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Diesel Engine Oil Level Check

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Excellent question.

Best, in the morning before starting.

Next best, at least 10 minutes after shut down.

Worse, immediately after shut down.

Worst, with engine running

And, do not add oil until oil level reaches the REAL "add" mark.  I say real because no engine manufacturer supplies the oil dipstick-- the chassis maker does that.  And, and excellent idea to CALIBRATE the engine oil dipstick to make sure it reflects your engine manufacturer's recommendation for your engine oil capacity. It is free and easy to do at your next oil change.

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I know that my dipstick isn't even close to right, but don't know how to calibrate/mark it. 

When the oil is changed, I can see where the full is supposed to be.  Just look at the level. 

How do I know how far below that is the add mark?

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6 minutes ago, cdsuggs said:

I know that my dipstick isn't even close to right, but don't know how to calibrate/mark it.  When the oil is changed, I can see where the full is supposed to be.  Just look at the level.  How do I know how far below that is the add mark?

Next time you change your oil leave 4 quarts out and after running the engine to fill the filter let it set for a few minuets and then mark the dipstick. Then add the rest of the oil and mark the full line.

You could ask Cummins what/ how much low they consider as a limit. With your over all oil capacity I think marking a low at 4 Quarts would be ok. With that new of an engine I think it will be just a mark you will never see.:)

Bill

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From an article I wrote for the FMCA Magazine many years ago:

 

 

 

CALIBRATING THE ENGINE OIL DIP STICK

 

We continue to see questions about oil "consumption" and oil on radiators and toads on the FMCA Forum and other RV websites.  It seems to be universal across all brands of diesel engines.

 

THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE IS AN OVERFILLED CRANKCASE. CALIBRATING THE ENGINE OIL DIP STICK TO ENSURE THE CORRECT OIL LEVEL IN THE PAN "FIXES" OVER 90% OF THESE PROBLEMS.

 

If you "think" your engine has an oil consumption problem, you are seeing oil mist on your toad or you just want to verify that yours is correct; you need to verify that you are using the correct amount of oil. Note: the quantities listed INCLUDE the oil filter and is the total amount of oil you put in when changing oil and filter.

 

Now, CALIBRATE THE DIP STICK. Since the same engines/dip sticks are used in many different applications with different angles of installation, do not ASSUME that the dip stick is correctly marked. Calibration costs $0.

 

At the next oil change, drain oil, remove old filter (as usual). Then install the drain plug and new oil filter and add the engine's correct oil capacity LESS THE NUMBER OF QUARTS you want between the "ADD" and "FULL" marks (let's say 2 quarts). So for an engine with 20 quart capacity you would add 18 quarts. Run the engine a few minutes, shut off and wait until oil has descended into the pan (at least 30 minutes and an hour is safer). Pull the dip stick and use a file or dremel tool to mark the oil level "ADD". Add the remaining two quarts, let the oil settle in the pan, pull the dipstick and mark this the "FULL" mark.

 

In many/most cases, you will find that your engine "throws out" the access oil and then "consumption" settles down to next to nothing. Put in the correct amount and your "consumption" issues may go away.

 

This applies to all ages (including brand new) of motorhomes and boats with every brand of engine.

 

Also, when checking the oil level with the dipstick it is safest to do it in the morning after the oil has had all night to flow back to the pan.

 

Do not add oil until the level reaches the ADD mark.

 

Finally, make a sticker to affix near oil fill:  OIL CAPACITY INCLUDING FILTER: xx QUARTS.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How much can you trust the electronic  oil fluid sensors that read out on the instrument cluster?  Also, please be aware that the procedure for checking oil on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter is somewhat different than above.  You're supposed to let the engine warm up..then check after 5 minutes...on level ground.

Plus, there's either a red or yellow dipstick in the engine compartment...red means you check it after it's been warmed up and yellow when the engine is "cold"....

Confusing... yes, make sure you read the owners manual carefully.

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The oil change interval on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter for 2011 is 10,000 miles.

In case, you are wondering, this gradually increased in later years to 15,000 and now is at 20,000 miles.. although, I understand that no matter what your annual mileage is, they recommend that your engine oil change should be once per year. 

Don't know what you folks with the large Cummins 5.9 and 6.7 engines? 

What is interesting is that all of these engines despite their different displacement have extremely high compression, 18 to 1..    and the small Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3 litre V6 has more than 13 quarts of oil. 

I'm sure you all know this, but, it's a very good idea to have the fuel filter, oil filter and air filter changed every year along with a transmission fluid change every 20,000 miles.   

These vehicles are so expensive and are significant "investments"...( not really investments, LOL), that it doesn't pay to skip important service intervals.  

If you're careful and drive conservatively, you may never have to replace the engine. 

I've been told that the entire coach is more likely to fall apart before the engine and drivetrain do.. 

 

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Some really bad info in this thread. You should fill the filter with oil and

then install it. The last thing you want is to start the engine with no

oil in a filter that holds 3-4 quarts of oil.

And, Cummins specifically says to check the oil level in the ISC series after

one hour of shutdown.

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10 hours ago, macandphyl said:

Some really bad info in this thread. You should fill the filter with oil and

then install it. The last thing you want is to start the engine with no

oil in a filter that holds 3-4 quarts of oil.

And, Cummins specifically says to check the oil level in the ISC series after

one hour of shutdown.

Actually, in writing Caterpillar recommends installing oil filters DRY, as pouring oil directly in to the filter means it is never filtered before going into the engine. And, any petroleum engineer will tell you that fresh oil out of the can should be run through the filter BEFORE circulating through the engine.

If you "have to" fill, fill only the small outer holes (at least on Cat and Cummins engines-- have not worked on newer MB engines) which are the inlets, not the center hole which is the outlet.

The oil film on the lubricated surfaces is what protects moving parts on start up, not the "instant" oil flow.  And, you are talking about SECONDS for the filter to fill and oil pressure to build. 

But, do what you are comfortable with.

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I presume that if you are doing the oil change yourself...you know what you're doing? Otherwise, take the vehicle to the independent mechanic or dealership..they will certainly make sure it's done correctly...   I don't work on my cars,  RV or any other vehicles.. I don't have the tools, expertise or inclination to do that.  I'd rather just drive my vehicles and enjoy them.  I make sure that I never get a vehicle that I cannot afford to keep up professionally..  just me. 

Of course I understand that some people will want to do it themselves...then, you'd better be prepared for "unintended consequences" if you don't follow directions. 

Good luck.  

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😏 Just an aside. I remember many years ago, a truck engine with marks on the dipstick for checking the engine at  idle. Pretty sure that it was a Caterpillar/ maybe a 1693TA? 

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1693TA :D you are showing your age!

MWeiner, your engine will turn a light on if its overfull also, believe me it doesn't take much to make it happen. I had a customer with a fleet of those Sprinters, some were the inline 5 cylinder and the later ones were the V6 Diesel. I have experience with them I never wanted to have nor planned on. Don't hang your hat on a "shop" will do it correctly, your engine takes special motor oil that is crucial to that engines life. Mercedes Benz dealer, I'm 95% certain they will get it right, Johns quick lube bait and tackle, steer clear. I picked up that account when I owned a truck repair business and the Dodge dealer put the wrong oil in one and destroyed the engine. They filled it with 15W40 and tried to blame it on his driver adding the wrong oil :huh:.

here is what I used in that engine;

https://www.amazon.com/Quaker-State-550024144-Diesel-Synthetic/dp/B004SMCBSU/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

 

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Thanks...I'm very careful about not adding oil unless it's necessary...

When I purchased the rig, they told me that they were using this product, Liqui Moly, 5-30 . 

I didn't know anything about this product, but, learned that they have been in business in Germany for a very long time. 

This very specialized oil is for gasoline and diesel engines. 

If you don't know about it, please check out the rave reviews on Amazon. 

I picked up a 5 litre bottle at a local auto parts store....it's NOT cheap..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liqui_Moly

https://www.amazon.com/Liqui-Moly-2039-Longtime-Synthetic/dp/B005H28X46/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1499799701&sr=1-1&keywords=liqui+moly+5w30#Ask

 

91DFqWm-ZFL._SL1500_.jpg

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I would think you can use any oil that meets the MB standards, MB-Approval 229.31
MB-Approval 229.51, MB-Approval 229.52.

Did you know you are to use a full synthetic oil oi your sprinter? From your owners manual.

Engine oils and oil filters are especially tested for their suitability in our engines and durability for our service intervals. Therefore, only use approved engine oils and oil filters required for vehicles with a maintenance computer. Conventional petroleum-based oils must not be used for vehicles equipped with the ASSYST maintenance computer. The following cases are not covered by the limited warranty for new vehicles: Rusing engine oils and oil filters of specification other than those expressly required by the maintenance computer. Rchanging the engine oil and oil filter at longer change intervals than those specified by the maintenance computer. Rusing any oil additives. We recommend MOBIL OIL.

Here are a couple of oils that meet the requirements and recommended by Mobil 1

Mobil 1 ESP Synthetic OilMobil 1™ synthetic oil

This one one is a 0-30                      This one is 0-40

Bill
 

 

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Bill,  

Yes, I know...   Mobil 1 is only one option...

Did you see the oil that the dealership used , Liqui Moly... above..

It's a synthetic oil from Germany... my engine calls for 5-30... 

The vehicle only has 27,500 miles on it.. I purchased it with 26,000 and already have put 1,500 miles on it since I acquired it May 3, 2017..... 

I've checked the oil and it's just fine at the full mark..  This vehicle was very lightly used...had less than 15 hours on the generator.. I think that the people who owned it plugged in a lot...

Since owning it, I have done the following, 

1. New tires including spare, plus installed a tire pressure monitoring system. 

2. All new batteries, starting and house.. 3 in all

3. Replaced the radio, navigation, and back up camera... plus had a front camera installed.

4. Had the fuel filter changed...

5. Had the driver's and passenger air bags changed. 

Next is the solar panels, rear proximity sensors.... 

---MARK

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Mark, as long as the oil meets the MB standards it is acceptable for use. 0-30 flows faster on startup. Did you miss the part where Mercedes Benz stated " We recommend MOBIL OIL."

You may use whatever you want.:P

Bill

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Something as simple as checking oil level turns into a major discussion.🤔 Amazing. That is why I offered the mention of a dipstick that could be used for an oil check while idling. Common  sense/ check before first start of the day.  If you have an engine that is a user, then you probably want to check the level after fueling. The oil is warm and will quickly settle to  to existing level when as if it was cold. Oil types and blends are a worthy discussion if you have the misfortune of owning one of the new toys. How did I make it for so many years without blowing something up due to lack of lubrication? If I had a "user" I added what seemed appropriate in spite of the level not being on the add mark because with larger fuel tanks and some motorhomes also have them, I might run some distance before shopping for fuel again. My 2 cents. Have at me if you want, but I know what I know and it is time tested.😎

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Obedb, I was fueling in truck lanes last Saturday and thought of you. A driver tilted the hood of a Freightliner Columbia with a Series 60, pulled the dipstick with the engine running :lol:. I just shook my head and got to laughing. I guess if it's wet something must be splashing around in there somewhere :lol:.

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Probably not his truck, so if the engine blows, he can honestly tell his boss, "yes, I sure did check the oil at the last refuel stop."

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jleamont-   YES, it always amazes me that people pull into fueling stations and leave their engines running... when there's a sign that clearly states, turn engines OFF. 

What a world! 

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WILDEBILL308-   YES, Mercedes Benz does recommend Mobile 1-. Because they rebrand it and sell it at their dealership.... 

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Didn't mean to cause confusion.  A year ago I bought a Fleetwood Discovery.  Someone had written 20 qts on the rear next to the filler.  With 20 quarts in the oil is approximately 1 1/2 inches above the full mark.  I've had the oil changed twice now.  Both times they put 20 qts in.  However, logging onto Cummins Quickserve shows that there are possibly 4 different capacities.  I called Cummins with the ESP and was told to ask a mechanic.  The listing in Quickserve indicates to me that the engine probably has a 15 qt pan.  Haven't seen any spray on the front of the toad, except for the coolant from a cracked surge tank (another horror story).  Hopefully I will have a real answer next week.  The motorhome is at a Cummins Service Center about150 miles from home with a Check Engine light dealing with a VGT actuator.  I asked them to give me an answer.  This has been an eye opening introduction to motorhome ownership.  $7,000 above and beyond the little that the overpriced ESP paid for.  Right now the DW would like our old fifth wheel back.  I don't do my own oil changes because of lack of a place to do it.  They frown on doing maintenance in my rental spot in the shared garage.  By the way, the owner's manual uses a circular argument about determining how much oil the pan holds and calibrating the dip stick.

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9 minutes ago, cdsuggs said:

Didn't mean to cause confusion.  A year ago I bought a Fleetwood Discovery.  Someone had written 20 qts on the rear next to the filler.  With 20 quarts in the oil is approximately 1 1/2 inches above the full mark.  I've had the oil changed twice now.  Both times they put 20 qts in.  However, logging onto Cummins Quickserve shows that there are possibly 4 different capacities.  I called Cummins with the ESP and was told to ask a mechanic.  The listing in Quickserve indicates to me that the engine probably has a 15 qt pan.  Haven't seen any spray on the front of the toad, except for the coolant from a cracked surge tank (another horror story).  Hopefully I will have a real answer next week.  The motorhome is at a Cummins Service Center about150 miles from home with a Check Engine light dealing with a VGT actuator.  I asked them to give me an answer.  This has been an eye opening introduction to motorhome ownership.  $7,000 above and beyond the little that the overpriced ESP paid for.  Right now the DW would like our old fifth wheel back.  I don't do my own oil changes because of lack of a place to do it.  They frown on doing maintenance in my rental spot in the shared garage.  By the way, the owner's manual uses a circular argument about determining how much oil the pan holds and calibrating the dip stick.

When you went to quick serve did you register your engine serial number? If you did it should give you just information on your build. Look at the pan it will show capacity for your engine then you may need to look at the oil filter to get capacity of the filter. 

When I do my engine it comes out to 19q for the pan and 1q for the filter so 20 quart total.

With your 2010 coach you may not see the oil splatter common with the older coaches that had a slobber tube. 

Bill

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