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Old 05-26-2018, 01:24 PM   #1
Zeebins
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Default Dipstick confusion

Let me start off by saying this is probably a pretty dumb question but I'm not sure what to make of the oil level on my dipstick. And yes, I do know how to read a dipstick, I'm just confused with mine.

I changed the oil about 2 months ago and ever since then the oil level has been pretty much the same but the way the oil is on the dipstick doesn't make sense. The oil comes up to a point but then after that point it continues further up, but only covering about half the width of the dipstick. I've added a picture to show what I mean. I've been checking it about once a week since I changed the oil and it's always the same thing, goes up to a certain point then only half the width the rest of the way. So how am I supposed to be reading this, do I go based on where the oil stops covering the full width or based on where the oil is covering only half the width?
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

You will get oil on the dipstick from the tube. I always pull it out, flip it over to see both sides, and you can tell where it was resting in the oil.

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Old 05-26-2018, 09:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Wipe the dipstick a few times to get it really really dry. Then dip it in all the way and pull it out almost as quickly as you are supposed to tug your credit card from the gas pump.
See if that helps...

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Old 05-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

The way I read it, you are at the LOW level and need to add oil.

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Old 05-26-2018, 11:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

I don't know why I didn't think of turning the dipstick over but like Waiex191 said, the oil was getting on the dipstick from the tube.

If I'm remembering right, the dipstick shows 2 quarts of oil so does that mean I'm about 1 quart low?

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Old 05-26-2018, 11:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

The entire crosshatch area is 1 quart. Your red line is passing through the center diamonds, there are 10 of them at 3.2oz each. Do not run more than 3 diamonds low and you can add oil to the "U" on FULL.

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Old 05-26-2018, 11:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The entire crosshatch area is 1 quart. Your red line is passing through the center diamonds, there are 10 of them at 3.2oz each. Do not run more than 3 diamonds low and you can add oil to the "U" on FULL.
I guess I'll add a full quart then to put me a little below the F.

I've been driving like this for about 2 months now and haven't noticed any problems, but would being almost a full quart low cause any damage to anything in the engine?

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Old 05-27-2018, 01:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

As long as you had oil pressure, no real harm done.

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Old 05-27-2018, 07:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

It all depends on how hot the oil got. Oil temperature is a critical item in the DOHC and to a lesser degree the SOHC.

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Old 05-27-2018, 08:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The entire crosshatch area is 1 quart. Your red line is passing through the center diamonds, there are 10 of them at 3.2oz each. Do not run more than 3 diamonds low and you can add oil to the "U" on FULL.
I’ve mentioned this before here in the Saturnfans.com S-Series General forum, but it might be worth repeating. Knowing that each diamond on the dipstick is 3.2oz of motor oil makes a system like this all the more feasible..

I’d like to find a small refillable oil container of a perhaps 6-8oz. Capacity that can be safely tucked away in a secure section of the engine compartment to be used for quick topping off when checking the oil.
A). The right size container (thinking of a small 2-cycle oil bottle with a wide mouth)
B). The right and secure nook to easily keep it. Maybe foam lined or strapped in to avoid rattles.
C). A good method of replenishing the container easily.. perhaps more in the car trunk backed up by a barrage in the garage?

...
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

To get accurate oil level readings with the modern high cling oils requires having a specific parking spot and use it every night. Open the hood after parking and pull up the dip stick 4-5 inches and then close hood. In the morning push in the stick and pull it out and now check the level. At this point you can calculate how much oil to add.

Keep in mind the plastic cam cover will not accept oil rapidly at all and is conveniently provided with an overflow notch out the back side where it is near impossible to see the overflow. You have to actually add oil and watch the level in the cover or it goes out the back down onto the starter.

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Old 05-27-2018, 10:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
I’d like to find a small refillable oil container of a perhaps 6-8oz. Capacity that can be safely tucked away in a secure section of the engine compartment to be used for quick topping off when checking the oil.
A). The right size container (thinking of a small 2-cycle oil bottle with a wide mouth)
B). The right and secure nook to easily keep it. Maybe foam lined or strapped in to avoid rattles.
C). A good method of replenishing the container easily.. perhaps more in the car trunk backed up by a barrage in the garage?
I think I have an idea for this. Your Saturn is a 97 and I believe it's the 99-02 saturns that had that thing in front of the windshield washer fluid tank. I don't remember what it's called but I think it had something to do with emmiaions. That thing through made the whinshield washer fluid tank narrower though so that the new part could fit somewhere. What if you took the windshield fluid tank out of a 99-02 Saturn, replaced it with the one in yours, and use the space in front of it to somehow mount a small bottle of oil?

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Old 05-28-2018, 01:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

I check my oil the way OldNuc mentions. Park overnight, check in the morning before starting. Reading is always good (never any oil on the sides).

I refill using a plastic measuring cup from the local dollar store/Walmart. It is marked in 2 oz increments up to 16 oz, IIRC. It stays out in the garage with the funnel. Always fill up when at home, - I rarely drive the Saturn far enough away that I need to fill up while on the road.

If I had to do that, I'd keep quart bottles in the trunk in a plastic bag with the funnel and paper towels.

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Old 05-31-2018, 04:55 AM   #14
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Has anyone dealing with heavy oil consumption put 5w30 in their windshield washer fluid reservoir and re-routed the hose to a hole in the oil filler cap?

Should I search in the mods section?

...
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:23 AM   #15
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Interesting idea . . . you thinking of using the washer pump to add oil when needed?

I can't live without my washer fluid though
Too many bugs, too much dust. So I'd have to add a second reservoir, but there is some room in there, near the brake master

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Old 05-31-2018, 11:34 AM   #16
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

That might work but I see 2 problems.
1. Oil is a little different consistency than the stuff normally put in there so it might clog up the pump. That could easialy be solved my just removing the pump and manually adding it when needed.
2. You'd probably fail inspection in most states for not having working windshield washer. Having 2 reservoirs and switching them when it comes time for inspection might work.

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Old 05-31-2018, 11:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

Over the many years of the automobile there have been multiple attempts to deal with oil level indication and oil addition more or less automatically. We are still using V1.0 of the system. All of the upgrades failed in one way or another.

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Old 06-01-2018, 04:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dipstick confusion

How about this...

Oil Meter.jpg

park on a level surface.

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• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
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* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg

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