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Un readable dipsticks

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Tugger2, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Tugger2

    Tugger2 Senior Member

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    This seems like a dumb thing to be asking. How often do you guys come across a dipstick on a machine that wont show a reading ,no matter how many times you wipe it clean ,try it hot, try it cold turn it in a different direction ect. Ive got a 910 Cat loader with a 3204 in it , engines pretty tired and has lots of blowbuy so im sure its using oil. Every time you pull the stick its a scrambled reading. When i service it it gets the right amount of oil ,but theres still no reference to go by on the stick even with clean oil. My latest thought is a bigger tube so it wont wipe the stick but theres really not room
     
  2. hosspuller

    hosspuller Senior Member

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    Do you mean there's oil in the tube that's obscuring a good level reading ?
    Perhaps the seal on the dipstick is shot. The crankcase blow by is forcing oil up the tube. A better seal or crankcase vent should stop that.
     
  3. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    Are you reading the oil level cold?

    I always thought clean oil was way harder to read than sooty old oil. Either one can be a pain after the engine's been running, but if you read it cold the dipstick is usually mostly clean. I assume you're talking about the oil that rubs onto the side of the dipstick making it harder to tell where the oil level is. If you can't distinguish the oil level line on the dipstick because the surface is too glossy, try roughening the surface, like clean the dipstick with a solvent and pickle it in sulfuric acid (dip in a scrap battery) until you get the right texture.
     
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  4. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    Clean the dipstick tube internally. Pipe cleaner comes to mind. Doubt it'll unbolt, but... Screenshot_20190212-121314_Chrome.jpg
     
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  5. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    I figured you were asking about the stupid plastic tipped stick on my Econoline E4OD transmissions.
     
  6. ol'stonebreaker

    ol'stonebreaker Senior Member

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    Check with the engine cold and stopped. If it reads overfull it has enough. Next time you change oil, start it and let it run for a minute, shut it off and walk away for awhile. Pull the dipstick with it stopped, now you know what full is with it stopped. I've seen dipsticks in older Cat engines that had marks on two sides, one for running and one for stopped.
    Mike
     
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  7. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    I have painted the end of dipsticks before with a thin coat of flat black paint. Works real well to take that dam sheen off.
     
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  8. DIYDAVE

    DIYDAVE Senior Member

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    You might also try stamping a cross hatch pattern, on the bottom inch of the stick...;)
     
  9. Tugger2

    Tugger2 Senior Member

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    My older cat stuff has the running and stopped marks ,they always read right. The loader has only one set of marks, i can leave it sit for a month ,you would think the oil would settle at its level. I like the pipe cleaner idea and the seal as this engine has excessive blow by. I know what you mean about those phony wire dipsticks they are almost as bad but at least if you wipe them and put them back in you get a reading.
     
  10. RZucker

    RZucker Senior Member

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    Glass beading/light sandblast works too.
     
  11. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    Cat 320C excavators are the same way, you have to read both sides of the stick a couple times and take an average, don't know why it gets smeared all over.
     
  12. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    I've come across this a few times. Weirdest ones are when you pull the dipstick 4 or 5 times and the readings are all over the map. Hot, cold, doesn't matter.
     
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  13. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    I've gotten to where when I do an inspection I just make sure that oil is on the stick. I remember a lot of Cummins engines used that plastic tube which always smeared oil on the tube when you pulled the stick out and then messed up a reading when you put the dipstick back in and pulled it out again. On some engines I would see the level when first pulled out would be way high and then settle back down when you checked it again and others would show no oil when you pulled the stick out and then show OK when checked a second time. Those were clues to start looking for other issues when the engine was running.
     
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  14. Volvomad

    Volvomad Senior Member

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    With any dipstick down a long skinny tube ,I usually pull the dipstick and leave it out for a minute ,clean,dip for 5 seconds, pull and then check . I rekon the tubes are often airlocked by the top seal showing off the wall readings .
     
  15. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    My lawn mower does that bad. I have to remember to leave the oil cap unscrewed when I finish if I want to get a reading before I start the next time.

    That brings to mind what I think might be the root cause of the problem here. Tier 4 stuff usually has a tightly sealed dipstick. Might cause the oil to creep up the tube overnight. If the tube enters below the oil level.
     
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  16. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    My 321C w/3066 and my 320D w/C6.4 are the only ones in the whole fleet like that. The 3064 and C4.4 read right every time. And, it's not oil smearing, it's different readings for first 3 tries.