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Discussion Starter #1
My 89 Sundance is loosing coolant. I think it's coming from the bottom of the motor, or the back of the motor between the firewall, but I am not certain. I have a 2.5 gas. Do these have freeze plugs? Any suggestions or help would be appreciated. Could it be a head gasket? if it were, would the car still run ok? I can drive it around like there is no problem at all, except for the fact that the temperature is rising pretty quickly.
 

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There are 3 freeze plugs on the backside. However, more likely is that the coolant tube from thermostat to the intake manifold has rotted, or its rubber hose ends are shot. You can replace it with all heater hose, with a 90-degree barbed copper fitting at the thermostat housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I finally had a chance to crawl under the dance yesterday and it is definately a freeze plug leak. The fluid runs out about as fast as you pour it in.

Now, this leads me to another question...O'Reilley's has an expandable (rubber) type plug that I like the looks of. I think easier in and easier out since the area I have to work in is very tight and I do not have access to a hoist or lift. I can slip this thing in and put a wrench on the outside nut and titghten to expand to fill the hole. I also feel that since the bottom of the motor is full of rust and gunk, this might make up for any impurities that may prevent a good seal.

Any thoughts on these?
 

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Those back freeze plugs are no fun with the motor in the car. My 89 Lebaron had the freeze plug behind the starter leaking. Since I have a lift, I figured it was easier to the motor to fix it, and while I was at it re-seal the engine. The car only had 60k miles on it no rust, just my luck that was the one leaking.
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I would not count on rubber to last more than a few months. The heat, pressure, expansion and contraction and any oil exposure will all work against it. I'd take the hood off, axles out, use a hoist and lift the engine enough to install it. Yes, a LOT of labor, but the only lasting repair.
 

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+1 on Bob's comment. The thermal cycling alone is going to be enough to kill the thing pretty quickly, never mind the oil and road grime. However, if I were you, I would buy a couple of the rubber things to get me through the winter. I live in the Northeast, and even in a garage, fairly straightforward tasks like doing an oxygen sensor become incredibly frustrating when it's cold. Yes, the rubber plugs are a bandaid that will fail pretty quickly, but they might be your best option until you get warmer weather. You'll have to watch your gauges like a hawk, and I would carry a full load of spare coolant, an extra plug, and tools to install it in case the plug fails on the road. Like I said, it's a bandaid and far from an optimal solution, but if it gets you through until you can get the real repair done, it might be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
B10alia, that is exactly how I am aproaching this situation. I am going with the rubber freeze plug at the moment to get me through the winter. I put about 5 miles a day on this car too and from work and that is just about it. A long trip for it would be to my cabin about 65 miles away. I live and work in town, so getting stranded is not really a concern. Once things warm up in spring, I can lift the engine and replace all three of them properly. Thanks all for the input and feedback. Much appreciated!! Merry Christmas!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Installation of freeze plug and new thermostat complete and is holding anti-freeze like a new car! Also gave it a new Synthetic oil change and filter as long is it was on the ramps. Topped off the Power Steering fluid, and this baby is purring like a kitten. I once again have HEAT!!!!!!
 

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89 dance? how hard was it to replace the freeze plug with the engine in the car?
 

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It really can't be done. Properly replacing a freeze plug requires a lot more space than there is in the engine compartment. He put a band aid on it until he can pull the engine and fix it properly.
 

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Hey B10alia, I have been a MOPAR mechanic for over 52 years. I have replaced plenty of 'CORE PLUGS' on FWD cars. It isn't easy but it sure can be done, and properly as well.
 

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I stand corrected. Personally, having no experience with it, I would not want to even try it in the car.
 
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