If Life Gives You a Lemon…. REBUILD it!

25 May

Several years back, I bought a Mitsubishi Galant in an auction. It had been a company car, so although it hadn’t been treated very well, it had at least been maintained. After making the winning bid, I paid, and headed down the road for home.

I made it nearly ten miles before coasting to a stop on the shoulder. The engine was fine, but the transmission had ceased to transmit. A tow truck and $150 later, I had it dropped off at the most reputable transmission shop in Long Beach, CA, where they relieved me of another $1,250 for a complete rebuild of the transmission.

Two weeks after the one year warranty expired, the Galant once again coasted to the side of the road, and I once again had it towed to the same trans. shop. The owner admitted that it by no means should have failed again, and expired warranty or not, they would fix it, charging me only for “hard parts”. THAT little exercise cost me $750!

Eleven months later, almost to the day, she again (note the gender assigned… need I explain why?) settled on the shoulder, and this time I had it towed home. Yep… transmission again! That time, I decided I would do the job myself. I had rebuilt automatic trannies before, but usually avoided them, for a major PITA. I paid $75 for a Chilton’s Shop Manual, so that I could do the tear-down and build a parts list, and found 165 pages of exploded view! The transmission had more than a 150 hydraulic control valves, and 365 check valves! Instead of the normal wet-disc transmission style that had served man so well, for so long, Mitsubishi had decided instead to outfit the ’75 and ’76 Galant with a cup-clutch style transmission, such as is common in forklifts. Another effort to exact revenge for a couple of mushroom-shaped clouds, no doubt!

As long as I was rebuilding the transmission, I decided to rebuild the engine at the same time. That, at least, was something I had more experience in! When I got into it, I found that the overhead cam journals were on the verge of wiping, showing evidence of little to no lubrication. Again, the Japanese mega-company had decided that lubrication was of no great consequence, so they had eliminated the journals from the force-fed oil flow, and allowed for gravity feed from the head, through passages around the size of a #2 hypodermic. For those of you not in the medical field, that’s really freakin’ SMALL! I managed to find a retrofit kit at CarQuest to restore pressurized oil flow, and finished my rebuild.

Finally, after three months, $1,730 and a LOT of empty beer cans, I finished the job, drove my smooth running Galant to the nearest Ace Hardware, and bought a FOR SALE sign for the back window! I figured I only had limited time before the transmission underwent its regularly scheduled breakdown, and I was determined to unload that lemon before it happened again!

A young fella knocked on my door one day, expressing interest, and after careful consideration, and a good bit of negotiation, we settled on a trade. I got his ’67 Chevy pickup and $700, and he got a headache, looking for someone to infect!

Interesting to note… in 1977, Mitsubishi decided to return to a more conventional design for their Galant transmission. I have no idea if they ever decided to lubricate the camshaft.

Several years back, I bought a Mitsubishi Galant in an auction. It had been a company car, so although it hadn’t been treated very well, it had at least been maintained. After making the winning bid, I paid, and headed down the road for home.

Made it nearly ten miles before coasting to a stop on the shoulder. The engine was fine, but the transmission had ceased to transmit. A tow truck and $150 later, I had it dropped off at the most reputable transmission shop in Long Beach, CA, where they relieved me of another $1,250 for a complete rebuild of the transmission.
Two weeks after the one year warranty expired, the Galant once again coasted to the side of the road, and I once again had it towed to the same trans. shop. The owner admitted that it by no means should have failed again, and expired warranty or not, they would fix it, charging me only for “hard parts”. THAT little exercise cost me $750!
Eleven months later, almost to the day, she again (note the assigned… need I explain why?) settled on the shoulder, and this time I had it towed home. Yep… transmission again! That time, I decided I would do the job myself. I had rebuilt automatic trannies before, but usually avoided them, for a major PITA. I paid $75 for a Chilton’s Shop Manual, so that I could do the tear-down and build a parts list, and found 165 pages of exploded view! The transmission had more than a 150 hydraulic control valves, and 365 check valves! Instead of the normal wet-disc transmission style that had served man so well, for so long, Mitsubishi had decided instead to outfit the ’75 and ’76 Galant with a cup-clutch style transmission, such as is common in forklifts. Another effort to exact revenge for a couple of mushroom-shaped clouds, no doubt!
As long as I was rebuilding the transmission, I decided to rebuild the engine at the same time. That, at least, was something I had more experience in!

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