Info on Dip Stick from Dealer!!

ko4nrbs

Member
This morming my local delaer told me a dip stick is not availalbe from Dodge for my 2006 Sprinter. He said because the tolerances are so close in the NAG1 the technicains have to have it hooked to a computer to ensure the temps are correct before measuring oil level. He also said the dip stick they use is a special tool not available to the general public.

So I will be ok if I buy one from Euro Parts but I must ensure the temps are ok??? The only thing I can do is to get it up to operating temp and then check the oil level like I do with all my other vehicles, Correct??

Bill
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
So I will be ok if I buy one from Euro Parts but I must ensure the temps are ok??? The only thing I can do is to get it up to operating temp and then check the oil level like I do with all my other vehicles, Correct??

Bill
It's best if you determine temperature as well. Search here (blue bar above) for info on how to do that, but it basically involves tapping into a wire under the driver's seat and reading voltage with a DVM. Info is reported here on how to convert that voltage into temp. Not hard to do; did mine years ago. This and a dipstick from Europarts is all you need.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Wow. Something else to obsess about. It is probably best to test temperature, but it's a sump which holds fluid to pump oil out of and up into the frickin' pressure system of a transmission for gods sake, not a laboratory measured experiment. If the oil level is so absolutely critical to proper operation how does it get through the cold periods before it warms up to temperature? The level climbs from the 77F measurement range, or below it, up to the 176F measurement range every time the transmission warms up without issue doesn't it? It even goes higher than the 176F range when the engine and transmission are working harder. This may be a sophisticated transmission, but it's still just a transmission. It's not good to let the level be too low because then the pump may not be properly supplied. It's not good for the level to be too high because it can put extra pressure on the seals or put oil into places it doesn't belong. Other than that, it's a supply sump, nothing more.

It's been posted by people who I trust that under normal operation the transmission temperature in an unmodified Sprinter (no added aftermarket tranny cooler, etc.) is pretty much lock step with the engine temperature. My engine runs a bit below 180F after warmed up. That's pretty darn close to 176F to me.

Take your Sprinter for a bit of a drive without towing a trailer. After the engine is up to 180F for about 15 minutes or so, pull over and check the level. (edit: Use the procedure posted further down in this thread. Thanks TH43) If you find the fluid level is in the 176F range, close the hood and don't worry about it anymore. If it's not in that range then I guess you need to decide whether you're close enough to the suggested checking temperature to adjust using what you have.

For those that may be thinking "Who the hell is he to say these things?" I answer, No I'm not a MB engineer or transmission designer. I'd like to think I have a bit of common sense and mechanical aptitude though. Was the guy at the dealership who thinks it's all so critical going to check the levels for free, or did he stand to book some time while doing it? Sorry for the rant. YMMV. vic

Here's my interpretation of scaling a DIY dipstick.

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showpost.php?p=124996&postcount=30
 
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ko4nrbs

Member
I'm getting a headache!!

I just ordered everything I need from Euro Parts. I'll change the leaking plug on the transmission as soon as I get it. I'll just buy a quart of oil from the dealer here. I think I'll drive it first and heat it up and then check the oil level. It hasn't lost much oil so it will be interesting to see what the level is now. After it cools I can replace the plug.

Thanks,
Bill
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
I'm getting a headache!!

I just ordered everything I need from Euro Parts. I'll change the leaking plug on the transmission as soon as I get it. I'll just buy a quart of oil from the dealer here. I think I'll drive it first and heat it up and then check the oil level. It hasn't lost much oil so it will be interesting to see what the level is now. After it cools I can replace the plug.

Thanks,
Bill
Don't know which plug on yours is leaking, but last time I ordered tranny service parts from Europarts, their info was that the plug/washer was the same for both the pan and the torque converter. I tried their plug/washer in the pan - the plug fit, but the washer wasn't adequately contained and it slipped to the side while tightening so it didn't seal adequately. I'm back to the original plug/washer in the pan. Their plug/washer works fine for the torque converter.
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Wow. Something else to obsess about. It is probably best to test temperature, but it's a sump which holds fluid to pump oil out of and up into the frickin' pressure system of a transmission for gods sake, not a laboratory measured experiment. If the oil level is so absolutely critical to proper operation how does it get through the cold periods before it warms up to temperature? The level climbs from the 77F measurement range, or below it, up to the 176F measurement range every time the transmission warms up without issue doesn't it? It even goes higher than the 176F range when the engine and transmission are working harder. This may be a sophisticated transmission, but it's still just a transmission.
The transmission uses the temperature of the fluid as one of the inputs when adjusting its operating parameters. Perhaps it compensates for level changes as a function of temperature as well? Anyway, I'm ignorant of the details, so why not simply follow the procedure of the service manual (which includes measuring temperature)?
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Is this the correct steps to check the NAG1 oil level? (Assuming the engine is warmed up to operating temperature)
1. Set emergency brake.
2. Chock wheels.
3. Shift thru the gears
4. Shift to Drive
5. Remove dip stick tube cap
6. Insert dip stick and check oil level.

Thanks,
Bill
From the '03 service manual:
"STANDARD PROCEDURE - CHECK OIL LEVEL
(1) Verify that the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
(2) Remove locking pin (1) (Fig. 136). Remove the
plate of the locking pin with a suitable tool and press
out the pin remaining in the cap downwards.
(3) Remove cap (2).
WARNING: Risk of accident from vehicle starting off
by itself when engine running. Risk of injury from
contusions and burns if you insert your hands into
the engine when it is started or when it is running.
Secure vehicle to prevent it from moving off by
itself. Wear properly fastened and close-fitting work
clothes. Do not touch hot or rotating parts.
Fig. 136 Remove Dipstick Tube Cap Lock
1 - LOCKING PIN
2 - TUBE CAP
3 - DIPSTICK TUBE
21 - 102 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION - NAG1 VA
FLUID AND FILTER (Continued)
(4) Actuate the service brake. Start engine and let
it run at idle speed in selector lever position 9P9.
(5) Shift through the transmission modes several
times with the vehicle stationary and the engine
idling
(6) Warm up the transmission, wait at least 2 minutes
and check the oil level with the engine running.
Push the Oil Dipstick 8863A in up to the stop on the
electrohydraulic unit and pull out again, read off oil
level, repeat if necessary.
NOTE: The dipstick will protrude from the fill tube
approximately 75mm (3 inches) when installed.
(7) Check transmission oil temperature.
NOTE: The true transmission oil temperature can
only be read by a scan tool in REVERSE or any forward
gear position. (Refer to 21 - AUTOMATIC
TRANSMISSION- NAG1/TRANSMISSION TEMPERATURE
SENSOR/PARK-NEUTRAL SWITCH - OPERATION)
(8) The transmission Oil Dipstick 8863A has indicator
marks every 10mm. Determine the height of
the oil level on the dipstick and using the height, the
transmission temperature, and the Transmission
Fluid Graph (Fig. 137), determine if the transmission
oil level is correct.
(9) Add or remove oil as necessary and recheck the
oil level.
(10) Once the oil level is correct, install a new dipstick
tube cap (2) (Fig. 138) and lock pin (1)."

Note that the tranny should be in P(ark) and engine idling.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...
so why not simply follow the procedure of the service manual (which includes measuring temperature)?
1.) You risk damage to the TCM and other electrical equipment in the general area if messing around to tap into the points where you measure voltage to convert to temperature.

2.) Many people are not comfortable or technically competent to do that measurement.

3.) The scan tools which can tap into that transmission temperature information without accessing the voltage points are expensive and not possessed by many Sprinter owners.

4.) The 180F engine operating temperature is very close to the 176F range on the dipstick and is reported to correlate. Typically transmission dipsticks are calibrated to "hot" and "cold". Just because Mercedes Benz is anal and gives a narrow band with exact temperatures is no reason to turn cartwheels and handstands.

5.) They didn't even give owners a dipstick supplied with the vehicle which means to me that not even Mercedes Benz considers the fluid level something which needs to be checked regularly. Maybe they figure every 10,000 miles while at the dealer for an oil change is sufficient? How often do people actually check their transmission fluid level on "normal" vheicles even if they have a dip stick? I tend to check mine only if I see evidence of oil spots under my vehicles.

6.) It's a sump. The level just can't be that critical. Had RSN not been such an issue we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

FWIW. YMMV. Have fun. vic
 
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ko4nrbs

Member
I assume this is a typo (lever position 9P9) and should say lever position (P).:thinking:


I feel much more comfortable about my Sprinter after having read posts on this forum for many, many hours over the past four days. Thank you fellas!!:bow:
Thanks,
Bill
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
The manual citation about special tool 8863A is OEM sourced from millerspecialtools.spx.com

8863B.JPG

Or you may purchase the MB tool... I forget the part number.

-Jon
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Here is the dipstick temperature graph mentioned in the Service Manual:
NAG1dipstick.gif

--dick
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Here's an interesting little tidbit which I recently ran across in the official Daimler-Chrysler Sprinter DRBIII information.

I now have some published data to support this post.

Wow. Something else to obsess about. It is probably best to test temperature, but it's a sump which holds fluid to pump oil out of and up into the frickin' pressure system of a transmission for gods sake, not a laboratory measured experiment. If the oil level is so absolutely critical to proper operation how does it get through the cold periods before it warms up to temperature? The level climbs from the 77F measurement range, or below it, up to the 176F measurement range every time the transmission warms up without issue doesn't it? It even goes higher than the 176F range when the engine and transmission are working harder. This may be a sophisticated transmission, but it's still just a transmission. It's not good to let the level be too low because then the pump may not be properly supplied. It's not good for the level to be too high because it can put extra pressure on the seals or put oil into places it doesn't belong. Other than that, it's a supply sump, nothing more.

It's been posted by people who I trust that under normal operation the transmission temperature in an unmodified Sprinter (no added aftermarket tranny cooler, etc.) is pretty much lock step with the engine temperature. My engine runs a bit below 180F after warmed up. That's pretty darn close to 176F to me.

Take your Sprinter for a bit of a drive without towing a trailer. After the engine is up to 180F for about 15 minutes or so, pull over and check the level. (edit: Use the procedure posted further down in this thread. Thanks TH43) If you find the fluid level [on the stick] is in the 176F range, close the hood and don't worry about it anymore. If it's not in that range then I guess you need to decide whether you're close enough to the suggested checking temperature to adjust using what you have.

For those that may be thinking "Who the hell is he to say these things?" I answer, No I'm not a MB engineer or transmission designer. I'd like to think I have a bit of common sense and mechanical aptitude though. Was the guy at the dealership who thinks it's all so critical going to check the levels for free, or did he stand to book some time while doing it? Sorry for the rant. YMMV. vic

Here's my interpretation of scaling a DIY dipstick.

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showpost.php?p=124996&postcount=30
I quote the DRBIII information:
*****************************
With the DRBIII. Display Transmission Temperature. Start and run the engine until the Transmission Temperature is HOT. above 43C (110F).

Check the Transmission fluid and adjust as necessary. Refer to the Service Information for the proper Fluid Fill procedure.
******************************
The transmission should be checked HOT. Those who are obsessing over having the transmission temperature to +/- 1 degree of the temperature range when checking level might add this HOT information to their procedure. FWIW. vic
 
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talkinghorse43

Active member
The caveat here is ... "Refer to the Service Information for the proper Fluid Fill procedure." That gets you right back to the plot of level vs temp. "They" just don't want you to check and adjust level with it COLD.

From the '03 service manual:

"STANDARD PROCEDURE - TRANSMISSION
FILL
To avoid overfilling transmission after a fluid
change or overhaul, perform the following procedure:
(1) Verify that the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
(2) Remove locking pin (1) (Fig. 139). Remove the
plate of the locking pin with a suitable tool and press
out the pin remaining in the cap downwards.
(3) Remove cap (2).
(4) Add following initial quantity of Shellt 3403 to
transmission:
(a) If only fluid and filter were changed, add 5.0
L (10.6 pts.) of transmission fluid to transmission.
(b) If transmission was completely overhauled,
torque converter was replaced or drained, and
cooler was flushed, add 7.7 L (16.3 pts.) of transmission
fluid to transmission.
(5) Check the transmission fluid (Refer to 21 -
TRANSMISSION/AUTOMATIC - NAG1/FLUID -
STANDARD PROCEDURE) and adjust as required.

STANDARD PROCEDURE - CHECK OIL LEVEL
(1) Verify that the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
(2) Remove locking pin (1) (Fig. 136). Remove the
plate of the locking pin with a suitable tool and press
out the pin remaining in the cap downwards.
(3) Remove cap (2).
(4) Actuate the service brake. Start engine and let
it run at idle speed in selector lever position 9P9.
(5) Shift through the transmission modes several
times with the vehicle stationary and the engine
idling
(6) Warm up the transmission, wait at least 2 minutes
and check the oil level with the engine running.
Push the Oil Dipstick 8863A in up to the stop on the
electrohydraulic unit and pull out again, read off oil
level, repeat if necessary.
(7) Check transmission oil temperature.
NOTE: The true transmission oil temperature can
only be read by a scan tool in REVERSE or any forward
gear position. (Refer to 21 - AUTOMATIC
TRANSMISSION- NAG1/TRANSMISSION TEMPERATURE
SENSOR/PARK-NEUTRAL SWITCH - OPERATION)
(8) The transmission Oil Dipstick 8863A has indicator
marks every 10mm. Determine the height of
the oil level on the dipstick and using the height, the
transmission temperature, and the Transmission
Fluid Graph (Fig. 137), determine if the transmission
oil level is correct.
(9) Add or remove oil as necessary and recheck the
oil level.
(10) Once the oil level is correct, install a new dipstick
tube cap (2) (Fig. 138) and lock pin (1)."

Of course, the preferred fluid is now approved to MB spec 236.14.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
The caveat here is ... "Refer to the Service Information for the proper Fluid Fill procedure." That gets you right back to the plot of level vs temp. "They" just don't want you to check and adjust level with it COLD.

...Of course, the preferred fluid is now approved to MB spec 236.14.
But they also don't say exact temperature. vic
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Don't know the accuracy/precision of the DRB-III temperature reading ("exact" and "true" are subjective terms), but the service manual procedure ("they" refer to) does say to read the temp with the scan tool and then look at the graph for the target level at that temp.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
and then look at the graph for the target level at that temp.
Notice that the graph shows the fluid level can change over a range of over 2 inches (12 to 64 mm) over the temperature range of 70 F to 200 F.

I don't know what the "sump shape" of the tranny is, but if you're trying to be within a (let's say) pint (1/2 L) of "accurate", then it requires careful measurement.
The service manual cites 7.4 liters (14.8 pints) if the torque converter wasn't drained, and 7.7 liters (16.3 pints) if it was... so they do care to the near-pint level.

Compare to the T1N engine oil dipstick.. the 1 Qt/L range from "low" to "full" is about 15 mm .. about 3/4 inch (from memory).
And the reading difference between "cold" (60F) and "hot" (180F) is about half of that (i.e. my red-handle dipstick reads 1/2 qt low when cold).
That strongly suggests that the engine oil dipstick is in a broad, deep sump.

Back to the tranny: the service manual's warnings about incorrect fluid levels are:
EFFECTS OF INCORRECT FLUID LEVEL:
A low fluid level allows the pump to take in air along with the fluid. Air in the fluid will cause fluid
pressures to be low and develop slower than normal.
If the transmission is overfilled, the gears churn the fluid into foam. This aerates the fluid and causing
the same conditions occurring with a low level. In either case, air bubbles cause fluid overheating, oxidation,
and varnish buildup which interferes with valve and clutch operation. Foaming also causes fluid
expansion which can result in fluid overflow from the transmission vent or fill tube. Fluid overflow can easily
be mistaken for a leak if inspection is not careful.
--dick
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Notice that the graph shows the fluid level can change over a range of over 2 inches (12 to 64 mm) over the temperature range of 70 F to 200 F.

...--dick
Well, staying within that 1/2L of accuracy sounds very difficult and very dangerous. I'll use your numbers.

200F top of the graph.

70F low point on the graph.

A difference of 130F

About 2" difference in level. So 1" of level change would be at approx. 135F. (The line is fairly linear.)

You are correct that we don't know the shape of the sump.

Trouble is that I don't recommend checking the fluid level "somewhere" in the range. I recommend driving the Sprinter for a time and getting the engine coolant temperature solidly up to the 180F range "HOT" and then checking the fluid level. If you accept that the transmission temperature (which has a fluid coil immersed in the engine coolant) stays basically with the engine temperature, then as I have stated before it is very close to the 176F range mark on the dipstick.

Assume that I'm 15F out +/-. That is approx. +/- 10% error. Assuming I'm 25F out +/-. That is approx. +/- 15% error. Let's go with the horrible 15% worst case number. A 15% error in temperature. That really could be serious when applied to the amount of transmission fluid that the NAG1 contains. IF it applied to the entire transmission fluid amount. It doesn't. It's a worst case 15% error measured from the 176F mark on the transmission dipstick. That applies to a very small area above or below the dipstick graduation mark. If you target the middle of the 176F Hi/Low range on the dipstick you will be OK without question.

If the engine is solidly at 180F operating temperature and you check the transmission fluid level you will not be in danger of over or under filling to the point of disaster.

This is not just to thumb my nose at Mother MB. The truth is that not everyone can easily check the tranny temperature. There is cost to being able to do that. From post #10.

1.) You risk damage to the TCM and other electrical equipment in the general area if messing around to tap into the points where you measure voltage to convert to temperature.

2.) Many people are not comfortable or technically competent to do that measurement.

3.) The scan tools which can tap into that transmission temperature information without accessing the voltage points are expensive and not possessed by many Sprinter owners.

4.) The 180F engine operating temperature is very close to the 176F range on the dipstick and is reported to correlate. Typically transmission dipsticks are calibrated to "hot" and "cold". Just because Mercedes Benz is anal and gives a narrow band with exact temperatures is no reason to turn cartwheels and handstands.

5.) They didn't even give owners a dipstick supplied with the vehicle which means to me that not even Mercedes Benz considers the fluid level something which needs to be checked regularly. Maybe they figure every 10,000 miles while at the dealer for an oil change is sufficient? How often do people actually check their transmission fluid level on "normal" vheicles even if they have a dip stick? I tend to check mine only if I see evidence of oil spots under my vehicles.

6.) It's a sump. The level just can't be that critical. Had RSN not been such an issue we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

FWIW. YMMV. Have fun. vic


The service manual cites 7.4 liters (14.8 pints) if the torque converter wasn't drained, ...
Not!, it's 5.0 liters (10.6 pts).
Assuming that the level is correct before draining, my personal choice would be to measure what comes out. Using that amount, refill minus a 1/2 quart so you can get up to HOT and adjust up with little concern of finding that you initially overfilled.

Reviving this thread with my earlier comment has done what I wanted. Thanks. vic
 
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