I recently purchased a 1999 Ford F250 Super Duty, took it to a shop and had several thousand dollars worth of minor problems fixed, one of them being a broken dipstick tube. The first thing that occured when I was driving home was a code P1151, a Ford O2 sensor code. One of the possibilities was an overfilled crankcase. Since this was the simplest cause, I checked the oil level, only to find it was several inches above the full mark. I drained the oil out in 3 stages and stopped once it was reading just about 1/8 inch above the full mark on the stick.
The truck sat a week or more before I drove it again but the oil pressure light came on at that point a few miles into the trip. I stopped, got under the truck to check for leaks and then checked the level on the stick. It was slightly above the full mark as before. I figured it was either a bad sender or the engine was toast.
I called the shop at this time and told them I had removed some oil the said it was a bad sender more than likely and to bring the truck in. I was charged for a new sender and one coil on plug since it was misfiring as well. They said there was no more oil light issue but that the engine had a rod knock now and its days were numbered.
Well, I left and it came right back on. Obviously the reason for the light wasn’t a bad sender. They told me to put thicker oil in the engine as the bearings were toast. It wasn’t doing this before and something just didn’t feel right. I figured the previous guy knowingly sold me a lemon but am not 100% on that now.
I bought the cheapest 20W50 to put in the crankcase. I didn’t even bother to get a new filter or anything but was going to drain the old oil and refill. Much to my surprise, there was maybe a quart of oil in the pan for an engine that is supposed to hold around 7 quarts! I dumped in one large jug of oil and checked the level. It was showing way above full (like 4 inches on the stick) even though the oil was not at the specified capacity. I thought it was the dipstick but bought a Ford on according to my VIN and compared. That part was correct.
I then began looking at pictures and videos of people working on their 1999 Ford Super Duty 5.4’s and could see that my dipstick is WAY LOWER in the engine bay compared to what I was seeing in the videos and such. The top of my disptick is down below the air intake tubing and you have to practically reach around that to get to the dipstick. It appeared to be at the same level and next to the air intake tubing in all the videos. So the dipstick is going way too far into the pan and showing higher oil than in reality.
I am kinda frustrated because I paid good money to have this shop do a fair amount of work. I didn’t pick a cheapo shop either, figuring you get what you pay for and have had good work done here in the past. I paid for a new disptick and tube as well as on oil change. Apparently they just add the amount specified with a machine and don’t check the dipstick??? Had I done this work, I would have realized things weren’t adding up and the problem would have been avoided.
Since the engine was used, I don’t expect a brand new motor for free or anything but feel I should get something out of this mess as the shop had like 3 opportunities to catch this problem but didn’t. The truck was brought in for an oil pressure light and although the damage was already done at that point, they didn’t catch on that the oil was low either. I assume they looked at the stick and it was at the full mark as I had been doing. What seems fair?
I was thinking either I pay for a new reman engine and they do the labor or they pay to install a used engine in full. I found a place offering a 90 day unlimited mileage guarantee for parts and labor to install a used unit.
How should I approach the shop once I confirm the dipstick tube they installed was several inches too short and led to an incorrect oil level and severe engine damage?