The Case of the Disappearing Transmission Fluid

Almost every mystery story starts with ” it was a dark and foggy night”. But this was a bright but foggy day, as we headed on south of Ft Pierce in the ICW. Suddenly both of us again heard the ” squealing ” that signified problems in the transmission. Veering off to the side of the waterway, we stopped and dropped anchor. Murray pulled everything out of the cockpit locker and checked the transmission. The drain plug was lying below the transmission! And, of course, there again was no fluid in the transmission.

Upon investigation, Murray discovered a crimp in the soft, copper washer that prevented the plug from being fully seated into place. Thus the fluid very slowly dripped out. He had NOT forgotten to replace the fluid in the spring. By switching the washer with one from the fill plug on the top of the transmission, he was able to fully tighten the plug and then re-fill the transmission. Then we cautiously started the engine once again and put the transmission into gear. No grinding and no squealing. Now we have concerns about the reliability of the transmission as it has twice been run dry.

Luckily, friends had offered us the use of their dock while we had our Honda generator repaired at a local shop. They have a house on a canal near Stuart, Florida with a very long dock, which will accommodate their boat, Trumpeter, as well as room for a guest. The Honda has defeated Murray this year. It starts and runs well, but doesn’t put out any power for charging our batteries. Thus, we will not be able to leave until this unit is repaired.

So, we are doing a few jobs from the list, picking up final items at the stores and waiting for a call from the repair shop.

Our visit to Vero Beach was quick. Sunday afternoon we picked up a mooring and, on Monday, we caught the bus, did Christmas and grocery shopping. Tuesday, we mailed Christmas presents and I did laundry while Murray checked the engine( added transmission fluid ) and worked on the generator. Wednesday morning, we met some old friends for breakfast, dropped the mooring, motored to Ft Pierce and joined some more friends for dinner. A busy few days!

Now we are forced to sit and wait. The dock is available to us for approximately two weeks and we will try to make ourselves useful around here.

That is life aboard. Hope all is well with you and yours. Write when you can.

Hugs from,
Heather & Murray