Question about 2000 Cadillac DeVille

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Possible Freeze Plug

On the right side of the engine, just under the timing belt, on the block seems to have a round hole when I'm loosing all my coolant. is that a freeze plug and what is the degree of difficulty to self fix?

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That would be a freeze plug. You will just have to get a new one, get a hammer and punch and tap the new one in

Posted on Feb 02, 2009

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Replace freeze plug


If you look on the side of an engine block you will see a line of circular depressions about an inch and a half in diameter and about a quarter of an inch deep. These are actually holes in the side of the engine block which are plugged with a dish shaped metal plug called a "freeze plug" or "expansion plug".

WHAT FREEZE PLUGS DO

As with many things on a car, there is an "official reason" and a "REAL" reason for freeze plugs. The official reason (and the source of the name) is this: If you run just water with no antifreeze in your car the water can freeze. When water freezes, it expands. If water freezes inside your engine block, it can expand and crack the block, destroying the motor. Freeze plugs (or expansion plugs) will "pop out" and supposedly prevent this. In reality this doesn't work all the time: I've seen MANY blocks destroyed by cracking without the freeze plugs popping out, or if they do pop out the block cracks anyway.

THE REAL PURPOSE OF FREEZE PLUGS

Engines are "sand cast". A special type of sand is poured into a pair of boxes. A "die" is pressed into the sand, making an impression of the engine block to be cast. The sections of the mold are then put together and molten iron is poured in, forming the engine. This is why engines have a rough texture on most areas: this is the texture of the sand used to cast them.

There have to be "cylinders" made of sand in the middle of this mold to create the cylinders of the engine block. These chunks of sand can't just "float" inside the mold: SOMETHING has to hold them in place. There are little columns of sand that connect the cylinder mold to the outer mold half. The mold for the cylinder "sits" on top of these. After the block is cast, these holes are machined smooth and a "freeze plug" is put in to plug the hole.

THE PROBLEM WITH FREEZE PLUGS

The problem with freeze plugs is that they are made of very thin metal, AND THEY RUST!!! From the factory they are made of galvanized steel, and if you always run a 50/50 mix of antifreeze you should never have a problem. Unfortunately many people don't do this, and the freeze plugs rust through, creating a coolant leak.

When I replace freeze plugs or rebuild an engine I always use brass plugs: they only cost a tiny bit more and will not rust through. The manufacturers, of course, will save a penny anywhere they can: pennies add up to millions of dollars!

SIGNS OF BAD FREEZE PLUGS

If you have a bad freeze plug your vehicle will leak coolant. Freeze plugs are in different places on different cars, but normally they will be down the side of the block (at least 3 of them) and in the back of the block, between the engine and the transmission. Some are fairly easy to get to, others require removing various parts off the engine, some even require removing the transmission or engine to replace! Some cylinder heads also have smaller plugs in them, often under the intake or exhaust manifold.

So if you have water leaking down the side of your engine, or water leaking from the hole in the bell housing between the engine and transmission, you probably have a bad freeze plug.

FREEZE PLUG REPAIR

If the leak is slow and small, a stop leak or block seal compound might work. I have had good luck with K&W Liquid Block Seal: it's good stuff! Of course, as with any "rig" of this sort, it might not work, might not last for long, and could clog up something else in your cooling system. The right way to fix it is to replace the freeze plug.

FREEZE PLUG REPLACEMENT

To remove a freeze plug, first hammer it into the block with a big screwdriver or a large punch. It won't go far into a modern engine: there isn't much room behind the plug. When it "pops through" you can easily pry it back out of the hole sideways with a pair of pliers or a screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the hole where the plug sits, or it could leak around the circumference of the new plug.
After the plug is removed, clean the hole in the block with sandpaper to remove the corrosion and old sealant. Once again, if you don't do this the new one might leak.

Normal freeze plugs are hammered in with some sealant around them. I use aviation grade Permatex sealer. If you can't get to them to do this, you have to take off whatever parts are in the way to access the plug. If access is limited, they make replacement freeze plugs made of copper and also ones made of rubber with a nut on them which expands the plug against the block when tightened. I have had bad luck with the rubber type: they blow back out quite often. I have had good results with the copper type (made by Dorman).
I have not had good results with either type on Ford products: Ford for some reason makes their freeze plugs in "odd" dimensions, like 1 and 51/64 of an inch. You can get the copper type plug in 1/8 th increments, but it won't expand enough to fit the Ford size. The rubber type will SEEM to expand enough, but it will stay in for a week or so then blow out, dumping all your coolant out in a matter of seconds!!!

So on all Fords I just do whatever it takes to pound a regular style brass plug into the block.

Here are some pictures of a Ford F-150 truck I just did. The hard part is taking the exhaust and intake manifolds off: after that the job is easy.

Apr 04, 2014 | 1995 Chevrolet Lumina

1 Answer

The block heater cord to 2004 jetta came unplugged from the car and I'm not sure where to look to plug it back in Can someone give me a general idea where it might go?


Block heaters are installed on the engine block in one of the "freeze plug" openings. The freeze plug is punched out and the block heater is installed in its place. The freeze plugs, about 3 on each side of the engine, are midway up the block- a round, slightly recessed metal plug about 2 inches in diameter that is driven into these holes made during the engine casting process. The freeze plugs will be found below where the exhaust manifold attaches-so if you are looking on the side of the engine with the exhaust manifold-look behind and just below the exhaust manifold. The other side of engine will have the same number of freeze plugs at the same level on the engine block.
Your block heater is probably on the front facing side of the engine (towards the radiator). It is probably shinier than tom the he regular freeze plugs, will have a small screw in the center for tightening when installed, and will have 2 or 3 metal prongs that your heater cord attaches to. Simply plug it back into the heater. Just remember: about halfway up on the engine block, from the oil pan rail at bottom to the top of block where the cylinder head mates.

Dec 13, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

3 Answers

I have a 1998 Ford Expedition. I have been told that I have a bad coolant leak coming from rear freeze plug and that I should replace the engine. My question is, do the engine need too be replaced or do I...


If you look on the side of an engine block you will see a line of circular depressions about an inch and a half in diameter and about a quarter of an inch deep. These are actually holes in the side of the engine block which are plugged with a dish shaped metal plug called a "freeze plug" or "expansion plug". WHAT FREEZE PLUGS DO As with many things on a car, there is an "official reason" and a "REAL" reason for freeze plugs. The official reason (and the source of the name) is this: If you run just water with no antifreeze in your car's cooling system the water can freeze. When water freezes, it expands. If water freezes inside your engine block, it can expand and crack the block, destroying the motor. Freeze plugs (or expansion plugs) will "pop out" and supposedly prevent this. In reality this doesn't work all the time: I've seen MANY blocks destroyed by cracking without the freeze plugs popping out, or if they do pop out the block cracks anyway. THE REAL PURPOSE OF FREEZE PLUGS OR EXPANSION PLUGS Engines are "sand cast". A special type of sand is poured into a pair of boxes. A "die" is pressed into the sand, making an impression of the engine block to be cast. The sections of the mold are then put together and molten iron is poured in, forming the engine. This is why engines have a rough texture on most areas: this is the texture of the sand used to cast them.There have to be "cylinders" made of sand in the middle of this mold to create the cylinders of the engine block. These chunks of sand can't just "float" inside the mold: SOMETHING has to hold them in place. There are little columns of sand that connect the cylinder mold to the outer mold half. The mold for the cylinder "sits" on top of these. After the block is cast, these holes are machined smooth and a "freeze plug" or "expansion plug" is put in to plug the hole.
THE PROBLEM WITH FREEZE PLUGS OR EXPANSION PLUGS The problem with freeze plugs or expansion plugs is that they are made of very thin metal, AND THEY RUST!!! From the factory they are made of galvanized steel, and if you always run a 50/50 mix of antifreeze in your cooling system you should never have a problem. Unfortunately many people don't do this, and the freeze plugs rust through, creating a cooling system leak.When I replace freeze plugs or rebuild an engine I always use brass plugs: they only cost a tiny bit more and will not rust through. The manufacturers don't use brass plugs of course: they cost a few cents more, and they will save a penny anywhere they can: pennies add up to millions of dollars!
SIGNS OF BAD FREEZE PLUGS If you have a bad freeze plug your vehicle will leak coolant. If you have a slow cooling system leak that comes and goes, you may have a pinhole freeze plug leak. l Freeze plugs are in different places on different cars, but normally they will be down the side of the block (at least 3 of them) and in the back of the block, between the engine and the transmission. Some are fairly easy to get to, others require removing various parts off the engine, some even require removing the transmission or engine to replace! Some cylinder heads also have smaller plugs in them, often under the intake or exhaust manifold.So if you have water leaking down the side of your engine, or water leaking from the hole in the bell housing between the engine and transmission, you probably have a bad freeze plug. Sometimes the hole in the freeze plug is very small, and can periodically stop when a piece of crud from the cooling system jams in the hole.
FREEZE PLUG REPAIR If the leak is slow and small, a stop leak or block seal compound might work. I have had good luck with K&W Liquid Block Seal: it's good stuff! Of course, as with any "rig" of this sort, it might not work, might not last for long, and could clog up something else in your cooling system. The right way to fix it is to replace the freeze plug. FREEZE PLUG REPLACEMENT To remove a freeze plug, first hammer it into the block with a big screwdriver or a large punch. It won't go far into a modern engine: there isn't much room behind the plug. When it "pops through" you can easily pry it back out of the hole sideways with a pair of pliers or a screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the hole where the plug sits, or it could leak around the circumference of the new plug.
After the plug is removed, clean the hole in the block with sandpaper to remove the corrosion and old sealant. Once again, if you don't do this the new one might leak.Normal freeze plugs are hammered in with some sealant around them. I use aviation grade Permatex sealer.
A special tool is made to install freeze plugs: the tool is available at a good auto parts store. In a pinch you can use a large socket that just barely fits inside the rim of the plug, however this can damage the new plug if you aren't careful.
If you can't get to the freeze plug to hammer it in, you have to take off whatever parts are in the way to access the plug. Sometimes it's easier to remove the engine from the car. Another option when access is limited is an expanding replacement freeze plug. These replacement plugs are made of either copper or rubber. A nut on them expands the plug against the block when tightened. These plugs can be installed in areas too tight to hammer in a regular freeze plug. I have had bad luck with the rubber type: they blow back out quite often. I have had good results with the copper type (made by Dorman).
I have not had good results with either type on Ford products: Ford for some reason makes their freeze plugs in "odd" dimensions, like 1 and 51/64 of an inch. You can get the copper type plug in 1/8 th increments, but it won't expand enough to fit the Ford size. The rubber type will SEEM to expand enough, but it will stay in for a week or so then blow out, dumping all your coolant out in a matter of seconds!!!
So on all Fords I just do whatever it takes to pound a regular style brass plug into the block.

Here are some pictures of a Ford F-150 truck freeze plug job I did.

The hard part is taking the exhaust and intake manifolds off: after that the job is easy. CAUTION! I have one issue with this freeze plug video: He uses no sealant on the new freeze plugs, and he's not using brass freeze plugs.
I always use aviation grade permatex sealant on freeze plugs. It's available at any good auto parts store.Don't use RTV silicone: I've seen freeze plugs "pop out" with silicon seal.
Freeze plugs will work when put in "dry", but they might "weep" a small amount of coolant.
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Apr 03, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

What does the water plug/freeze plug on the side of the engine on the block of a grand cherokee 2.7 CRD look like?? Do u screw it out or punch it out? Hopeless


Freeze plugs look like cup stuffed into the block. Round and indented. They vary in size from 1/2" - 3" ruffly. Usually poke or drill a hole in them then pry them out of the block. Then tap the new one in with something thats the same size as the inside of the new plug.

May 30, 2012 | 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2 Answers

I have a GMC 1994 Suburban with a coolant leak in the bottom of the engine, driver side, comming out of a round plug, that has wires going a plug on it. I have a picture I can email you...and just need...


If it's a round, cup shaped plug, about 2" or so... It's called a freeze out plug. These do corrode over time and leak. They are kind of a pain to replace, and I recommend using the correct tool to install the new one. (Freeze out plug installer tool.) These are meant to "pop" out if your coolant freezes so not to crack your engine block.

Sep 07, 2011 | 1994 GMC Suburban

1 Answer

Under the car it looseing antifreeze a freez plug is how to replace and want look like. 2002 chrysle concorde with 2.7


Your motor has several freeze plugs. The freeze plug holes are located usually 3 per side on the block, 2 in the ends of each head and 2 in each end of the block. Determine approximately what location the coolant is running out from, feel around the block for an actual round hole/cavity in the block. They are different sizes. some as small as 1 inch diameter to as large as about 3 inch diameter. Find the cavity that is not filled, as you can stick your finger deep into the block/head.
Then measure this hole. The easiest type relacement plug is called an expansion type. It is like a rubber stopper that you tighten a bolt in the center of it to expand it/tighten it to the full diameter sealing the cavity. Found at most parts stores. They come in a variety of sizes, so you must try to get extremely close to the actual diamerter of the freeze plug hole in the block/head to make it work. Install new plug into hole pushing rubber portion in all the way until the flat metal washer part of the expansion plug contacts the block/head surface. IT MUST be flush or evenly seated in the freeze plug hole/cavity in the block/head. Tighten center nut on new plug to about 25 ft lbs. This will make the rubber part expand and seal into the hole. Refill coolant, check for leaks. In my experience, if you pop one plug, it is usually in the block first and one will be popped on both sides of the block. Feel around BOTH sides of block to verify all 6 plugs are in place! CAUSE>>
This is due to water in the coolant system freezing, due to poor coolant system maintenance. The freeze plugs pop out when the frozen water expands preventing the freezing water from cracking your block.You would be money ahead to drain/flush your system and refill with all new 50/50 antifreeze of the type recommended for your vehicle. NEVER put water in your cooling system! Use only in emergency, fix problem then drain and refill with 50/50 coolant! This will prevent this problem from reoccurring and damaging other cooling system components.

Jun 06, 2011 | 2002 Chrysler Concorde

1 Answer

WHERE IS THE FREEZE PLUG, ON A 2001 FORD FOCUS WAGON 2.0 ENGINE?


freeze plugs are in the engine block and there are probably 2 or 3 on each side about midway down in a row front to back. They will be round and recessed into a hole that is cast into the block. There is also freeze plugs on the back of the block where the transmission bolts to the engine.

Feb 16, 2011 | 2001 Ford Focus

1 Answer

How do i find the freeze out plugs on a 1990 s-10chevy blazer


You are looking for a round hole in your engine casting that is filled with a plug. Most of them, and there are several, will be about 11/2 inches round and set into the block about 1/4 inch. There should be 3 down each side of the block midway between the head and the oilpan. There are 1 each at each end of the heads and 1 at the back of the cam and a couple under the timing chain cover and a couple behind the engine under the bell housing. I'm probably mssing some.
If you are looking to put it a block heater, usually the middle one on the driver's side is the easiest or the middle one on the passenger side. The middle one is best as the heat gets distributed a little more evenly.
If you need to change one that is leaking, measure carefully before you knock it out to be sure you get the right one to put back in. They are various sizes in 1/8 or even 1/16 increments.
Hope this helps.

Dec 13, 2010 | 1990 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer

1 Answer

Rusty anti freeze came pouring under my 2005 dodge caravan


I hope you're not driving it...They're called freeze plugs, and they are for when you have added too much water (not enough anti-freeze) to the system and it gets too cold, the freeze plug should pop out before the block cracks (very expensive). The extra water content also helps the plug to rust. They're relatively cheap, and not too hard to replace (if you can get to it without pulling the engine). I'm not sure about the Dodge, but most plugs are a press fit, meaning you simply put the plug up to the hole (make sure the old plug is out), take a small block of wood to evenly distribute the force to push the new plug in, and tap it in with a hammer until it is flush with the block. And make sure to fill your radiator with a 50/50 solution of water and anti-freeze...

Aug 16, 2009 | 2005 Dodge Caravan

2 Answers

Leaking antifreeze and it's not a pipe or the water pump


First, No your truck engine shouldn't need to come out if it is a frost plug. May be hard to get at but most times patience & the right tool will pop that bad one out for you if thats what it is. Do yourself a favor though, unless its the hole with a block heater in it, just by a rubber plug (similar to a thermos plug) designed to replace the metal frost plug. take your old plug with you for correct sizing. It's just a round plug with a nut in the center that you tighten once you've put it in the hole, and it expands & seals. Just remember you want it tight but not so tight that you snap the nut. Clean hole good prior to install. Will save you lots of time and aggravation. If it is your block heater, just buy another the same, they are pretty easy too.
Now to the Caravan, click on link below and scroll down to figure # 2 and click on the picture, that is your engine. Where about do you see leak from (area) Maybe below # 9?
http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm?pageId=0900c1528003c50f

Jan 07, 2009 | 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan

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