Fixing the dreaded dipstick o-ring leak on the 7.3 powerstroke
As you can see, its a slimy mess up there.
I got lucky, mine didnt just leak, the o-ring straight up left town, and it started hemorrhaging oil. It was a pretty big leak, no mistaking that one! So since i prefer to upgrade rather than simply replace, i opted for Strictly Diesel's Dipstick Adapter Repair Kit.
This thing is a pretty nicely machined:
So lets get this done.
Remove this bolt, and then yank the dipstick out of the existing adapter in the pan
Starter has to come out, theres no way youre doing it installed. Here you can see the dipstick up and out of harms way
Next up is to spin the nut off. This part is important! Grab the stem with something. I used needle nose vice grips, but anything will suffice. A pair of channel locks will remove the nut. Most likely, its loose anyway.
With the nut off, let the adapter slide into the pan a bit, and then reach in with some form of pick, hook the o-ring and dig it out thru the hole. Not as bad to do as it sounds
Here's what time has done to mine: swollen to well above its original size. You can see the deformation where it has actually worked its way out of the adapter. No wonder the leak was so bad!
This is typical, and its why tightening the nut down more rarely fixes the leak.
So, the new adapter uses 2 orings to seal against the outside of the pan, so no more issues with oil swelling the orings. Of course youll need to clean the outside of the pan, but odds are its clean metal (aside from some oil grime) since it was leaking anyway. Also of note is the bracket that slips into the hole in the pan- the one bolt has a small weld on the end so it cant be threaded out. So youll slip this thru the hole in the pan, and then rotate that screw which will in turn rotate the sandwich plate until it lines up with the hole in the adapter
See those two little notches? one is to set the clocking for an OBS 7.3, the other for a SD 7.3. In my case its a 90, so i want the dipstick to point up; the SD motors have it tilted slightly forward.
I wish i could say theres more to it, but really there isnt. Once youve removed the oring you simply drop the old adapter into the pan. Its big enough itll settle to the bottom and stay there forever. Unless you roll it over, anyway! At some point in time (next year?) im planning on having the cab off, so ill yank the pan then and extract it. Anyways, slip the new adapter into the hole in the pan, rotate, and install screws! Its honestly pretty easy to do.
The kit comes with a new OEM gasket for the dipstick tube. Technically it is not an o-ring, its this fancy shape thats supposed to seal better
Oil it up a bit, slip it on, and the reinstall the tube! Install the starter and youre done!
It is a tight fit; maybe 1/4" clearance to starter at most. But, it clears and it works! No more leaks!
I did the whole job in about 90 minutes, truck on the ground still on its tires, while stopping to take pics. I suspect it could be done in an hour, so easily something that can be tackled after work one day.
Got the carrier opened up, nice and clean inside
Found lots of metal in the oil passages for the pinion gears, took a while to wash it all out. Tomorrow i think im going to replumb the brakes on the axle since i last did that back in '05 and the lines are a bit mangled from getting caught up in weeds, sticks, branches etc offroad over the years.
Rear driveshaft and anti-wrap bar removed:
...and the rear is now out:
drive side shaft (yukon 35 spline chromo) is twisted a little:
With the carrier out you can see the carnage:
With the pinion removed you can see the carnage:
Hopefully tomorrow ill get the detroit disassembled and cleaned, and then its just a matter of waiting until next week when it gets rebuilt!
I think i found the source of the fuel leak on the diesel:
The base snapped off the fuel pump when i removed it. Im thinking it was cracked already and leaking fuel into the valley. Obviously i was able to extract the broken portion fairly easily. I didnt get a chance to do much of a test drive though, as the oil dipstick oring in the pan let go, and the motor just hemorrhages oil when its running. So i have a repair kit in the mail, should be here in about a week.
This weather is stupid. The other day it was 72. Today? Snowing.
I finished welding the passenger side slider, got it in primer, and its now in the process of being painted:
Its too wet to really work outside, so i made some changes to the engine tune. Adjusted the VE table slightly, and turned up the priming pulse, which should help with the long crank to start. Im going to have to take it for another test drive once the sliders are done so i can see if it helped any.
I also removed the vacuum modulator:
That little setscrew in the top adjusts when the shifts occur, and at what rpm. Screw it in, and it will shift harder and later. The black stripe modulator is supposed to be the firmest, and its also supposed to be what came in the trucks altho with the condition mine is in, who knows! Could very well be original from '89. So i got a new one and slapped it in today:
Fair warming; i didnt know ATF would come pouring out of the hole! Probably should have seen that coming, but i never said i was all that smart!
Im not sure if mine was bad or just old & out of adjustment (i have never replaced it, and that trans went in back in 2012 i think), but the shifts are pretty mushy. With the new converter from Broader Performance, and the shiftkit from TransGo i installed during the engine rebuild so youd think it would shift firm but it doesnt at all, so hopefully this will help some.