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judgepaul, my former early pushbutton had the factory side dipstick, but they are pretty rare--I suspect relatively few Pantera owners have ever seen one in person.  I know of no source for one.  I suspect that DeTomaso made them, not ZF just from the difference in appearance, though I certainly could be wrong.  One could be fabricated I would think.  I personally liked mine because I strictly used the top bolt to fill, which was easier and neater.  The fill level must have been slightly higher based on the dipstick mark(s), which would had to have been at least slightly higher than the bottom of the side hole, though I don't remember exactly how high the mark was.  And I have forgotten whether it was one mark or two.  Not much help I realize, mainly confirming they do exist.

Your response was of tremendous help. I suspected filling to the bottom of the side hole may not be enough since the diagram in the owners' manual shows a right angle elbow, and the "dipstick" markings beginning at the bottom and going up. Without a dipstick, I wish I knew how much additional fluid was recommended after it reached the bottom of the hole. Either that, or knowing the measurement upwards on the dipstick would allow a calculation. I believe the problematic 2nd gear is up there on top which increases the importance of knowing where the oil level should be. Maybe someone will weigh in over time.

> On 01/07/2022 1:30 PM The De Tomaso Forums <> wrote:

I have been part of the DeTomaso Family for over 20 years.

I have seen very few discussions on the dipstick as it is so very uncommon.

what I have seen is numerous discussions that filling to the bottom threads and then checking the level after a drive, (because there are some sections that are apparently connected by holes as opposed to being one large section) is the recommended approach.

works for me, and every other owner that I know of.


Here's a pic of the elbow and dipstick installed on a ZF.  As I recall, the dipstick was made from a 5/16" cotter pin and a flat disc (washer?) with a 5/16" hole. The cotter pin was silver soldered to the flat disc, and one "leg" of the cotter pin was completely removed.  The other "leg" was shortened and marked.

The elbow appeared to be blue anodized, which might suggest that it was an AN fitting.

This doesn't answer the fill level questions, but....


ZF dipstickDipstick ZF Dash 1


Images (2)
  • ZF dipstick
  • Dipstick ZF Dash 1
Last edited by jb1490

Judge, the little ZF dipstick seems to be an early-Pantera-only attachment. One can be made for any ZF from a metric thread 90 degree fitting as I did, with an extension so filling & oil level checks can be conveniently done from above without a mess. Be sure to include a threaded cap, as things expand with heat and we know the ZfFwill get to at least 180-200F in hard 'street' driving. A cap prevents a gusher while driving.

I've also seen a few longer "stock?" dipsticks on early cars that use a drilled fitting in the top right-rear gearbox case, in that curiously flat-rectangular area on the right side. If you do this (or have it done), make extremely sure that any drill chips do NOT drop into the gearbox. They will jam up the shifter. Hole placement is also critical since there's not a lot of extra space inside any ZF. Drilling might better be done on a disassembled gear-case.

As far as the exact amount of lube needed, there are three numbers: the published one(s) are for dry, recently rebuilt ZFs, (early dash-1.5  ZFs hold less lube in their smaller cases than dash-2s). And in draining any ZF from the provided plugs, it is impossible to remove ALL the lube inside. I've had ZFs out of the car, the bottom cover removed and the ZF inverted over a bucket overnight. Still, quite a bit of lube hits the floor when you split the cases. So refills on assemblies always vary,  but a little too much is far preferable to too little!

It would not be appropriate to remove the elbow.  I think the elbow was only done on some of the early cars and those were all ZF-1.  In the past I had a 71 (not Pushbutton) that had a ZF-1 as well but it did not have the dipstick.  I think the dip stick slightly overfills the ZF-1.  As Larry, Simon, and others suggest, it is best to simply fill to the bottom of the side plug.

Point well taken. But didn't the dash 1 take less fluid, not more? If so, if the dipstick was only used on a dash 1, following its lines shouldn't overfill the trans, but the reverse would be the case..
I pulled my side plug and it looks like it was modified. I'll forward the photo shortly.
Has anyone found the dipstick on a dash 2?
I'm still looking for the level line measurement if anyone can provide.

> On 01/09/2022 10:27 AM The De Tomaso Forums <> wrote:

...Pantera on Level Ground, 90 Degree Elbow in place, Fill Lube until 'Thin' Puddle Remains at bottom of the Elbow, replace Cap. End of Story !!

...Or, if You still don't get it...Over-Fill the Elbow Slightly, Temporarily turn Elbow Sideways/Downward and allow Excess to drain out. Return Elbow to upright position, replace cap.  Job Done!

NO Elbow? Just over-fill SLIGHTLY and let any excess dribble-out the SIDE Hole (-2). When draining has finished replace the Plug*. Always, with the Pantera On LEVEL Ground! And, You must know, Most All Garage Floors are NOT Level...they Slant-Down, Towards the Street!

Dipstick?? You'll Never know where you started, so you'll never know where you end-up. STOP making 'Problems' out of something Simple!! GO with Positive answers...Listen to Larry!

* I always use 'Teflon Tape', but be sure to Never Over-Tighten. You'll crack the Case!


Last edited by marlinjack
@judgepaul posted:


Since you seem to be the only one with a dipstick, Bosswrench remembers the elbow being threaded into the trans. Can you confirm? I also presume you have a dash1?

Having overhauled over 300 ZF transaxles, I have seen several -2 s with dipstick tubes. Not sure if they were from cars that were originally equipped with -1s and were changed over when the trans was replaced ,but definitely there.

I'll check tomorrow to see if I may have a spare that I could sell you if you would like?


Filling 80W90 lube (with anti-slip additive) to the bottom of the side hole is the way ZF says to do in all their manuals. I find that system to be sloppy with a flexible funnel, which is why I rigged up my adaption of the elbow/dipstick. As I mentioned, a few oz more or less is just fine. You'll get that much variance with chassis stance from excruciatingly-level.. Don't worry about it.

The lube is so thick at room temp, you'll get some drainage every time you pull the plug. And way-too-much is self-regulating thru the top vent hose. But it would take a massive mis-measurement to overflow out the top, even when hot & expanded!

That side plug hole can be used for filling but not gauging lube in Mangusta or GT-40 ZFs.  Per the illustration in the ZF Shop Manual, the dash-zero (GT-40) and dash-1 (Mangusta) ZFs have a 6" or 7" long dipstick ass'y (ZF p/n 105) built into their unique top cover (similar to a bottom cover in an inverted diff dash-2 ZF). The dipstick is also the ZF breather. The same threaded dipstick hole in the top cover can also be used to fill those ZFs (slowly, with a small funnel), using the dipstick to gauge the fill to its top mark. Those 50-yr-old dipsticks are NLA as well as the little side-elbow mounted ones.

72-pg illustrated ZF Manual reprints covering all ZFs are available reasonably priced from all the vendors, or from the POCA Archives. All owners should have a copy. Service intervals are listed.

Simon, because there never were many early Pantera (300?) or Mangusta (402?) ZFs, they are rare as can be. Virtually all internal parts DO NOT INTERCHANGE with much more numerous dash-2 ZFs. Synchros, bearing sizes, gear ratios, limited slip & the diff design are all completely different. Parts are rarer- even Lloyd Butfoy at RBT Transmissions has very few spares. Many are snatched up by continuation GT-40 owners, who are now forced to use converted dash-2 ZFs in their million-dollar cars. This Forum is a good source. Good luck-

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