Wednesday, 6 October 2010


     This is a very serious matter to my psychological health....which .normally ranges between hopeless to incurable.   We have an old Dodge Dynasty...a 1992 model...which we keep in the family because it belonged to my father-in-law.    It was bought new by him and has been with the family, obviously, forever. 
     It has the 3.3 V6 and a five-speed automatic.     We have had a bit of trouble with this and that, but it has generally performed well.   It makes 30 miles to the gallon, cruising at 62 miles per hour and still, after 250,000 miles, uses no oil.   We also keep it, because it is so old that it attracts little attention   which serves well when driving around in Mexico, or anywhere during these days.   It is in such a good condition however, that, especially when in Mexico,  I rarely can stop without someone asking if it is for sale. 
     Anyway, we've replaced the radiator, a recently dysfunctional elevator for the driver's power window, an AM-FM-Cassette Stereo (no cd capacity), and it needs a new windshield.   We checked the brakes a while back....but the mechanic said there was really no need for any service....the squeaking had been caused by a bit of dust.   The car, oddly, has four-wheel disc brakes.
     The biggest problem is a cranky transmission that hates cold.   It will fail to shift from 2nd to 3rd and sometimes it will suddenly shift down from 3rd to 2nd for no reason and without warning.   If I can get it up into 5th gear then I can go forever.....but the trick is to warm everything up so that can do that.   Sometimes it helps to make sure there is transmission fluid as well.  (One time the Quicky-Lube people drained the wrong sprigot).
     During the last week it has given me a bit of trouble trying to shift up into 3rd gear, and I was losing patience, becoming depressed, moaning, and whining.     My search for the metal piercing 38 cal. cartridges was interrupted by a desire to give the old Dynasty one last chance.    So, I went out, warmed it up.....recalling that early morning temperatures have been hovering  around 59 and 60 degrees...well below the Dynasty's point of toleration.    "Perhaps", thought I " it is necessary to go through the warming up procedure a bit longer"
     The procedure is to drive it a short distance...two or three blocks...then stop, turn off the engine, count to 15 slowly....and start up and go again.   If the transmission fails to shift from 2nd to 3rd...then repeat procedure #1.     Normally, during the Summer it takes 3 to 4 tries...when necessary...and it's off we go.    During the Winter it is best to start the engine, let it idle for 2 minutes, and then take off.   It can take from 0 to 4 tries in the Winter depending upon the Moon stage or something. 
     Anyway...I have just returned from transmission therapy and I now have three mornings in a row that the transmission has returned to its old predictable now I am happy.   Once a person can get back into the "predictable dysfunction" range of a horse or motor-car then he can live with it.   The really odd thing is that once the Dynasty gets out of its "grumpy morning syndrome" then the rest of the matter how hot or cold....the transmission is a smooth as a button.    Really strange....probably had some estrogen in the transmission fluid one time.
Thanks again.
The Old Gringo