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5 ways to remove a broken dipstick in your Nissan Sentra...
  • 5 ways to remove a broken dipstick in your Nissan Sentra (or any car)...

    FYI: To leave a comment, just create an account and the comment field will show up. I would love to hear if these ideas worked for you.

    I should preface this article by saying, first of all, that it has nothing to do with home networks besides the Rockford Fosgate OmniFi we have in the car. Next I should mention that whomever at Nissan decided that putting a plastic topped dipstick between the runners of an exhaust manifold of the Sentra should have their ass kicked.

    Anyway, need to check the oil on Miss HomeNetworkEnabled's car sometime so that dipstick had to come out. A quick check of the internet revelaled several options, all but one of which I tried.


    1) The super glue on a chopstick/pencil trick
    2) Vacuum and ziploc bag
    3) Compressed air in the crankcase breather
    4) Pulling the pressed-in dipstick tube and tapping it back in with a hammer (gently)
    5) Pulling the oil pan


    So here it should be, but it isn't.. the dipstick is deep in the tube...





    Time for the chopstick/pencil and super glue trick. Dab some super glue on the end of the chopstick and run it down the middle of the dipstick tube until it rests on the plastic dipstick pieces that remain. Wait until it dries and then pull it out...


    This would have worked great, except someone before me had tried cranking on the dipstick tube and crushed it one spot... so I got it within a half inch of coming out, but the tube narrowed too much there... time for plan B...

    So I put a rubber band around the dipstick tube and then one around the carwash vacuum with a ziploc bag connecting them... it had great suction, but then the vacuum sucked the ziploc up the tube... so then I crushed the vacuum around the dipstick tube... No dice, again the tube being slightly crushed prevented it from coming out.. time for plan C....




    Here I am corrupting America's youth...


    I thought this one might be fun... put compressed air in the crankcase breather and the o-ring seal of the dipstick launches the dipstick 50 feet in the air, according to reports of others... At this point some explosions and destruction were much needed to keep my sense of humor... Unfortunately, because of the kink in the tube again all it did was make oil come out of the leak in the valve cover gasket.

    So the final plan was to pull the pressed-in dipstick tube and get the dipstick out that way... Beware, find a screwdriver that fits the dipstick tube exactly or you will crush the tube. Put the screwdriver in the tube and then wiggle and pull with a visegrip until it unseats from the block. The tube extends a good two inches in to the block. The dipstick won't come out the bottom because of the taper so now you will have to fix any kinks or narrowing in the tube. When done, gently tap it back in with a hammer, liberal amounts of oil is a good idea.

    Once out, I decided I would make a dipstick insulator to try and prevent this in the future. I might also "kink" the dipstick tube just below the dipstick so if/when it does break again it won't drop far. Below is a DSM spark plug boot... Twist, pull, cut, etc until you get the wire and lead out, then hacksaw a perfect dipstick heat boot...


    Who knows if it will work, but I like the theory....





    Special thanks to this site for the ideas and inspiration.
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Darby said...I had this happen to me yesterday. I used a shop vac to pull it out. no ziploc bag just the shop vac. now my tube was not crushed at the top like yours. so there could be why it didnt work for you.
      September 18, 2008 7:55 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Scott said...Awesome! yeah, someone had tried to get it out before me and really hacked up the tube...
      September 18, 2008 8:06 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Dr. Car Buyer said...good post...I'm going to try the chopstick approach, the top plastic broke, a little plastic remains on top that connects to the metal dipstick, really stuck in there. I drill a pilot hole last night, and tried threading a screw, put the screw broke the plastic when I tried pulling... if the whole dipstick was metal and one piece this would have never happened....
      October 10, 2008 4:06 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...It also happens to me today. After reading your post, I tried the vacuum theory right away. Instead of ziplock, I used a rug around the vacuum hose. Also, the vacuum hose was all the way down. It took me only 3 tries and it came out.
      October 12, 2008 10:12 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Seth said...This happened to me s well. Can't believe Nissan won't take care of this as it is obviously a design flaw. I applied super glue to the flat bottom of a pencil and pushed it own til it was touchign the dipstick. Let it sit a minute and then pulled it up. Had the same problem OP did with the tube narrowing at the top. Cut off the tube right below the narrow part with a dremel tool repeated the super glue trick. Worked like a charm.
      December 3, 2008 1:57 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...I am a female who broke off the plastic on my boyfriend's dipstick. I am so happy to see that it is a common thing. A guy at the Autozone I was parked in front of helped me out, first trying a needle nose, but it was too far down. So he tried his car key a few times and it worked. He put some electrical tape to cover the hole. He told me it might melt and we would have to scrape it off later. Didn't like the sound of that. When I got home, I took the tape off, put the dipstick back in, and taped the plastic that broke off onto the tube with black tape. When I went to check it later that day, I see that the damn dipstick fell all the way down into its groove. Unreachable. He's going to be pissed.
      December 16, 2008 9:47 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Scott said...It's a pain, but easy enough to fix... No reason he should be mad at you...
      December 16, 2008 12:24 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...My dipstick broke this month. I tried the superglue thing, but didn't work. I will end up opening the oil pan.
      February 23, 2009 5:29 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...It took me a couple of trys, but I blew it out with an air compressor. I removed the rubber hose connected to the valve cover that comes off the air breather tube and held the air blower fitting in that inlet on the valve cover. I shot air in and a lot of air came out of the dipstick tube, but the dipstick didn't budge. I held my thumb over the dipstick tube while shooting air in the valve cover inlet and let some pressure build up inside, then quickly took my thumb off the tube and POP! The broken dipstick shot out. Be careful doing this! The dipstick becomes a nasty projectile! I was outside in my driveway and the dipstick went higher than the garage and landed about 20 feet away.
      April 9, 2009 10:18 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...Happened to me, 5 hours ago. Tried a magnet on an extension pole, didn't work. Tried to use a vacuum, didn't work. Had a friend try to suck it out with his mouth(steve). Then finally drilled a small hole in the plastic part left and ran a 6" by 1/4 screw in after it and pulled it it out on the 2nd try.
      April 13, 2009 6:31 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Mel said...I'm trying to pull my dipstick tube out and either I'm a weakling or I'm doing something wrong. I've got a screwdriver and the vice grips, was the engine hot when you did this, would that help. Crushing the tube doesn't matter I just bought another one to replace it.
      May 12, 2009 3:46 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Scott said...Hey Mel, it is pressed in so it will be tough to get out... the engine was hot when I did it... careful not to break it off at the block, that would suck...
      May 12, 2009 4:47 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...Ok, here was what I did:
      1. Pencil + superglue. Fail. (I did this three different times, including overnight).
      2. Use tiny screwdriver to dig to metal so could be pulled out with needlenose pliers. Dipstick unseated and fell down several inches in tube. Fail.
      3. Magnet on end of stick. Fail.
      4. Hemostat forceps. Fail.
      5. Vacuum cleaner + ziploc bag. Fail.
      6. Bought air compressor. Plastic end still stuck where tube tapers. Tried, many, many times. Fail.
      7. Resumed scraping away at plastic with screw driver, but dipstick kept falling. Kept raising it up with air compressor. Repeat x 100.
      8. Tried drilling the plastic, but not enough tension on plastic to keep it from falling. Had wife apply air compressor while drilling. Like pushing on a spring, no good. Fail.
      8. Bought extra-skinny needlenose pliers to grab the little bit of metal. Could not get strong enough purchase. Fail.
      9. Bought 1 foot long 1/8in drill bit. Was able to drill into plastic on both sides of metal. Could get better grip when I would raise the dipstick with the air compressor, but would not budge the last two inches while pulling up. Would slip off. Fail.
      10. Kept drilling until all the way through plastic. Then I got a clotheshanger (btw, forgot to mention much earlier step of setting up camping stove and heating clothehanger hoping it would "melt" into the plastic and allow me to raise it--utter fail)--clotheshanger would go through hole. Got hammer to make "hook". Jammed clotheshanger through drilled hole (which had drilled through the metal side-stays) with much effort and many permutations of hook--pulled and pulled. Bent and ruined clotheshanger. Made new hook. After much twisting and pulling, got it out.
      11. See, that wasn't too hard, was it?
      12. And now finally, the utter fail of all fails--this is my second time to remove a plastic dipstick from this sentra. What possessed me to put on another stock plastic dipstick last time, lol? The third one is going to be a doozy, I'm sure.
      May 25, 2009 5:29 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...Be careful using compressed air (although worked great!) it shot the thing out so hard it stuck into the wallboard in my garage!
      June 2, 2009 10:51 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...I decided, from these posts, (thank you) to try the shop-vac first (before risking anything that might damage the tube, etc). I cut a tube-size hole in a small piece of cardboard to press the vacumn hose to and it worked great!
      June 3, 2009 12:05 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...STEP 1 -Used superglue method and managed to get dipstick within site in the tube.

      STEP 2 -Tried to use a heavy duty shop vac but no success.

      STEP 3 -Used compressor to put air pressure into hose attached to PVC valve. Made sure pressure was going into valve cover and took a cloth and placed it over dip stick tube to create pressure Second blast of air sent stick out of the tube. SUCCESS Definetly the best way to remove the old stick but be careful as mentioned by others,the stick comes out like a rocket if you have considerable air pressure built up in the oil pan.
      July 2, 2009 6:53 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Mel said...Well I finally got it off, I had to drill a hole in the dipstick, put a screwdriver in the hole and use a dent puller (slide hammer) to get it out. Wasn't the easiest thing in the world but it worked. I bought a new dipstick and tube from nissan for about $30.
      July 10, 2009 7:59 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...Dipstick Length 2002 Sentra - Can someone tell me the length of the dipstick from the top of the insert tub to the ADD marker, and to the FULL marker?

      Thanks,

      doug.w.eason@gmail.com
      September 28, 2009 8:09 AM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Kevin said...I tried the shop vac for about an hour before I came back in the house to search out a solution on the internet. I came across this post and decided to try the compressed air route. I used the hose on the PCV valve, the one located in the air intake line. I was getting significant pressure but the darn thing just wouldn't come out. So I started to try and find a screw driver so I could remove the tube, however that would not budge. I ended up having to use a drill bit so I wouldn't crush the tube. The I discovered that 3/8 inch drill bit just bar fit in the hole. So I decided what the heck, I put the 3/8 inch drill bit in my cordless drill and started to ream the tube out a bit. I then went back to the air compressor and noticed this time it came up a little further. So I reamed some more and then went back to the air compressor and then bam, it flew out and hit me in the neck. I obviously didn't heed the warning. Anyway, I finally got it. Oh, by the way I picked up a new dipstick with same crappy plastic design for $8 from the dealer.

      PS - Dipstick length for a 2001 Nissan Sentra GXE 1.8L: Total Length from top of tube to the bottom of the dipstick is 19 inches, then 17 1/2 to the High mark and 18 inches to the Low mark.
      October 21, 2009 5:06 PM
    1. Scott DeLeeuw's Avatar
      Scott DeLeeuw -
      Anonymous said...Whaaaaack, Now thats thinkin with your dipstick Jimmy
      November 12, 2009 2:37 PM
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