freeze plug replacement. -
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-04-2008, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,402
freeze plug replacement.

Well, I've had a slight water leak for about 6 months now and the only clue to where it was coming from was a continuous damp patch, later a drip, at the bottom of the torque converter housing. After a thorough search for the source I was left with the possibility that it was coming from within the housing which could only mean a freeze plug (core plug in the UK and welsh plug in Oz). There is a great article on replacing the core plugs on the website and I read the factory service manual procedure for removing the AW4 transmission. This was good preparation for tackling the job but I still kept putting it off until finally, an upcoming off-road event combined with a family holiday meant it would have to be done as failure would ruin the event and the holiday.

I ordered the plugs from Jeep as I couldn't afford not to have the job finished in one weekend so wanted to be sure the right parts were to hand.

Even when I started the job I was still not 100% convinced that the leak would be within the converter housing and that after all the hassle of stripping out the transmission I would find I had missed something that was leaking from higher up above the housing. As it turned out I needn't have worried -


I had originally planned to replace the plug in the housing and the one at the back of the head but in the end I found access to the rear of the head was hampered to the point that I couldn't guarantee sucessfully tackling that plug so I decided to leave the apparantly healthy plug in place. If it fails in the future I will remove the head and replace the plugs along the side of the block at the same time. Go.Jeep did mention something about casting sand that may have caused that plug to corrode and I think I agree with him although I didn't understand what he meant until I had the plug out. when I put my finger into the water jacket void below the plug hole I found a muddy, gritty sediment that also contained some larger particles like small stones. There are 2 possibilities, perhaps the sand swirls around in the water flow abrading against the plug and causing corrosion and wear or maybe the sand sets up a chemical attack on the thin steel plug that results in the failure. I'm not sure but there has to be a reason why that plug fails first?

Now I have lost my auto box virginity I am a lot happier. The box is back in place and partially bolted on so tomorrow I just need to finish the refit and fill the auto fluid back up then see if it all still works

I will post again tomorrow to bragg about my success or ask for advice on where it all went wrong......

EDIT: for anyone who is doing this and wants to order core plugs from Jeep, the part number is - J3105394

Rollin on 32'zzzz

Originally Posted by Muddeprived View Post
Who's eric?
Originally Posted by HornedFrogHooah View Post
Sprintagogo, you're absolutely amazing. I don't care what they say about yall over across the pond - you're a godsend!

Last edited by sprintagogo; 10-04-2008 at 03:45 PM. Reason: added part number.
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-04-2008, 03:13 PM
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: north Ga.
Posts: 14,216
Looks like you're on the right track, hope everything goes back together nicely for you.

  1. '95 XJ country edition, 4" coils/3/4" spacers, HD leafs with extra main added in, Ironman adjustable control arms, rough country shackles, aussie locker, JK rubicon shocks, 35" mudder's, soft 8's, cobra cb
  2. Sold'99 WJ limited, 4.7L, 3" IRO lift. Bilstein shocks, JK rubicon wheels, 255/70/17's, carolina driveshaft, IRO adjustable control arms, IRO adjustable A-arm
  3. Sold '00 TJ, 4" lift, rusty's adjustable control arms, skyjacker shocks, rock krawler adj. trac-bar,rugged ridge SYE and RE driveshaft, soft 8's, 35" mud king xt's,XJ HP D30 w/aussie locker, 4:88 yukon gears, hella 500's, rock crusher diff covers
4. 04 Dodge ram 1500 quadcab, yes, it has a hemi.
5. '08 BMW X3, Mods in progress.
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-05-2008, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,402
Woo hoo hoo hoo.

Well, I did it. The Jeep's all back together and been on a sucessfull test drive so I am one happy chap. I took the opportunity to do a few additional jobs while the box was out. I found and extended the auto box breather tube that I couldn't get to with the box in-situ. If anyone wonders how to get it then it is above the NSS on top of the box and is zip tied to the accelorator kickdown cable, it would probably just be accessible if you lowered the gearbox crossmember a few inches. I also removed the studs from the crossmember and replaced them with the bolts that Rubicon Express supply with their drop arm support brackets. Finally, I did the poor mans transmission flush while I had the cooler pipes off. This is the second time I have done this while I have had the Jeep and it has covered about 7000 miles in this time so the tranny fluid should be in 1st class condition now.

The whole core plug replacement saga has been an experience I wouldn't want to repeat anytime soon. 2 days of solid graft, working with the Jeep on axle stands and sometimes in pooring rain. At the end of it all the jeep is just as it was before, no big lift/tires, no swanky bumper or shiney stainless exhaust, nothing broken that has been repaired. The only benefit is that I don't have to top up the coolant every 7-10 days anymore. Quite frustrating as the effort does not correspond to the result.

Anyway, all done and hopefully I have given others a few pointers if they have similar problems.

Rollin on 32'zzzz

Originally Posted by Muddeprived View Post
Who's eric?
Originally Posted by HornedFrogHooah View Post
Sprintagogo, you're absolutely amazing. I don't care what they say about yall over across the pond - you're a godsend!
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