Last night things moved ahead considerably. I was very happy to see that the replacement seal arrived priority mail (from idparts.com - they've never done me wrong) on Monday, after I ordered it on Friday night. I also went out and found a seal puller (similar to the one pictured) at Sears, of all places. None of the regular auto parts stores carry this thing for some reason.
|The elusive seal puller I finally obtained.
After I got the seal in, the flange went in uneventfully (I used the control arm as a pry surface to preload the spring) and I immediately filled the tranny back up to see if it was going to leak. After an hour and rotating the differential/axles, I was satisfied that things were okay. I bolted the drive shaft back on, put the wheel back on and went for a little test drive.
Everything felt pretty good, overall. Shifting was fairly smooth, although 5th is still occasionally fussy. I think I just need to adjust the linkage, as it feels like the shifter can move too far to the right.
5th gear, by the way, is definitely different in terms of ratio. The car goes about 30 mph at idle, and 45 mph at just a hair over. I haven't had it on the highway yet, but I'm curious to see where things stand around 72-75 mph. I'm guessing it will be around 2000-2200 rpm.
Anyway, pretty much case closed at this point. I have a few more accessories to reattach, but I have to do some cleanup underneath the car, as most of the previous transmission oil leak is still all over it. I'll report back in a few days after I've had a chance to really monitor any possible persisting leaks.