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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been meaning to post this for awhile. I came up with a simple to make dipstick to read the fluid temp and check the level at the same time.

Its a large zip tie, a length of thermal couple wire, some heat shrink tubing and a small piece of safety wire to hold the very end of the thermal couple in place.

I marked off the 120f range in silver marker on one side and 150f in black on the other. No need to reference a chart anymore or measure the fluid on the dipstick. I placed the welded end of the thermal couple in a hole I drilled in the zip tie so it will have fluid surrounding it and I get a faster/better reading.

I just stick this down the tube and wait just a few seconds for the temp to stabilize then pull it out and read the level.

You will need a meter that can read a thermal couple.

Hope this helps some of you out there.
Any questions feel free to ask.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Thats a neat idea, but then I started wondering how relevant the info would be. You would obviously have to check the temp while in park, which means that the tranny wouldnt be working hard, and if it was beforehand, then the oil would have passed thru the cooler several times before you got an actual reading.

Lots of machinery have sensors in the tranny and differential so you can monitor them as you work. If you are concerned about the temp, maybe getting a spare oilpan, drilling and fitting a temperature gauge to it would be another option. I mean spare just in case it leaks so that you have a good pan to revert to lol. I would probably use an off the shelf $30 gauge/sensor for such a thing.If you are towing a trailer thru mountains then you could watch it and then decide if you want a larger oil cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a pan with a drain plug and thought about tapping the drain plug for a stinger probe which is something I do at work all the time but I myself only really need this reading to check the fluid level.
The "normal" method of check the trans temp is using a scan tool which is what a shop/dealer is going to use.

As for how relevant the reading is, whatever the trans fluid temp is will dictate the level. So its very relevant. Just like it has been for about 60 years when auto trans first came out, get it hot and check the level.
If its cooled off some then the level it will drop some.
No more having to reference this chart. :jpshakehe
 
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Simple, yet ingenious idea. I'd personally use notches instead of paint marks since paint could deteriorate over time and flake off into the transmission fluid. That looks to be a rather heavy duty zip-tie. I think standard ones would be too thin and flex once they hit the bottom, ruining the accuracy. Definitely a great idea for someone who doesn't have access to an OBD2 live data monitor.
 

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....Definitely a great idea for someone who doesn't have access to an OBD2 live data monitor.
Definitely a great idea, whether you own a OBD2 LDM or not.

Now, it would be easy for anyone to give improvement ideas, happens all the time, once someone came up with an idea, many will say, you should've done this way, that way etc.
 

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I have a pan with a drain plug and thought about tapping the drain plug for a stinger probe which is something I do at work all the time but I myself only really need this reading to check the fluid level.
The "normal" method of check the trans temp is using a scan tool which is what a shop/dealer is going to use.

As for how relevant the reading is, whatever the trans fluid temp is will dictate the level. So its very relevant. Just like it has been for about 60 years when auto trans first came out, get it hot and check the level.
If its cooled off some then the level it will drop some.
Sorry, I was thinking about monitoring the fluid for heat /damage/towing, etc, not for checking the fluid level. Different ways of thinking, I'm more used to thinking about heavy machinery and equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I used sharpie industrial permanent markers. With the small amount of time they're actually going to be in contact with the fluid, in my experience those lines aren't going anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In case anyone was wondering, I'm only using this dipstick to check the level.
Its not being left in while I'm driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Welcome to the site Johnman98

That's how I was checking mine with its factory fill, but when I serviced wanted to know the temp to get it right again.

After the dealer replaced the pump and converter it was at least 1 qt overfull.
 

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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8); 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan eL (3.8)
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I considered doing something similar when I modified a Digital Temperature Probe to extend it, but I was afraid I might lose the thermo couple when inserting and removing it. It looks like you found a good was to secure it so that shouldn't be an issue
 
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Okay, now I see, the later models dont have a dipstick and need to read the fluid level by special tool and temperature.

Brilliant and simple idea. I hope to remember this if I ever come upon a vehicle without a tranny dipstick.

I didnt realize the fluid level got so low as it was running.
 
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