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post #1 of 5 Old 11-28-2016, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
MTP0ckets
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Big Block Freeze Plug Woes

My newly acquired 1974 D200 with a 400 in it had no coolant when I bought it and last weekend I intended to remedy that. I started pouring coolant into the radiator and heard the sound of coolant pouring right back onto the driveway. A quick inspection revealed that the middle freeze plug (frost plug, core plug, etc.) on the passenger side of the block was missing. I ran to the parts store and bought an expandable rubber plug, popped it in there and resumed filling the radiator. Again, there was that sound of coolant pouring onto my driveway. I saw that the middle freeze plug on the driver's side of the block was also missing. Another trip to the parts store and another rubber plug installed. Third time is a charm, right? As I poured coolant into the radiator I once again had a coolant leak. This time it seemed to be coming from the side of the head (towards the front of the engine) behind the exhaust manifold. I couldn't see it very well but it's either another freeze plug or a BIG head gasket leak. I know the right way to fix this is to pull the engine and replace them all with steel or brass plugs. However, I am assuming that a previous owner let water freeze in the cooling system and that's why the freeze plugs are missing. I sure would hate to pull the engine and replace all of the plugs only to find out I have a cracked head or block.

I have a few questions:

1. Do the heads have freeze plugs in them and if so, where are they?

2. Are there any freeze plugs in the back of the block that can only be accessed by separating the engine from the transmission?

3. What are the chances of me being able to replace all of the freeze plugs without pulling the engine?

In case you haven't noticed, I really don't want to pull the engine, replace all of the freeze plugs and reinstall the engine only to find the block has frozen and is ruined. Suggestions and advice is appreciated!

Thanks,
Scott
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-29-2016, 10:55 AM
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Jam a garden hose or close facsimile on the heater return nipple. Wait for the block to fill and fire it up.


"Talk is cheap. Whiskey costs money."
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-03-2016, 07:50 PM
maachine
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i say pull it and replace seals, gaskets, and timing chain. pull the heads, inspect, drop oil pan, inspect.....everything looks good....replace all the seals and stuff.

1987 Dodge W-150 "The Beast"
some sort of lift
33" AT's
LA 360 bored .030 over, EQ Magnum heads, Hooker Headers, true dual exhaust, Holley 4160 w/Truck Avenger parts, Edelbrock Performer dual plane intake, StreetFire ignition box & MSD coil
208 t-case/727A trans w/3.23 gears
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-04-2016, 07:30 AM
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i say pull it and replace seals, gaskets, and timing chain. pull the heads, inspect, drop oil pan, inspect.....everything looks good....replace all the seals and stuff.
X2! Another thing with big blocks is that the heads don't get constant oil pressure. If you ever tore a motor down you will see a gray goo in the oil port in the heads. It's the material on the cam bearing(wear). Oil comes up then goes threw 90* holes in the cam, When the motor is running it allows the oil to go to the left head then right. Evey big block i tore down had some form of it. When it builds up it blocks oil to the heads. You may have seen engines with external oil lines going to the heads. That will allow constant pressure. Another thing is they used a plastic/fiber covered timing gear on the cam, Over time it breaks off and ends up in the pan.


Last edited by Moparite; 12-04-2016 at 07:36 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-04-2016, 01:27 PM
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i have a friend who bought a 1977 jeep recently. he paid me to tear the AMC 304 motor down and replace all the seals and timing chain, rebuild heads, etc.

took me about 5 days total. but that included cleaning and paint. probably about 20 some odd hours tearing the engine apart and putting it all back together. keep in mind, i didnt touch the bottom end. and it was a good thing he decided to let me do it. the tops of the valve stems were ground down a lot and the timing gears were plastic and the chain was stretched more than my daughter's mother.

the engine runs so much better than it did before. i know you are trying to avoid it but a lot of good can come from a simple tear down and re-assembly.

1987 Dodge W-150 "The Beast"
some sort of lift
33" AT's
LA 360 bored .030 over, EQ Magnum heads, Hooker Headers, true dual exhaust, Holley 4160 w/Truck Avenger parts, Edelbrock Performer dual plane intake, StreetFire ignition box & MSD coil
208 t-case/727A trans w/3.23 gears
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