durham on one tank of gas!
have a wrap up tomorrow, I want to figure out the total miles,
the average MPG and some other stuff to share with y'all, but
this is the last road report. It's awfully hard to believe that
it's over and the Dog actually made it the whole way under her
own power! I guess you can stop the prayer services/séances/animal
sacrifices that I know you've all been doing and give yourselves
a big pat on the back for helping.
one hell of a ride. I'm just happy that I could bring y'all along