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Why is my oil dipstick rusting?

This is a discussion on Why is my oil dipstick rusting? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I just bought an 02 CETA a couple of weeks ago and the only thing it had in the tube ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    2002 Trans Am CETA

    Why is my oil dipstick rusting?

    I just bought an 02 CETA a couple of weeks ago and the only thing it had in the tube was the handle and about two inches of rusted metal. I bought a new dipstick and have checked every couple of days and the top few inches are covered in rust, or atleast it looks and feels like rust. I clean it off and it comes right back. We sprayed some cleaner down in the tube and used a thin brush hoping to clean it out but no luck.

  2. #2
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    pajeff02's Avatar
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    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    Moisture in the engine will condense on the upper part of the dip stick as it cools off faster than the rest of the engine. Vehicles that are short tripped a lot have more moisture issues as the engine does not have a chance to get up to temperature for a long enough time to "burn off" the moisture. Chances are you probably have a yellowish sludge on the inside of your oil cap as well -- there is a current thread on this issue. Over time, your dipstick simply rusted out. This does not speak well of the prior owner's oil change routine.

    My question -- if all you had was the upper part of your dipstick, where is the rest of it? You may want to remove your dipstick tube to see if it is has fallen down and you can pluck it out. I believe it is a 15 mm bolt and then you can pull the tube up out of the oil pan. If it doesn't want to come out, you can get under the car and pop it with a small flathead screwdriver, although access is tight without removing the starter. Let us know what you find.

  3. #3
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    Well my mechanic ran a long wire down the tube to see if he could feel if the rest of the stick was down in there and he said he couldn't feel anything. The new dipstick went down in there without a problem, so we hope everything is OK. Yeah, I still hope it's not somewhere down in there though. You never know if it broke off while the stick was out and they just put the top of the stick back on or if it broke off down in there. Of course the man that sold it to us said he didn't know anything about it. And I didn't notice it till after we had bought it, we was in a hurry to get it home, I forgot to pull the dipstick out and atleast check it out before we bought it.

  4. #4
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    Only takes a couple of minutes to pull out the tube and unless you damage it, the o-ring is re-usable. Just remember to lubricate it before putting it back in. I would pull it up slow and be looking with a flashlight. Have a set of needle nose pliers handy so you can grab anything sticking out of the hole. I don't think it could slide down into your pan, but its better to be safe imo.

  5. #5
    Life in the Fast lane sunsetorangess's Avatar
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    Met. Sunset Orange
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    Yepp just condensation... Nothing to worry about
    J
    2001 SS, Its not the car its the Driver that matters....

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