Author Topic: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block  (Read 1188 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« on: July 29, 2020, 04:17:58 PM »
As the title suggests, I can't seem to get my screw in freeze plugs to completely seal.  The block is an Aluminum Pond Block with steel pipe thread plugs. No O-ring, just sealed with Permatex Aviation Sealant.  I usually test my systems with compressed air (at 15psi) and spray all fittings, hoses, plugs, etc with soapy water to make sure I'm sealed up.  This particular engine however is giving me fits.  I was able to fix one screw in plugs by cranking the plug a bit tighter but I have two more that have a very small leak.  It will not blow bubbles from around the screw plug, it only foams slowly which means it's a small, slow leak.  After reading some other forums and comments, guys have stated that the leak will subside once the engine heats up and 100% Ethylene glycol will not leak as readily as the air.  I'm not certain about these ideas.  And, the system will leak all the way down to 0 psi air in the system if left overnight.  Any ideas ?  It's already in the car, so do I just fill it 100% with antifreeze and hope for the best ?  I don't want to crank on these plugs any further as cracking the casting would be a tragedy.

blykins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3221
    • View Profile
    • Lykins Motorsports
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 04:35:33 PM »
Why steel plugs?  That will pose a problem once the block is up to operating temperature. 

I'd get the correct plugs from Pond.   

If you want to take a chance, throw some Moroso ceramic seal in, you'll probably want to do that anyway with an all-aluminum engine.
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
Instagram:  brentlykinsmotorsports

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 04:56:58 PM »
Steel plugs is what came with it.  Bought the bottom end already built by Pop's before they went under.  I also had a Genesis FE aluminum block I purchased from Keith Craft about 8 years ago that had Steel Plugs as well.  Never had a problem with that engine though.  I'll give the Moroso ceramic seal if it leaks once I fire it all up, just wanted to get ahead of it right now while I have some stuff out of the way and can easily access the plug in question.  The other side would be a bigger effort and I'm trying to avoid it all.  I'll also call Pond to see about the plugs for backup. Thanks

blykins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3221
    • View Profile
    • Lykins Motorsports
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2020, 04:59:28 PM »
Steel plugs is what came with it.  Bought the bottom end already built by Pop's before they went under.  I also had a Genesis FE aluminum block I purchased from Keith Craft about 8 years ago that had Steel Plugs as well.  Never had a problem with that engine though.  I'll give the Moroso ceramic seal if it leaks once I fire it all up, just wanted to get ahead of it right now while I have some stuff out of the way and can easily access the plug in question.  The other side would be a bigger effort and I'm trying to avoid it all.  I'll also call Pond to see about the plugs for backup. Thanks

Did you go through the bottom end?  Pop's couldn't make a cast iron engine last much less an aluminum one....
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
Instagram:  brentlykinsmotorsports

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2020, 05:24:36 PM »
Yes, I did.  I heard they had problems with their builds so I tore this one apart and re-checked tolerances, clearances, etc.  I didn't re-balance it, just hoping they got that part correct.  I never removed the plugs as I've never had an issue with them prior on other blocks, however this is the only Genesis block I've owned.  Turns out this is a Genesis block so the Pond plugs will not work.  He uses an O-ring type plug and these are large pipe thread type like the original iron blocks.  I also heard GM has some tablets that they used that would seal up their problems with Cadillac blocks. 

blykins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3221
    • View Profile
    • Lykins Motorsports
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2020, 05:29:15 PM »
The Pond blocks I've used have had aluminum plugs with o-rings.  I would want the material of the plug to match the material of the block so the expansion rates are similar.  Seems like you'd be looking for leaks if they were dissimilar metals.
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
Instagram:  brentlykinsmotorsports

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2020, 05:34:06 PM »
Yep, it seems this is a poor design.  I spoke with Pond and they stated that they abandoned this design and went with the O-ring design after about 30 blocks. 

By the way, the Moroso ceramic seal sounded great but they state it doesn't work with antifreeze, which is bizarre.  This car is going to MI so it needs antifreeze in it.  I really don't want to remove all the plugs and replace them with aluminum so I may have to rely on the AC Delco tabs.  I hear they had success with sealing up all their leaking Cadillac engines with these tablets. 

blykins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3221
    • View Profile
    • Lykins Motorsports
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2020, 05:44:13 PM »
Yes, you could do that, or use Bars Leak tablets.   The Ceramic Seal will work, but it has to be water, not Ethylene Glycol.  I think you can let it coat, then switch back to antifreeze. 
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
Instagram:  brentlykinsmotorsports

jayb

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6725
    • View Profile
    • FE Power
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2020, 06:15:46 PM »
The Moroso ceramic seal will work with antifreeze, you just have to have plain water in it while the sealer is in there.  After 24 hours the sealer and water is drained, and you can fill it with whatever you want.  I've had good luck with the stuff.
Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC

   

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2020, 10:40:38 PM »
The Moroso ceramic seal will work with antifreeze, you just have to have plain water in it while the sealer is in there.  After 24 hours the sealer and water is drained, and you can fill it with whatever you want.  I've had good luck with the stuff.

Thanks Jay, I didn't know that.  Would you suggest the Moroso ceramic sealer over the AC Delco (GM) tablets.  I've heard great things about the tablets but haven't used either.  Sounds like you've had good success with the Moroso product and I'm wondering if you've ever tried the tablets. 

BigBlueOvalFan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2020, 11:27:07 PM »
The Moroso ceramic seal will work with antifreeze, you just have to have plain water in it while the sealer is in there.  After 24 hours the sealer and water is drained, and you can fill it with whatever you want.  I've had good luck with the stuff.

It seems Moroso also sells an "All Weather Seal" similar to the ceramic sealer and works with Antifreeze.  Wondering if you've tried that and had any success. Not sure it's a ceramic though.


427Fastback

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 525
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 02:25:00 AM »
I am a machine fitter and have been for many years....Aluminum expands at 3 times the rate of steel....Steel plugs in a alloy engine is just  problem in my opinion.......JMO......Cory
1968 Mustang Fastback...427 MR 5spd (owned since 1977)
1967 Mustang coupe...Trans Am replica
1936 Diamond T 212BD
1990 Grizzly pick-up

jayb

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6725
    • View Profile
    • FE Power
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 07:16:42 AM »

Thanks Jay, I didn't know that.  Would you suggest the Moroso ceramic sealer over the AC Delco (GM) tablets.  I've heard great things about the tablets but haven't used either.  Sounds like you've had good success with the Moroso product and I'm wondering if you've ever tried the tablets.

I've never tried the All Weather Seal or the tablets, so I can't comment on those...
Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC

   

cjshaker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3839
    • View Profile
Re: Screw in freeze plug issue on Aluminum FE block
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2020, 08:02:44 AM »
When using the Moroso Ceramic Seal, it's my understanding that the block needs to be flushed a couple of times to remove any antifreeze residue remaining inside. I just bought a bottle in case I decided to try it on my engine, just as a band-aid to get through the year.
Doug Smith


'69 R-code Mach 1, '65 427 MR, 2x4, 4-spd, 4.30 Locker
2 1965 Galaxies with 390s
1970 F-350 390
1958 Ford Ranch Wagon 390