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FlyingMonkey

"Russian Style" Fuel Dipstick

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I have never liked the factory fuel dipstick.  It's somewhat thin, and it flexes when you are opening/closing a tight fuel cap.  Mine has even slightly bent a few times, and now has a bit of a "wave" to it.  Last week I noticed a crack on the inside corner of the hockey stick.  This is a stress concentration and probably occurred due to a too-tight radius on that bend coupled with the thin material.

I decided I can do better!  I made a new stick from a piece of 6061-T6 aluminum plate I had on hand (I think it's 1/8" thick but it was unmarked).  It's a LOT thicker than the factory stick.  I also made the inside turn where the crack appeared in the factory piece a lot more gentle, to avoid stress concentration.  I cut it primarily on my bandsaw, and some finer cuts with a Dremel metal cut-off wheel.  I finished with 80 grit sandpaper, then 220 grit, then 600 grit, and finally a Scotchbrite wheel on my grinder.  There are still a few marks on the edged, but they are cosmetic and I got tired of working on them.  I did make sure that inside radius was very smooth, no stress risers.

I now have a "Russian Style" stick -- rugged, overbuilt, heavy, and unkillable.  I still need to mark graduations on it, but I need to wait until I have near-empty tanks to do that.  Here are the pics:

Shape comparison:

tAZVbKC.jpg   

 

Material thickness comparisons, factory stick on the right:

aDICfM7.jpg

UdXh9R5.jpg

Turn radius comparison, with factory stick laid on top (you can see where it cracked):

48EDP4W.jpg

 

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The dip stick for the CTLS is a little different, in that you don't use it to open the fuel cap. The later CTLS was different in that it was "T" shaped. If I was doing one I would make it with the "T" shaped top, so it can't fall into the tank. One thing I did with my CTLS stick, which is not "T" shaped, was to insert a steel bolt in the hole secured with a steel self locking nut. That way I have something for a magnet to grab on to if it falls in the tank.

I have had to fish a acrylic fuel dipstick out of a Cessna 152 fuel tank, and it was not fun. 

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I have not had any issues with my CTSW stick trying to fall in the tank.  One remedy would be to drill a lanyard hole in my new one like the factory one has, and run some paracord through it with a loop to go around the user's wrist while dipping.

Honestly, I don't dip my tanks with the stick too much, I mainly use it to open and tighten the fuel fillers.  I usually fill the tanks, verify rough quantity looking in the fuel filler, then use the the sight tubes for exact quantity.  The marks I put on my sight tubes are much more accurate than the dipstick.

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Runtoeat   

Andy, that old stick sure looks like it's had some serious torque cycles, witnessed by the rounded corners and the crack in the radius. Do your filler caps turn hard?  My old filler stick (2006) doesn't have these issues.

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1 hour ago, Runtoeat said:

Andy, that old stick sure looks like it's had some serious torque cycles, witnessed by the rounded corners and the crack in the radius. Do your filler caps turn hard?  My old filler stick (2006) doesn't have these issues.

They do turn a bit hard, and I admit I torque them down pretty tight to make sure they don't come loose.  The problems with the stick are probably partially due to my gorilla tightening procedure.  <_<

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27 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

They do turn a bit hard, and I admit I torque them down pretty tight to make sure they don't come loose.  The problems with the stick are probably partially due to my gorilla tightening procedure.  <_<

A little oil or white grease on the cap o-ring helps with removing the caps. A dry o-ring can make it hard to break the surface tension.

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2 hours ago, FlyingMonkey said:

I have not had any issues with my CTSW stick trying to fall in the tank.  One remedy would be to drill a lanyard hole in my new one like the factory one has, and run some paracord through it with a loop to go around the user's wrist while dipping.

Honestly, I don't dip my tanks with the stick too much, I mainly use it to open and tighten the fuel fillers.  I usually fill the tanks, verify rough quantity looking in the fuel filler, then use the the sight tubes for exact quantity.  The marks I put on my sight tubes are much more accurate than the dipstick.

Most people who I know that have dropped one in the tank had no issues prior to it happening. Most figured out a way, so it didn't happen again. This is one of the cases where I like to take preemptive measures.

I also had to retrieve a section of 1" clear vinyl hose from the tank of a biplane once. It was used to fuel the airplane, because you couldn't get the nozzle under the top wing and into the tank.

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1 hour ago, Tom Baker said:

A little oil or white grease on the cap o-ring helps with removing the caps. A dry o-ring can make it hard to break the surface tension.

I ususally put some lithium grease on them, but it doesn't stay put more than a few cycles.  I have some other lubes I can try.

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