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Freeze plug issue


November 24, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Cameron Park
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 Explorer
Well, I just got done replacing my left front freeze plug for the 4th time. Paid to have it done once, replaced it once with a metal plug (which corroded and leaked), a rubber plug which blew out and today with a second rubber plug.

We tried to use a 1.5 inch plug - but both brass and steel were way too loose. That's why we went with rubber, even though it will likely be only a temp fix.

So, it appears that the hole may very well be too large - and I am at a loss as to how to proceed. I am thinking about pulling the motor - but if I do that, should I replace it. It has 242k on it and other than this problem and a front main seal leak, it is solid. On the other hand it does have a lot of miles on it.

Does anyone have any idea how to solve this freeze plug problem? If I pull the motor, is it worth putting it back in?

Thanks to all!

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For what it's worth, when I did the freeze plugs in my 1991, I ordered them from NAPA and what came in was some Federal Mogul Sealed Power 381-3133. They worked fine, no leaks and a tight fit. They are 1 1/2" in size. I'm not sure why yours would be different, I don't think Ford changed the block design.

242k is high mileage but if you look around, you'll see plenty of stories of them up around 300-500k and still going. The motors are very strong and since you have improved heads, you could easily see another 100k. It would be very expensive to replace the motor and unless you have serious engine problems, it's not worth it. If you do pull it out, replace the oil pan seal and you may think about doing the timing cover as well. Depending on your climate, you may think of a frost plug heater which is impossible to install with the engine in the vehicle unless you do some serious contorting and removal of parts.

I just pounded in 6 brass 1 1/2" plugs from NAPA today. Pounded in.
I'd get one from them and see if it's different than what you'd had.

Edit: if you have a dial caliper, you could measure the hole, then just pick up a plug slightly bigger. When in the hole, it should rock/pivot but not go in. NAPA can look through their Sealed Power catalog by size.

Rubber ones are junk and only usable on older cars typically.

So, it looks like I will have to pull it.....

I have calipers and did measure the new plugs and they were right at 1.5 inches. Can't measure the hole with the engine in the car. So, it's driveable for now with the rubber plug. After I get the wife's car fixed - out it comes.

In addition to the seals mentioned, it needs a front main seal as well - so there is lots we can do while it is out......

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

careful taking it out. I took mine out almost a year ago and one thing keeps turning into another. Well, while its out I think I'll do this......etc.

If I cannot get larger plugs....

Thoughts on gluing them in place with JB Weld.

Thoughts on gluing them in place with JB Weld.

No. I did use Indian Head Shilac on mine, though it shouldn't be necessary.
Yours are too small. Need to get the diameter of the opening and get plug(s) a size bigger.

The bottom of the plug should just fit the hole (the closed part) but not go in.

Edit: the reason a 1.5 feels like it'll fit is because the hole is chamfered. I lost my caliper, but from what I can measure, the hole is 37mm and the plug is 38mm (1.5")
So one millimeter difference. So if you can measure the actual hole, pick up a plug that is one millimeter bigger.

I would trust JB Weld on cosmetic things or small engine carb parts but not to hold coolant in an engine. I will say I used some Permatex gasket maker product that was specific for water pumps to seal around the plugs. I put a thin layer on the plug and then tapped it into place then a thin bead with my finger around the edge.

Right, if by 'left front' you mean at the front of the engine, on the head facing the radiator, then that one is NOT 1.5".
The ones on the sides of the engine are the 1.5" plugs.