leak at dipstick

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leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:30 am

After the college students performed all the engine work on my wagon, I've found a good leak coming from the dipstick (at least I'm pretty sure that's the source). I think they had to remove it for the repairs so I'm wondering what could have gone wrong when they reinstalled it. What makes the seal at the dipstick tube? Some type of o-ring? Would I just buy a new tube/stick and R&R the old one?
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:51 am

Is it leaking at the base, or coming out the top? If the latter, the PCV is likely incorrectly plumbed and the pressure from inside the block is pushing the oil out the dipstick tube. If the former, it's just a press fit tube -- I yanked mine and put in a Lokar one with an O-ring.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by Joe73 on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:36 am

Yes, its a press fit tube. I'd wiggle it around a little to also check if it might have a slight crack from being bent. Its possible that when they removed the head they bumped and bent the tube slightly. Then bent it back.

Either way, pretty easy fix. Just pull it out and lightly tap a new one in.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:39 am

great!  I will check both and see.  The PCV valve worked back in September but I'll rattle it to make sure it's working.   I do have a breather on the passenger side valve cover; is that enough to relieve crankcase pressure?


Last edited by dhw3971 on Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:25 pm

That should work; depending on how hard you abuse it, it'll likely spit oil out the breather, though. Factory PCV has one hose from air cleaner to valve cover (fresh air intake) and one hose from the other valve cover to carb or intake manifold (suction of crankcase vapors into engine).
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:59 am

weeeeelll, the damn tube won't come out (yet) so I'm still stuck with a leak. What a PITA.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by thatfnthing on Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:28 am

Really? I'm surprised. I just used a pair of needle-nosed vise grips and wiggled it gently until it came out...
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dynchel on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:33 am

Put a screwdriver in the tube (so it doesn't collapse) then clamp vice grips on the tube. Shoot a little penetrating oil at the base. Good luck.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by 77mali on Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:28 pm

Is it bolted to the block near the top of it? Sometimes there is a tab & it gets bolted somewhere near the exhaust manifold.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by chevellelaguna on Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:13 pm

80 and up is usually bolted to the block pass side , 79 and less is a press fit on the drivers side.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:55 am

Negative on all accounts--not bolted and can't wiggle or rotate the tube. Considering the "sledgehammer mechanic" who installed it a few years ago I am not surprised I can't get it out. I've read that making a homemade slide hammer will remove the tube...not yet sure what I'm going to do with it.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by Silentknight85 on Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:55 pm

Try prying the tube out from the block? There should be (I think) a slight lip on the tube at the block that you can get a small pry bar under.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by Joe73 on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:06 pm

And if it breaks off flush with the block then get a bolt just slightly bigger than the inside diameter of the tube and thread it in. Thread it in at least 1/2"-1" and then use some vise grips to pull on the bolt.

Dont get too big of a diameter bolt. Big diameter will expand the tube and make it tighter.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:45 am

OK, thanks for the tips. Last time I drove it I'm not convinced that the dipstick is leaking; it may be coming from the cylinder head/engine block junction. I'm going to check that the head bolts are tight in the area around the dipstick.
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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by Joe73 on Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:22 pm

Definitely not the head bolts. If they were loose you would be dumping antifreeze and oil like crazy due to them being pressurized. And loosing compression as well. All kinds of problems when head bolts come loose.

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Re: leak at dipstick

Post by dhw3971 on Wed May 13, 2015 3:22 pm

well, as it turned out the valve cover gasket was the culprit! I removed the valve cover and noticed that the (new Crying or Very sad ) cork gasket was deformed in a small area and had moved away from the edge of the valve cover and towards the valvetrain (picture a D laid on its straight side).

I purchased a rubber gasket and a tube of black Permatex RTV sealant and on the second try got the cover installed with NO leaks. Learned that patience is the key: after applying the sealant to the valve cover I laid down the gasket, pressed it into the sealant and waited 24 hours. I applied 52 inch-pounds of torque to all for cover bolts and the leak has not come back.
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