Diagnosis and Repair of Your Imperial's Dip Stick & Dip Stick Tube

Imperial Homepage -> Repair ->Engine -> Dip Stick

Question from Bill (1959):

In my continuing saga with my 1959 Imperial, when I went to drive it today, I noticed it was leaking something just about dead center of the engine. When I smelled it, it was oil, so I pulled the car around to my garage to check all of the fluid levels starting with the oil. When I went to pull the dipstick, I noticed it was not there. I thought maybe I was going crazy, and it was on the other side of the engine, but I was sure it was on the drivers side. After looking around the location where it should be, I finally saw it way down by the exhaust header under the plug wires, and facing forward. I attempted to rotate it into its proper position, and when I went to pull out the dipstick I got more than I bargained for. The entire shaft which the stick goes into came out along with the stick. I thought to myself this is definitely not good for a brand new engine. Fist an overheating problem, and now an oil leak, the two fluids most important to an engine. Needless to say it was time again for a trip back to the mechanic. He told me the bolt hole was missing in the manifold which holds it in place, and I told him I never had any problems with the dip stick before the engine was rebuilt. He assured me he would fix it the right way this time, and said the mechanic that put it on after the rebuild was no longer with him because of things like this. I told him to please check it for any other oil leaks once it was fixed, so I would not have to be bringing the car back next week on my day off. There were also two other vintage Chrysler cars at other mechanics in the complex, a 1959 Plymouth Belvedere (not quite sure of the spelling here), and I think a 1956 Desoto. My mechanic went to the mechanics who had those cars to see if he could look under the hoods to see where the dipsticks attached, and the Desoto mechanic and owner told him he could take the dipstick out of his if he wanted it, but both cars had different engines and very different dipstick set ups. It seems the more I fix lately, the more things that are going wrong. It will be a glorious day when I first drive the car to work once again! Then there is also the dreams of taking it on another road trip!


From Don:

Every big block 383, 413, 426, 440 etc I've ever seen has the dipstick tube as a press fit into the block. Even the "lowly small blocks and slant 6's" are a press fit. There should not be a "bolt Hole" in the block to retain it - just a press fit. Sounds like your mechanic doesn't know a whole lot about MOPAR engines. If the press fit is loose, yes it can be rotated or even easily pulled out. You might try expanding the section (and only just a little)where it goes in the block with a round punch so that it's a tight fit into the block. You might have to do it several times to get the right fit.

From George:

I'm not that familiar with your engine, but I have had that same problem with other cars I've owned. The tubes on those cars were just pressed in the hole. The fix I used was to carefully insert a tapered punch in the lower end of the dip-stick tube. Taking a light hammer driving the punch into the tube to flare it a bit. Then reinstalling it into the engine.

From Dave:

I would like to add that it may be better to retain the original size & shape of the end of the tube where it first goes into the block (that will make it a lot easier to get it started back in there). A better method might be to take a couple of small bolts, and with them and the end of the dipstick tube in a vise, - just "squeeze" the end that is supposed to be a tight fit in the block, - and just put a couple of small dents in it, - a short distance from the very tip, - that way the tube will only get "tight" in the block *after* it has been started into the hole. If necessary (just in case you get a little "carried away" using the vise), - you may have to go back and make the very end of the tube "round" again, - just don't "flare" it any.

Question from Bruce (1965):

I changed the oil in my '65 Imperial a few days back..changed the filter too, put in five quarts like the manual said...four plus one for filter change...and my dipstick says I'm a quart low...now this is an all original '65 Convertible with the 413...funny thing is that about 10 years ago I was driving another '65...this one a Crown four door hardtop and its dipstick read the same thing...one quart low after adding five quarts...can anyone explain this phenomonea to me or should the 413 in fact take 6 quarts like my '64 Dodge Custom 880 with the 361 indeed does do?


From Phil:

I wonder if the dipstick tube isnt all the way down in the hole in the block?

Crawl under, there'll be a little lip that on the tube that is supposed to bottom out in the block, If its setting above the hole, the tube needs tapped in more, also, you may have to loosen or remove the bolt holding the mounting tab.

Either that, or maybe the tube was just cut a little long from the factory? If you're sure the tube is all the way in the block, maybe you could remove a bit from the end, being careful to put something in the tube so metal chips dont fall down in the engine. Make sure the tube itself is firmly seated before you modify it, however.

From David:

I wouldn’t want to start modifying dipsticks, nut it would be good to make certain the tube itself is secured to the block in proper fashion, as Phil pointed out. But I did note that my old '70 Charger required 6 quarts whenever I changed the oil and filter.

From Kle:

The modern filter may take more oil than the one the manual thinks you're using. Usually, the modern filter takes _less_ oil if anything, but I see no reason why the opposite might not sometimes happen.

From Rich:

My '66 takes 6 quarts with a filter change. The very first time I changed the oil and filter I added 5 quarts, ran the motor for about 3 minutes then I checked it finding out that I was a quart low. I added the sixth quart bring the oil capacity up to the full mark. It's weird because the manual only calls for 5 quarts with a filter change.

Question from Greg (1965):

As luck would have it, the dipstick and tube to the 727 transmission in my '65 Crown convertible has been "misplaced" by either the machine shop who rebuilt the engine, the transmission shop who did the transmission rebuild for the machine shop, or the automotive repair shop who pulled the engine and transmission for the machine shop. No one is willing to accept the blame and, you guessed it, has no clue where the darn things are. I have given up getting any relief from any of the above. Time to move on.

I located one locally by way of a referral from another transmission rebuild shop. The guy who has it claims it came from a 727 torqueflite in a "Chrysler automobile". He got it from a wrecking yard but doesn't know the year or model. He insists the tube and dipstick are universal. Is this true???? He only paid $10 for both so I doubt he is going to charge too much for his time to go to the yard to get them. I just don't want to buy something that is not correct for my car. Is a Chrysler tube with the stick the same size/shape/length as the one for the Imperial? All local transmission shops I've contacted do not have these items and say they are difficult to find. 


From Chris:

Trot on down to your local Chrysler / Plymouth / Imperial / Dodge / Desoto / Fargo dealer and order up a new one, these things were used for decades on multiple body styles and should still be in the system.

From Hasker:

Yes, it should fit.  I had to replace mine and it came from a '66 New Yorker.

From Johan:

The exact thing happened to my '65 LeBaron. The shop guy said they were universal and If I brought it back he would find one for me off an older Chrysler. I did and of course the guy called back a month later and said he had the original and asked if I would like it. I came back and compared them and sure enough man they were identical.

Question from Randy (1965):

The engine oil dipstick tube on my 1965 Crown is broken in two at the motor mount. I was able to purchase a new one from MOPAR. My problem is that I can not find any sort of set screw where the dipstick tube attaches to the engine block. Is there a set screw there that I can not find, or does the tube simply press-fit into the block?


From Phil:

This is just a general answer, but the tube does just press fit into the block. You'll probably have to drop the oil pan and tap the old tube up and out from the bottom. I've seen them usually have a brace either to the motor mount, a bracket, or the exhaust manifold, to hold the tube to prevent vibration from cracking it.

From Bill:

Every big block Mopar I've seen is a press fit, with a stop "lip" on the tube.

From Bob:

My dipstick was broken when I got my '66 and my mechanic found a used part that had a mounting clip on it. At first, it was just a press fitting, but it would easily pull out. So I searched around the area & I found a hole near the motor mount which let me put a bolt through to fix the tube. Works well still.

Question from Michael (1968):

If someone has a '68 parts catalog, I would appreciate getting the part number for the dipstick tube and dipstick (my '73 parts catalog calls them "TUBE, oil level indicator" and "INDICATOR, oil level").


From Ron:

Dipstick tubes are created equal for Chrysler 440 engines. The only exception is the motor homes which necessarily have long tubes in sticks to read from the front of the vehicle. But any stick and tube from any 440 should work, and you can ask for one for a 77 and probably get one from any major rebuilder like PAW. They advertise in the auto magazines. Give them a call and I am certain they will help you out.

If you find a tube still in an old engine, chances are it will snap off if you try to pull it out of the block. I did that one day trying to get one for an olds I was working on. Sure enough, every one we tried to pull just broke off right down were it goes in the block. Just old age and rust. Went down to the parts store and ordered a tube and the correct stick for $6.95.

From Chris:

The last dipstick tube I bought came from the local Chrysler / Plymouth dealer - it's been a few years ago, but that's the first call I'd make.

From Jim:

I checked with my friendly neighborhood Chrysler dealer as Chris suggested, and here's what I discovered:

The original part number for the '68 "changes up" in the dealer's computer to the '73 part number, which gives credence to the idea that they are "all the same" as some of you have indicated. Chrysler has a few hundred of them in their system! They'll have one in about a week for $18.15 Cdn (about $12US).

I guess the first place to check for original parts is always the dealer, although USUALLY I find they are double the price of anyone else.

This page last updated August 2, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club