Category Archives: News

Spare Some Change? We Take Plastic!

Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City, OK is credited with inventing the parking meter in May of 1935. Mr. Magee was with the traffic committee of the Oklahoma City “Chamber of Commerce”. It was his job to find a solution to downtown parking problems. Th e parking meter solved the problem of cars parked all day on the streets, but it also brought revenue to the city. Additionally, it assured parking turn-over so there would always be parking spaces for customers.

Donald Duncan, famous for the Duncan YoYo, was the owner of a toy company. He redesigned the parking meter to the fashion we see today. He began his parking meter business in 1937. His meters are used in over 50 countries, and the company remains a leader in the parking control industry.

There has been a 35-year parking coma during which the federal government, cities, and environmentalists forgot the importance of parking. Parking is a significant influence on how cities work and what form of travel they decide on. Th e main underlying idea is manage the supply of parking and you will reduce the demand for driving!

Murphy Auto Museum

Duncan Model 60, circa 1956 on display at Leon’s Car Corner at the Murphy Auto Museum

Today’s parking meters are more like small computers; they even take credit cards! With an estimated 105,000,000 parking spaces in the United States alone, it’s easy to see why the parking meter is an invention that will be around for a very long time.

What if parking
meters charged based on car value like automotive registration?

Leon’s Transmissions “Car Corner” at the Murphy Auto Museum

Some parking facts:

  1.  Th e average automobile sits parked 95% of the time.
  2.  Although business owners believe they benefit from free parking, curbside parking meters increase parking turnover so there are always new spaces, and new customers.
  3. At free parking spaces, 40-60 percent of vehicles overstay the posted time limits.

Stuck on you!

Probably one of the most recognizable logos is the STP insignia. Any kid who grew up in the late 60’s had a STP sticker stuck on their notebook or bicycle seat. Th e STP sticker was born out of a marketing phenomenon called “Contingency Sponsorship”. Common in all forms of automobile racing, this is a form of sponsorship whereby race teams place a sticker/decal on their vehicle from companies in exchange for awards for winning or meeting certain performance goals. These awards can be money or free equipment.

Today, racing stickers are called decals, however in the late 50’s a decal was a thin fi lm with a printed image. You would drop the decal in water and slide the image off the paper backing, being careful to eliminate bubbles from the surface it was applied to. A glue backing would dry and bond the decal to its surface.

In the early 60’s the sticker was born. The sticker was a thin sheet of vinyl with a printed logo that had a selfadhesive backing. They were much easier to apply than a water-slide decal.

As creative as times were in the 60’s, just like album covers, racing stickers evolved. They became colorful and used creative artwork. They were something that you just did not want to put on the fender of a racecar. They were free advertising that ended up on book covers, lockers and pickup truck rear windows. Back then, there was a gas station on every corner. Kids would ride up and stop the poor mechanic who was busy turning wrenches, and ask if he had any stickers. Usually the guy would stop what he was doing, wipe off his hands, go to his tool box and pull out some sort of automotive product sticker. Yes, they actually gave them out for “free.”

Today, many a man cave, tool box, or refrigerator door are adorned with classic stickers and decals. Original vintage racing stickers can be found on eBay; some going for as much as $50.00 each. Perhaps you will recognize some of these. Th e modern era contingency decals definitely lack the creativity that was put into the stickers of the past. Th e enthusiasm, however, remains. Drive by any school and you’ll see kids with automotive stickers, and other products, all over their notebooks.

Who’ll stop the rain?

With the heavy rains this season, some of you may have noticed a flood (no pun intended) of late 90’s, early 2000 Volkswagen Passat, Jetta, & Golf transmission problems. Be careful in your diagnosis! Many of these cars have problems beyond just the transmission.

Computer on passenger floorboard

Computer on passenger floorboard

The transmission computer is located in a recess on the passenger side floor board. The problem results from either a clogged sunroof vent or debris in the pollen filter on the firewall. This causes water to leak under the carpet, collecting in the recess holding the computer.
At Leon’s we have seen cars come in with the computers completely underwater. If you replace a computer, we recommend you drill 2 small holes in the floor to serve as a drain. Also, be sure to check the possible causes for continued water leaks and make sure the necessary repairs are made so your new computer does not suffer the same fate! Once the computer is replaced, you can continue with the transmission diagnosis. Or better yet, call your local Leon’s Transmission to come and check the vehicle at no charge… leaving you with more time to check other money-making jobs at your shop.

Pollen filter

Pollen filter

Debris in sunroof vent

Debris in sunroof vent

So many codes…so little time!

1993-2005 Ford Taurus models with the AX4S & AX4N Transmissions, check engine lights are pretty common in these vehicles, but when you see these codes don’t freak out!

P0743 TCC System Electrical Fault
P0750 Shift Solenoid “A” Fault
P0755 Shift Solenoid “B” Fault
P0760 Shift Solenoid “C” Fault
P1760 Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Short
P1760 Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Short
P1000 OBDII Systems Check Incomplete
P1451 EVAP System Vent Control Valve Fault
P0135 HO2S11 Heater Circuit Fault
P0141 HO2S12 Heater Circuit Fault
P0155 HO2S21 Heater Circuit Fault
P0161 HO2S22 Heater Circuit Fault

In the central junction fuse box fuse #37 (Transmission Position Switch) will be blown. 15AMP fuse.

The reason for these codes and the blown fuse are: The main connector to the transmission is either loose or is leaking transmission fluid through the connector causing the short and blown fuse. Make sure to check the main connector (grey). 1st take it off and see the connector is not leaking transmission fluid through the pins, and then check for tight ness and proper connectivity. If the connector is leaking through the pins, clean the connector and the male side with the pins with electrical cleaner.

Next, dry both sides, then use dielectric grease on the connector side and reconnect the main transmission connector. Don’t forget to replace the fuse in #37 15AMP fuse. The road test time to confirm that this is the main problem should be 5-10 miles. Remember that all these sensors run off the same 12 volt system and that’s why these codes are present. In some instances this could require replacing just the connector, and in other cases, the transmission could use an overhaul.
If you have any questions, call your local LEONS TRANSMISSION SERVICES representative.

Car Culture – Out to Lunch

Think back! What was the best thing about starting the new school year? For many, it was getting a new lunch box! Each year kids put a lot of thought into what box they would get. Just as what car we drive defines us, a lunch box made the statement of what one was about. It had to tell the dudes to “back off,” and the girls to “take notice.” Being the‘Hot Wheel’ and ‘Matchbox’ car gear-head generation that we were, many naturally picked a lunch box with a car on it.

Let’s take a step back. The first lunch boxes came about in the late 1800’s and were used by blue-collar workers to protect their food from the rigors of the workplace.

The golden age of lunch boxes came about in the 1950’s. The first character-licensed lunch box was Mickey Mouse in 1935. Sales of that box skyrocketed! Aladdin Industries was looking for a way to increase sales of their plain steel lunch kits, as they were called then. They came out with ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ and ‘Roy Rogers’ boxes in the 50’s, and the craze was born. Aladdin later added the thermos, complete with additional graphics, making the lunch boxes even more desirable for kids and moms.

With new T.V. shows and new fads coming along each year, the addition of new themes and images on lunch boxes would assure kids would have to get a new one each year. As a result, 120 million lunch boxes were sold between 1950 and 1970. In 1962, Aladdin embossed the front and back of the lunch boxes giving them a 3D e effect. All good things come to an end, and so it was with the metal lunch box. In the late 1970’s cost cutting saw the lunch boxes made out of plastic. Florida actually banned metal lunch boxes, fearing kids would use them as school yard weapons. 1987 saw the last mass-produced metal lunch box, graced with the image of Rambo.

So why are we talking about lunch boxes in a car magazine? Well, just look at all these cool lunch boxes! Many believe the cars are just as much the “stars” as the actors; you be the judge. Bon appétit!

Leon’s Transmissions Sponsors Cruisin’ for a Cure at the OC Fairground

As a family owned and operated business for close to 60 years, Leon’s Transmissions is committed to more than just excellent work on cars – we are also honored to be a trusted member of our supportive and passionate Southern California community. We actively support numerous nonprofit organizations with in-kind and monetary contributions, and we are thrilled to sponsor the annual Cruisin’ for a Cure at the OC Fairground on September 28th.

Like thousands & thousands of families throughout the world, prostate cancer has effected our family in severe ways over multiple generations; our support of this event is not only great fun but an important way that we help to underwrite research to combat this brutal disease.

Cruisin’ for a Cure (a 501c3 nonprofit) was started in 2000 by Debbie Baker whose husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The event is the world’s largest one-day charity car show with over 3,500 vehicles on display and over 200 vendors and exhibitors. The logistics, marketing, and organization of the show is all handled by volunteers dedicated to our cause of saving men from prostate cancer.

Unlike many other automotive fundraising events, none of the proceeds goes to a car club, promoter, or to administrative overhead. Our support, and your support by way of ticket purchases, goes directly to prostate cancer research.

We hope to see you there! As extra incentive, Leon’s Transmission will be offering a whole bunch of great door prizes and fun giveaways throughout the event – more details on that soon.

Tickets and more information

Click Here

Interested in showing your classic car?

Click Here

Tip of the Month – May 2019

“Misdiagnosis of the year award!”

Each year we see a few common mistakes repair facilities make in transmission repair. This year one in particular stands out over the others.

The problem is with the Chrysler/Mercedes 722.6 transmission. Here is the scenario. The customer comes in complaining of a transmission leak. You raise the car and look, and it appears it is just a pan leaking. But look close! The problem is the harness plug on the passenger side front of the transmission.

The part Resembles a trailer wiring plug. Replace it with Chrysler part #68021352AA/ Mercedes#A2035400253. Be careful not to over-tighten the 7mm bolt in the harness installation. The harness plug is plastic and will crack. We use a little silicone around the 2 o-rings on the outside of plug going into the transmission case. We also put a little silicone on the o-ring on the male end of the plug that goes into your replaced harness. Since there is no way to know 100% if the pan is leaking, you can either recommend a transmission service at the same time, involving replacing the pan gasket, or tell the customer to return for a check-up in a few days to be sure the leak is gone.






If you have any questions, call your local LEONS TRANSMISSION SERVICES representative.

The Funny Side

  • What happens if you get scared half-to-death twice?
  • What if birds were tickled by feathers?
  • What’s the speed of dark?
  • If Barbie is so popular, why does she have to buy her friends?

Tip of the Month – April 2019

Ford® vehicles with electronically controlled automatic transmissions can have a variety of transmission shifting and engagement problems when there is actually nothing wrong with the transmission itself.

The cause for these types of problems is typically one or more of the following:

  • contaminated Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • shift adapt memory has not been cleared
  • “Re-flash”, “Calibration Update”, or Software Update is necessary to correct software problems with transmission control.

A contaminated Mass Air Flow sensor will skew fuel trim, engine load calculations, and affect transmission shifting and pressure control. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean the Mass Air Flow sensor and “brain dead”, or clear the computer on any Ford vehicle that has a suspected transmission problem, or after installing a rebuilt transmission. Which brings us to our next subject: clearing shift adapt memory.

On Ford vehicles with electronic transmissions, the computer adapts transmission pressure control and clutch apply timing to compensate for wear, manufacturing tolerances, and driving conditions. The adaptive information stored in the computer can be skewed enough to cause shifting problems, and the computer may not ‘relearn’ properly until it is reset to base values.

To clear the computer, or “brain dead” a Ford vehicle, disconnect the battery and hold the Positive and Negative battery cable ends together. Turn the key to the RUN position; hold the brake pedal down for about 10 seconds. Let the vehicle sit for about 10 minutes, then turn the key OFF and reconnect the battery.

Numerous software updates have been released for Ford vehicles to fix transmission shifting and operation problems. Leon’s Transmissions can “Reflash” or update the PCM calibration on any reprogrammable Ford vehicle. For more information, call your local Leon’s representative today!

The Funny Side

Ed was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really angry. She told him, ‘Tomorrow morning I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than 10 seconds…AND IT BETTER BE THERE!’
The next morning Ed got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, she put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale. Ed has been missing since Friday.


Car Culture

Welcome to Leon’s Transmission’s Car Culture column! This month we will look at Drive-in theatres. The first drive-in theatre was opened Tuesday, June 6th, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. The price of admission was $.25 cents per car plus $.25 cents per person. The Drive-in was the creation of Richard Hollingshead. He worked at his dad’s “Whiz Auto Products” store. Richard had a hankering to invent something that combined two of his favorite interests: cars and movies. Originally, sound was provided by large speakers mounted around the parking area. Later, in the 1940’s RCA developed smaller speakers that would hang on your car window.

Further inventions were a clip that you would attach to your car antenna allowing sound to play through your car radio. This design accounted for many dead batteries at the end of the movie, and no doubt, a good excuse for teenagers to tell their parents as to why they were late. Soon the drive-in movie theater nickname “Passion Pit” was born! The 1950’s were the height of the drive-in’s popularity. Families could pack the car with kids in pajamas and mom didn’t need to get all dressed up, to enjoy a night out. The 1970’s saw the decline of the drive-in. Many became swap meets while others were torn down. The Automobile Club reported only 19 drive-ins in California showing movies in 2011. Many of us have fond memories of the neon-lit “Van Nuys Drive-in”, “The Reseda Drive-in”, and the “Winnetka 4 Drive-in”, located in Chatsworth.

See this beautifully restored drive-in speaker and more car artifacts at the Leon’s Transmission “Car Corner” display at the Murphy Auto Museum, located at 2230 Statham Blvd, Oxnard.

Open Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00pm