430MEL Dipstick Replacement ~ Kevin Staton ~ shopguy

As many of you Squarebird owners with 430 engines already know, they do not make a replacement dipstick tube for the 430 MEL engine. Unfortunately, the dipstick in the 430 MEL 1960 Thunderbird which I am currently working on, was broken off at the base where it enters the timing chain cover. The owner had tried to mend it with JB Weld, but it simply was not a robust repair and it ultimately failed.

I initially pulled the cover off and attempted to pull the tube out, but it wasn't budging so I resorted to removing it with a drill. I began with a ¼" bit and worked my way up 1⁄16" increments until it finally came loose. See Figure 1 above.


I purchased a ⅜" hard fuel line and a universal Ford dipstick assembly. I was hoping to reuse the bracket that was on the original tube, but I have no way to weld it on and decided that the one in the kit was a better choice since it slides on and allows you to rotate it while fitting it to the water pump bolt. I then used my tubing cutter to cut one end off to remove the flare and the two fittings and also cleaned out the inside burr left behind from the cut. See Figure 2 & 3 above.


Once I inserted it in the hole I observed that the fit was still very tight, I was concerned that I may have made the hole too big in my drilling. I then installed it back on the engine to check my clearances. I then tapped it into the timing chain cover until it was seated. See Figure 4 above.


I then measured my old tube and transferred the measurement to the new tube with tape. I did it this way because I was unsure how much tube would end up in the cover. See Figure 5 above.


Using my tubing cutter once again I carefully cut the tube at my mark. And once again cleaned out the burr left behind. See Figure 6 above.


The dipstick fits, it is a little more snug than before, but can be inserted fully. I removed the dipstick tube and timing chain cover and painted them gloss black per original, and permanently installed it. Itís almost impossible to see the difference! I unfortunately did not get a picture after I painted it. See Figure 7 above.

I hope this is of help to someone out there. Kevin Staton ~ shopguy


Created: January 7, 2021

Last Modified: January 8, 2021

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