Freeze Plug Replacement? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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I have a 69 Camaro with a 350 engine. I went for a drive today and when I pulled in my driveway some steam came out from under the hood. I opened it up and there was antifreeze all over the drivers side engine compartment and I saw that the freeze plug under the motor mount had fallen out. Lucky I didn't go far. [img]smile.gif[/img]

My engine was rebuilt last summer and when I filled it with coolant before starting it, it was dripping out of this freeze plug. The guy who rebuilt it said this happens sometimes and to add some stop leak to the coolant, and this did the trick. [img]smile.gif[/img]

The antifreeze was good over the winter and I've already driven it several times this year so I don't think it had frozen or anything.

How do I go about fixing this? It looks like it'll be a real pain to get at and I'll have to lift the engine a little and remove the motor mount? How do you install a freeze plug? I can't find anything about this in my service manual.

Thanks! [img]graemlins/waving.gif[/img]
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 03:55 PM
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I hope you have enough room to swing a hammer. If not, there are rubber expansion plugs but I don't know if I would trust them myself. If all else fails you might need to go that route.

Assuming you have enough room to work...You will need to clean out the rust and crud from the opening and dry it off. Get a replacement plug by matching up the old one to the new one. The old one will be slightly smaller from being compressed in the block. Coat the outside periphery of the plug and the inside of the opening in the block with a hardening gasket sealer such as permatex indian head shelac. You will need to use a socket that is just a little smaller than the inside of the old used plug to use to drive the new one in. The socket will get stuck if you use one too big. You will distort the plug if the socket is too small. Drive the plug in far enough to fully cover the side of the plug but not much farther. Wipe off the joint with your finger and reasemble.

Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 03:25 AM
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Freeze plugs aren't difficult, but you do need a little the room to work. You might be able to force one in carefully using the frame for leverage. I've always used permatex to seal the plugs. Think it helps them go in a little easier too. April's CarCraft has an add (pg94) for threaded billet aluminus freeze plugs. They look pretty good. Don't know how long that tap is though. Kevin
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 09:13 AM
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Sorry to hear you're having a problem with this. Your engine builder really should have taken care of it and not told you to 'just add plug-up stuff' to the cooling system - IMHO.
The threaded plugs are a great alternative for the inaccessable (once the engine is installed) areas of an engine such as the rear and under the mounts. You should try to leave the front and at least one each of the side plugs the wack-in type so they can perform as designed if necessary.
I have used the "Rubber Stopper" type quite often to replace plugs in hard-to-get-to areas and never had a failure or "pop-out". I also use these in the sides of my marine engines as they are easier to remove for winterizing that the little lower plugs. Besides the lower plug holes are used for the knock sensor on the newer engines and I don't like removing them every year.
Make sure the hole is clean and dry, insert the plug 'pre-tightened' a little if necessary to take up any play and tighten per the instructions. Recheck the plug - you can reach behind the mount with a wrench - after the engine has been through a couple of warm-up and drive cycles to be sure it is still tight if necessary.
Hope this helps - post back if you have any other questions;

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 09:52 AM
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If one just fell out, I would be concerned about the rest of them too.

For peace of mind, I'd be tempted to pull the engine and re-do all of them.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 10:05 AM
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Vintage 68 is describing the brand name "Dorman plug." Rubber expanable, I haven't had a problem with any I installed, just be sure the hole is grit free.

Should have lasted longer than a year, I, like ZZ, would be concerned of the others. One doesn't depend on stop leak being a forever fix.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help, you guys are great! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

I'm gonna take a look at the Car Craft ad for the screw-in type and the Dorman style also and try to decide which one I can squeeze in there. I think the screw-in type may not be as noticeable too, the engine compartment came out pretty good when I refinished it last year, it's all stock.

I think I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed on the other freeze plugs for now. It's really tough for me to pull the engine again because I have 3 little children here and time is hard to come by, I do appreciate your advice though.

Just a thought, the existing freeze plug will just slip back in right now with very little friction. Do you think it would work if I just cleaned it up and put some J-B weld on it and tapped it back in? Or is that just asking for trouble? [img]graemlins/clonk.gif[/img]

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 04, 11:02 PM
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If the freeze plug just slips right in there is a problem, either the plug is too small or the hole is too large. You should not be able to just slide the plug in. I understand where you are coming from with the JB weld, but I hink that is an accident waiting to happen in this situation. The rubber expandable type are easy to install and will last for years. They are not very expensive either.

Sound to me like your engine builder either got a bad plug or installed he wrong size. Might want to check the other ones to see if they are loose.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 04, 02:11 AM
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No JB Weld core plugs please! The rubber expansion plug sounds like a winner for you hands down IMHO.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 04, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help, I'll put a Dorman plug in this weekend.
Thanks again!!
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 04, 04:19 PM
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Also, for anyone that doesn't want to use the rubber expansion plugs, I've heard that putting the freeze plug in the freezer for a couple of hours before installing helps them go in as well. Something aobut the metal contracting a little from the cold temperature. Never had the chance to try this method, yet. Anyone else???

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 05, 09:27 PM
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Re: Freeze Plug Replacement?

ok i am digging this old post out...i have a freeze plug leaking slightly on the passenger side ...and its the bitch one....right behind the mount......

well i am getting ready to do i better address this....half of me wants to pull the motor and the sane half really isnt a big deal...just time, got to borrow the picker, drop the tremec...remove all the accessories....... yada yada....

i guess if thats the only problem child, i will just fix that one...

what is the consensus on taking care of a single freeze plug???

that "dorman" plug? or the threaded type...where can i get either of those?

please help..i would like to address this problem soon....

thanks in advance

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 05, 08:27 AM
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Angry Re: Freeze Plug Replacement?

I'd worry about the one's hidden by the bellhousing later on if it was mine!!

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 05, 08:37 AM
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Re: Freeze Plug Replacement?

The guy that rebuilt your engine should assume all responsibility. You should not have to dump that Stop Leak crap in a new rebuilt engine. Another option for you would be to install a block heater, if you are in cold country.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 05, 09:56 AM
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Re: Freeze Plug Replacement?

eastwoods has a new tool to replace freeze plugs in the car.

just remove front wheel to access the side of the engine and hammer it home.
stop leak isnt the answer. just a shoddy excuse for poor mechanic work.
if the shop rebuilt it they should install correct freeze plug period!
the shop that rebuilt the motor should fix it .
if not id contact a lawyer
engine has a warranty i hope?

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