Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Transmission Insides

To the left is a cutaway of a Ford transmission, in a perfect world.
Below is what gears with teeth look like.
As you can tell, for some reason, I am interested in transmissions. It is a long story dating back several months. The ministry truck, the Ford F350 started shifting hard between 1st and 2nd gear. I nursed it along had it looked at. Anyway, it was recommended that I buy a new celonoid and I did, but before it could be installed, the truck started jolting between 2nd and 3rd. So I called my friend Kent Harmless, who is a fellow missionary here in Honduras and he said that the second problem was worse news than the original problem. Tim, my regular mechanic, who hates the word transmission, took of the transmission pan and found the following, which he documented with the photos below.
My next call to Kent was not a call which I like to remember. "BAD, BAD, NOT GOOD, REALLY BAD NEWS," was Kent's response to my explanation of what was in the photos. "THIS IS NOT GOOD." I braced myself and then I asked, "How much will it cost and how long will it take." But I was unprepared for the answers to both questions. $4,000 more or less plus shipping and I can't fix it, I am not qualified to do so, you need a transmission guy.
My first thought was to call my friend and ministry prayer partner Michael. He knows all about FORD trucks and he called his friends who know all about transmissions. It seemed strange to me that Tim "hates transmissions", Kent, who is Mr. FIX IT "isn't qualified" and then Michael "has to call his friends". I was starting to think that it must be some kind of "male" thing to make this a bigger deal than it really was, after all how hard can it be to fix a transmission?

So while they were all passing the buck, I talked to a Honduran mechanic who is the guy that is known to be able to fix anything and everything. When the big ships break down, they call him to the port to fix them. Surely, I though this guy can do this. "Well," he says, "This is something that is really bad, I can't fix it and I only know one person in Honduras that can."

I was beginning to think that this transmission guy must be surreal. If four of the smartest most capable mechanics and FORD guys won't touch it, then I need to find this one guy in all of Honduras, who can. What is his telephone, I asked. "I don't know," he responded. "So where does he work?" In typical Honduran style the reply was, "It has been about 6 or 7 years, since I have seen him, but his shop used to be behind the Social Security Hospital down the hill, behind a tin fence, but that has been a while." Finally I ask, "What is the guys name?" "Padhett." he says. So now I know more or less what I am looking for or do I?????

Next thing I know, I am driving down the hill behind the Social Security Hospital in a "not so safe area" in my rental pickup, an Awful...bishi. I am looking for a shop with a tin fence, at least that is what it was 6 or 7 years ago. I am praying without much faith, how in the world can you have faith to find a transmission shop that was "somewhere behind the hospital" 6 or 7 years ago and is owned by a guy by the name of Pahett, which doesn't sound like any name I have ever heard anywhere, much less in Honduras. Never the less, I prayed.

Anything that says, transmission will do. I drive and see one that says, "Aircondionado" then one that says, "Frenos" finally in hand painted letters, miracle of miracles, I find "transmission". I go into the shop and take one look at a "youngster" and ask how long the shop has been there. "25 years!" So far so good. "And do you work on Automatic transmissions?," I asked, more than sure that this would be the answer that ended it all. "Yes!" He answered. This is too good to be true, so then I ask, "What is your name?" "Nelson Padgett," he smiles and replies.

I wanted to hit myself in the head to make sure I was still alive. So then I showed him the photos.

The "poo poo de transmision" in the "tranny tray" was not a good sign he reported. But he could fix the transmission. Seems that the curved spiral in the photo to the left is metal filings from teeth disintegrating as the transmission ground itself to pieces.

I still am not convinced that this is such a big deal and when he gives me the price quote, I am not happy. Seeing the disbelief on my face, he takes me to look at a transmission, he is working on. There must have been 1,000 pieces in it, NO LIE. The transmission is like a mega puzzle in 3D.
This photo is kinda like what I saw in real life. I am now in shock. I am now beginning to understand why Tim and Kent and Michael and the Honduran super mechanic were all "NOT QUALIFIED" to touch it.

I HAVE A NEW FOUND ADMIRATION FOR GUYS THAT CAN FIX AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS. By the way, this transmission weighs a mere 300+ pounds.

It has been a long hard few days, the seat in the AWFUL...bichi is tilted just far enough back to make my hips and back hurt. The seats remind me of a sports car that Mike bought several years ago and that I hated. I think it was a Lexus, but the seats were horrible. I will be glad when I am back to my wonderful FORD seats, which I can move every which way imaginable. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the gas mileage of the smaller pickup.
Meanwhile I am reminded of a verse that is the basis of why I am in Honduras doing what I am doing.
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

If I had not put action to the information which I had available, then I would never have found the "SUPER MECHANIC". Even though I had little faith, I acted on what I knew and asked the Lord to help me and He did. God is so good to me.

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