oil dipstick shows 2 different levels?? - Nissan Forum
GA16DE 1.6L Engine Engine Discussion: 91-99 Sentra, 95-98 200SX, 91-93 NX1600

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post #1 of 25 Old Mar 31st, 2003, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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oil dipstick shows 2 different levels??

Lately, when I check my oil I don't seem to get a straight reading from the dipstick. The oil is on there pretty normal except there is a thick part that comes up to about the bottom of the cross hatch (quart low). Then there is a very thin layer that comes to just above the cross hatch ( over full). It did this before I changed my oil and after. It does it before I start the car and after, whether I have wiped the dipstick or not. I'm not an idiot and I swear it never used to do this. Since I did just changed the oil I know its closer to right than a quart low but has anyone seen this? Which line do I believe? I am about to go on a road trip and don't want to damage the engine. Any ideas? I don't want to be guessing at the correct oil level.

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post #2 of 25 Old Mar 31st, 2003, 06:48 PM
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hmmm... no leaks right?.. it should be a problem.. how many quarts did you use, when i did my oil change i think i used almost 4.2 quarts.. something close to that
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post #3 of 25 Old Mar 31st, 2003, 07:09 PM
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You should follow the side that is lower of course. The one that indicates it needs a quart of oil. Just make sure the ground is level when checking it.
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post #4 of 25 Old Apr 1st, 2003, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Well, since I have until Friday before I travel, I think I will just drain it and put back in the right amount and watch what it will do so I know for sure which one to follow. I just changed the oil a week ago so I don't need to change the filter. Holy200sx, you are a GA16 right? My owners manual says 3qts plus 3/8qt for the filter. But if the cars reads right who knows.

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post #5 of 25 Old Apr 1st, 2003, 07:36 PM
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i was gonna say every time i change my oil its about 3 1/2 quarts.

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post #6 of 25 Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 03:09 AM
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i usually use 4 quarts ( 4 bottles )

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post #7 of 25 Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 03:50 AM
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the right amount is actually 3 3/8 quarts from the factory manual.

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post #8 of 25 Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Also, maybe one of you will know. If I just pull the drain plug and empty it but leave the filter on, will it drain too or will it stay full? I don't know the most about how the engine works. I am using a Fram filter which does not have a check valve. And for future reference, when I get the oem filter with the check valve, does that interfere with the dipstick reading at all? Just curoius how that works.

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post #9 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 01:53 AM
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the filter will still have oil in it. cuz i usually pull the filter off after i drain the pan, and always get oil all over my arm. dunno about the check valve thing

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post #10 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 05:49 AM
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if the filter doesnt have an anti-drainback valve, all of it should drain, but i suggest changing filters at every oil change as recommended. it only holds a small enough of oil, nothing that will affect the oil reading, purely for cold start reduced wear.

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post #11 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:28 AM
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Assuming you have to external or internal oil leaks, if you drain oil and put in 3 1/2 bottles of oil then your dipstick level should be just below the middle of the cross hatch part - ie normal

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post #12 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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And that is exactly what I am planning on doing tonight before my trip tomorrow. The only reason I am not changing the filter is because I just did an oil change about a week and a half ago. The only reason I am draining/refilling is to make absolutely sure I am at the right level. As for the filter, yeah I always get some oil on my arm too but I think its just the lower half of the filter not being able to drain back since its completely on its side. Why do designers do that? I don't care if you have a lift or a pit, when you pull the filter its still going to leak oil right on everything below it. Either way, thanks for all the knowledge.

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post #13 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 08:23 PM
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it may be a different reading when the engine is hot/cold.
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post #14 of 25 Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 08:25 PM
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what i have learned is the it takes 20 mins to an hour for all the oil up in the head to make its way down to the pan

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post #15 of 25 Old Apr 4th, 2003, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I got it drained/refilled last night. Poured in 3 qt oil and there was a tiny bit in the filter I'm sure, comes up dead in the middle of the cross hatch. But I can still see that the oil is very thick up to a point and then thins down before stopping at the reading line. Maybe its just running down as I pull the dipstick out. I don't know but its right now. Thanks for all the good discussion and tips. Since the car doesn't burn a drop of oil hopefully I won't have to worry about this until the next oil change.

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