When it comes to producing a tech feature, sometimes the most basic of projects can go sideways. A good example is when we figured we had an install so simple even a magazine editor (that'd be me) could do it, and things got a little out of hand. It had absolutely nothing to do with Lokar's flexible dipstick, but rather an intense desire to create something unique from the existing part. In search of a different appearance from the look braided stainless steel offers, we chose to wrap Lokar's flexible dipstick with black shrink tubing to match Lokar's new Midnight Series black satin finish.

In spite of knowing the pitfalls that could be encountered by slipping the nut off the braided stainless steel tube and fraying the ends, we accidentally did. Thanks to analyzing what was needed to correct the situation, then carefully proceeding, in the end we achieved the results we were after without any trace of a problem. Proving even a dark cloud can have a silver lining, the experience left us with a few good warning tips to pass on to CCT's valued readers.

Although the subject vehicle is a '75 Chevy short-wide with a 454-inch big-block motor, the following instructions can be applied to any make of truck. We'd like to mention that the '75 Chevy is one of three project vehicles Custom Classic Trucks' readers can expect to see in upcoming tech features, ranging from low-buck to high-dollar. The other short-wides are a '72 Ford F-100 and a '86 Dodge Ram.

The 454-inch rat motor in our '75 Chevy is a transplant from a '77 Chevy Crew Cab dually equipped with tube headers. One of the first things we did while shopping for the '75 was attempt to check the engine oil. We discovered the 454 was missing its dipstick due to interference from the tube headers running directly above. There were no indications the engine had run out of oil, but we definitely needed to correct the inaccessible dipstick situation.

This is where the folks at Lokar Performance Products in Knoxville, Tennessee, entered the picture with their top-quality line of flexible dipsticks. To find a Lokar dealer near us, we checked our local listings and discovered D&P Classic Chevy in Huntington Beach, California, stocks a complete inventory of Lokar products for small- and big-block Chevrolets.

There were not any instructions included in the Lokar package, but it appeared to be a simple matter of pushing the dipstick tube's double O-ringed billet aluminum end into the stock dipstick receptacle, then using one of the header bolts to secure it at the top. When we were not able to push the dipstick tube's double O-ringed billet aluminum end into the oil pan by hand, we disassembled it from the braided stainless steel tube. Preparing to use a long pipe as a drift to drive the double O-ringed fitting into the oil pan, we utilized a 1/4-20 shoulder bolt with a Teflon sleeve to protect the aluminum fitting. All it took was a gentle tap, then the aluminum fitting slipped completely into place. Had we not frayed the stainless steel braided tube, the finishing steps would have been to screw it back together and then bolt it down at the header flange.

In retrospect, the installation would have gone much smoother if we had warmed the 454 up to operating temp and chilled the Lokar dipstick. We would have been able to slip the dipstick tube into place within minutes.

Sometimes we make the mistakes so you don't have to. CCT

SOURCE
Lokar Performance Products
10924 Murdock Dr.
Knoxville
TN  37932
8-65/-966-2269
www.lokar.com
D&P Classic Chevy
18392 Enterprise Lane #1
Huntington Beach
CA  92658