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Old 08-30-2019, 05:46 PM #1
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Transmission dipstick issue

Hey all

So working on slowly fixing up my 1997 SR5 and noticed that when I went to check the transmission fluid, the dipstick reading was way over the 'hot' mark with the vehicle cold/not driven. Putting the dipstick back in was very difficult, it hangs up on the last 1/3 of the length.

I was at a pick and pull today and there were 2 1999 T4Rs there both with the same 5VZFE engine so I pulled both the transmission dipsticks on them out and noticed they were significantly shorter than the dipstick in my truck. I bought one of the dipsticks and brought it home, put it in my truck and it was still difficult to push in the last maybe 3 inches but the level was between the cold and hot zones

I have no idea if my truck had a new transmission put on and also do not know if the 1999 models had a different trans (both were SR5) but I am wondering if my truck has the wrong dipstick... if not, then it seems that the trans is way overfilled

The picture below has my existing dipstick on top and the one I got from the junkyard on the bottom

Anybody have any ideas on this? I really do not want to have an over or under-filled transmission and looking at the fluid, it really needs a drain/flush and refill (may even tackle dropping the pan and changing the filter to see how much metal is on the magnets)


Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:54 PM #2
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There are 2 different dipsticks for these models. If I remember correctly, it had to do with the Fed vs CA emissions thing (but I could be wrong). Regardless, the (correct for my vehicle) dipstick is Extremely difficult to get back in place. The one that came with the truck was bent in a hundred spots which made it even harder, though a brand new OEM replacement wasn't much easier. Common thread here in the forums, and there's info about which of the 2 your specific truck will need/use. Obviously, using the wrong one would be bad....
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:39 PM #3
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Are the dip stick tubes the same length on the 4 runners?

Mine are fun to get in. If you look you notice that the dipstick tube is in 2 pieces. They love to hang up and are super easy to bend. I have a couple that look like they been through a war. I had a spare off my parts mobile and it even got bent to being worthless. :[ all mine look like your longer one.


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Old 08-31-2019, 11:26 AM #4
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I would say the dipstick you took out of your truck is the correct one. They are notorious for hanging up in the tube when installing and are always bent from people forcing them. You just have to wiggle, jiggle and rotate them to make them go in. I'm assuming you checked it with the engine running. If not, that's why it read over full. If so, it is over full.
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Old 08-31-2019, 01:01 PM #5
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I am wondering if one of those sticks are from a 4 cylinder and one from a 6 cylinder. If you got them from junk yard maybe someone put the wrong stick in or swapped one from another vehicle hard to say.

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Old 09-02-2019, 12:02 PM #6
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dipstick length

I pulled one to have an extra..and noticed the difference in mine also...my truck is 4wd...the one I pulled wasn't..maybe that is the factor here...the senior pros on this site should clarify if possible.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:34 PM #7
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yes the dipstick is a pain to put in, until you figure out how to have the correct orientation to start, twist and wiggle going in and hold your tongue just right
now that I have learned the "trick" its not an issue, but still harder than most can.

( I too had to get a new one after getting my 4runner as the original was all bent up making it even harder to install, I just went to dealer with my vin and old one and ordered correct new one)
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:39 PM #8
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2WD dipstick is different from 4WD dipstick. The 2WD pan is smaller/shorter and so the dipstick is shorter to accommodate. The Cali vs. Fed emissions thing may also be a factor, but it is more about routing of the tube down to the pan around different catalytic converters.

AT fluid level is to be checked with the engine idling in Park. The correct final measurement can only be made with engine idling and the trans fluid at operating temperature (154*-176*F) after cycling through each gear (P-R-N-D-2-1-2-D-N-R-P) on a level surface.

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Old 09-03-2019, 03:01 PM #9
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I picked up a new one at my local dealer dealer about six months and even with the VIN they gave me the wrong one(shorter). When I went back the parts guy just said "Oh... It'll be this one then" and blamed it on a mid model year change. My '98 was manufactured in July of 1998. Seems like they often don't know either.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:26 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineRunna View Post
They are notorious for hanging up in the tube when installing and are always bent from people forcing them.
Oh, that is really good to know! I was actually almost sure that something is wrong with mine ) Now I think I may be don't need to buy a new one ). Thanks!
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