Well, we lost the clutch in the Escort (gone to the point of the car would barely move.) In the previous experience of my automotive mentors, replacing a clutch involved the lengthy process of ripping out the engine to separate the transmission and the engine. We couldn’t find the book (Haynes manual, anyone regularly working on a car should have one for it,) so we just went for it. We got the engine unhooked (including buying tools to uncouple the fuel lines) except for the AC lines and had it hanging from the roof ready to pull when we found the manual. The manual tells us how to remove the transmission….leaving the engine in place (DOH!) We got the new clutch, and separated the transmission from the engine, but the pilot bearing stayed in place. The recommended procedure for removing the pilot bearing us filling the hole it sits in with grease, finding something to fit perfectly in the hole, and hammering that into the hole. The theory is the grease won’t compress, and move the bearing out to make room. The theory was flawed. All we manages to do was make a greasy mess. We did (after two days) manage to pry it out with a screwdriver without damaging anything but some vice-grip marks on the center piece for the flywheel (which, by some miracle, was easily sanded back it shape.)
We got the clutch put together, and the transmission back on to the engine. We even got the transmission back into the engine, and the engine remounted and hooked up. We filled and bled the clutch (runs off the fluid in the brake master cylinder, quite clever actually) and tried to fill the transmission. The transmission on my little wagon is not so clever. The engineers neglected to build any sort of a fill hole. Instead, you remove the speed sensor to fill the transmission. OK, you TRY to remove the speed sensor from the transmission.
The speed sensors are notorious for BREAKING, and leaving half of themselves in the case. They still work, but you cannot check, or fill the transmission fluid. I searched online for hours for a solution; and came up with two: pry and try to pry it out, and take it to a machine shop where they chisel it out. Either one requires a new speed sensor, and, since praying failed, it would need to be removed from the engine again, and take more money while it was gone for the night to fix. Then I asked my father if the CV shafts had a fluid link to the transmission. He pointed out that the CV shafts were below the fill line for the transmission. I had a solution for that too.
Since we knew how much fluid the transmission needed (it says in the manual,) we tipped the car about 45 degrees onto the transmission side, and popped out a CV shaft from the left side (far side from the transmission, so it would take all the fluid.) We then heated and shaped a piece of aquarium hose to fit on the end of a turkey baster, pushed a funnel into it, and led the line into the CV shaft. It was a slow process, but over the course of a couple hours I got the transmission filled with the right amount of fluid. We managed to get the thing back together and on the road, but unfortunately it still has a small exhaust leak, a weak e-brake, a intermittently inaccurate PIA speedometer, and a shitty sound system. Guess I gotta get back to the car-pc…