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Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Yahoo Message Number: 111875

I just happened to open the engine compartment door, and there was a pack rat sitting on the valve cover of my C12 caterpillar staring at me. I'm in the wilderness boondocking. He has brought various bits of fresh grass in there, I presume to make himself comfortable. I then noticed that my engine dipstick was missing! At first I thought one of my senior moments was responsible for this but that would be pretty bad even for me. Then the thought crossed my mind has the little bastard eaten the black plastic handle off causing the dipstick to fall down into the tube? Does anyone think a pack rat could eat the black plastic handle off? Is this possible? I've never studied my stick but the way it's constructed would the metal part just fall off if the handle was eaten? If it's lost or stolen Kevin tells me it's a country coach stick not a caterpillar stick. I'll call Country Coach on Monday but is there anywhere else I can get one for my C12?

Needless to say I put a rat trap in the engine bay area. Otherwise I'm going to have to get rat poison, unless anyone has a better idea.

Rich 2002 Magna

Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #1
Yahoo Message Number: 111876
I have magnet tool that is a long this flexible thing with the magnet on the end. Probably even a boondocks auto parts could have one. Worth a try.

Have to wonder if any thing could fall past the dip stick which must still be in the housing. Don't know how the dipstick housing comes off but could hope you could take the stick and any loose material out with it.

Think I'd call a Cat dealer and ask.


Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #2
Yahoo Message Number: 111878

Rich, I had the dip stick handle break off on my jeep cherokee a couple of years ago. Found some suggestions on the web for retrieving it from the tube. Best option for me was to heat a piece of coat hanger to red hot and push it into the tube until contacting the dip stick plastic and let it cool, adhering to the plastic. Give it plenty of time to cool. One try and it pulled right out. Let us know if this works for you.

Denny Bird

2001 Intrigue 11271


Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #3
Yahoo Message Number: 111879


In the desert everyone leaves their hood open because pack rats like dark engine compartments.

I had a pack rat problem here in Montana (until I found the so far so good solution).

I was in a repair shop in Tucson several years ago and I saw this display which was a led strobe light with alligator clips. I asked what this was for and was told Packrats. I bought it and have never had a problem since. I put the light above my engine and connected the alligator clips to the battery. I would think you could make the same thing.

Good luck

Dan 2006 Allure 31348

Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #4
Yahoo Message Number: 111880

Moth balls! Hang a sock full of moth balls in and around your generator and engine compartment! Works great while in storage as well.

Dennis '09 Allure 470
Cummings 500 ISM

Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #5
Yahoo Message Number: 111884

I'll go look for a little LED strobe light. My friend has a magnet and he thinks will work. If anyone can take a look at their C12 Country Coach dipstick and see if the handle could come off I would appreciate it. I was not in the habit of studying my dipstick, unfortunately. Luckily my trap Is awesome. See attached from this morning. I'm sure he was just setting up shop.


Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #6
Yahoo Message Number: 111885


The dipstick assembly may have been manufactured for Country Coach by Moeller Products (now called MEC Tube), Greenville, MS ((662)334-7817). Maybe someone in the group with a similar vintage Magna can verify by looking on their dipstick cap for an identifying part number or manufacturer id.

When the cap broke off my '02 Allure dipstick a few years back, MEC Tube was very helpful sending me a replacement cap. The assemblies haven't been manufactured since 2009, but replacement parts may still be available.

I also found a universal replacement dipstick at a Freightliner truck repair shop that could be made to work, but got the part I needed from MEC Tube before actually installing the universal replacement.

In my case, I was able to see and retrieve the dipstick with needlenose pliers. The dipstick assembly itself looked like it would be very easy to remove from the engine if necessary to retrieve any remnants of the original dipstick.

My engine is a Cummins, but its very possible CC used the same source for all their dipstick assemblies.

Hope this helps.

Tom Harsch 2002 Allure #30791 (w/Cummins engine) Rapid City, SD

Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #7
Yahoo Message Number: 111886

Rich, I have a C-12 in my intrigue. I will attach photo for your reference. There are no part numbers on it, and by design, I can see how easy it would be to come apart. The second picture shows how it just slips into the handle. It does not seem well built. Nice job on catching the rat!!

Dave 04 Intrigue 11793

Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #8
Yahoo Message Number: 111897

I haven't looked lately, but on my 2004 ISL, I think the whole dipstick tube can be easily removed. It may just be inserted in an opening in the crank case, held by a clamp or two. If so, you could remove the tube and pull or push the dipstick through the tube. Might be worth a look. If you do remove the tube you might need to recalibrate its position so it would register the correct oil level.

Regarding pack rats: In my younger, leaner years I did some of backpacking in the Rockies. Pack rats would get into the engine compartments of cars parked at remote trailheads and chew up the wiring. Folks learned that if they opened their hoods, the pack rats, apparently liking the dark but not favoring the light, would not come in. That said, you may consider leaving your engine hatch open or putting in a light to discourage infestation.


Re: Missing dipstick. Packrat?

Reply #9
Yahoo Message Number: 111905

This is the first packrat I've had in 10 years. He is in heaven. I'm going to look into a strobe light. I stuck a coat hanger about 15 inches down the tube I think that the dipstick is gone. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. On my caterpillar I would not want to try to pull the tube without a lift or a pit. I'll wait until I get my oil changed again.