Replacing Freeze Plugs w/o Removing Engine or Dropping Tranny - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-12-2015, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
RockCzar
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Xj Replacing Freeze Plugs w/o Removing Engine or Dropping Tranny

My Jeep was smoking, stalling, clacking & loping and I couldn't figure out why. After discovering an EMPTY radiator (never noticed any coolant under the vehicle, so never thought to check it due to normal coolant level in overflow container...Doh!) and replacing what I thought was a failed thermostat & housing (my mechanic cut off the thermostat housing after I sheared the top bolt head off due to rust...someone didn't bother using anti-seize), I noticed fluid leaking from the driver side engine block.
My mechanic took a look underneath and sure enough...rusted freeze plugs leaking coolant (I'd NEVER heard of a "freeze plug")! Since I live in LA (hasn't reached freezing temps here in my entire lifetime) and didn't have the $$/proper tools or space in my "apt. garage" to remove the engine and replace the OEM steel with the brass versions, I opted for the "2-inch Rubber Expansion Plugs" (see pics below).

After draining the coolant "once again" & removing/detaching the;
  1. cooling fan
  2. air box top/filter
  3. fuel injector wiring harness
  4. accelerator cables
  5. intake/exhaust manifold (w/fuel rail intact)
  6. header pipe
I began removal by punching a hole & "aggressively" using hammer & pry-bar(s)to collapse the outer ring enough to remove (and/or fish out w/needle nose pliers when knocked into the water jacket area) the old rusted steel plugs. I soaked up the excess coolant around the rear of the water jacket area w/shop towels as the engine sits lower at the rear.
I removed the old gasket(s) & thoroughly cleaned the the respective surface parts of the manifold(s) and plug holes with a wire wheel attached to a cordless drill (also scraped the leaky rusted "cottage cheese" looking gunk off the side of the engine block). Ensuring the engine block holes were completely "clean & dry", we installed the expansion plugs and tightened the nut(s) to expand the rubber snugly against the cylinder holes using red loc-tite to keep the nut(s) from vibrating loose on the bolt(s). I then put everything back together with "new" replacement exhaust/flange gaskets using a torque wrench on the appropriate nuts/bolts before pressure testing the radiator for leaks and going for a test ride (w/said mechanic).
Thanks to my mechanic for overseeing my freeze plug lesson as the entire removal/installation/re-assembly process took ~4.3 hours!
No leaks so far & now she looks (see pics below) and, more importantly, runs like a champ again!!!

PS: I'll change the oil/filter ASAP due to the excessive engine heat buildup cooking my oil.

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JeepRepair2.jpg   JeepRepair1.jpg  
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..____________
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Last edited by RockCzar; 10-12-2015 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Corrected Grammer ;)
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-12-2015, 10:38 PM
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I wonder what the one on the back of the block looks like or in the back of the head? LOL.

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post #3 of 16 Old 10-12-2015, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
RockCzar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slvr01Sport View Post
Why the hell did you copy paste this post into all of the freeze plug threads you found? Some of those threads are from 2009 and even better was a how to that you pasted into.

/rant off
Hindsight being 20/20, probably should've posted here 1st, but I was looking for answers to my dilemma on multiple threads and saw inconsistent info, so decided to share with those who may not stumble on the "single" post that answers all of their question(s)...that's why.

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post #4 of 16 Old 10-12-2015, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiser54 View Post
I wonder what the one on the back of the block looks like or in the back of the head? LOL.
Your twisted sarcasm is slightly misplaced but trolls will be trolls.
As I mentioned, I didn't have the option of pulling the tranny at the time due to aforementioned restrictions, so I fixed the ones I "could" reach given the budget and time allotted. Hopefully, I have some time to get the money together if/when the rear plug needs to be dealt with.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slvr01Sport View Post

All their questions?
You replaced 1 freeze plug with a tighten and expand rubber plug after pulling the intake and exhaust manifolds off. You could've put in 'real' freeze plugs like the factory does since it was fully pulled apart. Those rubber plugs are made so you don't have to strip the block to get to the freeze plugs.
Then you have 4 pictures of your Jeep. You have 2 pictures of your rubber plug install, 1 before and 1 after and 4 pictures of your Jeep.
And then you call cruiser a troll. Excellent start on the forums and great way to get your post count up...
Preach^^. But at the O/P, you are coming here to ask us for help, try to follow the rules. Also if you already have everything apart, replace it all with real freeze plugs not some dollar store rubber plugs.

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post #6 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shooptube View Post
Preach^^. But at the O/P, you are coming here to ask us for help, try to follow the rules. Also if you already have everything apart, replace it all with real freeze plugs not some dollar store rubber plugs.
A troll is still a troll and and sarcasm is NEVER helpful. Nevertheless, I could care less about post counts when I'm trying to find answers and possibly helping the next poor soul wading through conflicting comments on this issue...so whatever.

I asked my mechanic about the brass installation, however he was concerned with clearance issues regarding getting them to seat properly to avoid having to tear everything down again if they happened to leak.
Fingers crossed the rear plug is OK and stays that way for awhile 'cause it sounds like a major hassle and can get probably get "labor" costly.

You of all people in your infinite wisdom know "Dollar Stores" don't sell automotive expansion plugs..again sarcasm is NEVER helpful.

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post #7 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 07:46 AM
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Of the metal ones which is preferred for the 4.0L steel or brass?

Brass is usually softer than steel.

From what I understand the factory OEM plugs were made from galvanized steel and originally used for casting. As expansion plugs, you would need high h20 content before any coolant mixture is able to freeze.

I found a brass kit from U.S. Tool and Manufacturing PE-256-BR.

What's the difference between the 2 and 2.141 inch expansion plugs? How they're pressed fit into the expansion plug casting hole?

381-3194 4.0L (242) - steel deep cup 2.000" diameter
381-3084 4.0L (242) - steel deep cup 2.141" diameter
381-2180 4.0L (242) - steel shallow cup 2.141" diameter (Vintage)

http://www.fme-cat.com/Application.a...ga=Y&back=true

When replacing my exhaust manifold I plan to replace the 5 side plugs. It's a good idea while replacing expansion plugs to clean out the holes and flush out the engine block.
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockCzar View Post
A troll is still a troll and and sarcasm is NEVER helpful.
Cruiser is one of the most helpful people on the forums. His knowledge base, especially with Renix XJ's is second to none. He has helped untold numbers, including me, multiple times, with only our thanks as payment for his time and effort. His sarcasm is generally an indication that something is amiss, and I would not ignore it lightly.

I genuinely hope your repair will last you for a while, and as another backyard hack, I appreciate any and all posts that show possible solutions on the cheap. Sometimes they work and will last a while, and sometimes, hindsight being what it is, you find out it was better to spend the extra $$ and do it right the first time. Cruiser, with his years of experience, will never tell anyone to throw money at something that it shouldn't be thrown at. Perhaps... just perhaps... you may want to rethink your effort to alienate one of the most helpful people on here.

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post #9 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HEAP_of_JEEP View Post
Cruiser is one of the most helpful people on the forums. His knowledge base, especially with Renix XJ's is second to none. He has helped untold numbers, including me, multiple times, with only our thanks as payment for his time and effort. His sarcasm is generally an indication that something is amiss, and I would not ignore it lightly.

I genuinely hope your repair will last you for a while, and as another backyard hack, I appreciate any and all posts that show possible solutions on the cheap. Sometimes they work and will last a while, and sometimes, hindsight being what it is, you find out it was better to spend the extra $$ and do it right the first time. Cruiser, with his years of experience, will never tell anyone to throw money at something that it shouldn't be thrown at. Perhaps... just perhaps... you may want to rethink your effort to alienate one of the most helpful people on here.
Point taken...however, perhaps Cruiser's approach could/should have have been phrased differently to not come off as sounding dismissive or flippant"...I wonder what the one on the back of the block looks like or in the back of the head? LOL..."

Sense of humor is relative when you can't see the face of the actual person, hear the tone of their voice and haven't had any point of reference or previous contact...kinda like texting, yes?
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockCzar View Post

Point taken...however, perhaps Cruiser's approach could/should have have been phrased differently to not come off as sounding dismissive or flippant"...I wonder what the one on the back of the block looks like or in the back of the head? LOL..."

Sense of humor is relative when you can't see the face of the actual person, hear the tone of their voice and haven't had any point of reference or previous contact...kinda like texting, yes?
Well since you already said that you were aware of not being able distinguish how a person means something on the internet, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to correct people or call them out. Just saying. Never the less, I agree that some things are worth dishing out the extra cash for. Freeze plugs, having done them on 3 different vehicles, are something that you should pay the extra money for.

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post #11 of 16 Old 10-13-2015, 02:54 PM
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Just being Captain Obvious here.

Sorry I haven't taken any "touchy feely" and "warm and fuzzy" classes to state the truth and the obvious.

I just don't have the time.

Do I have experience with this issue? Yes.

I'll bet the rear freeze plug in the block is only staying "sealed" by rust and the aluminum plate between the engine and trans.

Your thread, encouraging others to do this, as a sorta write-up is actually quite irresponsible to the Jeep community.

It's our duty to make sure others aren't mislead into doing things that can cost them time, money, and being stranded.

The truth is the truth. I'm gonna tell it any way I feel like.

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post #12 of 16 Old 10-14-2015, 09:57 PM
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Brass ftw, is there the opposite of a sticky for this thread.

Plenty of room to install actual freeze plugs:

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post #13 of 16 Old 10-14-2015, 11:39 PM
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That's funny^^ and applies to this thread.

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post #14 of 16 Old 10-15-2015, 12:52 PM
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Just wipe it off with some toilet paper.

Behind the Bell Housing:



Note also that this beast has a Fram oil filter. Figures.



Edit: OP, that's me and Cruiser in the pic. He's the one with the bald head.
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post #15 of 16 Old 10-15-2015, 02:58 PM
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Just wipe it off with some toilet paper.

Behind the Bell Housing:

Note also that this beast has a Fram oil filter. Figures.

Edit: OP, that's me and Cruiser in the pic. He's the one with the bald head.
Lol

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Coolant leak , Engine stalling , freeze plug , overheating , overheats

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