27 March 2011

how to - popping freeze plugs

Well on my one day off this week,
our Lincoln decided to cry for attention.

It's been a good car,
my wife's been using it for a while now.
I found it at a tow yard for $600 in Ventura 4 years ago.
It's a 1990 Lincoln Town Car with a 5.0/AOD.
It's banged up, only the drivers windows work,
leaks a little oil, and has over 170,000 miles...
But, it holds all five of us,
is really comfortable,
and when it does have issues,
it has so far been cheap fixes.

lincoln town car prepped for operation

I think 1990 was the last year of Ford's 5 liter EFI engine,
after that they went to a 4.6 ohc engine,
which I doubt would take the abuse that this thing has gotten.

A couple years ago,
I actually tore the engine/tranny out,
cause this thing leaked so much oil.

gaping hole - 2008

The rubber compound Ford used in their engine seals basically disintegrated,
this was before the newer blue silicone type gaskets were designed.

ancient history - 2008

Wow the shop was in its infancy during this shot.
You can see the 40 body on the far right, through the walkway,
no loft.

Anyway I kinda screwed up when I regasketed the engine,
as I didn't change the freeze plugs at this time.
I'm an "old engine" mechanic, Flatheads don't have a bunch of these!

About a year ago one rusted through,
fortunately it was the easiest one to get at.
I was dreading doing the other ones,
as they were hard to get at,
behind the motormounts.

Fastforward to yesterday,
when my wife had the joy of a Lincoln steambath,
fortunately only a mile from the house.

Of course this was the fun one,
right behind the driver side motormount.

5.0 driver side motormount

First thing to do, (after car is on jackstands and secure)
is remove that motormount.
Raise the engine,
and put a block of wood or something underneath it and the crossmember.

temporary arrangement

Now the problem is obvious,
a rusted through freeze plug.

holey steel freeze plug

The old one was steel,
but the new one is brass.
Hopefully it will last as 21 years!
Pop it out with a long screwdriver or chisel or something.
And tap the new one in with a long rounded metal dowl or...

shiny brass freeze plug

There is one right next to it,
and yes I considered changing it,
but I tapped it to check for soft spots,
and it seemed ok, and it was really clean on the outside.
This spot was alot more difficult to reinstall one easily,
so I passed.

However I did check the other side,
and man am I glad I did.

freeze plug eruption

This one was obviously ready to blow,
so after pulling the starter, it popped right out.

even hole-ier steel freeze plug

If you figure the radiator cap is 14PSI or so,
in addition to the heat of the coolant,
I am surprised this one was able to hold up for this long.

But wow, check this out.

catch-all of rust

It seems like these rear freeze plugs are located where rust and junk settle.
There was easily a tablespoon or more of rust backed up,
and a good deposit of trapped rusty water,
definitely no flow of coolant getting back here.
I scraped the inside with a wire,
and flushed water through until it was clean.

preventive medicine

Again I checked the center one,
and it seemed to be in alot better shape than the outside 4 were,
so I'll wait on this side too.

So that's about it.
The kids helped a ton,
handing me tools made it alot easier.

Now, to fix these windows...


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