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MG TD TF 1500 - Dipstick-how to read?

What say the experts? Does my dipstick (below) show "FULL" or is it actually over filled? (The ice pick in the picture shows the oil level high point.) In other words, do the little vertical marks indicate the beginning or the end of the words following them (i.e. EMPTY, HALF, FULL)?

I tend to think I've overfilled it a bit. If you all agree, is it worth draining some oil or not (a real pain because my drain plug has some rounded edges.) It's been this level past 100 miles or so but I don't want to damage engine with too much oil!

Have a good day,

efh Haskell

The vertical line across the dip stick to the left of the "full" mark, indicates the full level. I have heard there are a couple of different dip sticks, but yours has the same "24407" as mine, so I think you have the correct one. Having too much oil in the sump might create oil leaks in areas that have been dry. I would try to remove the extra oil to avoid this happening. If you compare your present oil level on the dipstick with the "half" to "full" distance, I would say you are considerably overfull.

George Raham [TD4224]

Definetly "over-filled" ..I would gues by over a quart at least. Where you will notice it is if you run it hard (hi RPMS will get some leaks).
If you are running stock oil-bath air cleaner might want to take a peak in there and clen up before it starts running all over everything.
David Sheward

Thanks for posting the picture . This Dumbo made the same mistake . On my way now to get it out of the sump. Oil is still very clean and have not driven the car due to bad weather here in BC.
Gerard Hengeveld

Gerard, don't feel bad! This Dumbo (me!) just tried to drain a quart out. Good luck trying that! You can guess what just happened! Now the dipstick reads almost empty. Off to get another batch of new oil...lesson learned...don't overfill the's real hard to drain just a little. Mine had just 130 miles on it!
efh Haskell

See on Dave Braun's site. Bud
Bud Krueger

If you have a spin-on filter, you could remove the filter and empty the excess. Might take a couple times to get the level right, but a lot easier than removing a rounded off drain plug - and dumping the entire pan contents.
John Masters

Another danger of operating an engine over filled with oil is aeration of the oil itself. Overfilling the sump may cause the oil to come into contact with reciprocating parts - causing the oil to foam and thereby decreasing lubrication & viscosity. You will end up with bigger problems than just leaks!
B Jackson

Easiest way I have found is to put a small tube down the dip stick hole and suck out some of the oil. I have a hand pump sucker that I use for this when I goof up an overfill.
Bruce Cunha

Why not just drain it all out and then put back what you need? Marvin
Marvin Stuart

All good suggestions guys. Problem is, as they say, "hindsight is always 20/20". My oil collection pan was filthy or I would have reused the oil. I never envisioned this being so hard or I would have cleaned it first. Simple fix though, compared to say, rebuilding a pedal box!
efh Haskell

One of these little pumps does a nice job and there is no mess or oil drippings. There are other makes, having no interest in this brand, I just used this marine type one for illustration. PJ
P Jennings

I am also one of the dummies that didn't know where the full mark was....The handbook doesn't make it abundantly clear, to say the least.
Leave it to the British to add an extra line that wasn't needed in the first place.
E.B. Wesson

Thank you for your unpleasant remark about the British who, you may remember, designed and built these beautiful cars.
Which line would you like removed, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd?
If the British had removed the 'full' line (3rd) just where would the level mark then be - at the letter 'F' or the last 'L' or perhaps the 'G' in MOWOG?
Or maybe you'd rather have the word before the lines, except that it would be a tad difficult to squeeze the word 'Empty' before the first line!!
Sorry, but your remarks about the British touched a nerve.
Mike Christie

For right or wrong, I have always read it that the level was 'empty' between the first and second lines from the left, 'half full' between the second and third from the left, and 'full' between the third and last lines.

This approach allows for errors due to slow drainage back to the sump, standing on a slope, and the difference between hot and cold oil; but there you go!

Ian Bowers


I know we naughty Brits stand accused of putting too many lines on the dipstick but what do you mean by "third and last lines"? There are only three lines (even though that is one too many for Edward)!

Mike Sutton

Does this help?

From the Operation Manual, page 6


Dave Williams (TD10254)

There is a line at the LHS just to the left of the 'E' of Empty (unless I am very mistaken). Mine has a line to the right of 'Full', under Ed's ice pick.

Ian Bowers

Actually I have never had any problem determining the oil level on the MG. Some time ago there was talk on this BBS about there being "different" dip sticks. Easy enough to fill oil per "WSM spec" and check the dip stick. (Dead on @ "FULL" line /must have correct dip stick.)

The information on my British car was by far easier to determine than the 1995 Oldsmobile we had that had a dip stick with no markings at all on it. We bought that turd new and after filling it (per spec) I engraved a line on the dip stick. I should have engraved that one to read "Oil & Water Level" as the car had water in the oil from day one. Something GM denied for years untill the car was "out of waranty".
It was the LAST new car this family will ever buy from GM.
David Sheward

Ian, mine has no such line under that ice pick. I wish it did - this conversation would have not been started. Therefore there must be several variations of the stick out there. I wish they would have put such a mark and maybe the words "WAY TOO FULL" above it!
Dave, I read that in the op manual but to me at least, the "full mark" could be the mark itself OR anywhere up to the second "L" in FULL, hence my original question.
One can only wonder what an "Empty mark" could mean? If the thing is "empty" there would be no oil to be seen at this mark!
In any event, I'll leave it to you guys and Edward to iron out any references to the word "British". Leave me out of it! As Ian can testify, we are great fans of the British and had a lovely time in the UK last summer and met some wonderful people!

Does anybody know what a "MOWOG" is by the way?

It's snowing here again. Good day to change my oil!
efh Haskell

MOrris Wolsey Garages


predates BMC

Ian Bowers

Over the years I have had many cars that the "dip-stick" was questionable.
My rule of thumb has always been:
Determine if correct pan is installed.
Drain & fill per "spec". (including filter!)
Start engine, check for presure.
Let engine cool (drain back).
Check Dip Stick.

I have had more than one that the "stop" on the stick had "moved". If that is the case I make a mark on the stick for the stop as well and then secure it.

It's a lesson I learned years ago after over filling an engine by several quarts because the dip stick had been replaced with a much shorter one by a DPO!
David Sheward

OOPS! My apologies for the "British" remark, it wasn't intended as an insult....Just a "brain fart". That sometimes happens in old age.
Obviously I love British cars, as I have owned six.

Dave Williams,
That drawing doesn't show the last mark, after the "l" , that appears on my dipstick, which is why I have always been confused. My dipstick is the same as Ed's, like the one first pictured.
On our "domestic" dip sticks, the last mark on the stick is almost always the "Full" mark.
E.B. Wesson

Just keep the level somewhere in the middle and you are good. Worst current dipstick: Daughter's Mazda 6 with the lousy, rough 4cyl Ford engine. The end is rounded, with a scalloped out area. Unless the oil is filthy, totally hard to see. Even has "FoMoCo" proudly stamped in. Almost as bad as the cartrige oil filter on the same. Should make the designers read oil level and change filters all day for punishment! George.
George Butz

What I love about the new ones (NOT) :
The way they now "hide" the filter under a piece of plastic that oil change palces either bend or break instead of removing the bolts to get at the filter.
Then they just let the oil run all over the plastic tray so it dripps all over the floor when you get home.
Since I got the lift the kids bring their car here for oil changes. Every one of those trays I have taken off have had about a quart of oil in it from lazy "jiffy-lube" types. We have had to drill new holes to put them back on from these guys just snapping them off.
David Sheward

This thread was discussed between 31/03/2012 and 03/04/2012

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