OK, Thanksgiving sabbatical is over!

Update: as suggested by Turbokinetic, I need to try the RED-GREEN washer combination next. Prior to that though, I carefully re-read the instruction sheet that came with the new replacement ACDelco compressor. It clearly advises to choose a washer combination based on the face configuration of the manifold block. Mine is a "raised" face hose block with built-in 7mm pilots, so the instructions call for a "THIN" sealing washer on the suction side and a RED washer on the discharge side.

While installing this washer combination, my Sears/Craftsman inch-pound torque wrench with a cheap plastic collar broke. Grrr ... Feels like the handle ratcheting mechanism is stripped and the collar won't lock. The wrench will no longer hold a torque setting. What a piece of ____! This wrench is practically brand new and has only been used lightly one time before on a previous job. Not only that, this wrench was a (free) replacement by the local Sears store to replace an identical/original wrench purchased new that developed the same problem with minimal use. Now I see similar complaints reported on the internet by users. So much for Sears/Chinaman torque wrench quality today. Hey, unlike my larger Snap-on and Truecraft foot-pounds torque wrenches, I knew I would have minimal use for an inch-pound wrench so I didn't pony up for a more expensive model. Guess I got what I paid for, eh? Caveat emptor! But to quote Turbokinetic, "I digress" ...

Anyway, I cautiously torqued the hose block bolt "by feel" with a ratchet, not wanting to over-torque. Vacuumed the a/c system as before but it still leaked down slowly. Bummer! Took a break for Thanksgiving. Now the weather has gotten cold enough that I have decided to wait until next spring before making another attempt. Don't have a garage. So unless we get an exceptionally warm winter day here in the northeast, or someone lets me borrow their garage, RED-GREEN has to wait. Sheesh, I really wanted to have a/c available for the defrost function for winter. Oh well ... In spite of being cautious, I wonder if I over-torqued the washers anyway? Or maybe they're still under-torqued? Won't know 'til I buy a new wrench to check.

So, I buttoned everything up and fired-up the 3300 to get the Ciera back on the road. What a racket! The car hadn't been run for well over a month, so I presume it was the lifters. (Oil is fresh & at proper level.) After running a bit, they pumped up and quieted down to normal. Took the Ciera for a drive. Now, out of nowhere, I've got ANOTHER problem. The doggone TH-125C/3T40 3-speed transmission won't upshift! Reverse works. No slipping. Engine is strong, runs great! No stalling while slowing down, indicative of a torque converter clutch problem. Seems to be stuck in 1st or 2nd while driving, I'm not sure which. Tranny shifted fine before, with absolutely no indication of a looming issue of any kind. Transmission fluid is topped off, color is faded pink vs. brown, no burnt odor. What the?

While doing all the a/c work, the only tranny-related components I touched were the cooler lines. I disconnected those lines from the radiator when I decided to remove and flush the radiator and cooling system on account of corrosion on the lower radiator support cross-member, which I subsequently cleaned up, primed and re-painted. Didn't touch the TV cable. I wonder if some dirt or debris got dislodged from the radiator cooler or deteriorating rubber portion of the OEM cooler lines and made its way into the throttle valve or some other component in the transmission. Kind of weird how the problem appeared so suddenly. I did lose a little ATF while removing the cooler lines, but nothing appreciable. What I lost I replaced with fresh ATF. The car is 23 years old, so the tranny seals are old, too. I also remember disconnecting the cruise control cable and the engine compartment wiring harness at several points for easier access to a/c lines. Hard to believe I caused a problem in doing so, but I suppose it's possible. So, I'm FRUSTRATED! (As everyone on this forum knows, this sentiment comes with working on cars, especially older ones ...)

Next up: At 70,000+ original miles on the odometer and considering the history of the car, it's likely that the transmission fluid and filter are original, too. Having gotten over my hissy-fit, I'm planning to drop the pan on a windless day to see what's in the bottom of it - hopefully no metallic debris. Will change the ATF and filter while at it and go from there. According to my information, this tranny is strictly hydraulic - no control electronics like with the 4-speed 4T60E. The only solenoid is for the torque converter clutch. So, hopefully an easy fix is on tap, but if not and I'm looking at a rebuild, it should be pretty straightforward although I'd prefer to avoid the expense. If anyone cares to weigh in on my tranny problem, I'm all ears.

Turbokinetic, if you feel it would be helpful to the forum, maybe you can transfer the tranny portion of my comments to a new thread, something like "Tranny no upshift problem". I need to spend more time on the forum to find my way around and learn how to work within it, which I will do in the future as time permits. Thanks.

Once I select a photo uploading service, I hope to soon start uploading my Ciera makeover pics to the forum.

Stay tuned.