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Voyager/Caravan Oil Level Check - 3.0L Engine?

jonathannjonathann Posts: 55
edited March 9 in Dodge
Where's Waldo?

I have a 2000 Caravan with 3.0L engine.

In its younger years, it never burned a quart of oil between 7500 mile changes. But now, with 120,000 miles, it does need a top up.

The problem is I have never been able to determine the oil level on this engine by using the dipstick.

I'm not an idiot (don't listen to my wife). I know where the high and low notches are in the dipstick, I just cannot tell where the oil level is.

I let the vehicle sit for an extended period, pull the stick, wipe it and re-insert. I pull it out and it has oil all over it, half way up the stick.

There are two o-rings at the top end of the stick. I thought this may stop the oil from draining down the tube, so I tried leaving the stick out for an extended time and checking again. Same results, oil all over the stick for about half way up the stick.

I know that I should just go down the stick until I find a spot with solid oil on both sides of the stick, but I don't seem to be able to determine this spot.

I have had many cars and never had a problem reading the dipstick before.

Has anyone else had this problem with their 3.0L engine? If so, what is the solution?

Thanks.

Comments

  • Please Help!

    I can't believe that with all the 3.0L engines out there, no one else has experienced this.

    I just had an oil change done, and I asked the mechanic. He pulled the dipstick and said "its right on full". However, oil was not on both sides of the full mark, so I think he was saying this because he had just installed the recommended amount of oil.

    How do you read this dipstick?
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    There are little holes in the dipstick. If some oil is on the tube walls it can show on the sides of the dipstick as being at a certain level when it's really not. Look at the little holes in the dipstick and if oil is covering them then it is a true reading.

    Also, after he added the oil did he start the engine and let it idle for 30 seconds or so, and then shut it off for a minute or two to let the oil settle before he did the reading? After an oil change the new oil has to circulate through the filter and engine or the reading will show a level higher than it really is.

    Edit: I just now saw your original message. You said the dipstick has notches. I was just going by the Chrysler vehicles I have, which all have holes in the dipstick.

    Also, you changed the oil and filter every 7,5000 miles? :surprise: I hope you used synthetic. I've always done the 3,000 mile interval oil change.
  • Thanks for the information tedebear.

    My dipstick has a lower notch that I take to be the add indicator, and an upper notch which I take to be the full indicator. Slightly above the upper notch, it does have two closely spaced holes in the center of the dipstick. I will do as you have suggested and make sure the holes are filled with oil.

    Does your dipstick have a lower hole (Add) and an upper hole (Full) or are your two holes placed close together like mine?

    I have owned the van since new, and the owner's manual (Canada) says 7,500 mile oil changes. I use standard 5W30 oil, not synthetic. With 120,000 miles on the clock, I now have to add a quart of oil at about 4,000 miles.

    I love this van.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    Does your dipstick have a lower hole (Add) and an upper hole (Full) or are your two holes placed close together like mine?

    Actually, only one of mine has the holes in the dipstick. There is one at the "Add" mark, another one at the "Full" mark and three more spaced between those.

    My other two Chrysler vehicles have a diamond pattern etched between the add and full marks. It's not hard for me to read the actual oil level on any of them.

    Getting back to your 7,500 mile oil change interval, I checked various owner's manuals that I have and none of them recommend going beyond 6,000 miles. That's for normal driving - no stop and go city, no dusty roads, etc. The severe duty says to change it every 3,000 miles. That's what I do although my driving habits are probably closer to the normal service schedule.

    Does that Canadian manual possibly say 7,500 kilometers and not miles? I wouldn't go 7,500 miles, even if I was using synthetic.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Getting back to your 7,500 mile oil change interval, I checked various owner's manuals that I have and none of them recommend going beyond 6,000 miles."

    Our older Gen 3 van from 1998 has a factory recommendation of 7,500 miles for the OCI, our Gen 4 van from 2003 shows an OCI of 6,000. I use synthetic oil and go 10,000 to 12,000 in both (supported by UOAs of course). ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Tedebear:

    No, the manual says 12,000 km which translates to 7,500 mi.

    I was going to have some fun and get into a debate about Canadian oil being better, like Canadian beer, but Shipo spoiled that by confirming that his US Gen 3 van calls for 7,500 mi OCI.

    Oh well, from what I can see, that debate belongs in BITOG.

    Thanks again for the dipstick info. I'm a little bit concerned that the two existing holes are about 1/4" above the full notch. I guess I can take a good sharp drill bit and drill some holes between the add and full notches to give a better fill indication.

    Regards,

    Jonathan
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I was going to have some fun and get into a debate about Canadian oil being better, like Canadian beer, but Shipo spoiled that by confirming that his US Gen 3 van calls for 7,500 mi OCI."

    Sorry about that. :blush: Tell you what, I'd gladly swap you a case of American made Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale for a case of Canadian made Pump House Scotch Ale (or Fire Chief's Red Ale, I like them both). I don't think you'll be disappointed. ;-) That or we could find a nice place half way between and tip a few while arguing over the relative merits of the various North American beers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, a difficult chore, but somebody has to do it. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Shipo:

    You're excused.

    I was actually interested to learn that the US Gen 3's called for 7,500 mi OCI as well.

    A meet at a convenient pub, or whatever you call them down there sounds appealing.

    You can never sample too many beers in your effort to designate the number 1!

    Regards,

    Jonathan
  • I had the exact crazy problem -- I was never able to get an accurate oil reading from the dipstick (89 caravan with 3.0 engine). I may have solved it: yesterday I took a radio coaxial cable (size RG 59U -- a perfect fit) and reamed out the dipstick tube. Now it seems to get a good reading with the oil showing evenly on both sides of the dipstick.

    I have read about sludge issues with this engine -- maybe there was a deposit in the bend of the tube preventing clean contact with the stick.I'm assuming whatever I knocked loose will be caught in the oil filter.

    Hope this helps -- a man's gotta know his oil level!
  • Maybe I spoke too soon. Today the oil level reading is again hard to see. Maybe the cable "reaming" yesterday just coated the sides of the dipstick tube with oil which then showed up on the stick. Sure looked normal afterwards, but I need to keep checking for the next few days. What a strange mystery...
This discussion has been closed.