Weird dipstick situation

Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
Subject vehicle is a 1990 E350 class C motorhome with a Ford 460 V8. Now it has been sitting in the driveway for about three days since it was last run. So I go out, wipe the stick, jamb it down the tube and immediately pull it out. Reads about 1/4-inch above the full mark. This is good as that is where I like it. But there also is a weak trail of oil up one edge of the stick for another 1/2-inch above that. Now if I wipe the stick and jamb it in the tube and count to 10 and pull it out, the oil is solidly 3/4-inch above the full mark. I have seen it with shorter counts where it will show the 1/4-inch above, then a small gap, and then some oil across the stick above the gap. I could understand if it was recently shut down that there could be oil dripping down right over the stick, confounding the reading, but as I said, this thing has been shut down for three days. Or could it be draining from the lifter valley and take longer? Could the stick be rubbing against a spot and the rubbing action causing the drip to start each time I stick it? My other vehicles don't do this. [I dont know]
 
Messages
357
Location
none
Happens to me with my minivan. So I stick the dipstick down only 3/4 of the way, wipe, multiple times (I guess it's oil from the first pull of the dipstick) till dry, then insert count 3 seconds - and it's accurate and reproducable.
 

TallPaul

Thread starter
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
Thanks rg144. I tried your trick and sure enough it brought oil out for several passes, but then when I pushed the stick all the way in and waited a few seconds I still got the high reading.
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
Mine has a no fill zone as it seems to change depending on how it's driven. If I try to keep it filled to the top of the no fill zone it'll eventually be overfilled the next day, so I've slowly started to trust the top half of the no fill zone. Now I'm filling at the midpoint of the no fill zone ...... :^)
 
Messages
522
Location
East Texas
Always leave your stick in as long as possible. After you wipe your stick, jam it into the tube and count to ten. Then pull your stick back out of the tube and check it for drips. The rubbing action of your stick in certain spots will cause a drip each time you stick it in. Whatever you do, don't tell your other vehicles about this. [Smile]
 

WDP

Messages
123
Location
Eastern Pa.
Better mousetrap. IF, big if, with todays multi design dip sticks, you can drill a series of 1/16 holes along the normal area and one a tad above, wipe and replace, only the true oil level will fill the holes. The smear in the tube or leftovers cannot bridge the stick/tube enough to fill the holes. This is the only way to get a decent reading on my Kohler 17 in the tractor, same problem with the smear on the stick. WDP
 
Messages
10,900
Location
Nokesville, VA
The dipstick on the GM Ecotec engine has a 1/4" thick by 1" long metal piece on the end of a wire (almost looks like a really thick speedometer cable-type wire). The block has notches molded into it. It's pretty easy to get an accurate reading because the notches hold enough oil that drips from the dipstick tube won't fill them. And, I guess, the wire itself will absorb any oil on the dipstick tube so it won't run down onto the metal piece.
 
Messages
2,187
Location
Arizona
I ran a group of 454 Chevys converted to natural gas as combination well pumps and electrical generators in Yuma. They had sight glasses attached to the side of the oil pans. I do not know the source of the pans or glasses, but surely this is something you can adapt to a 460 Ford pan. Take care, though. They had a tendency to seep oil from a poor seal between the sight glass and the pan.
 

Al

Messages
19,252
Location
Elizabethtown, Pa
quote:
Originally posted by TallPaul: Now if I wipe the stick and jamb it in the tube and count to 10 and pull it out, the oil is solidly 3/4-inch above the full mark. I have seen it with shorter counts where it will show the 1/4-inch above, then a small gap, and then some oil across the stick above the gap.
I know your frustration. Nissan quest is a btch also. My suggestion is to make a judgement on the first check...subsequent checks within several hours will give higher results due to oil running back down the dip stick tube.
 
Messages
43,667
Location
'Stralia
My Nissan is pathetic. Holds nearly 3/4 litre up top and in the turbo, so when checked cold it's always way overfull. When hot, it's 50:50 whether it will read the correct reading, or 4" overfull. maybe dipsticks should be a "go-nogo" gauge. Oil on the tip, off you go. No oil, no go.
 
Messages
1,908
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Doesn't hurt to "calibrate" the dipstick (due to any number of possible manufacturing and other glitches). I've had to do this on any used car I've owned, just to be "safe": At oil change fill as full as possible (that is, let fresh oil containers drain into engine fully) for the required amount of oil (same brand, same weight as previously used). DON'T START! Let sit for a half hour or so, and pull dipstick. Use a scratch awl to mark dipstick at this "calibrated" point. With dipstick marked, drive a few days and eyeball what you have. Some vehicles seem to "burn" off a few ounces in the first few hundred miles. I mark dipstick AGAIN. The two lines (along with factory marking) give a good idea of where "Full" ought to be. Then drill holes (it is a good idea, I've liked the sureness of them).
 
Top