2009 Jeep Patriot Transmission Dipstick – You can edit the text in this area and change where the contact form on the right submits, by entering edit mode using the modes at the bottom right.

The DeLorean needs routine maintenance and the occasional more extensive refurbishment. Beyond that, there are also a number of customizations and upgrades to improve performance, reliability and functionality.

2009 Jeep Patriot Transmission Dipstick

2009 Jeep Patriot Transmission Dipstick

While I was lowering the transmission and engine into my car, I ended up swinging them against the bulkhead and braking the automatic transmission dipstick tube. I put the engine and transmission together and got under the car to take a look.

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At first I thought I had just broken the bracket at the bottom of the tube, so I removed it to inspect it. You will need to drain the transmission first, as the fluid level is higher than the bottom of the tube, but mine was already drained. I also found it easier to access the tube by riding under the car, feet first, behind the engine, rather than head first, as I often do. The bolt that holds the tube to the rear of the engine wasn’t attached yet, so I just had to remove the one that holds the bracket to the transmission near where the tube sits above the crankcase. It’s difficult to get a socket in there, so I started with an 11mm box wrench, then switched to a socket once it was a little looser.

The tube lifted easily, but I noticed some shredded metal where it meets the transmission. A quick look at the parts manual showed it was broken – the tube should have extended further than it was.

Back under the car, I used a pry bar under the lip of what was left of the tip and managed to pry it out a little. It was pretty tight and I broke my lever trying to get it out. Once it was high enough I was able to clamp it on the sides with vises and lift it straight up.

I received a new tube from DeLorean.com and compared the two. It seemed like the new one was extended a little less deeply into the transmission, but I doubted it would matter. I also ordered an otterstat gasket (106959) based on comments on DMCTalk that it worked much better than an o-ring. It took me a little while to figure out how to insert it, as it didn’t fit when the gasket was already installed on the tube. The trick is to first install the gasket into the hole in the transmission, then slide the tube into it. It fits pretty well and works perfectly.

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The top bracket also needs to be transferred from the old tube to the new one. I had to use a 10mm socket on the bolt and a 9mm wrench on the nut. I also had to bend it with pliers to remove it from the tube, then bend it back and tighten it with an adjustable wrench so I could get the bolt through.

The gauge is quite easy to reassemble in the car. I lowered it from the top, then reached under the car and tightened the bolt with an 11mm socket to what I thought was reasonably tight. At this point I discovered I had another problem: I had removed the hole in the transmission that holds the tube in place. It would have to be repaired before I could go any further, unless I wanted it to come loose and leak everywhere.

The broken tube (left) and the piece I removed from the transmission (bottom left) next to the new tube (top) and the otterstat gasket (bottom right).

2009 Jeep Patriot Transmission Dipstick

Another problem arose: I had over-tightened the bolt holding the tube to the transmission and the threads were stripped. No problem; I had an M7 Timecert kit that I could use to repair it. Then I realized how close the hole was to the bell casing.

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My T-tap handle just wouldn’t fit and was causing the bit to tilt instead of vertical. I couldn’t get enough torque with my fingers. I also couldn’t use a vice to work in a limited space. I certainly didn’t remove the engine and transmission just for this, and I don’t think it would have helped much anyway, as it would require a very long faucet extension to reach the hole.

I finally just ordered some power outlets from Amazon. These look like normal sockets, but have square holes at the end for a tap. These worked perfectly.

Timecert kits come with everything you need to repair a hole. A similar product is Helicoil; you can use the one you prefer. They work by requiring you to drill a larger hole, push it down slightly, insert new threads, then screw in an insert that locks into place in the hole. After that, you can install your original screw into the new reinforced hole. In an aluminum engine/transmission, this new insert will also be stronger than the original hole.

The first step is to drill the hole. I used a mixture of a socket wrench and my electric screwdriver to drive the bit. Once I was satisfied it was low enough, I extracted the bit and vacuumed up the shavings with a shop vac.

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The milling tool is quite simple. I mounted it on an electric screwdriver and simply inserted it until it wouldn’t go down anymore, per the instructions.

I used a socket wrench with the tap to create new threads in the hole. I didn’t want to risk the power screwdriver overpowering the tool and messing up the threads, and used the socket wrench exclusively. I removed all the shavings with the shop vacuum.

The insert driver simply slides onto the insert. The important detail is to make sure you oil the pilot threads (I just used motor oil, after some googling I suggested it was fine) so it doesn’t get stuck on the tool. I again drove the tool by hand with the socket wrench. You push it all the way in until it’s flush, then continue to turn it. There will be some resistance as the insert is pushed into the aluminum, then it will spin easily again. Then you simply extract the driver and you’re done.

2009 Jeep Patriot Transmission Dipstick

A Timecard M7 kit and its drill bit, milling tool, tap driver and insert, as well as a set of tapping sockets.

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With that taken care of, I reinstalled the dipstick tube. I decided to put some silicone sealant around the otterstat gasket that I was using in place of the o-ring, running my finger along it to go all the way around the gasket before inserting it into the gauge hole. I added more putty around the bottom of the dipstick tube itself before inserting it into the joint. I then inserted the screw into my newly repaired hole and tightened it with an 11mm socket.

The only other problem I had was that the dipstick itself didn’t seem to want to go all the way down to the end of the tube. I ended up removing the tube and installing the gauge without it in the car, and it seemed fine. I reinstalled the tube with the dipstick still in it with no problem. I then removed the tube and put it back in, and it seemed to work. This required a bit of tinkering, but it turned out pretty well. I guess it was just a quirk.

The last detail was to secure the tube to the motor so it wouldn’t move. I reused one of the bolts on the rear of the cylinder head that has a lifting eye attached to it. This required an 11mm wrench, and once done the dipstick was secure, sealed against the transmission and leak free.

I finally filled the transmission with six quarts of fluid. As I added the seventh quart (which was clearly too much), it started leaking from the dipstick tube at the transmission and all over my garage floor. Turns out the seal moved when I inserted the tube and wasn’t sealing at all.

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I had to remove the tube, put the gasket back inside the hole in the transmission, reinsert the tube and tighten the bolt to anchor the tube to the transmission before bolting the top of the tube to the cylinder head. I didn’t use silicone sealant this time because it didn’t help anyway. This appears to have resolved the problem and no transmission fluid has leaked. It’s still overfilled, but I expect it’s more because the transmission was empty than anything else, and that once I get it running and the fluid circulating, the level will be more reasonable. If necessary, I will then drain some fluid.

Additionally, the gauge itself is still a bit worn.

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