Tranny fluid level checking issues

Aircraft Wrench

New member
Backround

I changed the fluid 2 weeks ago, dropped the electrical valve body, drained the converter (I'll post my tech tip on that later) (Redline D4)

I installed 8 quarts of oil, ran the van in Drive up and down the road, measured the voltage, converted to temp and level....and had many problems getting the fluid up high enough....I even poured the old fluid into the bottles to confirm the amount....I then measured my homemade dipstick and found it not to reach the bottom of the pan...ARRRRRRGGH no wonder I had NO RSN because I had about 1 quart too much fluid:bash: I drained the fluid out to the level specified with the charts etc and drove a short trip (180 miles) and the RSN was horrible!!!!!:cry: I monitored the temp on the whole trip and it did not get above 1.61 volts

The day after I got home, I checked the fluid level again with the tranny in Drive, parking brake on and the level appears to be low:idunno: I'm gonna add 1/2 quart (16 oz) and drive around some ...couple of days....

I'll post pics of my dipstick tonight etc...

So...anyone else noted level change issues? how did you deal with it? does installing more oil than the charts call for really show problems with "Foam" (level within the level below the planetary gear area)
 

poiuytrewq

New member
I have read many posts about this rsn and the level of fluid. In the last year i have changed the fluid 3 times, all in the hopes of eliminating the rsn. Original over priced mopar crap, redline , and now royal purple. Reading the manual, the transmission requires about 8 litres. I have come to the conclusion that this is not the case. When i add an extra litre, the rsn rarely happens. If i fill to the factory spec(regardless of fluid type) i get severe rsn. I did buy this van used so it is possible that there is some wear in this transmission. I know that over filling may have some consequences , but the dam rsn definately has consequences. I believe this is the lesser of the 2 evils. From now on i simply add 1 extra litre and be damned the consequence. I dont haul anything heavy, probably 1000lbs extra weight with tools . My thought is that maybe hauling heavy would cause the trans fluid temp to rise and thus expand, so my overfilling might cause some type of problem(cant imagine what) and maybe that is why the spec calls for less.
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
I checked the fluid level again with the tranny in Drive, parking brake on and the level appears to be low
The temp sensor reading is accessible in only D or Rev (while sitting in the cockpit) but the dipstick level should be checked in Park. Don't want to hear of you being run over. Doktor A
 

rlent

New member
The temp sensor reading is accessible in only D or Rev (while sitting in the cockpit) but the dipstick level should be checked in Park.
Ooops .... and I actually knew this at one point :bash: .... thanks Dok !!!!
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
The temp sensor reading is accessible in only D or Rev Doktor A
BTW, accessible only in D or Rev to both you AND the TCM.

If you are curious what that other "false"temp reading is when measured in P or N- this is the engine oil temperature.

This engine oil temp reading comes to the TCM via the CAN bus from the ECU. The TCM uses this value to sub for trans temp when in park or neutral and thus avoid a DTC.

Be careful and don't read the wrong temp value!

Doktor A
 

Aircraft Wrench

New member
whoa whoa WHOA!!!!!!

Engine oil temp when in "P or "N" ????? (i'm not sure what a DTC is but it sounds painful!)

What values relate to what temps Dr A.?


Do you have a chart?

I'm working on a digital readout conversion display and we can certainly add a value for those positions.....

Best,


Jimmy
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
DTC == diagnostic trouble code

There are dozens of them; they are generated by an electronic control module that receives sensor input that it's not expecting, or sensor input that indicates big trouble in little Sprinter.
 

contractor

New member
Backround

I changed the fluid 2 weeks ago, dropped the electrical valve body, drained the converter (I'll post my tech tip on that later) (Redline D4)

I installed 8 quarts of oil, ran the van in Drive up and down the road, measured the voltage, converted to temp and level....and had many problems getting the fluid up high enough....I even poured the old fluid into the bottles to confirm the amount....I then measured my homemade dipstick and found it not to reach the bottom of the pan...ARRRRRRGGH no wonder I had NO RSN because I had about 1 quart too much fluid:bash: I drained the fluid out to the level specified with the charts etc and drove a short trip (180 miles) and the RSN was horrible!!!!!:cry: I monitored the temp on the whole trip and it did not get above 1.61 volts

The day after I got home, I checked the fluid level again with the tranny in Drive, parking brake on and the level appears to be low:idunno: I'm gonna add 1/2 quart (16 oz) and drive around some ...couple of days....

I'll post pics of my dipstick tonight etc...

So...anyone else noted level change issues? how did you deal with it? does installing more oil than the charts call for really show problems with "Foam" (level within the level below the planetary gear area)
It sounds like you have a lot of variability with your measuring technique and you have a homemade dipstick. I suggest you spend the money and buy a real dipstick (this is a tool) so you don't damage your transmission. Please post a pic of this dipstick ...
 

Aircraft Wrench

New member
Contractor,

Here is a pic....

The unit is made from 1/8" SS cable with heat shrink over the end...flexible yet stiff...the masking tape measures full engagement/depth of the cable

Cable coil.jpg

See how it flexes

Cable flex.jpg

Checked when tranny temp is around 150F


Tech tip...mark the Harmonic damper and a spot on the engine case with a paint marker when the torque converter is aligned with an access hole...HD mark.jpg
 

contractor

New member
Contractor,

Here is a pic....

The unit is made from 1/8" SS cable with heat shrink over the end...flexible yet stiff...the masking tape measures full engagement/depth of the cable

View attachment 11673

See how it flexes

View attachment 11674

Checked when tranny temp is around 150F


Tech tip...mark the Harmonic damper and a spot on the engine case with a paint marker when the torque converter is aligned with an access hole...View attachment 11672
Hey AC

The issue that come to mind here is how did you initially calibrate the dipstick? I suspect that you had to presume the initial level was correct (maybe it was not). Also, did you fully level the vehicle?

The dipstick from MB has a shoulder 3-5" from the bottom that allows the stick to solidly bottom and give a more repeatable reading.

I like the tech tip of marking the HB ... very creative.
 

Aircraft Wrench

New member
I took the measurements from the Maintenance Manual...the chart gives a depth of fluid based on the temp conversion of the voltage from the temp sensor....the reading is in millimeters of fluid

I've attached the PDF previously posted on the forum.View attachment ATF_Level.pdf

Do you think the factory type dipstick DOES NOT touch the bottom of the pan??

BTW...I have more RSN now (with what I believe is the correct level, measured in Park, engine running) than before the fluid change.....:thinking:

Best regards,

Jimmy

Oh the van was leveled in my hangar,,,same place each time I have taken readings....(I put the tip on a paper towel and measure the fluid transfer...much easier than trying to see the fluid on the heat shrink...)
 
Last edited:

contractor

New member
I took the measurements from the Maintenance Manual...the chart gives a depth of fluid based on the temp conversion of the voltage from the temp sensor....the reading is in millimeters of fluid

I've attached the PDF previously posted on the forum.View attachment 11675

Do you think the factory type dipstick DOES NOT touch the bottom of the pan??

BTW...I have more RSN now (with what I believe is the correct level, measured in Park, engine running) than before the fluid change.....:thinking:

Best regards,

Jimmy

Oh the van was leveled in my hangar,,,same place each time I have taken readings....(I put the tip on a paper towel and measure the fluid transfer...much easier than trying to see the fluid on the heat shrink...)
Jimmy:

While I don't have any blueprints of the tranny, I am speculating that the dipstick DOES NOT bottom in the pan. It is my belief that the little shoulder where the dipstick transitions from metal to plastic bottoms out where the fillertube meets the housing. This would give a more accurate reading and eliminate the "stack-up" error of the filler tube length and flexing of the metal dipstick. Please be aware this is just my opinion, perhaps someone like Doc who has been inside a tranny can shed more light on this. I have been fortunate and have not encountered any noticeable RSN (32K on the dial). I used the oil that Euro Auto sells for about $14/L.

Ken
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Jimmy:

While I don't have any blueprints of the tranny, I am speculating that the dipstick DOES NOT bottom in the pan. It is my belief that the little shoulder where the dipstick transitions from metal to plastic bottoms out where the fillertube meets the housing. This would give a more accurate reading and eliminate the "stack-up" error of the filler tube length and flexing of the metal dipstick. Please be aware this is just my opinion, perhaps someone like Doc who has been inside a tranny can shed more light on this. I have been fortunate and have not encountered any noticeable RSN (32K on the dial). I used the oil that Euro Auto sells for about $14/L.

Ken
I once made my own dipstick based on measurements supplied in a post on the yahoo sprintervan forum taken on an '04 by an owner with the screen name tvflorin. To shorten the story, the dipstick tube on my '02 is ~3" longer than that on an '04, so those measurements had me confused until I took everything apart and found that the dipstick tip is indeed touching the bottom of the pan when the measurement is taken. So, you're looking at mm of fluid above the bottom of the pan.
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
This has been discussed many times. Yes, the important measurement is- depth of fluid in pan.

A proper dipstick tool (whether home made or factory) will be: 1) long enough to reach the bottom of the pan and not interfere with upper end of tube and 2) It will touch bottom without bending or flexing when it makes contact with the bottom. THIS IS CRITICAL.

Even a factory dip stick tool ,if misused and FORCED, will flex its plastic tip when making contact with bottom, and give variable and false readings.

Another factor is fluid in the tube (above pan level). This can occur when filling and not allowing enough time for drain down OR dragging fluid up the tube with a homemade dipstick tip of excess diameter. Doktor A
 

kendall69

New member
Bottom line no one can ever determine with accuracy the level of fluid in a tranny if you don't have the dash reading.

All dip sticks flex and if they do flex you will never ever know FOR SURE what the lever is.

It will always be a guess, so it doesn't matter if your tranny is cold, warm or hot you might as well look into a crystal ball and get the level of your fluid.

How difficult is it to have a dip stick that fits in the hole and STOPS at the top of the filler tube like every other dip stick on the planet?

Yes I'm ticked because I wasted my money on the dip stick with the cheap plastic tip that bends when it hits the bottom of the pan, so I am able with three reading get LOW, RIGHT ON, and excessively HIGH, reading on my fluid depending on where I decide to stop pushing it in. GREAT PRODUCT.:yell:
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
All dip sticks flex and if they do flex you will never ever know FOR SURE what the lever is.
Sorry to hear of your frustration. The MBenz sourced, original German made, transmission level service dipstick has always served me well and gives consistent and accurate readings. Doktor A
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Bottom line no one can ever determine with accuracy the level of fluid in a tranny if you don't have the dash reading.

All dip sticks flex and if they do flex you will never ever know FOR SURE what the lever is.

It will always be a guess, so it doesn't matter if your tranny is cold, warm or hot you might as well look into a crystal ball and get the level of your fluid.

How difficult is it to have a dip stick that fits in the hole and STOPS at the top of the filler tube like every other dip stick on the planet?

Yes I'm ticked because I wasted my money on the dip stick with the cheap plastic tip that bends when it hits the bottom of the pan, so I am able with three reading get LOW, RIGHT ON, and excessively HIGH, reading on my fluid depending on where I decide to stop pushing it in. GREAT PRODUCT.:yell:
As I remember, there is a hole in the valve body that the dipstick passes through that is the same diameter as the inside of the dipstick tube. Also, the bottom of the valve body is very close to the bottom of the pan. So, you would have to push very hard indeed to get even the plastic tip of the MB dipstick to bend to a significant degree. If you were to push that hard, that tip would be folded like a pretzel when you pulled it out (if you could get it out in one piece).
 

Aircraft Wrench

New member
Dr A, I actually wait 6 to 8 hours after adding fluid to check the level....Please let me know when you are coming South...I'd like a check up....

Best

Jimster
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
whoa whoa WHOA!!!!!!

Engine oil temp when in "P or "N" ????? (i'm not sure what a DTC is but it sounds painful!)

What values relate to what temps Dr A.?

Do you have a chart?

I'm working on a digital readout conversion display and we can certainly add a value for those positions.....

Best,
Jimmy
The next Sprinter that I have in for system tests I will try to determine the Voltage to temp relationship for the oil temp values as reported by the TCM in P and N. I will update you. Doktor A
 

Top Bottom