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Oil Change, As It Were

We spent most of every day for the last couple weeks packing and labeling everything in preparation for the move. Wednesday was the last big push before leaving on Thursday. We spent the day getting everything packed and labeled and moved. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. We were up until past midnight (for the umpteenth night in a row), and at that point, Stephanie ran out of energy and went to bed.

The last thing on my list was to change the oil in the Toyota. It was after midnight and beginning to rain, but it was something I wanted to get done before giving it up for the day, and Jamiee wanted to hang out with me and learn how to change the oil.

Now, I just don’t know what to say about this. I wanna defend myself and tell you that, yes, I know how to change the oil in a car. I’ve done it many times. But maybe it was just too late. Maybe I was just too tired.

First thing, I pulled the plug on the oil pan. While the oil was draining, I changed the filter. New filter in place, I replaced the plug in the oil pan and refilled the crank case with four quarts of new oil. Lickety split.

The next morning, we woke up, loaded the cars and drove off. Stephanie had a doctor’s appointment in Fairbanks at 10:30, so she left sooner than I did with Jamiee and Toby. Jacob and I followed about an hour behind, and met them at McDonalds after her appointment.

When we got there, Stephanie mentioned to me over the din of noise in the playland playground, that there was something wrong with the truck. She said it felt like the transmission was slipping and that the engine didn’t have any power. As the fear of automotive distress and financial ruin gripped me, it took about another thirty seconds for my synapses to fire, and I knew what I had done.

I remember (now) thinking that the oil pan was further back from the motor than I expected. The oil also seemed reddish as it drained, something I attributed to the oil being synthetic. After replacing the oil filter and the bolt on the drain pan, I added four and a half quarts of fresh oil into the crank case. I checked the dip stick, and it read very high, but knowing there were only the four and a half I’d just poured in, I dismissed it. I don’t know. I had to be tired.

Instead of draining the oil pan of the old oil, I had drained the transmission of its transmission fluid. Then I overfilled the crankcase by four quarts. And the next morning Stephanie drove it 162 miles in that condition. She said that she noticed a problem in the first thirty miles, but kept on going because she knew she had her appointment.

Once I realized what the problem was, I immediately called a mechanic in Fairbanks who is a Toyota specialist. I told him over the phone what had happened, and his advice made me sick. He said don’t drive it. He asked if the transmission was slipping, which it was, and he said we could pretty much count on the transmission being toast. $3-$4K for a rebuilt Tacoma transmission.

There was a Jiffy Lube just down the street from the McDonalds, and since we’d already driven 162+ miles, I figured another couple tenths wouldn’t hurt any more. They drained and refilled the crank case, and then filled the transmission. We were helped by a good guy named Print (I like that name. Remember it for future naming responsibilities). We prayed and hoped and so far, everything seems fine. Thank God.

Posted on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 01:50PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

wow. the fodder for future ribbing is endless on this one bro. i admire your transparency.

so, there's a hole back on the side of the truck, about 2/3 of the way back. that's where the gasoline goes. gasoline has the look of uncarbonated beer and the smell of....
June 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwatson
Dear, this is exactly what I mean when I am always beseeching you to "Take most excellent care of YOU". Beginning with getting enough sleep daily. Most of all, though, Happy Father's Day to you (Sunday, June 15, 2008). Remember one thing: You are a WONDERFUL father to your three kids and (along with your Beloved) you're doing a splendid job of rearing them. You remain 'One of the Good Guys'. Now get some rest.
Much love for you,
June 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLizabeth Marr (Mom)
ROTFLMAO! I am sure I would not be laughing had this caused financial distress...but since the ending is thus far a good outcome...I can't help but get a few giggles at your expense!
Not that I could have done any better... ;)
June 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

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