coolant leak problem on Chevy van. help please
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Thread: coolant leak problem on Chevy van. help please

  1. #1
    Registered User Array Jester666's Avatar
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    coolant leak problem on Chevy van. help please

    Hi
    I've noticed a couple of drops of coolant on the ground every time I park my work van.
    for the longest time I couldn't figure it out, but now I've looked at it just after parking the van when it was still hot, and I think I got it.
    It seems like the leak is on the freeze plug.

    My question is: has anybody ever changed them? What's the procedure, how hard is it?
    I know there are aftermarket brass freeze plug kits that are supposed to be really good, but I've never done it before, so help is most appreciated.
    cheers & happy new year all!

  2. #2
    Yup, bin' on a holiday... Array SkipTkt's Avatar
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    My 2kms: the job isn't too elaborate (pull & replace plug) but it get's fn messy and tedious unless you have small hands and the patience of a saint. You'll also need -to do it right- a blow torch to heat up the area just a bit to properly sink the new plug. Go to Lordco for the kit (got 'm for most engines) and drop the van off at a proper 'old school' auto repair shop. I'd suggest Gord's on Great Northern Way (next to Lordco) or Tremblay Motors on W. 2nd (across from Carter's Granville Island). It's only 1 hr labor (maybe 1.5 if there's a lot of corrosion) done by someone who knows what they're doing.... or an all-day adventure for a first-timer. Call me lazy...
    It's not the number of breaths you take but the moments that leave you breathless.

  3. #3
    Registered User Array Jester666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipTkt
    My 2kms: the job isn't too elaborate (pull & replace plug) but it get's fn messy and tedious unless you have small hands and the patience of a saint. You'll also need -to do it right- a blow torch to heat up the area just a bit to properly sink the new plug. Go to Lordco for the kit (got 'm for most engines) and drop the van off at a proper 'old school' auto repair shop. I'd suggest Gord's on Great Northern Way (next to Lordco) or Tremblay Motors on W. 2nd (across from Carter's Granville Island). It's only 1 hr labor (maybe 1.5 if there's a lot of corrosion) done by someone who knows what they're doing.... or an all-day adventure for a first-timer. Call me lazy...

    Thanks for your input SkipTkt.
    Someone else suggested, I should take this opportunity and put a block heater in, just for the heck of it, since the plugs will be comming out anyways.
    I'll take your advice and take it to my mechanic, I'm not going to mess around with this myself.

  4. #4
    Rock bottom here I come Array Dalma's Avatar
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    The biggest problem is on of access as the motor mount is right in the way.

  5. #5
    Happy Camper Array BlackScorpion's Avatar
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    Freeze plugs on an old car are a pain in the butt. When they're rusty like that, they suck to pull out. Half the time you wind up punching a hole in the middle and using vise-grips to yank out the rest.

    The new plug is bigger than the hole to ensure a nice press-fit....so if you don't have clearance in front of the plug, good luck fitting it in there....and you appear to have a nice motor mount about an inch in front of yours so be prepared for your mechanic to charge you lots.

    On the other hand, one plug I did with little clearance like that, I was able to push in with a crow bar leveraged against the firewall that was about two inches behind it. If you're mechanically inclined, give it a try. Plugs are dirt cheap man.

  6. #6
    Registered User Array dayoff's Avatar
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    Yep, use a socket against the plug and prybar to lever it in. Can be done. Bad news - a small block Chev with rusted out core plugs is telling you it's cooling system is hurting and other core plugs, head gasket, rad, heater core etc. are usually not far behind. Cooling system problems seem to happen in "threes"... good luck!

  7. #7
    Registered User Array Jester666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayoff
    Yep, use a socket against the plug and prybar to lever it in. Can be done. Bad news - a small block Chev with rusted out core plugs is telling you it's cooling system is hurting and other core plugs, head gasket, rad, heater core etc. are usually not far behind. Cooling system problems seem to happen in "threes"... good luck!
    thanks for advice.
    Good news for me is that radiator, heater core and water pump were changed before I got the van.
    Not sure about the head, but it runs like new(other than the leak), so I'm hopefull.

    However, it's on propane and I've heard some opinions about head problems on propane vehicles.

    This one was professionally converted, and it only has 189K kms on it.
    I'm hoping it will last me a long time..

  8. #8
    Happy Camper Array BlackScorpion's Avatar
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    I hear propane engines run really hot and don't last very long because of it. My buddy changed his propane truck back to gas.
    Problem was his was a propane crate motor from gm, so it didn't come with provisions for the mechanical fuel pump (no lobe for the fuel pump on the crankshaft).
    So he wired up an electric fuel pump, changed the carb and after some timing and mixture adjustments...presto! Back on gas with way more power....

  9. #9
    Registered User Array Good old Pete's Avatar
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    I dont wanna come off as anti "company" But you mentinoned its "the work van"
    So I wonder why are you worrying about something that isnt yours and why not tell your boss that repairs are needed asap?

    Remember... the company truck is a company tool "you don't own it and operation requires limited responsibility."
    When speeding run from the cops, it's a lesser infraction.

  10. #10
    Surrey Man Extrordinare Array Mr.Max's Avatar
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    That is a faily common thing on a vehicle that has not seen a lot of maintenece on the cooling system. With that plug you/ or someone, will have to remove the engine mount, jack up the engine as far as possible. remove the old plug, flush out all the rust from the bottom of the block with a pressure hose (water) and re-install a new plug.

    you are looking at about 1.5-2 hours labour and about $10 for parts max. Make sure you have a close look at the other plugs so you are not left stranded one day over a $5 part.
    Cheers,
    -Nick

  11. #11
    Registered User Array Jester666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Good old Pete
    I dont wanna come off as anti "company" But you mentinoned its "the work van"
    So I wonder why are you worrying about something that isnt yours and why not tell your boss that repairs are needed asap?

    Remember... the company truck is a company tool "you don't own it and operation requires limited responsibility."

    I own the van, and use it for work, hence 'a work van'
    Problem is, I just got it 2 months ago, so all the little problems are comming out now, and will in the future.
    I wish I could afford to get a newer one, but..you got to start somewhere, right?

    Thanks for all the advice guys! I'm going to let my mechnic take care of this one.
    I don't want to end up on a hiway in a pool of steaming coolant..
    CHeers
    martin

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