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Thread: crummy dipstick on 1.7cdti.. any tips on checking oil?

  
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    crummy dipstick on 1.7cdti.. any tips on checking oil?

    Hi all, the dipstick is pants on my 1.7cdti. Its black for a start, and the daft method of routing it round corners etc makes it pretty impossible to check once you remove it the first time to clean it off. The oil sticks to various points of it, making a reading pretty hard.

    So, anyone got any tips for a reliable reading? I know the manual says check it hot, but when cold you seem to get a more reliable reading on (as the tube is pretty much drained clear and it doesnt pick any stray oil on the way up). But when checking it a second time it's then pretty difficult to tell.

    I'm thinking of getting wire wool on the thing, to make it easier to see the oil against it.. but has anyone got any other ideas or techniques?

    I'm 90% certain my engine is at least a litre or two over filled, but need to be certain before i drain it off.

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    You will get very different readings cold and hot the way that is suggested. I have the same car and all you do is wipe the dipstick, put it back and take it out again. Turn it at a slight angle if it's not instantly visible what the oil level is. It's shouldn't really be past the MAX. If it is then drain it off as there is a 1litre difference between MIN and MAX.
    So 1cm over MAX is about .5litres too much. Any more and you risk causing damage. Too much oil can be as bad as not enough.
    Did you measure the amount put in or did it come back from a garage like that? The main dealers (three in different areas) always insisted on overfilling the oil, so I take it elsewhere now.

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    its a new purchase... so it came from the dealer like that (independant but very good garage). but, i'm a more than competent home mechanic so will probably change the oil again to be sure its getting the right amount and the right type.
    I cant see you'll get different readings.. on a hot engine left for five mins the oil will be thin enough to all drain through from the engine. Measuring a 'hot' engine is left too much to chance for me, but i guess thats what the dipstick is marked for so i havent got much choice..

    What do these use? i've heard 5w30 semi, but i'd normally use a 10/40 semi on anything except a new engine.

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    On a 1.7 cdti you should use 5w30 fully syn, if you do an oil change these things take over 4.5 litres.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adibranch View Post
    ..... i'm a more than competent home mechanic .....
    First rule of being a home mechanic - do what the manual/manufacturer advises.
    If it says check when hot, then check when hot.

    If you're finding it difficult to read the dipstick then it may be either empty (none on it to see), or too full (too much on it)

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    lol thats a good point.. but i've worked on enough cars (and much bigger engines) to know that reading when hot just doesnt make sense. Sometimes manufacturers will put stuff like this into manuals in order for the average unknowing driver to check their oil, as this will be mainly when its hot, as the only time they'll think about doing this is when they're driving it.

    I cant see any mechanical or technical reason to do this when hot.. unless anyone can enlighten me?

    Ps no its not empty.. as explained the main reason i couldnt see the level is because the disptick is black in colour ( and i can imagine its even worse with hot thinner oil). I've now sanded off the black to bare metal on the bottom of the dipstick, and it is now MUCH easier to see correctly.

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    Good idea on sanding it down to shiny metal.

    Checking when hot :-
    As you know oil expands when it gets up to operating temperature.
    Therefore, to ensure there is enough oil to protect the engine when running, it will be better to test the levels when it's warm/hot.
    Cold check theory:
    Possible reason for not checking cold oil, could be that different grades of oil will have varying expansion rates, depending on viscosity/quality etc.
    It may be the case that the wrong oil may not expand enough when at it's operating temperature to meet the minimum lubrication levels !

    (Where's Oilman or Ffoeg when we need them )

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    thanks.. good answer.. makes sense, it was just odd that its the first time i've heard of doing this.

    I checked when hot, and the difference is about half a litre less than when checked cold, even after ten to fifteen minutes. So, i'll check when hot from now on for this car (just not any others )

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