Broken dipstick

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by Muley, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Muley

    Muley New Member

    Nov 9, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Uh oh, I just pulled my Mr. Gasket dipstick out to find it broken off at the full mark. Engine runs fine and I put a magnet on the oil pan. Should I be worried about this as I don't think I can pull the pan without pulling the engine. 1981 Z28 with 388 stroker. Thanks.
  2. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Bloomington, MN
    If you can catch it with a large magnet on the bottom of the pan... You may be able to drag it to the oil drain hole and pull it out with a smaller magnet.
    But... I'm not sure if a dipstick will hold a magnet as it might be stainless steel. (I don't know... I'm pretty sure I've seen rusty ones.)

    I'm curious as to why it broke.
    Contact with the crank would be my first guess.
    If it snapped cleanly... I wouldn't worry.
    If it ground through, there will be some metal in the oil.
    Probably not enough to worry about but I think it would be worth the investment in a magnetic drain plug.

    Good Luck!
  3. David79Z28

    David79Z28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    Greenville, TX
    I've pulled my pan with the engine in the car.

    I removed the fan shroud and distributor cap then jacked it up under the oil pan. Use a wide board between the jack and the pan. Then put blocks between the engine and mounts then remove the jack.

    Just keep an eye on everything while your jacking it up.
  4. Muley

    Muley New Member

    Nov 9, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for the reply. Engine builder (3 years ago) told me he had to bend the dipstick just right to make it work and don't fool with it. Well, it broke right at the scoring for the full mark. Clean break. I too suspect it argued with the crank. I have a magnetic drain plug and put a few extra magnets on the bottom of the pan. I just ordered a thin flexible magnetic pick up tool and will try to fish it out. If I can't find it I think I will just hope for the best. What is the potential damage? Thanks.
  5. Rustbucket350

    Rustbucket350 Veteran Member

    Sep 4, 2013
    Oviedo, Florida
    I've had my 7 quart pan off with the motor in. It's not fun at all. I'd honestly just separate the motor from the trans, pick the motor up high enough, and do it that way. Otherwise you might be looking at the crank grinding that up and running it through the oil which is not good. Or, nothing will happen at all. I'd go in and get it out.
  6. Coadster32

    Coadster32 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    FWIT...I had one break off inside my pan as well. That was in the spring of this year. I jacked the car up really high in the front, and flushed the oil out several times. Tapping on the bottom of the pan to help vibrate the stick torwards the drain hole. I did the magnet trick as well, neodidium magnets are strongest. No sucess on getting it out. I've decided, with the discussion of a few friends and some beer, that if it was still in the pan, it'd be on the bottom. If it moved around, it would gently float, and not be picked up by the crank. Another thought, is it might block some of the oil pump intake. I've been driving the car ever since, about 1500 miles thus far, without incident. I'm hopeful someday when I change the oil, it'll show up, but so far so good. I do keep an eye on the oil pressure, but it's been no problem thus far. I too have a 383 stroker. Good luck.
  7. larrylarry

    larrylarry Veteran Member

    Dec 22, 2011
    San Antonio Tx
    I had my fingers on the loop of my dip stick an could feel it vibrating with the engine running but it has a bend in it, just turned it around.
  8. cadillac_al

    cadillac_al Veteran Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    It seems to me a small flat piece of metal like the end of a dipstick would almost stick to the bottom of the oil pan and stay there. I can't see it floating around in the oil and causing damage. Just my .02
  9. Lowend

    Lowend Administrator. .a car, a man, a maraca. Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Mar 25, 1999
    San Jose, CA, USA
    I agree, with a standard oil pickup, it's pretty unlikely this could hurt anything. Check the rest of the dipstick and see if it is magnetic. It if is, put a magnet on the bottom of the pan (or get a magnetic drain plug) it will catch the thing
  10. 2ndGenCrazy

    2ndGenCrazy Veteran Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Many times peopl
    Many times people do not install the lower dipstick tube in the block following a rebuild. If an aftermarket oil pan/windage tray is used, modification may be required.

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