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Old 03-31-2016, 07:13 AM   #1
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Oil Indicator...

Hello All!

A couple of problems/questions: So, I have a '98 Boxster...when I go to fill up the gas tank, the oil light tells me that my oil level is a couple of bars below the fill line, (that being the first line under the too full line); when I turn the car off, and check the light that way, it shows I am full to the exact place I should be. Help? I am having a terrible time determining the oil level on the dipstick; dunno if my eyes are going or what. Gas mileage hasn't dropped; car running perfectly. I understand that, if the oil check light is malfunctioning, an idiot light will come on and say so. Anyone? Help! Thanks!

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Old 03-31-2016, 07:40 AM   #2
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I also have trouble with the dipstick, but as long as you are not below the bottom line on the digital gauge or dipstick you should be okay. The digital oil gauge can be affected by the tilt of the car, make sure you check it while on a level surface. My digital gauge will sometimes fluctuates 2-4 bars.
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:51 AM   #3
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Bright sun light and Clean oil do make reading the dip stick hard. I use a paper towel to carefully lay and roll dip stick end to help read it.
You have to wonder why Porsche choose a brownish color for the dip stick end to check brownish fluid.
On second though who am I to question Porsche engineering.

Or you can let the oil get really dirty and black. Then it's real easy to read

Only expect level to be accurate is engine has sat for 30+ mins and is level
Personally I would not use the gauge to guild my topping off, only the dip stick
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Old 03-31-2016, 12:09 PM   #4
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And....

.....You will ONLY get an accurate oil level reading after the car has sat for two days on a level surface. This is one area where the owner's manual got lost in translation.

Anywhere between the two lines is FINE.

You ONLY have to worry about the oil level when it gets below the bottom line.

You still have about 8 quarts in there at that point.

These engine can actually tolerate being a couple quarts low with zero damage.

You can't trust the readings on a long trip at gas stops. Best bet is to check in the morning after an overnight park.

Don't sweat it.

It's actually WORSE to over fill these cars than to run a tad low. Too much oil will grenade the Air/Oil Separator and that is a big bowl of not good.

And buy Driven DT40 oil and run it in your car.

Welcome to the party.

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Old 03-31-2016, 05:02 PM   #5
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When the car is warm from a trip, 9 times out of 10 the digital stick will not be accurate. Porsche's dipsticks are also horrible to try to read, so I recommend getting a paper towel, pulling it out, completely drying it, and testing again. It's pretty easy after that to tell where the oil level is because the rest of the level indicator should be bone dry.
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:35 PM   #6
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that's why I replaced my dipstick with a direct on the block stainless steel one that is 100% accurate, easy to read and always in tune with the electronic dash one, only problem is that I have to access the top of the engine to check it which is not a problem anymore since I'm soon isntalling my new targa top with rear hatch.
both are best to check with a cold engine in the am, the electronic dash gauge becomes useless after you started the engine as it will fluctuate, dipstick would be best to check at service stations and it would be always show a little lower than it is in reality

Last edited by stelan; 03-31-2016 at 11:38 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:51 AM   #7
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does any one read the frickin user manual????

you are supposed to check the oil with the car warmed up and after resting on a level surface for a few minutes
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:15 AM   #8
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JayG......

.....I referenced the owner's manual in my post above.

The manual's assertion that the car needs to be at rest "for a few minutes" is not enough for an accurate reading.

These cars only give accurate oil level readings when cold, and after sitting, shut off, at least overnight and preferably two nights.

It's just a simple matter of the oil needing to drain back out of all those little passages into the big, flat pan. The flat engine configuration makes it slower to drain back to full pan than a "V" or an inline engine.

Last month's Car & Driver had a long term wrap up on their Cayman and THEY over filled the car due to false "low oil" readings on their computer.

Having an old fashioned dip stick is one of the reasons I bought my 2004 model.

Again, with the 8 quart plus capacity of the 986, if she runs a quart low, it's not a disaster. BUT, if you over fill these engine by a quart, it IS very bad for the Air/Oil Separator.

You have to convince yourself to not freak out if the oil level is at the "minimum" line on the dash readout after a refueling stop. You MUST check the oil level after she's been sitting at least overnight.

If the level is anywhere on the electronic display or there is any oil on the dipstick, you are fine.

If the dipstick is bone dry, or the display shows "Danger Will Robinson!!!", only freak out if that is showing after she has been parked for two days.

Then just add a quart.

Don't worry, be happy.

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