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2010 E350 4matic
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,
No way i am gonna pay $100 for a freaking dipstick at mb dealership so i decided to take matters into my own garage :)

I'll be making my own dipstick tomorrow to check the ATF level, I've looked around here and this is what i came up with, Please correct me if i am wrong or if i miss anything.

1220mm of 1/8" steel wire from home depot has to be very flexiable. I'll get it a little longer to make a round handle on top of it to put my finger in it. With ATF fully warmed up (20-30 mins of driving) the ATF level should be checked on a flat surface and the level should be between 55mm-65mm from the bottom of the dipstick. Should be tried a few times with dipstick hitting the pan each time. Car has to be started and in P while checking the level.

Would it be safe to put masking tape on dipstick between 55mm to 65mm from the bottom to better see the ATF level?

Has anyone here done this? If so would someone be kind enough to share some pics please.. :bowdown:

Cheers
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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putting colored tape on "dipstick" should be okay, just make sure it has strong adhesive and that you wrap it around a few times to make sure it won't come off. get the steel wire that has plastic covering around. also make sure you insert it all the way, sometimes it seems it's all the way in, but an extra push will insert it even further.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
putting colored tape on "dipstick" should be okay, just make sure it has strong adhesive and that you wrap it around a few times to make sure it won't come off. get the steel wire that has plastic covering around. also make sure you insert it all the way, sometimes it seems it's all the way in, but an extra push will insert it even further.

Good stuff thanks for the quick reply :thumbsup:
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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Kajtek1 did this and I think his method is in the stickys.
 

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99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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1922 Ford T no OBD, no ECU, no SCN
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The blue masking tape holds pretty well. The white needs to replaced at each testing. I use 1" masking tape and put it along the cable. That will leave a fin, that wraps around the cable. This way when I pull out the cable, the inside of the fin shows perfectly the fluid level, since it is protected from rubbing the tube.
Never tried polyurethane tube, but knowing the material I would make sure I am not pushing it too much, since it could bend submerged in hot fluid.
 

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Where did you get the idea the dipstick cost $100? Why suggest outlandish things and spread such misinformation?

A proper quality tool -- with both temp ranges -- can be purchased on ebay for about $25 with shipping. (Or you could pm ohlord and buy it and a magnet and his tips for about $40 I think.)

Rather than floppy cable you could use coiled spring...like that used for an inexpensive drain auger. That is pretty much what the actual tool is, too.

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

(Let me know if you need to read that a few more times.)

On a cold day (you do have those in Toronto winters, don't you?) you could drive for hours and perhaps not get it to the correct temperature, though a drive and idling for a while might let it get that warm. The only way to know for sure is to use SDS or an infrared thermometer (cheap enough). Otherwise you're just guessing, and then the tool is rather meaningless, whether you are using a tube, wire, cable, masking tape or anything else.

It is always better to defer maintenance until you are actually prepared to do it properly than to do a half-baked job. Any car deserves better than that.
 

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2000 E430 Sport Sedan
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387 Posts
I bought 3' of the 1/8" wire that has the clear plastic on it. Then I used a black magic marker. Works perfect, cost maybe $5.
 

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Benzo you should follow sixbangers advice if you are on a tight budget. Seems pretty good assuming you have cold and hot level markings on the wire. When times are tough sometimes we have to improvise (Gregs210) isn't that the American way?

regards.
 

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2010 E350 4matic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Benzo you should follow sixbangers advice if you are on a tight budget. Seems pretty good assuming you have cold and hot level markings on the wire. When times are tough sometimes we have to improvise (Gregs210) isn't that the American way?

regards.
Hey bud,
Its not that i cant afford to buy a dipstick. I just think its highway robbery for
Dlr to charge $100 for it. I love wrking on my cars n making diy stuff and thats why i wanted to make this on my own. Guess it just gives me a sence of
Accomplishment to see something work well which is made by me.

Cheers

PS: ill post some pics later on tonight once iam done making this.
 

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It all depends how much you can save. $23, I bought mine from SG motorsport, brake pad spreader, spark plug wrench and oil filter wrench, Ohlord's neighbor and $11 shipping. Since I have S & E, these tools are very handy indeed for DIY.
 

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Benzo you should follow sixbangers advice if you are on a tight budget. Seems pretty good assuming you have cold and hot level markings on the wire. When times are tough sometimes we have to improvise (Gregs210) isn't that the American way?

regards.
Hey, I made mine too...how do you think I know about the cheap drain tool having the ideal spring coils? There's nothing wrong with making one as long as you are careful about it.

But having the tool properly marked off is only half the battle. The OP is also talking about guessing at the temperature. At that point what does it matter what you're using for a dipstick tool or how you mark it off? Unless you have a leak just leave it alone...that's even cheaper and less time-consuming than making a dipstick tool, right?

*******************

My overall point, which seems to have flown by everyone, is that performing maintenance incorrectly is *not* maintenance. You may as well instead go to the beach and move some sand around between a couple of buckets and say "Yep, the ATF level is good."

Bottom line: If you're going to do it, do it properly. If you're not, then take it somewhere that they will do it properly. Or ignore it until it breaks and costs you extra. Always your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would have to agree with Greg, when i decide to do something myself i like to do it the proper way and no half ass jobs..Now with that said i dont think there is anything wrong with making tools like the dipstick in question here. Paying more $ for something does not make it better. As long as one is technically
inclined and feels comfortable making such tools then why not.

I personally love to improvise on things like this and at this point i am thinking about picking up a generic dipstick make it the right length (1220mm) and just making the markings with a blade for 25' and 80' as shown in the following pic.
i dont see why that will not work??

what do u guys think?
 

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Apparently I do need to repeat myself...

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

Fluid level is directly tied to fluid temperature.

(Let me know if you need to read that a few more times.)

The accuracy of the dipstick is irrelevant if you don't know the temperature of the fluid. Capice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Apparently I do need to repeat myself...




The accuracy of the dipstick is irrelevant if you don't know the temperature of the fluid. Capice?
Hi Greg,
I fully understand that ATF level has to be measured at the right temperature and i actually plan on using this laser i picked up sometime back by point it on the pan to get the ATF temp.. I do apologize if i didnt mention this before but if you look at my first post i stated that i will be driving the car for abt 30 mins to get to temp up to the 80c.

Anyways thanks for your input. didn't mean to annoy anyone.

Cheers,
Farhan
 

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Hi Greg,
I fully understand that ATF level has to be measured at the right temperature and i actually plan on using this laser i picked up sometime back by point it on the pan to get the ATF temp.. I do apologize if i didnt mention this before but if you look at my first post i stated that i will be driving the car for abt 30 mins to get to temp up to the 80c.

Anyways thanks for your input. didn't mean to annoy anyone.

Cheers,
Farhan
Hey, Farhan. Good that you're checking the actual temp; that's the first time you mentioned that you were going to check it properly.

All you'd mentioned was driving around, and my point was that since there is no thermostat in the trans cooler, if it's cold outside you're not actually warming up the fluid past a certain point (and you'd probably never get to 80c, with the result that you'd overfill it). Better to go for a short drive and let it idle somewhere, maybe even a fast idle with part of the radiator blocked if necessary (cardboard is useful for this) so you can get the ATF up to 80c.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Greg,
It's my bad i should've mentioned the laser in my previous post.
Anyways thanks alot for all the help guys, i'll keep u guys posted.

Cheers
 

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Mine is non-professional and very cheap, $2, made out of 1/4" polyurethane tubing bought from Home Depot so I called it diptube. I keep the diptube in a plastic bag so dust can't bother it. Note the red duct tape marking, it's 90cm/~3ft from one end when it reaches the bottom of the pan.
 

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You gotta give those [slur omitted] their due-----they make great sausage and dip sticks. Now that's competitive advantage at its best.

[remainder of useless post omitted]
Nice.

You really should be ashamed of yourself. I'm not sure that would even fly in OT, but it's clearly inappropriate here.

I have no idea what your heritage is -- nor does it matter -- but would you like people to criticize you in such an ugly manner?

Rest assured that you speak only for yourself with such hateful, insipid, puerile and useless comments. I'd prefer that you check yourself and be helpful, but if you cannot conduct yourself here with a modicum of decency and fair manners, please leave. Whatever knowledge you have brought to the forum is more than erased by such posts.
 
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