Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tech Session- 2009


Saturday, April 25, twenty-eight CTCC friends and members gathered at Bob Wenderski's Garage-Mahal for our seventh annual Spring dust-off event. Present were Dan Anderson, Bob Burhop, Bert Eisenhour, Gordon Gluff, Joel Greenberg, Bob Hendrickson Jr., Larry Johnson and Sue, Len Keil, Larry Kelly, John Kiverts, John Kolb, Pete Kramer, Paul Mounts, Dan Mrozek, Jerry Peterson, Dave Pogorski, Dan Raerfahl, Gary Smithe, Ken Smizinski, Bob Sroka, Len Vinyard, Bob Wenderski, Bill Werth, your scribe, Joe Wintz, Tom Wolfe, and Joe Zarnbon. John Kiverts is a new member of CTCC, though he has owned a Red '55 'Bird for twenty-five years. Bob Hendricksen, Jr. has a Silver '57 of his own, and he reports that his mother, Darlene, still has the Black '57 "E" 'Bird owned by his late father, though it is now stored in his garage We sipped coffee and munched on rolls as nine Thunderbirds filled the close-in part of Bob's driveway.

I parked my blue 2002 new 'Bird behind Gary Smithe's Red 2004. Len Keil followed with a Willow Green'57 followed by Pete Kramer with a Sage Green '56 and Bill Werth's Blue '55. JoeWintz drove his Gray '57,which was followed by Joel Greenberg's Yellow '57 and Larry Kelly's Fiesta Red '56. Gordon Gluff, with a Red '56 topped off the Thunderbird contingent.

Bob had the club libray out for our perusal. Ken began the Tech session with a discussion of motor oils which have the zinc additive necessary to lubricate the cam and lifters in the Early 'Birds. Shell Rotella T and ACCEL 1OW40 SF (Available at WalMart for $2.27 a quart) were recommended. STP Oil Treatment also has the necessary zinc.

Ken then proceeded to the main topic of the day, changing automatic transmission fluid. When draining the fluid it is important to drain the torque converter as half of the fluid is there. Ken began by loosening the transmission fluid filler tube on Bob Wenderski's '57 Thunderbird to drain the fluid. He explained that one could also lower the pan to drain the old fluid, but that may cause a leak when the pan is reattached if it was originally on too tight. Ken then pulled off the inspection cover-plate facing the oil drain plug, in order to drain more fluid. It has four bolts. The next step was to open one of the plugs in the torque converter with a 1/2" wrench to drain the transmission fluid. The two plugs are 180 degrees apart, so by bringing one into the lower position, the other remains (inaccessible) at the top. So, either one of the 2-drain holes can accomplish the job.

While the fluid was thoroughly draining, Ken discussed inteteresting facts about our transmissions. Type F transmission fluid, in use in the 70's and 80's, is not compatible with Mercon Dextron 3, which Ken recommends for refilling the transmission in our 'Birds. "Lube Guard," an additive, in a platinum bottle, will keep the transmission from burning out. Ken's advice: If you buy a car, DO NOT change the transmission fluid, as there is no way of determining when or IF it has ever been changed in the past.

Changing the fluid after a prolonged period of time may cause transmission failure as sediment in the pan is released. Note: I followed this caveat to the extreme, as I never changed the transmission fluid in my 'Bird from when I bought it in 1974, until Ken overhauled the transmission in 2005. Ken told me that the transmission fluid had never, in fact, been changed since it left the factory in 1957! I remember being advised - back in the 70's - that if the transmission shifted properly, to leave it alone. A manual transmission also needs the gear lube changed and an overdrive transmission has two drain plugs, as the fluid in the overdrive needs changing. Transmission fluid should be used in the power steering reservoir, as the power steering fluid sold today is too thin for our cars and will cause leaks. Ken explained that it is no longer possible to "sniff' transmission fluid to tell if it is dirty. He handed out an "Updated Routine Maintenance Schedule" which advises changing the transmission fluid every five years.

The drain plugs were then tightened in preparation for refilling with fresh transmission fluid. A 1 1/16" wrench was used to tighten the filler tube and a 1/2" or 7/16" on the torque converter. A standard transmission takes a 1 1/2" wrench on the plug and an overdrive trans., 2". The car was then lowered and 4 quarts of transmission fluid were emptied into the reservoir and the car started. The engine must be running in order to fill the torque converter with fluid. The car holds 10 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid. Ken said to put in 9 1/2 quarts and check with the car engine running before adding more.

Unrelated to the transmission, difficult starting was discussed. Ken suggested using a Master electric fuel pump part # E8012S, which is available at Auto Zone Retailers.

After the transmission fluid was filled, the oil was changed on Bob's car, using oil he had on hand, SF rated, with the necessary zinc additive. Paul Mounts greased the front end, U-Joints, and Steering. Bob's car was now ready for Spring driving, but not on the day of our Tech Session, as it had begun to rain heavily. We enjoyed a luncheon of sub sandwiches, chips, soft drinks, and garnishes provided by the Club. We said our goodbyes - until the Spring Tour the following week.

- Jim Wilson

Friday, June 12, 2009

President's Report- June 2009



During the March General Club Meeting, a very emotional Urszula Mounts, announced to the membership that this would be the last [CTCC] function that she and Paul would be attending, as they are moving to Florida in early May.

Although Paul has talked about moving for sometime, this announcement surprised a lot of members. Paul has been an active member for more years than he probably wants to remember. He is also the reason Mary and I joined the Club in 1994. I recall the times Paul drove his T-Bird past our home, and giving me the "Thumbs Up" when I asked his advice on purchasing our '57 'Bird. He will always be our great friend.

Anyone who has attended Club outings and tours knows of Paul's ability to bring his childhood experiences of being raised on a farm in rural Kentucky, to present- day happenings. Paul would mesmerize Club members with his anecdotes on everyday life. Perhaps you may have noticed Paul's aversion to chicken; it seems that when growing up on the farm, it was his job to take care of the chickens - from beginning to end. Need I say more?

Let's not forget Urszula! This delightful lady, a more recent member, has won the hearts of everyone she has met. We wish them great success and happiness in their new venture. Urszula, when making herannouncement at the meeting, invited all Club members to visit them when in Florida. She may regret this, since so many of our members winter in Florida! (Ha, Ha!)

Paul is one of those really great guys who is always ready to help anyone in need. He and Urszula WILL be missed by all.
- Len Keil