So, the car is still sitting at the shop. Joe at Elite and Mitch from Engintecs have been great through this whole thing; Joe and his guys have been more than happy to jump up and tackle jobs that I'd never expect them to take (specifically, pulling and replacing the entire clutch and brake pedal assembly), and Mitch has been a life-saver coordinating things, helping Joe's guys out when they weren't sure where something on a DSM went, and doing fabrication when the bushings ordered from another shop were out of spec. Jon and Ming at TRE have, so far, been taking pretty good care of us as part of the whole transmission rebuild, although I'm a little put off by their customer service and the difficulty we've had getting ahold of them in a timely manner.
Here's a quick run-down of the entire experience. We flipped a coin, and decided on TRE for our transmission rebuild (rather than John Shepherd). We contacted Mitch to see if he could recommend a shop that would pull the transmission for a reasonable rate (most of the local shops I'd talked to were asking an outrageous amount for work that I've done myself before; I know damn well it doesn't take 8 hours to pull a DSM tranny), and he suggested Elite, who happened to be in the same building he's in. In the mean time, we'd been ordering a number of pretty nice replacement parts for the car to go on at the same time. That's where the first problems popped up.
We ordered the ACT 2600 with street disc (XTSS) from Pro Street, and as always, it was shipped promptly and got here in fine shape. We'd also ordered a Fidanza aluminum flywheel from Slowboy, and a billet clutch fork from Taboo. Slowboy mixed up our order and shipped an ACT flywheel instead, which cost us a couple of weeks waiting for the return and reship. Taboo apparently had a CNC mill failure, and couldn't produce a clutch fork for us until a good week or two more, so I ended up picking up another one from a local DSM owner instead (the one from Taboo arrived the next day, of course). Neither shop was incredibly good about responding to emails (or, in the case of Slowboy, voice mails; in Taboo's case, you'll note that there ISN'T any other way to contact Martin over there other than through email). Other incidentals included 3 quarts of Penzoil Synchromesh and a new clutch fork fulcrum ball from RRE.
So, having finally gotten all the parts together, we dropped them and the car off with Elite to have the transmission pulled. Mitch was heading over to Kalamazoo, MI to talk with Jon at TRE anyway, so he volunteered to take the tranny with him (saving us $75 in shipping or so, woo!). TRE took it, and did their magic with it for a couple of weeks. They proved to be a bit difficult to get ahold of; they seem to have intermittant problems with their phone line giving a busy signal over entire days or weekends, and so when Mitch again volunteered to go out there to pick up the transmission when it was done (he was going to be in Michigan anyway, but it would have been quite a bit out of his way), we couldn't reach Jon to ensure that the tranny would be there when he arrived. *sigh* So, we said to hell with it, and had him ship it back to the shop, which he did...to the wrong address. A couple of days of confusion later, the tranny arrives at Elite, and they install the newly built transmission, clutch, flywheel, fork, pivot ball, and a 1/16" shim behind the ball to get the engagement point a little bit closer to where it should be.
After about an hour of futzing with the clutch master cylinder adjustment rod, Mitch comes up with a few conclusions: first, the master and slave cylinders are shot (which doesn't come as much of a surprise). Second, the clutch pedal assembly is shot (which did come as a surprise). Joe does the slave and master replacement (and got me a heck of a deal on the parts, I might add), and I order a set of bushings from Taboo. Again, I hear nothing from him; after I prod him a bit with an email, Martin from Taboo tells me that he's having problems getting the oil-infused bronze he uses in some of the bushings, and the batch he has now isn't suitable for delivery because he learned that the measurements on them didn't fit most of the cars he'd shipped them out to. So, a week and a half goes by, and we finally get a set of bushings from him (without word that they'd been shipped, of course).
The bushings didn't fit. The brake pedal bushings fit like a glove, but the clutch pedal bushings were out of spec by quite a bit. Mitch managed to fabricate something up that worked, and Joe's folks put everything back together. So, finally, the car is back in one piece, and drivable. Joe takes it out for a spin, notes that it pulls pretty good for a basically stock engine (although not even close on the drivetrain at this point), and when he pulls back into the yard, notices (of course) a leak coming from between the transmission and the transfer case.
They popped the transfer case away a bit, and saw that there was a good bit of fluid leaking from the output shaft seal on the transmission. The BRAND NEW SEAL on the FRESHLY REBUILT TRANSMISSION. *sigh*
So, that's where the story ends for now. Jon, Mitch, and Joe are going back and forth to see who's going to foot the bill for the work that obviously needs to be done now, and barring anything else happening, the Laser should be back on the road in a few days.