Hope springs eternal. but sometimes hope has to be rooted in reality. I filled up the transmission with fresh fluid and put it into gear. No change, Reverse still worked the same and there was a little more grip in Drive. I would rev it up and it would suddenly engage a bit with a bang. Gotta face it, I'm no better off than i was before. My plan was to wait and save up some more money.
Well I'm always scanning the CL listings for Jag parts ans found an XJS tranny offered for 250.00. So I called and spoke to Carlos at Continental Motors in Oakland. He told me that the trans had come out of an XJS with only 53,000 mils on it, The car had sustained a rod knock and valley fire. Carlos was familiar with the car because it had belonged to a long time customer. He said that the transmission should be good as -is. I asked if he could install it, he said that he had to ask his Dad, who ran the shop. I thought about it for a few days. I called him on a Monday and said that I would go take a look at it on Friday, He told me that they wouldn't be able to install it. He said that he would text me the directions. On Friday morning I checked my messages and Carlos told me that he was lowering the price to 180.00 and was giving me the first crack at it. I called him back and told him that I would take it. I first thought that I would take the trans to a shop and have it gone through to be sure that it was good before installation. Well that would be the same cost as a rebuild, probably close to a grand, no savings in cost, just maybe less work as I would be certain that the trans was fine. I didn't blame them for not wanting to install it. How could they warranty their installation if they weren't certain that the trans was good? If they installed it and it was bad, there was no way they would refund the labor cost. And many customers would feel that they were getting ripped off, better just to sell the thing and wash their hands of it.
Now, If I install it myself, I'm just investing my time and effort. If it is good, I just made a great deal and I'm coming out way ahead! If it's bad I'm out my time and effort but can now take the original trans out to a rebuilder. So I am rolling the dice. The chance of a favorable outcome is very good.
I grew up in Oakland, in fact I even worked at a gas station that was behind this shop. This is a rough area. The owner told me that he had moved in during the early 1970s and things had gotten very tough with crime and drug use in the area. Things seem to have turned the corner a bit but this location is not for the faint of heart. CJ and Carlos are extremely nice gentlemen. Their shop is full of early Jags, XJSs, XJ6s, even a 420G! They appear to be very dedicated and knowledgeable. I saw the black XJS coupe that the transmission came out of. It was in very nice condition with a perfect black leather interior. This would be a great car for a Chevy conversion. Carlos told me that he had just placed it on E-bay. I hope it gets sold instead pf parted out.