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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Ford 3930

    Default To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    That is the question....

    I came across all of these just recently, with screw in Oil Fill caps that are also dipsticks.

    One was an old Honda semi-automatic (believe it or not) car transmission, another was my new Briggs generator engine, and also a small Honda aircooled engine about 7 years old.

    I've seen the manuals for 2 out of the above 3.

    Both manuals state that to check the oil level you unscrew the disptick, wipe it off, and insert it back into the fill hole, without screwing it in. IE. don't engage the threads at all.

    My initial instinct was to screw the fill plug all the way in, then unscrew it to read the level. Same reaction from a few people that I know, who are all pretty mechanically/maintenance aware.

    I'm not questioning the manufacturer's instructions, I have no problem with what Honda or Briggs is telling me - when I know the right info that is !

    So.....

    1) Is this the standard practice across the industry for Oil Fill-Screw-in-Dipsticks ? (Don't screw it in, to check the Level).

    2) Has anybody come across an exception to this, where you do have to screw the cap all the way in to properly check the fill level ?

    The difference in level amounts to easily 1/2"; I consider this non-trivial esp. in a small sump.

    Rgds, D.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Jun 2007
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    So. Maine
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    Kioti 3054xs TLB

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    Quote Originally Posted by 3930dave View Post
    That is the question....

    I came across all of these just recently, with screw in Oil Fill caps that are also dipsticks.

    One was an old Honda semi-automatic (believe it or not) car transmission, another was my new Briggs generator engine, and also a small Honda aircooled engine about 7 years old.

    I've seen the manuals for 2 out of the above 3.

    Both manuals state that to check the oil level you unscrew the disptick, wipe it off, and insert it back into the fill hole, without screwing it in. IE. don't engage the threads at all.

    My initial instinct was to screw the fill plug all the way in, then unscrew it to read the level. Same reaction from a few people that I know, who are all pretty mechanically/maintenance aware.

    I'm not questioning the manufacturer's instructions, I have no problem with what Honda or Briggs is telling me - when I know the right info that is !

    So.....

    1) Is this the standard practice across the industry for Oil Fill-Screw-in-Dipsticks ? (Don't screw it in, to check the Level).

    2) Has anybody come across an exception to this, where you do have to screw the cap all the way in to properly check the fill level ?

    The difference in level amounts to easily 1/2"; I consider this non-trivial esp. in a small sump.

    Rgds, D.
    The Kohler Command on my JD lawn tractor is a no-screw check, while the Techumsa on my DR lawn n leaf vacuum is a screw-in to check. Guess you really have to read the manual
    2004 3054xs
    1231 FEL
    Markham tooth-bar
    2376 BH, 9 and 18 inch buckets
    DR PTO chipper
    Blizzard B74 sno-blower
    250 hrs

  3. #3
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    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    Read The (Fine) Manual ?

    Whoa ! Patches....... easy on the crazy talk here !

    Thanks for the Tecumseh example. They are out of production at the moment, but there are lots of those engines around, and hopefully will get put back into production.

    I posted this 1) to find out trends/exceptions, and 2) I could see plenty of people getting into trouble (either way) with this level measurement.

    Of the 3 items mentioned, the one I own is the Briggs Gen. It is getting labelled about this check. It does have Low Oil Shutdown, and there are very few people it would get loaned to, but I'll sleep better with an UNscrewed label on it.

    I was hoping that the engine industry had settled on ONE way of doing this, being the dreamer that I am

    Rgds, D.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    BEECHER CITY, IL
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    KIOTI DK45S

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    Not only is there no standard method. Kohler has some engines that you screw in and some that you don't.
    ILLINOIS ENGINE, Beecher City, IL
    Briggs and Stratton MST (Master Service Technician)
    ILENGINE over at Lawnmowerforum

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Kioti 3054xs TLB

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDYT View Post
    Not only is there no standard method. Kohler has some engines that you screw in and some that you don't.
    Ya that, and the Honda generator has no dip-stick at all; something like fill to the third thread from the bottom of the fill port, LOL
    2004 3054xs
    1231 FEL
    Markham tooth-bar
    2376 BH, 9 and 18 inch buckets
    DR PTO chipper
    Blizzard B74 sno-blower
    250 hrs

  6. #6
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    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    I'm reminded of the software developers favourite line " No, it's not a bug, it is a feature ! ".

    Head of Kohler Marketing sits down with head of Kohler Engineering:

    "We need you to make these oil dipsticks LESS intuitive".

    "Say what?".

    Let's see.... 90% of consumers pay little (more like no) attention to maintenance. Of the 10% that do, there is maybe what, 10% of those that actually read the manual. So out of 100 guys/gals, you get perhaps one that is clued in.

    I can understand the Marketing angle here.

    From an Industrial Engineering standpoint though, this is nonsense.

    Patches - that Honda approach is a bit goofy too. But, at least it is not ambiguous, once you know the Secret Water Buffalo Handshake that is.

    Some of these Marketing clowns likely drifted over from the Auto sector - lots of examples there where the factory doesn't want you checking fluids.



    Rgds, D.

  7. #7
    Gold Member
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    Oct 2010
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    452

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    My Coleman gennerator is the exception, you screw it in to check it. I didn't and after running for 30 minutes or so the oil mush have finally foamed up enough and it soaked the air filter, I didn't know what happened and thought I had blown the engine.
    Then I decided to read the manual, duhhhhh ;-) ....Mike

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    Quote Originally Posted by Patches View Post
    Ya that, and the Honda generator has no dip-stick at all; something like fill to the third thread from the bottom of the fill port, LOL
    The motors I have seen with a fill hole like that (which includes several generators, as well as my tiller) all say to fill basically until the oil is about to spill out. No dipstick required.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    I have to admit to being impressed.

    An industry has managed to take something that was properly manfactured in my grandfather's day (that's going back a while !) and fubar it up nicely.

    That "update" dovetails nicely with people's skill sets today. The avg. consumer has next to no mechanical aptitude, esp. when compared to my father's generation and earlier.

    Mikey - well, at least you figured it out, many people would not have. Good example of what can go wrong, with something that should be dead simple.

    Generators are esp. irritating - when do most people try and fire 'em up ? After a hurricane, or some other disaster strikes.

    Here's hoping that not many generators are out of action on the east coast this weekend, simply due to improper oiling !

    Rgds, D.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Kioti DK 40-Massey ferguson 135-Ventrac 4500 Diesel

    Default Re: To Screw, or Not To Screw....

    I have a briggs generator and a briggs engine on my Simplicity lawn tractor, both say to screw the dipsticks back in to check oil.
    Murph ------------

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