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Old 01-03-2015
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Coolant leak - drivers side

I have a 2002 Ranger with 3.0 V6 and there is a coolant leak on the drivers side of the engine. Coolant seems to be dripping out of a small hole on the engine block. Is this one of the freeze plugs? The manual I have says nothing about the freeze plugs or their location. The hole doesn't look like it is threaded.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-03-2015
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If coolant hasn't been changed on schedule Core Plugs(freeze plugs) will often rust from the inside out and start to leak.

These holes in the block are from when it was cast, hot metal poured into sand mold.
The holes allow the sand to be removed after the "core" cools down.

No, they are not threaded, a plug of the correct size is hammered/pressed into the hole at the factory, to seal the block for coolant.

If one of these plugs is leaking then it will need to be removed, you can often make the hole bigger and use a screwdriver or pry bar to bend it out.

You can replace it with a Rubber expansion plug of the correct size.
The rubber ones are easier to install because you can use a wrench to tighten them in place instead of a hammer.
Factory uses the metal expansion plugs for one reason only........they are cheaper, and in most cases will last the life of the engine.
So it isn't a case of which is "better" it is which is easier to use in your driveway.

Any auto parts store will have the rubber expansion plugs.


And just FYI, some of the "freeze plugs" will pop out if engine freezes, but that would NOT save the block from being cracked if it froze solid, lol, popular myth on why those holes are there.

Last edited by RonD; 01-03-2015 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 01-03-2015
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Thanks for the information. The coolant has been changed regularly, but it does have 215,000 miles on the engine. I will look for the expansion plugs at the auto parts store.
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Old 01-04-2015
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If it is a core plug leaking and you have been changing coolant every few years then I would test for electrolysis in the system.
Electrolysis is a chemical/electrical reaction that eats away metal in the cooling system.
It will cause leaks, eat away water pump impeller and generally corrode inside of engine parts.
Easy to test for it

Google: cooling system test for electrolysis
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