Well a week into the adventure, I've followed just about all steps and have the valve to the "nearly" closed position while is boiling water as shown in your last photo but air still passes through. I have it soaking in Trans fluid tonight. Previously have used degreaser and brake parts cleaner and have had some black gunk come out. I've tried squeezing the bulb and it is a S.O.B. I reread your write up and see you've used vice grips, I've been using just needle nose pliers. I'll keep you posted about tomorrow's results. I've not had access to a thermo but can borrow one from my mother n law.