Freeze Plug Leak

3/25/2012-4/1/2012


Ever since the engine pull I have had a small coolant leak. The source was not obvious so I waited for it to get worse. That finally happened. I found most of a gallon of coolant in my Studebaker Drip Collection system.
My worst fears were realized. The freeze plug on the back of the engine is leaking. There is about 1/2″ between the block and the firewall. This picture is of the same plug on my spare engine.
This is the view from underneath.  I can’t even see the plug.
Nothing that will help down here.
There is an access hole in the firewall under this cover.
It is intended to allow access to the bellhousing bolts above the transmission.  But at least I can see the bottom edge of the plug above the left-hand bolt.
However I might be able to drop the back of the engine enough to get at this
guy.
My worst fears were realized. The freeze plug on the back of the engine is leaking. There is about 1/2″ between the block and the firewall. This picture is of the same plug on my spare engine.
At least I have a pretty place to work.  The cherry tree is past its peak and I really should have swept the driveway before I put the car up on stands.
Now I get to work covered in flowers.  Which is not as good as it sounds.
They stuck to everything and if I dropped any hardware it was hard to find.
First step, remove the drive shaft.  4 nuts, 5 minutes.
Next the starter wire needs to be disconnected from the starter switch.  In the
picture you can see it in the lower right.
The oil gauge line and vacuum line for the wipers need to be disconnected.
As does the clutch and transmission shift linkage.
The exhaust down pipe needs to be disconnected too. Lucky I used stainless
hardware on this.
Finally I can take the cross-member loose and lower the back of the engine with
a jack.  I put a jack stand under the bell housing to keep things under
control.  It turns out I could get about 1 1/2 inches before the head hits
the firewall.  I hope it is enough.
Not as bad as I feared or as good as I hoped.  I can see it now and there
is the leak.
I hammered an awl through the plug and popped it out. Only
then did it occur to me that maybe I could have stopped the leak by just tapping
the plug tighter.
And there is the hole.  I will have to clean this up and get a new plug.
And here is the new plug.  I used hard-setting Permatex for extra insurance and pounded a good dent into the plug.  I hope this works.
1 gallon of Prestone later and the Stude is back on the road.  No puddles under the car any more so it is at least better.  I was under the car about a week later to adjust the brakes and found a drop of coolant on the bell housing.  I hope it just was trapped inside there somewhere.  We will see.

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