Replacing the freeze plugs on my 1914 T

Ross Lilleker built the short block in 2015. I installed it in 2017. To Ross’ credit he used brass freeze plugs. The problem was they were all leaking. It wasn’t just a little bit either, a steady drip was coming from all three. I started by removing the intake and exhaust manifolds. Then to remove the freeze plugs I drilled the center of each with a 3/16" bit then used a tapered punch to lever each one out.

Then I formed new freeze plugs using Liberty nickels. I pounded each one over the end of a ball peen hammer’s round end using a 5/8" socket and an extension.

I carefully cleaned each hole using a wire brush, then several rags soaked with MEK. Then I smeared the inside of each hole with JB Weld. Finally, I hammered the freeze plugs into each hole, and wiped off the excess JB Weld.

Now it looks like an original farmer repair.

The thing is, vintage nickels are a lot cheaper than buying freeze plugs.

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Buffalo nickels came out later. I use Liberty nickels and JB Weld. Much more effective.

How about some 2015 nickels?
They are only 5 cents…

The new nickels are made from steel so they are not as good as the older ones. I paid $9.50 for 6 Liberty Nickels including shipping.

I always figured to use a nickel that was older than the car… that way it would look more like the farmers or mechanic’s pocket chnage… and anything newer would involve time travel. (Imagine looking at your pocket change and seeing a coin from 2028.)

Also, to clarify a misnomer - “Nickels” are an alloy of copper and nickel (cupronickel). If they were steel, they’d rust like a 1943 penny, and used as a “freeze plug” they’d rust out or fall out.