Dip Stick Tube: Removing from Engine Block Without Damaging

Here is another one of the tricks I learned over the years and included in our March 2013 Newsletter and will share here:


Removing the Oil Dipstick Tube

by Jason Edge

This might seem like an easy task but removing and installing a dipstick tube in an engine block without damaging the tube is not that easy, but I have a sure fire “trick” that I will share with everyone.   The problem is if you just try to grip the tube with pliers and twist and turn out, or even worse take a hammer and punch out from the bottom, you are guaranteed to damage the tube.  

For removing the tube, the trick is to take a deep set 11mm 12 point socket and slide on the bottom of the tube, and gently tap the socket with hammer, pushing it out.  You will be able to remove the tube up to a point before the lip of the socket hits the bottom of the block.  You can then take an 11mm open end wrench and put around the tube next to the seat ring and tap the wrench head with hammer to drive the tube the remainder of the way out. (Note: if tube is sliding out nice and smooth with deep set socket, you can switch to a short regular 11mm 12 point socket, once you reach the block with deep set socket, to push it through that much farther without switching to the open end wrench).


For inserting the tube, lube the block where tube is inserted with WD40 and set the 11mm open end wrench head against the seat ring and gently tap the tube into the block until the seat ring is against the block.  I have removed and installed at least a dozen dip stick tubes in this manner over the years and works perfectly every time.

Note: 7/16" Socket & Wrench will work but 11mm will give you a tighter fit.

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Comment by Russ Austin on July 16, 2017 at 10:01am

The bottom part of the dip stick is 5 13/16  I have a good used dip stick if you need one.

Shoot me an email;  russ85747@hotmail.com

Comment by Clovis on July 16, 2017 at 9:17am
Maybe I will get lucky and the tube just needs to be bent and isn't broken. It is a '65 block with a '64 oil pan I believe. Sump is at the rear.
Comment by Jason Edge on July 16, 2017 at 7:21am

I am out of pulled dipstick tubes but will get a measurement the next time I pulled one.  The Master Parts book says the following regarding installing a new dipstick tube:  "When used on 1963, bend tube 1/2" away from connecting rod bear cap after installing in crankcase." Also, I have only seen the note about bending the oil indicator tube in the Feb 1963 Serviceman bulletin (page 8), and do not see anything in the 1964 Shop Manual or 1964 Serviceman bulletins.  I believe they corrected the problem for 64 but not 100% sure. Either way  you should be able to bend back a bit if hitting.

Comment by Kevin Campbell on July 16, 2017 at 2:00am

While the sump/pan is off, you should be able to tweak the tube enough to miss everything.

Comment by Clovis on July 15, 2017 at 10:45pm
Does anyone know what the dimensions are for the dipstick tube? I need to make one for my car as my tube seems to be broken. The dip stick hits the crank when it's in the engine and it's running. I'm changing the oil pan gasket so now is a good time to do this.
Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on November 30, 2015 at 8:28pm
Looks like my hunch about the crankcase being resized in 63 , requiring the bend in the oil dip stick for 63 only , was a good one
Jason thanks for the documentation on the subject
Comment by Jason Edge on November 30, 2015 at 5:31pm

From our Engine and Transmission Facts Help Topic article at http://6364cadillac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/enginesandtransmissions

-The 1963 390 was a totally redesigned engine compared to the 62 and earlier 390's. It was 50+ lbs lighter, engine accessories including the distributor was moved to the front and used a new aluminum engine cover that incorporated the oil pump. Nearly 1/2" was shaved off the top of the block, connecting rods were shortened to keep the same compression ratio, block length was shortened by more than an inch.  They switched to a hollow-cast crank, which is 11 pounds lighter than the 1962 crankshaft, and switched to an alternator-rectifier charging system, which saved an another 10 lbs over the generator used in 1962. The bore, stroke and horsepower (325) were the same as the 62 390 however this was a lighter, more agile 390 than the old design.

Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on November 30, 2015 at 4:10pm
Would you have any idea if the size of the 390 crankcase , of the 63 Cadillac ,was changed or reduced in any way ,from that of the 62 390
i do know the engine was reduced in size and weight in 63 ,from that of the 62 390
Just do no know were the weight reduction ,affected the actual engine parts
Do you have any idea as to the difference in engine weights in the two years ?
Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on November 29, 2015 at 10:27pm
Just wondering if the unique bending of the oil stick of the 63 390 crankcase , could have something to do with Cadillac down sizing the 62 390 to the smaller 390 engine used in 1963 ,to reduce engine and front end weight in 63
Comment by Jason Edge on November 28, 2015 at 10:20pm

I see in the Master Parts book under Parts Group 1.516, Engine Oil Level Indicator Tube it has

1959;1960; 1962-1964; 65-75  ...... 147 1858
"When used on 1963, bend tube 1/2" away from connecting rod bearing cap after installing in Crankcase."

With the note distinguishing the 1963 separately from all the other years, I think it is safe to assume you can install the tube without any bending in the 1964 429, (or 1959,60, 62).


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