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Old 09-14-2006, 12:11 PM
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FREEZE PLUGS ~ DO YOU or DON'T YOU ?

Hi Guys

I'm in an engine repair class. Rebuilding my '66 Mustang 289 engine. Learning a lot. However, My instructor and I just installed non-brass freeze plugs WITHOUT SEALANT.

The instructor said, " . . . no need for sealant, the plugs won't leak. They'll
be O.K.

QUESTIONS:

Guys, is the instructor right

If not, I will pull 'em out and use brass ones if that's O.K. with you guys.
And what sealant should I use if that's the case

Thank you all so much for your help in the past and now in the future.
GOD BLESS YOU GUYS

Schooner

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Old 09-14-2006, 12:23 PM
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I,m with Jmark, I always use brass and always use sealant. Its your engine, do it the right way and you'll never have a problem.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmark
Hmmmmm, another 64 dollar question.

In all the years I was a wrench, I ALWAYS used brass plugs. I had seen way too many metal ones rust out, probably why I did so many of them! LOL

As far as sealant goes, again, some say yes, some say no. Personally....I use a little Permatex #2 around the edges of the plug. For me, its cheap insurance.

Mark
I have make a statement that the instructor is wrong. I would guess that he is fairly young and has no real practical, hands on experience. While the use of brass plugs isn't necessarily suggested, the use of a good sealant is required. This is mandated by the fact that sealant will fill those scratches and gouges made by removing old plugs and installing new ones. Also, if the old ones had seeped, there might be some corrosion pits that need sealing.

Brass plugs while strongly recommended by many engine builders may be a long term problem in a street engine. Engine iron and brass are potentially a place where an electrolytic reaction may occur (read battery and a small current that can flow). Take a thick piece of paper, wet it, hold a penny on one side and a small piece of steel on the other and using a sensitive voltmeter, you can see a current. If it's wet with salty water, it tends to be worse.

Regardless, I suggest that while in class you follow his direction - it's safer for good grades.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:50 PM
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Those plugs you are replacing lasted for 40 years!!! So what would it be wrong to just replace them with what came out and let them last another 40 years. I'll bet in another 40 years won't even care about this motor. Brass plugs won't rust out and are for marine use. There is no need for the brass in a automotive engine. The steel ones lasted for 40 years, right. And no you don't need any sealant on them. They are soft metal and are press fit, they won't leak.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:55 PM
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I am afraid I will have to agree with what RPM just said.



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Old 09-14-2006, 08:13 PM
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I'm going...

to agree with RPM as well, If you keep the correct
antifreeze/water mix, with a "sealed" cooling system,
the frost plugs should last until the next rebuild...

K
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:24 PM
 
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John

I have never replaced brass. I have steel. Sealant is cheap!
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:37 PM
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In a perfect world. The soft plugs should go for forty years. But, here in Michigan, they are known to rot out in less than ten.

Owners that don't change "permanent" anti-freeze. Bad water. Electrolysis is a problem because of the tons of salt spread on Michigan roads.

440 MoPars are famous for bad soft plugs in the heads. Many older Buicks. Chevys/Fords seem to rust out the plugs in front of the flywheel/flex plate.

I ALWAYS use sealer on soft plugs. ALWAYS replace on rebuilds. Most of the blocks have less than perfect core holes and all it takes is one inexperienced helper to mess up a good one. Sealer is good insurance.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:54 PM
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I pretty much use the brass plugs because they look good unpainted and provide a little contrast. I usually mask off the openings and paint the block first then install the plugs.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:55 PM
 
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Freeze Plugs

The one that always leaks is the one hardest to get at!

Learned that lesson the hard way!

Chris Laarman
Ottawa Engine and Performance
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:24 PM
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Boy....Mr. RPM said a mouthful, besides ... "they won't leak" Well then why have I and probably a bunch of other guys on this forum had to replace them? And yes usually behind the flexplate, pull the trans or the engine. Who needs it. Pretty blatant statement I,m thinking.
If you really think about it why would GM, FORD and MOPAR use steel instead of brass?? Maybe because brass costs a lot more and maybe they dont give a s--- if they leak....after warranty is up?? I always say run what you want, its your rig...and if the instructor wants you to run steel then do what he says, don't get in trouble. Geeeez I guess I,ll just have to put my 331" small block in a boat now......
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:36 PM
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We buy a lot of new blocks from GM and we remove the Brass plugs that GM installed so after machining the blocks we can clean the block better and they use core plug Loctite sealant.

At our shop we use the the Permatex Aviation sealer on ALL the core plugs we install and we don't seem to have any leaks and it good insurance and peice of mind when your done.
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:32 PM
 
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John

Maybe the instructor should be invited to read some of these replies. Maybe leave some laying on his desk. I kinda think he needs to know that there are different opinions about freeze plugs.
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:40 AM
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yep, plugs are an issue here in michigan. I've popped a couple myself. I think as with anything else on a rebuild you always spend a few extra bucks and time where it counts. The first thing you start learning when building motors is that any surface that provides a seal or mates with another metal surface is something to pay extra care to. Starting with a good, clean, well machined hole for a plug is probably 99% of the battle. To beat the dead horse, a couple extra bucks for some quality plugs and some sealant to ensure you won't be pulling your motor out before its due is nice too!

That said, if you're cutting corners on a build for a few dollars worth of freeze plugs, the other things you're short-changing on are probably going to catch up with you first!

K
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Old 09-15-2006, 05:39 AM
 
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I use genuine GM head bolt sealant and brass plugs. 40 years? In 81 I bought a 350 (sbc) with a 7/78 casting no, I replaced the plugs and 2 were about to go. In the early 90's I replaced a few on Saab 900s under warranty.
264 Volvos used to corrode the block before the welsch plugs got a chance. The bolt on plates on 6 cyl M/Benzes of the early 70's were all done by the late 70's. Need I mention Cummins 903s and their corrosion?
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