freeze plugs - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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#1 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 05:29 AM
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freeze plugs

[s][/s]This is my Question for 81 280 ZX owners that really work on that car. I have a serious water leak that is probably a "freeze"/"expansion plug. I have checked this out a little and the general idea is if one is corroded, the rest will follow. HOW MANY freeze plugs are there on my L28E engine. This is not a project I can do. If I have to replace one, I'll have to replace all. At $85/hr. it could cost way more than the car is worth, especially if the engine has to be taken out.
I need to know how many plugs and where they're located before I put this in the shop.
I bought this car 11 yrs. ago for $600 and have always done my own maintanance. Turn the key and it starts!
Appreciate any ideas, Ken81
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 09:18 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

Ken, not sure how many there are but it is a project you can do. Drain coolant, use a screwdriver to punch and remove the old ones, put some sealing compound around the new, use a brass hammer or other soft face and tap them in. Not that hard.
If it's only one, go pick up a block heater. They are fitted into a casting plug hole and seal. It will close up any hole that leaks. We use them in Canada regularly and they are effective in extreme heat to extreme cold.
#3 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 02:13 PM
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Re: freeze plugs

if its a freeze plug leaking on the intake side he might have a hard time hammerimng in a new one.its real close quarters under there.
almost impossible to get the old one out to install a heater insert for a do it yourselfer

72 Z-won best engine comp. twice @ MSA 99 and 03
74cobra Z ...1st place modified 2007 MSA
74 Z won Best of Show @ MSA 04
93 vert , 94cpe.. 1st place modified class @MSA 2007
10th anniversaryZX...80K very clean
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 02:32 PM
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Re: freeze plugs

To get them out, I used to just sharpen a flat screwdriver, hammer it through and start prying. Once the gap is opened a bit, put a prybar in there and bend it. Once bent, they pop out pretty easy.
#5 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 01:40 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

Yes, if one is leaking, the rest soon will. They have all been exposed to the same corrosive forces for the same number of years. A prime example of why the maintenance schedule is drain, flush, drain, and refill with new coolant every 2 years.

Your engine has 4 casting core plugs on each side of the block. There is one on the back of the head. Also, my memory is that there is a large one on the back of the block behind the flywheel.

The eight plugs on the sides of the block are easy to replace, but you will have to access most from under the car. There is a special tool for installing core plugs. It is a driver with a swiveling head. Makes it real easy.

If you can find brass (marine grade) core plugs in the correct sizes, use them and never have them rust again.

Obviously, to change the plug in the head requires removing the head, or pulling the engine. The big plug on the rear of the block requires removing the transmission and flywheel.

You don't think your 280ZX is worth $85/hr. to fix? Is it all rusted out, or some similar condition? Very few cars, including new ones, are as dependable, durable, and as easy to work on as a 280ZX.

Joe
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#6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 05:23 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

Joe, thanks for the info! Yes, my car is worth $85/hr., but this is not a job that I can do myself. It will have to go into a shop (one that I do trust) and will cost a lot of money that I really don't have. As I said, it's a $600 car I bought 11 yrs. ago and while I like it a lot and have always done my own work, this could cost more than I'm willing to pay. It's my transportation car & I'm disabled w/ only those checks. I'm just trying to get info to see how much work would have to be done & the total cost. Thanks again-Ken
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#7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 08:07 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

"Aint broken why fix it" I would just go for the leaky one for now. If your cheap like me, drain the coolant, let the area dry up good, wire brush it and slap some JB weld on it. If all else fails, replace the plug. I use a punch and carefully knock one side of the plug in WITHOUT knocking the whole plug in, then clamp some vise grips on it and pry with easy. When working at a machine shop tearing down 2 engines a day, you learn how to quickly remove these plugs. When they fall into the block, it is wasted time for me, and then the boss would yell at me. Then use permatex to seal the new one in. Good luck and even thow I'm cheap, don't use Bargs stop leak, I'm not that cheap.

*1972 240z* <1985 720 4x4> PARTS 4-sale- 75-84. "Simple" is the solution
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#8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 08:40 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

1-i-z, That is basically what I will do- fix the one. I won't be doing it, my landlord who also owns a shop will. Like I said, I have to have a dependable car. It's funny you mentioned JB weld, because I have some and that was my first idea, jack up the front end and just smear that s**t around the plug. Not that simple, too tight! The leak is too big for any stop-leak, even the one w/ the little balls inside (which has always worked well for the radiator). This is one for the shop; out of my league. Thanks for the ideas, I've always done this baby myself, but now I'll pay to do it right.
Ken81
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#9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 02:55 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

Ken81, You are more than welcome. My apologies if my question was inappropriate. I had no idea you were disabled. This is a situation that is very familiar to me. Listen to 1-I-Z. He's a good guy and gives excellent advice. JB weld is excellent for many things. I would not suggest it for core plugs, because they will rust out somewhere else, and the JB weld might be hard to remove.

Joe
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 05:33 AM
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Re: freeze plugs

Joe,
No offence taken, I have had so much help from everyone w/ understanding the freeze plug issue, I went in and told my landlord (owner of "Lahaina Foreign Car") how to do it right. He told me to give him the keys and get a good nights rest! Just kidding! Anyway, this will work out, he uses the brass plugs and has done this many times. I feel more secure about my 280ZX.
He will check first (maybe a cracked block and JB weld?) and will probably replace the 8 ones you told me about and if the front or back need to be replaced, that will be decided before it comes off the lift.

Thank you for the info & all the others here on Zcar that have helped me w/ this. When my 81 280ZX is fixed, I will fill her up w/ premium gas(ALWAYS have) and take here for a ride around the island ($4.39/gal-west Maui). Still hits 80+.
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