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Old 05-21-2020, 08:05 PM   #1
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3126 Oil Level Stick

Before I start, I’ve searched google and I’ve worked on all kinds of farm equipment, heavy trucks, cars, motorcycles and other stuff, and I’ve never had this problem before... When I got my bus home yesterday I noticed the dip stick location and removed it, but it didn’t have any resistance and pulled out of where it was located. It was bone dry. I went to put it back in to check the level, but I cannot find the oil level tube. I’ve looked all over, and climbed under the bus to look the best I could without jacking it up. The owner told me the oil pan has a leak, which it does,and I’m wondering if the oil level tube is missing and broke off?
My problem is that I don’t even know which side it’s on. This is a 2001 Thomas MVP with the cat 3126. The oil stick was nestled behind the pump that feeds the injectors , but I’m not sure that’s even where the general area is. I feel pretty stupid, but I’ve been all over looking for this tube. Is there a page that identifies the location, and all the other engine components. There’s a lot of hoses, sensors, and other items that I’m not able to identify without a component diagram.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:12 PM   #2
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should see it in the center-ish of the pic-
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:30 PM   #3
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Here's a screenshot of an image of one removed from a vehicle for clarity.

20200521_212844.jpg
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:46 PM   #4
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Thank you. I believe I know where my oil leak is at now. I don’t have a tube. Evidently it’s broken off and that’s right in the area where oils leaking from on my pan. I assume it’s gone so I’ll have to source one sonewhere. Thanks for your help. I’ve never felt so dumb in my life not being able to locate the tube... knew something had to be us.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Weesew View Post
Thank you. I believe I know where my oil leak is at now. I donít have a tube. Evidently itís broken off and thatís right in the area where oils leaking from on my pan. I assume itís gone so Iíll have to source one sonewhere. Thanks for your help. Iíve never felt so dumb in my life not being able to locate the tube... knew something had to be us.
Well, stranger has happened. Don't beat yourself up over it. But I would buy a tube and dipstick together. You have no guarantees that dipstick is the correct one for the engine.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:36 PM   #6
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Thanks. I’ll do that before my oil change so I can calibrate the dip stick.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:32 AM   #7
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Thanks. Iíll do that before my oil change so I can calibrate the dip stick.
Several different oil pans were fitted to the 3126...

I would get with a CAT dealer and give the eng serial # to ensure getting the right assembly. Sucks spending the $100+ for a simple part but think of it as insurance and love for your new engine.

Any idea how long it's been run w/out the tube -- oil pan open to contamination? How exposed is the opening?

I would probably drop the oil pan when you change the oil to ensure all crud is removed...
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:03 AM   #8
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I wrote down the serial number yesterday so I can verify my motors ho, oil pan size, and the equipment it was built with. I’m not sure how long the tube has been missing, but the size of the opening into the motor isn’t very large. I’m planning to remove the oil pan to verify the condition of the oil pump and install a new gasket. Thanks for your info.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:31 PM   #9
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if it actually broke off then you will need an easy out to get the remaining piece of the old dipstick before a new one will friction fit back in.
worst case scenario if the easy out doesnt work you will have to find the right drill bit and drill it out and i recommend doing any of this before the oil change and or while the pan is dropped.
good luck
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:40 PM   #10
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Hopefully there’s enough left to pull out. Only other issue to. Address is no turn signals or 4 ways. Working on that today , then getting on the oil tube tomorrow. Thanks again.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:00 PM   #11
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Several different oil pans were fitted to the 3126...

I would get with a CAT dealer and give the eng serial # to ensure getting the right assembly. Sucks spending the $100+ for a simple part but think of it as insurance and love for your new engine.

Any idea how long it's been run w/out the tube -- oil pan open to contamination? How exposed is the opening?

I would probably drop the oil pan when you change the oil to ensure all crud is removed...
Serial # may also help verify whether this engine is original to your bus. Methinks the tube being snapped off that close to the block is a sign of a possible engine replacement by someone who, well, half-@$$ed it.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:21 PM   #12
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Serial # may also help verify whether this engine is original to your bus. Methinks the tube being snapped off that close to the block is a sign of a possible engine replacement by someone who, well, half-@$$ed it.
It's scary anybody being more negative than I am...

But in this case that is certainly worth knowing and should be easy to learn if asked -- this is more likely a Thomas/Freightliner question than a CAT question.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:24 PM   #13
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Was this bus run without oil in it?
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:43 PM   #14
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Serial # may also help verify whether this engine is original to your bus. Methinks the tube being snapped off that close to the block is a sign of a possible engine replacement by someone who, well, half-@$$ed it.
Quote:
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It's scary anybody being more negative than I am...

But in this case that is certainly worth knowing and should be easy to learn if asked -- this is more likely a Thomas/Freightliner question than a CAT question.
Dealt with enough idiots who thought they were mechanics after changing an alternator to know that not everyone knows what they're doing. Ask me about the Safari van fiasco sometime.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:48 PM   #15
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Was this bus run without oil in it?
Certainly sounds like it was run low...

But that's a crazy relative thing:
I drained a little over 5 gals. of old oil from my 3126. (measurement was crude...)

Since I was trying to calibrate my NOT oem dipstick I added oil in intervals up to 29 quarts or almost 7gallons...
The difference between 6 gallons and 7 gallons on my poorly marked stick is only 1/16"!

BUT I had my old oil annualized by Blackstone Labs (only $28 ) and they said the oil equated to about 8000 miles used w/out any unusual wear metals or contamination. This was an important baseline for me before spending any real money on my bus being a tad concerned the engine was run low for who knows how long because it didn't have a well marked dipstick...

You can see where it'd be really easy to under or overfill this engine. *

*especially if you don't identify which oil pan you have!

Toss in Cheese' tip that the engine could be a replacement and you've got a huge variety of options...
RV's typically having a 3126 even though they use a higher horse power variant than most School bus' only get a 5 gallon pan because of the smaller space usually found in an RV...

My final point here being I'd bet with only 4 gallons of oil my dip stick would read dry, but that's still a lot of oil...

For the OP, I do recommend draining your oil into a 5 gallon bucket so you can get an idea of how low the quantity was.

If you're adventurous, while you have the oil pan off you can pull a main and rod bearing cap or two and inspect the condition of the bearings. Lots of good wear charts on the web to compare to if you've never done this before.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:49 PM   #16
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all in fun. CW but who was the idiot that bought the safari van?
vans suck to work on period? especially without a dog house
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:10 PM   #17
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all in fun. CW but who was the idiot that bought the safari van?
vans suck to work on period? especially without a dog house
Safaris and Astros do have a doghouse. Several people have put V8s in them, some even a 6.2 diesel. It's actually not that tight in there without all the extra crap that goes on an emission equipped 4.3.

In another life, I was a taxi driver. Safaris and Astros made for good comfort and high-capacity. In a nutshell, the oil pump failed at 185k (Looking back, I'm not so sure the odometer was correct or original). Bought a used replacement engine/trans package (complete including transfer case, accessory drive, etc) with 111k from a 2000 Bravada. Reputable seller, and the engine and transmission were clean enough to eat off of when I got them.

I'm told this job takes a week, I stopped by after the first week and he goes out of his way to show me how good his 95 Silverado (4.3, 4 speed auto, 4WD) runs. He keeps my van six weeks, told me he would be out of town one of those weeks. Van runs like s---t when I get it back, and he charged me an extra $600 for parts required to make it work (direct interchange from 96-01).

Oil pressure was about half of what it should have been, just ike the original, as if it hadn't been changed at all... he blamed the oil pressure and poor running on the used engine, and I caught him in about three lies before the engine started knocking. Trouble codes that didn't exist, etc. The poor running turned out to be damaged wiring on a exhaust sensor that was not like that when it went to him.

Casting stamp on the trans indicates 7/97. Engine serial number is an oddball and hard to decode, but I believe I've got it nailed down to a 1998 engine. Engine is too grimy to be the one I bought. I don't think he changed it, because the transmission casting has 7/97 on it (my van was built 8/97 as a 1998 model, replacement was a 2000).

I think it's pretty obvious that he slapped an oil pump in my worn-out engine and put my replacement engine and transmission in his truck. Without the serial number on the replacement engine, however, I have no way to prove it in court. I have yet to meet a completely honest mechanic, unfortunately.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:12 PM   #18
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sorry?
never owned one but have tried worked on a few?
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:26 PM   #19
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sorry?
never owned one but have tried worked on a few?
No offense taken. As I said, there's a lot of extra crap that goes on emission-equipped 4.3s that does make van applications a little hard to get to and work around. I can understand why most people don't like working on them, but it pretty much goes with the territory. They're not much better in S-trucks and SUVs. Hell, look at all the crap around the 3126 in the pic ECCB posted and compare it to the bare-bones pic I posted. And that's in a commercial truck or bus. Half the crap under the hood on these newer vehicles is dead weight to me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about clean air, but I did a paper on this sort of thing in college and a newspaper article I cited showed a study that 98% of greenhouse gas emissions were from factories and power plants, that internal combustion engines put out very little in comparison.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:28 PM   #20
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As I said, there's a lot of extra crap that goes on emission-equipped 4.3s that does make van applications a little hard to get to and work around. I can understand why most people don't like working on them, but it pretty much goes with the territory. They're not much better in S-trucks and SUVs. Hell, look at all the crap around the 3126 in the pic ECCB posted and compare it to the bare-bones pic I posted. And that's in a commercial truck or bus. Half the crap under the hood on these newer vehicles is dead weight to me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about clean air, but I did a paper on this sort of thing in college and a newspaper article I cited showed a study that 98% of greenhouse gas emissions were from factories and power plants, that internal combustion engines put out very little in comparison.
Heck part of the reason I like my 3126 so much is its a lot cleaner/neater/better laid out than my previous bus' engines. That's important since I do my own maintenance.
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