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Old 06-24-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
wldcat10
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How to replace freeze plug???

Ok I opened up my hood today and noticed thr was sum kind of splatter on it. I looked around and noticed that one of the freeze plugs on the front driver side (near fan) is bad and was leaking. So I'm guessing it was leaking and the water would hit the fan and would splash onto my hood. So I need to replace this old freeze plug with a new one.

Only problem is I dont know how to replcace freeze plugs? It doesnt seem hard to get to being that its in the front driver side and I have some room to work with. What needs to be done to remove the old freeze plug? Can anybody help me out with some step-by-step instructions? I will be doing this later this evening. Any help is appreciated...
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

i think you pucnh it and grab it with pliers?
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:32 PM   #3
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

It's not hard as long as you can get to it. Drive a punch or screw driver into the center of it and use as a pry bar. A block of wood under the punch will help with leverage. Once popped out, clean the contact area with a wire brush or wheel and make sure it's as clean as possible. Wipe the area with acetone or lacquer thinner. A brass freeze plug is the best. Apply a thin film of silicone sealant around the outer edge of the plug. Use a socket that is about the same size as the inner cup of the plug and tap it into place with a hammer. Make sure it goes in straight and sits just about 1/16" under flush with the block.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

i poped mine with a screwdriver and grabbed it with pliers.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

Pain in the butt on the drivers side. Actuall... a pain in the butt no matter which ones you have to do with the engine in the vehicle. If you have power steering, the pump has to be moved. I had to replace both the front plugs on my 350. I removed the radiator, water pump, power steering pump, and all the pulleys and junk. More so I could get a hammer in there when beating them back in.

Use a screwdriver or a 3/8" extension and beat the plug on the top or bottom so it will "twist" in the hole. Then you can grab it with pliers and pull it out. The drivers side is a little easier to get the plug to twist in the hole because the #1 cylinder wall is further back in the block. Passenger side has the #2 cylinder wall really close to the plug. Be ready for a crap ton of water to come out.

To install new ones, you will need a big 1/2" drive socket that just fits inside the plug (no smaller than 1 1/16"). Then add an extension to the socket. Beat it back in as STRAIGHT as you can. You want the edge of the plug just a tad past the face of the block. Not flush. I use a brass hammer so I don't damage my 1/2" drive extensions.

I also use a little "Indian Head" sealant around the edge of the plug beofre I install them.

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #6
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

if you had one fail especially if rusted i''d worry that all the others are about 5minutes away from failing too
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:14 PM   #7
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

Would I need to take it somewhere for them to replace all freeze plugs? Do they need to remove the whole motor?
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:19 PM   #8
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

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Originally Posted by wldcat10 View Post
Would I need to take it somewhere for them to replace all freeze plugs? Do they need to remove the whole motor?
If I were doing the job, I'd remove the engine and put it on a stand.
Some of them are almost impossible to R&R with the engine in.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

First of all, before I started pounding on the leaker, I'd do a "controlled Leak" and drain the coolant into a suitable bucket. at least you could keep from flooding the floor. You may have others that are borderline, but I wouldn't worry about them until another one started leaking...you're not likely to get a catastrophic failure and loose all the water all at once.... it'll most likely start as a puddle on the floor where you'd least expect it. Having said that, if you do have another one leaking, I would certainly change them all out at that point. Pulling the engine sounds extreme for such a simple job, but it's the only way you're going to be able to access some of them. Now, there's two schools of thought on the proper way to install a "freeze" plug. (They aren't actually designed to pop out if your coolant freezes and protect the block, although apparently this has happened, they're plugs to fill the holes that allow the block to be cast which is a whole other story.) One school of thought is to install them concave side out with some sealer on the outside diameter surface. The other way is to put them in flange-first and seat them against a ridge that you'll find inside the hole, then just bump the center of the "plug" with a ball-peen hammer to expand the outer edge against the land inside the block.
I've seen them both ways...one way there's a depression, the other way the block appears smoother. I'm not sure which way is the "right way", but someone on the board will tell us...........

Good luck.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:05 PM   #10
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

Pop em in the freezer for a day before the install. Makes them shrink up just enough to make them really easy to pop in.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:44 PM   #11
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

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Originally Posted by cdowns View Post
if you had one fail especially if rusted i''d worry that all the others are about 5minutes away from failing too
Agreed. Likely all the plugs are in bad shape. Some people like to install Brass plugs. No rust but they do expand at a different rate. Have seen a couple pop out under extreme conditions. And I also agree that removing the engine is the only way to properly replace all the plugs.

To expand on slomotion's post #9 ... "freeze plugs" and "core plugs" are often confused. What your Chevy has are core plugs, the ones with a tall shoulder. Not designed for freezing. The real freeze plugs are dish shaped & mount against a ledge in the block hole, bump outward. The center is dimpled inward slightly to expand it & hold it in place.

This is only a temporary fix ... you can install an expandable rubber freeze plug after the bad steel plug is removed to get you going again.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:09 AM   #12
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

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Old 06-26-2011, 09:33 AM   #13
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

I just replaced the one behind my motor mount with the engine in. Be happy yours is easy to get to lol. Good luck swapping it, you can do it. May already have it swapped.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #14
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Talking Re: How to replace freeze plug???

[QUOTE=GRX;4755679]Agreed. Likely all the plugs are in bad shape. Some people like to install Brass plugs. No rust but they do expand at a different rate. Have seen a couple pop out under extreme conditions. And I also agree that removing the engine is the only way to properly replace all the plugs.


One might think that brass would be the way to go, to avoid future rust-through, one thing to keep in mind.........after changing all 8 freeze plugs today in mine (motor out) I'm sure glad the ones I removed were steel.....at least 4 of 'em dropped into the water jacket & I retrieved them with the help of a magnet......can't do that if they are brass....just something to think about! I replaced 'em with steel.
disheartend to realize the new ones say "CHINA" stamped across the middle.....first thing ya see, but, I didn't even notice till I was installing the first one! Wasn't going to go 10 miles back to town and search for good old "Made in USA" probably wouldn't find 'em anyway. Don't like it, but gotta keep things in perspective! At least I have all new plugs!

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Old 06-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

I have at least three of them leaking on my 350. Is it easier to pull the engine to replace them?
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:45 AM   #16
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

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I have at least three of them leaking on my 350. Is it easier to pull the engine to replace them?
wow, as others have said here, no doubt, far easier to do on a stand, especially if they ALL gotta go. (and they really do if several are leaking already!) There's 2 on the back of the motor that ya just ain't gettin to without either pulling the motor or the tranny, the rest....I guess they can all be reached, motor in, with lotsa patience ad knuckle banging....I've never tried. I've changed one or two in the past in the vehicle. Some are not hard to reach. Like I said, some of mine, despite my best efforts to hold on to em with vice grips, fell down into the water jacket. I've heard of guys leaving 'em in there, (or finding 'em in there from PO's) but not sure I'd want to. Hard enough to fish 'em out with the motor on the stand, even harder on yer back (might not be too bad on a lift) with limited space to work! Seems like there's no other way than to drive them IN to get them OUT!
REALLY hard to fish 'em out if they're brass, no help from a magnet
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:13 PM   #17
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

Try working on an old big block Mopar! They have a handful of these suckers just in the head alone. And of course the one facing the firewall is the one that has to leak with no room to work on it. Chevys are a little easier, but not by much. It's a PITA no matter what (with the engine in the vehicle). If it was weeping a little, I'd leave it alone. But mine have failed to the point of spraying coolant through a tiny rust hole. That's why I like brass. When it comes to retrieving brass ones, if the engine is out or you can reach, I pre-drill 2 holes in it, fish a piece of long thin wire or cable/zip tie through it to make a loop. This becomes a "safety" wire. If it falls into the block, I have the attached wire to fish it out. Some guys leave them in the block when they fall in, but I wouldn't.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:15 AM   #18
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

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Originally Posted by Chitown_hillbilly View Post
Pop em in the freezer for a day before the install. Makes them shrink up just enough to make them really easy to pop in.
right there is good old school knowledge ,i bow to ya masterson
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #19
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Re: How to replace freeze plug???

If you don't have time to do it right, you will have time to do it over. You really should pull the motor and hit them all. They are also by the flywheel which you can't get at with the motor in.

I would never install them dry. I like to "lightly" hit the holes with sandpaper or Emery cloth then use a very thin amount of black RVT form a gasket or equivalent the the hole opening.
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