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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I put a new rad in my Mark VIII a couple weeks ago, with new G-05 coolant, and of course, yesterday my block heater started leaking pretty catastrophically.

Yes, all Canadian cars have block heaters (and no one ever uses them), so instead of paying $70 for a new block heater, I'm just going to replace it with a 1.5" core plug.

I did this EXACT repair on my t-bird about a year before I scrapped it, so it's a common issue for block heaters to leak. Sigh.

I've had varying success with core plug replacement in the past. Some leaked, some didn't. I usually use blue threadlocker while installing.

Any tips anyone?

And should I get the steel plugs or spring for brass?
 

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Hey everyone,

I put a new rad in my Mark VIII a couple weeks ago, with new G-05 coolant, and of course, yesterday my block heater started leaking pretty catastrophically.

Yes, all Canadian cars have block heaters (and no one ever uses them), so instead of paying $70 for a new block heater, I'm just going to replace it with a 1.5" core plug.

I did this EXACT repair on my t-bird about a year before I scrapped it, so it's a common issue for block heaters to leak. Sigh.

I've had varying success with core plug replacement in the past. Some leaked, some didn't. I usually use blue threadlocker while installing.

Any tips anyone?

And should I get the steel plugs or spring for brass?
I can't speak for replacing the plug itself, but living in northern Minnesota, I use the block heater on any of the cars I have that are equipped with them when the temperature goes below actual 0 (real temp, not that wind chill bull hockey). Makes start up dramatically easier.

Also, I would use brass for the freeze plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can't speak for replacing the plug itself, but living in northern Minnesota, I use the block heater on any of the cars I have that are equipped with them when the temperature goes below actual 0 (real temp, not that wind chill bull hockey). Makes start up dramatically easier.

Also, I would use brass for the freeze plug.
My heated garage makes for easy starts in sub-zero temps >:)
 

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I would just reseal the block heater with a new oring or thread sealant depending on where it is leaking. However if it is long gone or you are tired of having it I usually use a brass plug with a light smear of rtv on it to prevent leaks.
 

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I usually use this Form-a-Gasket stuff .. its yellow, sand the block plug side and the brass plug youre going to install .. put a layer on each till they get tacky, another coat, then install the plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Things have gone from bad to worse. Sigh.

The block heater would not come out at first, (steel + aluminum + 23 years = wicked galvanic corrosion) a friend suggested an air hammer to punch it in the center. The thought of that scared me, so I just used a center punch and a hammer and went to town.

The block heater started to loosen, so I pried on it with a screwdriver between the block and the lip of the heater. Dumb, I know.

Well, I took a chip off of the block, and when I replaced the core plug, it leaked. I'm hoping I just screwed up on the install, but I used permatex form a gasket and let it dry for 4 hours, and it leaked like a sieve.

Here's some pics. Note that the yellow/brown stuff is leftover permatex.

So did I just wreck a perfectly good teksid block? Or is this fixable?

Oh yeah, the punch/chisel went through the heater and made a nice little gouge in the cylinder wall. Man I feel effin stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Anybody?

I'm gonna try a new block heater and goop the hell out of it with RTV...

Is this fixable (without buying a new block)?
 

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As long as you have the right size plug, the hole is clean and the sealant has cured - it shouldn't leak. That spot on the edge shouldn't hurt anything, nor will the spot where you got on the cylinder wall.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Phew. That's good to hear.

I guess I shouldn't be too worried, considering the cylinder walls are like 1/4" thick or more in some places lol.

I've got the block heater now and I'm going to go nuts with RTV and let it set up for 24 hours, then refill.

When I saw that chunk come off of the block it was definitely a pucker moment lol.
 

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One more thing - do not, repeat, DO NOT! - use the socket inside to drive the plug in.

That warps it slightly, and increases the chances of leaking.

You're supposed to use a plug/bearing tool; you can fake it with a small chunk of 2x4 or even a socket that sits on the lip not inside.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Duly noted. I really need to invest in a bearing/seal driver.

I just installed the new block heater (it clamps on the inside of the block with a butterfly-type anchor) and slathered the mating surfaces with high-temp RTV for good measure.

I'm letting it sit until tomorrow night (full 24 hour cure) and then I'll refill the cooling system.

Fingers crossed.
 
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