View Full Version : Brass Freeze Plugs for the 430?

05-07-2010, 10:04 PM
Hi All,

I've been rebuilding my 430 MEL in my 60 bird over the past year. I just got to the point of putting water in the motor and lo - one of the freeze plugs replaced by the machine shop in the block has a pin hole in it (passenger side, middle plug). Needless to say I'm ticked. I think they used the steel plugs, which I can find. Does anyone know where to get the brass replacements? I heard they are better.



05-08-2010, 12:40 AM
Hi Steve, I did a search on the Forum, trying to find a source for you, but did not find one yet. However, I did see where my ole buddy Bart said that when they rebuilt his 430, his mechanics said they ALWAYS put brass freeze plugs in. And simplyconnected, and others on here also swear by them. If I find a source, I will let you know, but if Dave or someone else comes on here, they should be able to tell you a source for them. Probably any auto parts store, but I do not know that for sure.

05-08-2010, 12:42 AM
Thanks, I appreciate the help YR

05-08-2010, 12:56 AM
Hey Steve,
Every marine engine uses brass freeze plugs (but they charge an arm and a leg). Brass freeze plugs are ALL OVER California and every Speed shop across the USA. Call a local speed shop. They probably have them on the shelf.

I think your engine takes (6) 1-1/2" freeze plugs. Some places like to sell them in a set for about ten bucks.

I use an engine rebuilder's company (ERSCO) here in Michigan. Call this number (1-800) 253-0401. If I'm right about your size, ask them for part #SP-198. If your plugs are a different size, these people are VERY accommodating. Let them know what size you need. Then ask how much, and how soon you can get them shipped. Let me know how it went. - Dave Dare

05-08-2010, 01:05 AM
Thanks for the info, I'll definitely check it out on Monday and let you know.

Right now I'm in Maryland, going out west again this summer, and would like to have the car running enough to load onto a trailer by then... If I was in Cali now I would bypass the speed shop and have the guys who installed them up fix it at their expense :), but thanks for the idea. I suppose they would say it was not their fault. Hard to know. All I know is that the engine never had water in it before now...

Thanks again for all of the help guys - you rock.

05-08-2010, 01:05 AM
There ya go, Steve! I figured Dave would have a source for them. I was looking for sources still when his post came in. Of the several articles I read in the last few minutes regarding replacing freeze plugs, EVERY ONE of them said to replace them with brass ones because they will not leak or rust...

05-08-2010, 01:29 AM
Looks like you have the correct specs, simplyconnected. Found another cross-reference here:


Thanks again. Probably check your guy first - I like the down home feel.

05-08-2010, 01:31 AM
PS - you have to drill through the part catalog tab on the left to get to the specs...

05-08-2010, 04:43 AM
Steve, I know a leak is really a pain, and a newly rebuilt engine should have NEW freeze plugs, BUT... they're not difficult to get to, they're only ~$1.50/each, and they easily come out with a screwdriver and a hammer. Maybe your engine builder forgot to use a little sealer (but I don't know). I spread a thin coat of RTV in the hole and a little around the freeze plug before tapping them in with a small hammer. Give them 20-minutes to form a skin, then add coolant....Thanks again for all of the help guys - you rock.Yeah, sometimes we use LARGE ROCKS.

05-08-2010, 04:53 AM
Yea, I'm gonna give it a try; thanks for the tips. I got the exhaust manifold off easily (being as I had just put it on), although I had put it on the head first to make my life easier when I installed it. I heard the Indian Head stuff works good for sealant. Re the plug, The sad thing is, the pin hole is right in the middle of it - go figure. They looked replaced when I got the block back. Perhaps it was defective...

05-08-2010, 06:03 AM
Steve, I will answer your question with another question:
If this freeze plug is made from stamped steel (then plated), how can it possibly be defective?

It seems more likely when you remove it, the tell-tale corrosion will bear witness that it is original to the block. I hope I'm wrong. When you have a block stripped and dipped, ALL holes must be open for thorough cleaning inside and out. If they never removed your freeze plugs, you probably have rust surrounding your cylinders, inside the water jackets. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but I never saw a new freeze plug with a hole.

Indian Head is shellac. It works, but I prefer a thin coat of RTV because it never hardens and it is impervious to extreme heat and cold. Be sure your surfaces are CLEAN and oil-free. - Dave

05-08-2010, 11:01 AM
I got my 430cid brass freeze plugs through my local parts house "Main Auto Parts". They had to order them, but it wasn't a hassel at all.

I had to use a high temp sealant on my exhaust manifold bolts too when my engine went back together. :cool:

05-10-2010, 02:31 AM
Hey SC,

Man you're bummin' me out. So I got the plug out (well, in, then out) pretty easily, even at the 30 degree angle I had to work with (thanks for talking me off the ledge :)) and you were right - it had not been replaced. This raises some serious concern for me about the block as you say. Thing was, it was bored and honed. One would think it was cleaned properly first as you say. I'm gonna give the machine shop a call Monday and give them what for, and demand a refund, or else some really bad press will come for them from my way. They came recommended from a guy I knew who worked at an auto store - should have went to the guys who did the '59 ford I had years earlier...

05-10-2010, 03:47 AM
Steve, I said, "I hope I'm wrong". That was for YOUR sake. I don't mean to bum you out, but at least now you are enlightened.

Just a couple months ago, we had a guy in Germany that paid six grand for a tranny overhaul. Turns out they never took it down past the filter! That law suit is going on as we speak.

Two 'wrongs' don't make a 'right'. If you paid to have your block 'boiled', this is STANDARD PROCEEDURE and they should have done it. Sorry for yelling, but I get upset when folks pay their money in good faith, then get ripped off.

Every rebuilder knows, these fifty year-old blocks have fifty year's accumulation of lime and rust. (Case in point; your freeze plugs.) We expect that after fifty years. Some engines overheat so bad from so much junk inside, they get pulled just to have them boiled.

Machine shops around Detroit won't put a block on a mill unless it's clean. Some shops won't bore, unless the block is Magnafluxed for cracks. It's all about proper proceedure and quality work. There is NO sense in doing work on a cracked casting. Too often, we catch poor workmanship after it's too late.

Here's a link to my favorite engine builder, D & S Engine Specialists (http://www.dsengine.com/services/index.html), in Clawson, Michigan. They are a full service facility and they work WITH the customer. Check out their standard proceedure. D&S has bored a few blocks for me. Here's one of them. (http://home.comcast.net/~simplyconnected/59Ford/Engine%20Parts/Block/default.htm) Steve, I should have taken pictures before I primed the block. The brass freeze plugs would have jumped right out at you. - Dave