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Freeze (core/welch) Plug Issues

Moss Motors
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WineCountrySpit Dustin Lee
Napa, CA, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "Baby Blue"
1981 Triumph TR7
Hello Everyone!

Last week, while driving on the highway, the middle freeze plug behind the exhaust manifold blew out and coolant spewed onto the hot manifold which sent up a cloud of white steam. I had her towed home and took the carbs and manifold off. I could not remove the manifold because the previous owner choose to weld the entire exhaust line together, so I secured it as out of the way as I could and am working around it.

I removed the other 2 plugs (because why not) cleaned the holes up with some 400 grit sand paper and ordered 3 new plugs. I choose to order the plugs from Moss Motors because they offered brass ones. When the plugs got here they were of the "cup" style and not the stock "disc" style. The cups will not seat flush into the block due to the shoulder that protrudes into the hole.

Question 1: Are the plug styles interchangeable? Should I just wipe some JB weld onto the plug and hammer it in halfway?

Question 2: The old plugs had corroded quite a bit, and I can feel some "gravel" like pieces in the narrow passage inside the block. What is the best way to flush these pieces out so they do not damage anything or clog the radiator? I cant seem to get tweezers into the tight space and the shop-vac was a no go.

Thanks in advance for any advice!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-06-17 01:12 PM by WineCountrySpit.

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Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
Take all the hangers off the exhaust and see if that helps.

Stuff a shop towel in the hole and use a mini wire wheel in a moto-tool on the rim to remove the burrs and residue.

WineCountrySpit Dustin Lee
Napa, CA, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "Baby Blue"
1981 Triumph TR7
The hangers are not the issue its the fact that I can not remove the headers, but the manifold is out of the way enough to do the work. I already cleaned up the holes in the block by scraping them and then using some 400 grit sandpaper. It worked well and the plugs are ready to install. I just need to know how to remove the debris and if the cup style plugs will work.

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Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
The cup type are fine.

Is there a lot of radiator clogging debris?

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Kind of messy, but I have used one of those valves that allow you to connect a garden hose intio the heater hose pipe. Then with the water flowing out the core plug holes blast in some compressed air down into the block cavities by attatching a small plastic pipe to an air nozzle. Lots of bit will flow out with the water.

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
In reply to # 1464851 by Tonyfixit Kind of messy, but I have used one of those valves that allow you to connect a garden hose intio the heater hose pipe. Then with the water flowing out the core plug holes blast in some compressed air down into the block cavities by attatching a small plastic pipe to an air nozzle. Lots of bit will flow out with the water.

Make sure you remove the cover for the thermostat and the actual thermostat when you flush it to make sure the debris doesn't go into your radiator.

WineCountrySpit Dustin Lee
Napa, CA, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "Baby Blue"
1981 Triumph TR7
In reply to a post by Douglas D Is there a lot of radiator clogging debris?

Yes. Each of the 3 holes has tiny pieces if debris that feels like gravel.


Tony - That's an idea. I have an attachment for my compressor that will probably work, and I'm sure I can find something at home depot to adapt a hose to the heater pipe. I am a little afraid that the water will flush the debris further into the block.

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
You used to be able to get these from your FLAPS for about $2.

There is no further into the block than the bottom of the water jacket. With the core plugs out, water will not flow up to the head, thermostat or top of the radiator.


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tmpass Avatar
tmpass Tim P
Medway, MA, USA   USA
1970 Triumph GT6+ (MkII) "Capo"
1970 Triumph GT6+ (MkII) "Blue Oxide"
The fact that they were in the bottom of the cooling passage probably means they would be heavy enough to stay there... Reassemble and flush the block with the radiator removed and you will be fine.

Unfortunately The only real way to clean out those water passages is with all the core plugs removed and lots of scrubbing and flowing water, like with a bottle brush. The compressed air along with water would probably work well too.

A completely disassembled and inverted block works the best, but I jest.tongue sticking out smiley

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tapkaJohnD Avatar
tapkaJohnD John Davies
Lancaster, Lancashire, UK   GBR
Dustin,
While you're in this, worthwhile to locate and take out the block coolant drain tap, or plug.
It's in the block-side to the rear of the side you are working on.
You may find that nothing comes out! It's the lowest point of the water jacket and crud settles there, but work through the hole with a pointed tool and wire, and you may be able to free up a lot more 'bits'.

Installing a cup-type Welch plug: some sealant, any epoxy is good; select a socket that just fits inside the plug; use that as a drift to knock it in.

John

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
When you eventually refill it use distilled water with your anti-freeze to avoid lime scale.

spitfire50 Avatar
spitfire50 Paul Mugford
Rochester, N.H., USA   USA
Dustin,
What model Spitfire do you have? Disc type core plugs were only used on the Mk1 and Mk2. After that the cup type were stock. Engine blocks machined for disc type core plugs won't accept cup type plugs.
All the best,
Paul

WineCountrySpit Dustin Lee
Napa, CA, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "Baby Blue"
1981 Triumph TR7
Its a spitfire MKII with the disc plugs stock

In reply to a post by Douglas D The cup type are fine.

In reply to a post by Paul Mugford Engine blocks machined for disc type core plugs won't accept cup type plugs.

Has anyone used the cup style in place of the disc plugs? I really just want to use brass.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Yes, a long time ago. I had a Herald with an 1147cc that blew out one of those plugs by the manifold while I was travelling on the M5 motorway near Slough.
belive it or not, I was able to coast off the motorway and into the forecourt of a Triumph dealer.

I identified the missing core plug, and asked if they could replace it.
They told me they could 'book it in' for the following Wednesday!

In the end, they sold me a dish type plug to replace the disc type. I would have been unable to get a disc one in without removing the manifold, but could just about tap the dish in with little blows with the side of a hammer.

I have no idea why the disc plug poped out.

WineCountrySpit Dustin Lee
Napa, CA, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "Baby Blue"
1981 Triumph TR7
UPDATE:

Pulled the drain plug and flushed the block from the thermostat. Blew water everywhere with the compressor, glad I was in the driveway. Drain plug went back in and I poured in some vinegar to help dissolve some of the rusty crap over night. Pulled the drain plug and flushed again. Got the freeze plugs hammered into place today. Put everything back together and filled it with coolant and everything looked good except that the heater pipe was spewing coolant. Pulled it out and realized that the compression fitting was rusted into one unit and when I loosened it to install the freeze plugs the pipe cracked 80% of the way. Cut the corroded end off the pipe, got a new compression fitting from the hardware store and put a new flare on the end. Got a 1" spacer to bring it back to its original length and it all seem to be working out well. Planning a 10-20 mile drive on Friday to make sure everything is good to go.

Thanks again for all your advise everyone!

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