Proper procedure for turning a nickel into a freeze plug

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Proper procedure for turning a nickel into a freeze plug
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joe Fedullo, Milford MI on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:01 pm:

I was having occasional overheating when it was very hot out and I was doing over 30 mph for extended periods of time. I tried flushing the radiator and block several times and in a last ditch effort to solve the overheating without buying a new radiator, I let the block and rad sit with white vinegar in them for about a week and then flushed everything again. That got a lot of junk out, but I still overheat when hot and cruising over 30.

At OCF yesterday I noticed that one of my freeze plugs is now leaking. I am guessing that the vinegar treatment that ate all the rust from the block and rad also ate the rust that was sealing that freeze plug. I will replace it, and it seems like the best thing to use is a nickel. I have a few questions.

Removing the old plug? I was thinking of drilling a hole in the center with a magnet on the plug to catch the chips and then pry it out with a screwdriver.

Prepping the nickel to become a freeze plug: From what I have read, I should lay it on a socket that just supports the outside and then dimple the nickel by pressing the ball end of a ball peen hammer into it. Sound OK?

Now that I would have a dimpled nickel, some threads say to file the edge to be flat since it would now be at an angle, others do not mention that step. Thoughts? Part of me thinks filing it will have the potential to make it less round.

Next clean the block and add some permatex on the circumference of the nickel and the surface of the block.

Insert the nickel with the high part of the dimple pointing out, and then place the ball end of a ball peen hammer on the center. Strike the ball peen hammer with another hammer and expand the plug until it is snug.

Almost forgot - very important - make sure the head is looking forward, and not upside down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:17 pm:

Why not just buy the right brass plug and be done with it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:20 pm:

Mostly correct. You may need to do a little filing to get the nickel to fit into the hole. Use plenty of goo. Drive the nickel in with a brass drift. A ball peen will make a crater in your nickel. That might work, but is aesthetically verboten. Here are some pictures: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG87.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:22 pm:

Bud, the nickels are cheaper. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:23 pm:

Just smear some JB Weld over it. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joe Fedullo, Milford MI on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:23 pm:

Ken,

From everything I have read, the nickel is supposedly the most robust / corrosion resistant / reliable solution. I have no problem buying the brass plugs, but many suggest against it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 10:43 pm:

Steve,You were missed at the ocf and there sure were a lot of well dressed people in bibs!! My thought has always been if you damage a weak block with a hard nickel the brass might be cheaper?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 11:41 pm:

Are the nickels all that much harder than brass? They bend easily enough when I dimple them.

The OCF is on my bucket list, so I expect I'd better go next year. I should have at least one Model T ready to make the trip by then.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 10:11 am:

1. Just get a nickel out of your pocket. Put it over a socket and put a slight dimple in it with a ball peen hammer. A Buffalo or Jefferson nickel will work just fine.
2. Put JB weld or some type of sealant around the cleaned out hole in the block.
3. Place the nickel in the hole with the dimpled out side facing outwards.
4. Tap in until dimple flattens out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan B on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 10:35 am:

The purpose of a freeze plug in this application is to:

A.) Fill in a hole needed during the manufacturing/machining process

B.) Provide a sacrificial path of low resistance for expansion in order to protect the engine block

C.) Both A and B

D.) None of the above. Please explain.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 10:39 am:

Joe, the proper way is this;

1. Find a nickel.
2. Put it in your pocket.
3. Walk to a hardware store.
4. Select a freeze plug.
5. Hand nickel to the cashier.
6. Walk home.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 10:50 am:

O.K., they cost more than a nickel. They're about $1. You can buy them in brass and even stainless steel.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 11:45 am:

As I collected buffalo head nickles as a kid, I would prefer to use them .... and they just plain look cool! (Yeah, I know ... who can see them?) .....

I helped a couple fellows broken down in Indian River, MI a couple years ago on a tour .. and we did the BHNickle process. As an indian head is on the reverse side .... it seemed more than appropriate at the time!

But ... proper is proper. I was under the impression they were an 'in a pinch' solution.

That being said ... I 2nd Dan B's post, with his questions ....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 11:55 am:

Dan B.

Correct answer is A.

In sand casting the block, the water jackets drain out the sand, and the core holes allow it to come out.

So, those core holes need to be plugged as the water jacket is behind each plug.

Ford Shops: 1915 Operation 23.



The blocks before this the core holes were tapped, and threaded plugs were installed in those early blocks. Never designed to 'pop out' if coolant froze in the block.

Today you can do this, and create a tapped core hole if rust has wrecked those holes. Then place a threaded plug.




My experience is the modern replacement steel disc plugs are rather soft, poor steel, mostly iron, and I have had them rust out in a few years.

The Buffalo nickel trick is OK if you want, but with risk, as the nickel is hard, and pounding in a core plug hole that has already been compromised from rusting of a steel factory plug can cause block damage. A period Buffalo nickel costs about $2.00 or so today, and is 75% copper, and 25% nickel.



I'll always use the convex Brass plug, they will never rust out, and are soft enough to dimple in on driving from the center with a drift punch, and hold fast.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Dugger on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 12:30 pm:

Wait a minute! Is using money to stop a leak "DEFACING U.S /coinage"?

Is that legal to do that, oh maybe in an emergency.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan B on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 12:35 pm:

Dan,

As always, your shared knowledge is much appreciated.

Dan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 01:13 pm:

Bill

You can use coinage anyway you want, as long as the action isn't to defraud the Gov.

Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who 'fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States. This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent. (Source U.S. Mint)

How about a golden penny plated caddy ? :-)




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 01:29 pm:

Dan T., you're paying too much for your nickels. I've never paid over half a buck. I think the ones I got at Hershey were about a quarter. Collectors aren't interested in the ones with the dates worn off, and there are a lot of those.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By george house . . .caldwell county, TX on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 01:37 pm:

I have been advising a Picture Car Coordinator and renting antique cars to him too. One day he called me from about 18 miles away to ask if I had T freeze plugs in my parts loft. I said I had a Folgers coffee can full and he possesses the making of freeze plugs too. Gave him the steps outlined above to his appreciation. Selling him lots of real T parts too!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 09:53 am:

Why would anyone want to put a nickel in place of a proper freeze plug anyway?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 12:19 pm:

Same reason some prefer barbed wire to spark plug wire.:-)

BTW, where are all the self appointed (anointed) Safety Gurus to point out the hazards of striking two hammer faces together?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 01:29 pm:

Hal,

"BTW, where are all the self appointed (anointed) Safety Gurus to point out the hazards of striking two hammer faces together?"

I guess today, that's you! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 03:04 pm:

Not me. I'd do it in a heartbeat and without safety glasses.:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 04:26 pm:

Larry, it's for the same reason that 007 drives an Aston Martin, or that McQueen tried to jump that fence into Switzerland with his motorcycle, or that we wore pink & black in junior high. It's cool.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 05:03 pm:

Actually Larry, why do we even call them freeze plugs? All they're there for is to make it possible to get the sand out of the block after it's cast, right? I guess one will sometimes pop out if an engine is allowed to freeze, but I don't think that that's "REALLY" what they're there for,.....harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 05:08 pm:

Oops,....I didn't read back far enough 'till now to see that you fully explained this Dan,......sorry,......harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 10:27 pm:

Hal, I have a sliver of a hammer head stuck in my forehead about an inch above my right eye. Got it in about 1975 or so while working in a local welding/machine shop. Yes, it came from hitting one hammer head with another. It may not happen every time (I had done it many times myself previously), but it does happen. I haven't done it since then though, once was close enough for me.:-( Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 10:34 am:

I believe the proper name is expansion plugs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Miller, mostly in Dearborn on Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 12:01 pm:

In my neck of the woods these are called Welch plugs and there are also cup plugs. They are never called freeze plugs even though it occasionally freezes here in Michigan.


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