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Freeze Plugs - overdue for replacement

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  • Cool/Heat: Freeze Plugs - overdue for replacement

    It’s astonishing what a cement of old oil, dust and dirt can hide. In this case the fine Nebraska dust that my Lark was born under.

    Scraping away on the block, prepping for eventual degreasing and painting, the rearmost freeze plug started to trickle out coolant. As I picked at it more, a nice stream developed. Corrosion over the 61 years had been hiding under a nice cake of grime. The center one was ok, but I needed to check the front one that hides behind the oil filler tube...

    Finally encouraging the oil filler tube from its socket (dozens of taps with a rubber mallet and WD-40), this front plug also had a good size corrosion hole (3mm or so). However, given the incredible amount of sludge hidden behind it inside the block, I’m not sure much coolant would’ve leaked out anyways!

    My point here it is even though you may have a low mileage engine like mine that’s never left the car, all your flushes of the block may never dislodge the incredible grime that’s built up over the years. Take the time to remove and replace your freeze plugs and give the block a really good flush. A set of five 1-7/8” only costs about 20 bucks (the 170 only takes 4) and they’re super easy to install. Removal is by punching a hole thru them and yanking them out with the right pliers - don’t let them fall in...

  • #2
    Don't forget the one on the back of the block above the bell housing.

    We had a thread on that about 9 months ago. I explained how to do it with drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the firewall, but the poster decided that sawing a 2 inch hole in the firewall would be better.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 08-21-2020, 07:51 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      I'm sure that you are working on it, but make sure you dig, scrape, and flush as much crud as you can from the water jacket. Mine had what looked like casting sand and wire inside of it. It was a rebuild so it got flushed, hot tanked, pressure washed, then hot tanked again. Glad that you found the weak soft plugs now, and not driving down the road.

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      • #4
        All that sludge is caused by the inherent cooling system design, each time the engine cools down it sucks in some air (O2) when the oxygen unites with internal cast parts, corrosion is generated and over time (60+ years) it will accumulate to what you have now. I have a 259 engine that was plugged the same. The only cure is a closed system.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tsenecal View Post
          I'm sure that you are working on it, but make sure you dig, scrape, and flush as much crud as you can from the water jacket. Mine had what looked like casting sand and wire inside of it. It was a rebuild so it got flushed, hot tanked, pressure washed, then hot tanked again. Glad that you found the weak soft plugs now, and not driving down the road.
          Yep - all flushed thoroughly through the top and then thru each side port.

          I too had a piece of wire in the front port (wedges on the front side of the #1 cylinder)? It wasn’t corroded though - were these part of the casting process for some reason.?

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          • #6
            Yes all hollow Castings have reinforcement Wire to strengthen the Sand Mold in the Water Jacket.

            I have never seen a Block that had the wire removed prior, unless I was not the First Mud covered individual in there!
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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