How to Replace the Freeze Plugs on a Dodge Dakota


Dodge casts the engines of the Dakota using sand. The sand is packed into a mold with a void inside that matches the engine, and the pathways through the sand allow the molten iron to flow around, completely filling the mold. The openings to these pathways eventually form the freeze plugs. After the engine is cast, the sand is removed through these holes and they're capped with "freeze plug" expansion joints. The name was given because freeze plugs are designed to fail before the engine cracks if the coolant ever freezes.

Things You'll Need

  • Freeze plug kit
  • Emery cloth
  • Socket or seal driver
  • Sealant
  • Drift
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Get under the truck and drain the coolant by removing the drain plug with the adjustable wrench. Drain the coolant into a pan and put aside. Replace the drain plug.

  • Put the drift on the freeze plug toward the side and tap it with the hammer. The plug should turn inside the freeze plug hole.

  • Take the plug out with the pliers. Sometimes freeze plugs have corroded inside the freeze plug hole. If this happens, punch a hole in the center of the freeze plug with a small screwdriver and pry it out.

  • Rub the emery cloth around the inside of the freeze plug hole to clean it. Remove any residue or dirt.

  • Coat the sides of the new freeze plug with sealant. Gently insert the freeze plug into the freeze plug hole. Hit it around the edges with the hammer, using gentle pressure to seat the freeze plug completely into the freeze plug hole.

  • Fit the sealer head into the freeze plug. The sealer head is designed to fit closely and will push the freeze plug into the block until it is a sixteenth of an inch below the surface of the plug.

  • Replace the coolant and start the engine. Check for leaks.


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