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Old 03-27-2011, 09:00 PM   #1
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rear freeze plug(s) leaking!

My 2003 Rubicon is leaking coolant from the upper rear freeze plug on the back of the engine, close to the firewall. I have been trying all weekend to remove it, but there is just not enough clearance (only about 1") to get it out. I would also like to replace the lower one that is covered by the transmission also. My question is, if I drop the transmission, will that give me enough access to replace both of them? Or does the engine have to be pulled?

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Old 03-27-2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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I have discussed it with friends, some think that removing the head would be best for the one against the firewall, and the one at the flywheel, if not leaking, I would wait for a clutch or a rear end seal issue to replace it.
If anyone has any other ideas I would like to hear it, I recently changed the right side rear plug in mine, it is only a matter of time until the rest will start to leak.

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Old 03-27-2011, 10:56 PM   #3
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thanks, Juan. I might just try to remove trans. this week and see if i can gain access to them. dealer wants $700.00 to do it. ouch
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:58 PM   #4
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Juan - is removing the head time consuming and/or difficult?
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:58 PM   #5
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Oh mercy, that's a problem I hadn't read about before. Is this a common problem with the Jeeps? I have a 2001 6 cyl Sahara and didn't realize this will be something to address very soon. My 20 year old Honda hasn't had any leaks there yet, wonder why a 2003 Jeep would be rusting through already?
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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my fault, I think. did not change the coolant often enough
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:07 PM   #7
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I believe is the crappy plugs chrysler uses... I never had a problem with my 14 year old civic... the head job could be done in a weekend by a capable mechanic, but I don't think removing the trans will give you the room to install the new freeze plug. Just my opinion, I would wait for more posts...
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:10 PM   #8
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yes, i have had a few people say their plugs are problematic
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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have you pressurized the system? I had the same idea, as the coolant was running off the bellhousing, found oil coming from the rear of the valve cover gasket, and it was the last left side plug that was leaking. When I get back home I will post some pics...
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:35 AM   #10
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have not pressurized it, but when I add water to the radiator, you can see
9with a mirror) and feel it coming from the upper rear plug.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:03 AM   #11
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never done it myself,but i was told by an old timer once to(if theres room)put a self tapp'n screw into the freeze plug and pull it out that way using a pry/crow bar.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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Hi 99 jeeper. yeah, I tried that, but even a right angle drill was too large to fit between the head and firewall to drill the screw in. this really bites.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:50 AM   #13
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If your going through all the trouble of dropping the trans why don't you just get an engine hoist and pull the motor up the amount you need to do the frost plugs? Just undo the motor mounts clear away the electrical/hoses and lift it up.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:13 PM   #14
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"Just undo the motor mounts clear away the electrical/hoses and lift it up."

Is it really that easy? It looks there is a lot more to it than that. But if not, I sure would like to replace all of them, as well as the rear seal.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:33 PM   #15
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I have replaced a few of them. My advise if ur going to do it urself is remove the trans and find a way to jack up on the crankshaft slightly just to get the engine to lean back a little to get more clearance. Go ahead and replace all ur freeze plugs, they have all been subjected to the same things. Next, b4 u put the intake/exhaust and trans back on, pressure test ur cooling system and verify none are leaking. It's a full one day job, but it really suxs to have to do it again. I learned that the hard way. They do make a special tool that assures they will install square into the block and heads, it's not necessary, but sure is nice to have. Also spend a few extra dollars and get stainless freeze plugs, they will last a lot longer even when neglected. Ur talking maybe $70 worth of parts max, but well worth to do them all and be done with it.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:28 PM   #16
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Just another place the auto manufacturers are crapping out on us. Considering a $25-$35,000 vehicle, why wouldn't they spend another few bucks and have used SS plugs in the first place? Especially for a cheap part that requires so much labor to replace it.

They put out junk and we just keep buying it. Kind of like the politicians, what they tell us doesn't really mean a thing.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #17
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I would really presure tested first, as I said, this was what I found...
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