The third day of travel was the day we had to make it to Utah. We woke up in the morning and despite the redneck royalty in the campground, and a sinking suspicion that someone tried to siphon gas from my gas tank during the night we got on the road and we were off.
The problem with driving across Wyoming is that it is nothing but a continuous set of hills. The previous day Wheezy was starting to have some transmission issues, it was losing fluid and I was suspecting that the seal at the front of the transmission had started to let go. I put some transmission stop leak in and refilled the transmission with fluid. I also decided to take it easy.
At first it was doing just fine, made a little smoke when it would get warm and overflow a bit on the hills, but I was taking it easy, slowing down to 45 mph on the long hills and not letting the transmission pop out of lock and slip its way up the side of the mountain, which was apparently Ford’s solution for how to make a under-powered truck drive able in mountains.
We made it almost all the way before we started having any issues, but then there were a series of hills that were something in the range of a 5% grade for 10 miles. It was starting to look ugly. After cresting the top of one of these hills I felt the transmission start to slip so I asked the other vehicle to pull over so that I could drop a quart of tranny fluid in before we got to the next hill. It was 13 miles to the next town, but there was one more nasty hill in the way.
By the top of the next hill the truck was going, just not well, I made it down the hill but could feel the transmission starting to slip. I pulled into the first exit with a gas station and barely made it out of the stop sign and into the parking lot for the gas station. I shut off the truck and ran in to get a few quarts of transmission fluid. I put three quarts in, started the truck to see what the level was actually at and when I looked under the ruck realized that the fluid was coming straight out the bottom of the transmission case. The whole transmission had snapped in half right in the middle and there was nothing I could do.
Wheezy was dead.
I transferred all of my important stuff from the truck into the UMD turtle, got the address for the gas station so I could call a junkyard in the morning, said my goodbyes, and we drove away. Wheezy was only about fifty miles from our destination in Park City, much of that fifty miles was downhill.
PS. I am looking for a new truck, small, two wheel drive, not a Ford.
Anyway, here are some photos from the drive before the truck died.