Well, I was right. It wasn't the transmission that caused my poor truck Grendel to die this weekend. It was the torque converter. (If you want to learn all about torque converters, visit HowStuffWorks.)
Unfortunately, replacing torque converters is expensive, and you have to drop the transmission in order to do it. Generally, transmissions on F-350s last between 150-200K miles. At 192,000 miles, Grendel is on the upper edge of that range. In other words, it's only a matter of time before the tranny goes too. Plus, there is the chance that when the TC went, it gummed up the tranny. Therefore, the general opinion of the online masses (why yes, I've been reading diesel truck forums!) seems to be to replace them both at the same time. Cha-CHING!!!!!
The good news (in the holy-crap-i-hope-i'm-getting-something-worthwhile-for-this-much-money sort of way) is that the rebuilt transmission comes with a 3 year, unlimited mileage warranty. That's good, right?
So, anybody wanna go for a spin in my truck later this week? It'll have a whole new transmission AND new tires. However, the horsehair-upholstered seats will still be the originals.