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  #1  
Old 12-01-2000, 10:30 PM
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Location: Vernon, CT
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When ever I check the oil level on my car, the dipstick shows 2 different levels. By this I mean, on 1 side the oil mark would be just about at the "low" mark. If you turn the dipstick over, the oil level is about 2/3 up from the low mark. Which level am I supposed to go by? Do I split the difference to come up with an average? I always check the oil when the eng. is stone cold, like first thing in the morning. I have had the car since Oct. 5 and I am trying to guage it's oil usage. First though I would like to know which side of the dipstick I am to go by. She does seem to use about a 1/2 quart every 600-700 miles. Again this is hard to judge without knowing how to read the dipstick. I have never had a car with a dipstick that was over a half inch wide and showed 2 distincly different oil levels. Any help would be appreciated.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (149,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2000, 01:28 AM
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I don't know if the procedure is different for diesels, but I think oil should be checked hot, usually a few minutes after shutting down the engine. Also, it seems like both sides of the dipstick ought to be interchangeable; you can stick it in one way, stick it in the other way, and it shouldn't matter. Is the reading consistent, independent of orientation (e.g. the higher reading always on the front of the dipstick?)

Anyways, I'd go with the higher mark, dump in a quart of oil, and figure that even if the lower mark was accurate, I'd still be within the min and max levels.

anthony

p.s. I run into this problem *all the time* trying to check my ATF level.
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2000, 03:00 PM
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Anthony, The reason I like to check the oil when it's cold, is simply because I know all the oil is definitely all down in the pan. You are right if one is checking the oil when it's hot, you should wait about 10 mins. I don't know if the oil level reading on the dipstick is different when hot versus cold. The only explaination I can think of for my situation is maybe the dipstick doesn't go straight down into the pan. It may go in at the bottom at such an angle that the oil reads higher on one side versus the other. That is why I was thinking that I should take the average between sides. I was wondering if anyone here knew for sure.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
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2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2000, 07:18 PM
patsy
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Rick, I have the same problem with the '79 300SD. I guess it is a quirk of these 617.950 engines.

My theory is that it is the "test tube effect". When reading liquid level in a test tube you use the middle of the bubble not the higher edges. As liquid finds it's own level it would be more logical that the high reading is wrong. Perhaps the high side is against the edge of the oil pan or nearer to an object causing a higher area. It is very difficult for a body of liquid to have a "low" recessed area. I would go by the lower mark as the true level.
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2000, 07:39 PM
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Patsy, I am still learning this car's quirks and I guess this would be one of them. I suppose when I do her next oil change and put in the 8 quarts, I'll see which side is higher. This way I'll know which mark is the real "full" mark. I know this is off the subject, but today I filled her up and calculated a fuel economy of 28 mpg. This to me is incredible considering the size and weight of this car. This is a combination of highway and around town driving. I figure I might see 30+ on a road trip.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (149,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2000, 07:54 PM
patsy
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That's very good mileage and it is something for me to strive for. I am restoring a "nearly didn't make it", '79 300 SD. I adore the car. I was getting 23 MPG in the city and it dropped down to 19 MPG because my hand diesel pump was leaking like crazy. I hope to see my highest mileage ever now.
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2000, 08:08 PM
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Patsy, I read your other post, mentioning that you replaced your hand pump with the newer version. When I change my filters, I discovered that I had a different hand pump than what was listed in the Haynes manual. That book said to turn and unlock the pump knob then pump. Well I kept on turning and turning and wasn't getting anywhere, so I just started pumping. Thanks to your post, I now know I have the newer pump. Mine is also black not white. I mentioned a Haynes manual. I know Haynes does not publish a book for our cars but the book I am using is the one for my father's 123 which has the same running gear, with some minor differences. He has some type of emission box on top of his valve cover, which I don't have.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (149,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2000, 08:21 PM
patsy
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Rick,
The old white style that you had to unscrew before pumping was really a bear. I always had to use pliers to unscrew it. I called Haynes to get a manual for our car and they never made one. I went to the dealer to order the chassis manual for the W116 and they said it was no longer available, so I decided the next closest thing would be the W123. It is nearly always identical to my car. The funny thing is, my dealer recently gave me a new CD Rom Model 116 Service Manual Library. I was flabbergasted. Upon examining the CD Rom I realized that the photos/descriptions were almost all the same as in my W123 chassis manuals.
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2000, 08:39 PM
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Boy have we gotten off the topic I started. Well I am glad you mentioned about the MB cd, I was thinking of dropping $120 for the cd. I guess wouldn't really gain anything from it. Besides, it's easier carrying a book out to the car than the whole computer. Does Chilton's publish a book on the W123?
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (149,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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MBCA member
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2000, 09:23 PM
patsy
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I really love the CD Rom, I highly recommend it. You get:
-the engine manual
-the chassis and body manual(two books in paperback)
-the maintenance manual
-the owners manual
-the climate control manual
-the electrical troubleshooting manual

If you purchased separate manuals, it could go over $300.00plus? dollars.
What is really nice is the paper manuals have barely an index, and the CD Rom leads you to what you want to find.
Plus, you can isolate just your year and model, instead of reading directions for every car.
Plus you get to take a break and come in the house...

The Chilton's manual for the '79-80 300SD is good for comparison and to take in the trunk. It covers every model from 1974-84. So there is not much focus on just our car like the CD Rom. I would have bought a CD eventually, but I got lucky.
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