X308 dipstick tube stopping cam cover removal

Am trying to check tensioner type on my last of the Nikasil VDPs. All but one of the fasteners on left/B-bank cover are undone (though captive in cover) except the one holding the dipstick tube. I’ve undone the nut but to lift the tube bracket over the bolt head ‘stud’ extension I’d need to lift the tube but can’t even see where it joins the block or any further fasteners to try dislodging it. Yet without the bracket and tube removed I can’t undo that final fastener holding the cover.

I tried a search but does anyone know how to solve this puzzle. The car’s undriveable in bits so a quick answer would be extra- helpful please?



The tube is set in the block (with an 'O’ring seal) behind the AC compressor mount bracket.

I use a ‘hook-tool’ and a small slide hammer to pull the tube ‘straight-up’ by the tube bracket with the small mount hole on the stud. The tube is only to be dislodged enough to move to the side for cam cover access.

Leaving the dipstick in the tube will help reinstall. The dipstick guides the tube back in the hole because it is a few inches longer than the tube.

Removing the dipstick and trying to guide the tube ‘blindly’ will result in hours of frustration.

Many posts of people whining about not finding the hole because it is not visible!!!

Use a ‘seal-hook’ or some sort of hook tool on the mount tab and ‘YANK’ straight up.

It will come up a few inches and the cam cover can be removed.

Perfect, thanks. I just finished stripping the A Bank and sure enough, plastic tensioners. At least I didn’t waste my time and I’ll find a use for the metal tensioners I’ve had for years. It’s a July 2000 built 2001 MY with 102k miles.

Time to look up the zip tie method I think.

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Whenever I buy an AJ26 or AJ27 car (up to engine 0108121159) I strip the front timing components and install guides and tensioners and sometimes chains if they are stretched.

The lower (primary) tensioner blades and chain guides are likely cracked but less prone to failure than the secondaries.

Next on the ‘to-do’ list is the ‘foreward’ or 'A" drum in the gearbox??

I have the metal thermostat tower to fit and was going to do that rather than the lower chains for now, as the car is fairly low miles and the engine is very quiet. I get an occasional knock sensor 328 code if l top up with anything less than 93. Someone wrote to switch the harness plugs either side of the tower to see if it’s the sensor (in which case I’d get 327) or the harness, but the pigtails seem way too short to swap sides at the tower. If you have to take the inlet manifold off to swap leads at the sensors you may as well replace the sensors outright, unless they’re expensive? Are the hoses under the inlet special shapes or could you use generic coolant hose? I have cam cover gaskets and o-rings but can the inlet manifold seals be re-used?

But you’re absolutely right - after installing alloy tensioners, the next biggie is the reinforced drum before the trans lets go. Far cheaper as a prophylactic step than rebuilding/washing out the entire thing. I’m assuming it has the original clutch drum but is there any tell-tale external sign or code to show me or a trans shop that it has already been done? (In my dreams). I’ve never messed with an auto trans and it would be at the limit of my physical capability at my age, although I believe that once removed from the car the front drum is easy to swap out?

The 2 heater hoses under the intake are a specific shape. They are available aftermarket or OEM from the dealer and not too pricey.

I lift the front edge of the intake about an inch or 2 to replace JUST the thermostat tower. The 10 intake bolts can be removed and the intake-to-head areas CLEANED so no debris can foul the seals.

Never had a leak lifting the intake a little to change the thermo tower.

The front drum is not hard but you do need to remove a set of drums to access the 'A’drum.

The gearbox should be in a vertical position to remove the bell housing/front pump and keep the frictions/steels in line.

Thanks Bob. What’s your source for stronger drums or are the stock items better than the first version?

I bought several from an eBay seller years ago. The newer ones seem to be made by KUHLE.

I only have one left so I think I will get one from eBay to try out on one of the gearboxes I have been collecting when I was at the dealer and later on from salvage cars.

I have a few I need to ‘update’.

Found this with a search.

You will also need the seal kit for the drum but the front pump gasket should be renewed also.

I bought a large sheet of gasket material and made my own rather than buy a complete gearbox gasket kit (almost $200 for the reseal kit) because I don’t need all the other seals.

Buy if you need one.


Very helpful, thanks

EntHere’s the right side tensiioner split open over 1mm top to bottom and with the plastic completely disappeared from the sprung end. Looks recent as only rubbing marks at the edges. May take the pan off.

Lucky the chain is still intact!!
The broken’ slipper’ is what usually lodges between the sprocket and chain that causes the chain to SNAP.

The exhaust cam stops (sometimes NOT in a ‘happy place’). Valves bend.

Glad you found it early.

The B bank was just the same but about half the nylon pad was stuck in the cover recess.