A variety of personal problems delayed EV work. We were still waiting for the motor adapter, which was still in the build queue at Electro Automotive (more on that later). The next task was to create a "fill tube" with a dipstick for the transmission fluid.

Since I have a transmission, it needs fluid. As a mechanic, Nathan is very concerned with easy maintenance. That includes easy access. His solution to my "theft-resistant drain plug" was to enhance the whole thing with a drain valve, fill tube, and dipstick! Here's how it went for him:

The fill tube components
The mission today was the fill tube. Previously I had obtained the fitting to screw into the drain hole and the tubing to fit it. Today I got the fill tube, dipstick, hose and adapters to finish the project.

Getting the fill tube took awhile. No junkyard was willing to sell me one, they fear change. So I ended up at the Pick-and-Pull looking through rows of cars for a suitable fill tube. The cars weren't even arranged by make and model or even by age. Just rows and rows and rows of unorganized junk cars.

Eventually I found a fill tube I was satisfied with. Total cost of $20. The next step was to figure out how to mate it to the fitting. The fitting takes a 1/2" inside diameter tube, and the filltube takes a 3/4" inside diameter hose. PepBoys doesn't have 1/2" to 3/4" adapters. But by stretching the 1/2" tube, it will take the 5/8" end of a 5//8" to 3/4" adapter. Total cost of $6.

It's the black T-handle

With all the parts in hand, it was time to Bodger it up. The most important step lay ahead- properly positioning the fill tube. There were many things to consider: most important was making sure the dipstick would read properly. The filltube had to be positioned so it wouldn't interfere with future development of the motor compartment, and also not interfere with the workings of any essential component. The shift levers, AC ports and passenger axle all had to be taken into account.

From the side!

After much meticulous bending, and several unsuitable solutions, I finally had it positioned to my satisfaction. Amy came out and worked the tranny through the gears, I crawled up under the car to check the dipstick, turned the axle, and double checked the clearance on the ports. All were satisfactory.

And then it was quitting time. It isn't finished yet, as I haven't Bodgered up any of the rest of it. Just placed the filltube. I also plan to file off the "Power Steering", to avoid any confusion. I might even be able to think up how to make it read "Transmission" professionally, but I'm not betting on it. Anyway, it should be the only fluid you have.

Of course, the tranny doesn't use power steering fluid. It's filled with engine oil. (Honda has to be different.) Maybe we'll get a dipstick that says so.

Two days later, Nathan filled the tranny:

Fill Tube from Below
Today I finally got fluid in the transmission. And it only took 3.5 months!! I sent a picture of what the fill tube looks like under the car, and a picture of me filling it up.
Fill Tube in Action
The 5/8 - 3/4 adapter didn't work. The tube says it is a 3/4" inside diameter, but it isn't. I tried 2 different adapters from 2 different manufacturers and they were both too small. Go figure. So instead of connecting the dipstick tube to a hose to an adapter to another hose to the fittings, I jammed the adapter up the end of the dipstick tube. It was a tight fit, and I made doubly sure it wouldn't leak by sealing it with silicon. So now the dipstick tube connects to an adapter to a hose to the fittings. It worked fine when I filled it: no leaks and the dipstick read appropriately. The only problem is that since it is a power steering dipstick, instead of reading "full" and "add" with a cross hatched area in between, it reads "cold" and "hot" with 2 little holes to indicate where the fluid should be. So fill it to between the 2 holes. It does read "add" below the lower hole, which is as it should be.

I also finished installing the throwout bearing today and reattached the clutch cable and made sure both worked properly.

We can empty the transmission just by removing the fittings. Draining excess can be even more easily accomplished by removing the hose.