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Discussion Starter #1
On the interstate in Indiana, on our way to Tennessee, we hit a big chunk of tire retread that separated from a truck hauling an excavator. I wanted to check the oil to make sure everything was good, and the dipstick wouldn't come out of the tube. Then, suddenly, the plastic end pulled out...without the rest of the dipstick. So I guess we'll be finishing the trip without checking the oil.

I'll probably put a half quart in before we head home. It usually uses about that much every 2000 miles or so.
 

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Honestly I wouldn't add any oil into it, it should be just fine. Look underneath the van and make sure no oil is dripping or that the underside isn't soaked in oil or have any wet spots. If it's not, then you should be alright, unless you do this normally then go for it.

Even with the oil on the lower part of the dipstick, as long as there is no oil light you should be alright. Once there is not enough oil in the system, as the engine runs it begins to suck up air mixed with oil, which reduces oil pressure and will cause the oil light to turn on (a similar concept to drinking water out of a cup with a straw and sucking up water with air once there is little water on the bottom). The engine will be just fine as long as the oil pressure light isn't on, once you see it come on it's time to add maybe a quart or quart and a half of oil into it.

Unless you have a pair of thin needle-nose pliers, your only real way to get the metal part of the dipstick out is by dropping the oil pan. Or if you manage to remove the dipstick tube housing somehow, likely bolts holding it at the base, they may or may not be accessible.

If you're really worried, find a shop nearby and have then try and fish the dipstick out.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Nothing a wood screw and a pair of pliers can't fix. ;) Drill a pilot hole as close to center as possible, then put in a coarse wood screw as deep as it will go, and pull it out with the pliers. Doesn't sound like you're the type to leave it in there for years so it's probably not rusted in like most I've removed like that.
 

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Honestly I wouldn't add any oil into it, it should be just fine.

Even with the oil on the lower part of the dipstick, as long as there is no oil light you should be alright. Once there is not enough oil in the system, as the engine runs it begins to suck up air mixed with oil, which reduces oil pressure and will cause the oil light to turn on (a similar concept to drinking water out of a cup with a straw and sucking up water with air once there is little water on the bottom). The engine will be just fine as long as the oil pressure light isn't on, once you see it come on it's time to add maybe a quart or quart and a half of oil into it.

Unless you have a pair of thin needle-nose pliers, your only real way to get the metal part of the dipstick out is by dropping the oil pan. Or if you manage to remove the dipstick tube housing somehow, likely bolts holding it at the base, they may or may not be accessible.

If you're really worried, find a shop nearby and have then try and fish the dipstick out.
Not necessarily true. Once the oil warning light is on, it means there is no oil pressure, it might be too late. Those engines doesn't have an oil level sensor.

If your vehicle has a 3.8L engine, I would add some oil, to be on the safe side.
 

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Yeah, the oil light is on a delay. It goes on a few seconds after pressure drops below the threshold, so a pump sucking air would likely have hit 0 pressure by the time the light comes on. Not good at all.

Since he knows his engine's drinking habits he should be fine adding to it until he gets the dipstick pulled. Takes an awful lot to bring the level up to a dangerous level. Even a quart over should be fine.
 

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2009 Chrysler Town and Country
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The trick that I've used for years (pulled my fat out the fire no pun intended) if there is any plastic in there is to get a semi coarse screw heat it till the tip is red and push it in the collar let it stand till cool usually about 30 to 45 seconds grab the head with a pair of pliers they come right out .

That way you don't chance pushing it down further .
 

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The trick that I've used for years (pulled my fat out the fire no pun intended) if there is any plastic in there is to get a semi coarse screw heat it till the tip is red and push it in the collar let it stand till cool usually about 30 to 45 seconds grab the head with a pair of pliers they come right out .

That way you don't chance pushing it down further .
That is good advise but:
....and the dipstick wouldn't come out of the tube. Then, suddenly, the plastic end pulled out...without the rest of the dipstick. So I guess we'll be finishing the trip without checking the oil.

I'll probably put a half quart in before we head home. It usually uses about that much every 2000 miles or so.
Seems like the dipstick tube got bent.
 

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The problem with the plastic part of the dipstick binding in the tube has been discussed in previous threads, one of these being the "Quick Fixes" Thread at Post #7, #11.

Other Threads and methods used:

Dipstick tube

OK to Drive with Broken Dipstick Stuck in Tube?

Oil dipstick pull ring broke
Post #5: "Here are three possible solutions that I have seen work."
 

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The trick that I've used for years (pulled my fat out the fire no pun intended) if there is any plastic in there is to get a semi coarse screw heat it till the tip is red and push it in the collar let it stand till cool usually about 30 to 45 seconds grab the head with a pair of pliers they come right out .
You should joint the Special Edy's Club.

How many dipsticks you break per year? 😳
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We arrived home today. I added a half a quart on the way home. Today when I removed the dipstick with the drill and screw method, I checked it, and it was right in the middle of the safe zone on the stick. I have another dip stick ordered, and it should be here by the end of the week. I checked the dipstick tube, and there is no damage whatsoever. I think it must have just got warm, expanded, and wouldn't release the dipstick for some reason. (?) I do like the dipstick tube design where it flares on the end where it accepts the plastic to prevent the stick from falling in further. As soon as I saw that, I knew we could keep driving it.

It makes me want to machine a steel or stainless steel dipstick handle, and weld a T on the end to just replace the plastic with. It looks like it is just held together with a tiny roll pin. I was able to save the o-ring. Maybe this is something Gzukoff can produce as well?
 

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If you can get a metal handle made up at a decent price, I'd be interested in that. Especially if it could accept the factory stick, o-rings, and roll pin (optional really, I got a welder :p ). I'd keep a stash at work for those unfortunate customers that need them. Pretty sure just the handle portion would be similar across all Dodges for several decades, maybe other makes too.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
I have a machinist friend that I could bring the parts to, but it looks like the receiving end of the dipstick handle has some pretty specialized molding involved, and there is a little tang on one side of the flat dipstick wire that needs a home. Maybe the slot they make isn't that important, and it could be just a blind hole? I noticed that the 3.8 jeeps have an aftermarket billet aluminum style available for around $30 from Rugged Ridge (11431.07/11430.07) on Amazon depending on what color you want. I wonder if that would fit. The dimensions on the part description seemed like the part that fits in the tube for the caravan is a little smaller, though. I measured .365" on mine with my caliper. The Mustang GT V8 ones are really common and can be had for much cheaper. I wonder if I should order one and see if that fits, or can be made to fit. Aluminum still seems like it would break, but maybe not as easily?
 

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Even those say you must use the factory o-ring and pin. Odd that they say 97-11 Wranglers... '11 would have the Pentastar, the rest wouldn't. Maybe they meant to say 97-10... but then they list JK, which unless I'm missing something, is the Pentastar Wrangler chassis. Not really a Jeep fan, so they may have used that chassis with other engines before '11.

It takes a lot more force to break aluminum than it does ABS... And as brittle as those dipstick handles get after a decade or so, I doubt it's a robust plastic like ABS. Forget what the type midway between PLA and ABS is, PETG I think, but that seems about right for what they are made of.
 
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