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Old 01-04-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
54greg
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Default 66 Aluminum Intake Plug Stuck

Any suggestions on how to remove a plug someone put in my heater hose hole without damaging the intake?
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:18 PM   #2
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I have removed about 10-15 plugs in aluminum manifolds. I just carefully heated the manifold around the plug area with a toarch without heating the plug. It has always worked for me without damaging the threads in the manifold. Just don't over tork the plug. If heated enough it should remove easily if not heat it some more. Good luck Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54greg View Post
Any suggestions on how to remove a plug someone put in my heater hose hole without damaging the intake?
Like you said, this is only a suggestion.

Try heating ONLY the plug.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:34 AM   #4
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Production engine shops have a technique they use to remove stuck plugs in old core engines coming in for rebuild.
They hit the plugs with the torch and touch wax to the plug while it is hot. The wax is drawn in and down the threads just like solder on a copper pipe joint. Once this is done the plug screws out with no issue at all. You can buy wax at the grocery store if needed or use an old candle. Don't go crazy with your heat and all works out great.
These guys tear down hundreds of engines every month and this has proven the most efficient and eliminates lost time fighting broken plugs.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:55 PM   #5
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Any issues using the heat and wax idea while the intake is mounted on the engine?
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54greg View Post
Any issues using the heat and wax idea while the intake is mounted on the engine?
Yup, keep the torch away from the carb.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #7
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Yup, keep the torch away from the carb.
I was hoping your manifold was cast iron which can take more heat without issue, be careful as noted by master Dave and remember Aluminum will disort more with the heat than iron. Don't heat the plug heat the surrounding maniold, the idea being to expand the manifold with heat, draw wax into the space around the threads created with the heat then extract the plug. Do this process quickly before the manifold transfers the heat to the plug. Once the plug expands it will grow making removal more difficult. Once the wax is drawn in you can remove the plug quickly or after it cools. The wax works as a lubricant.
Watching the tear down crews that use this process every day they hit the area with the torch for 10 to 15 seconds, wax the plug, you can watch the wax pull in then they move on the the next plug. down the line they are pulled out.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlotorn View Post
I was hoping your manifold was cast iron which can take more heat without issue, be careful as noted by master Dave and remember Aluminum will disort more with the heat than iron. Don't heat the plug heat the surrounding maniold, the idea being to expand the manifold with heat, draw wax into the space around the threads created with the heat then extract the plug. Do this process quickly before the manifold transfers the heat to the plug. Once the plug expands it will grow making removal more difficult. Once the wax is drawn in you can remove the plug quickly or after it cools. The wax works as a lubricant.
Watching the tear down crews that use this process every day they hit the area with the torch for 10 to 15 seconds, wax the plug, you can watch the wax pull in then they move on the the next plug. down the line they are pulled out.
what a great tip!!....
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #9
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I've removed a half dozen or so steel plugs out of aluminum manifolds. I always heated the steel on the logic the steel would expand a lot less that the aluminum. Also thinking that keeping direct heat off the aluminum would help keep the aluminum threads from tearing out.

That always worked for me. I never tried the wax trick as I have had an opportunity to try it since I first heard of it. People say it works well though.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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If you have access to an industrial grade electric heat gun - it is safer to use around the carb and fuel lines - with the same effect as the torch. A couple of light taps directly on the plug may help loosen it too, after it is heated and waxed (never thought I would ever need to wax a plug!). Ed
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:49 PM   #11
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I can't wait to see if the wax works. I have had that advise for years and have never been able to get it to work.

If it doesn't work, you might have to pull the manifold and drill the plug out.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I can't wait to see if the wax works. I have had that advise for years and have never been able to get it to work.

If it doesn't work, you might have to pull the manifold and drill the plug out.
I've tried the wax trick a number of times, and never had any success. Drill out and re-tap works good for me if I just can't get them out any other way.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Any issues using the heat and wax idea while the intake is mounted on the engine?
I'd say the coolant needs to be below the level of the plug or it will never get hot enough with a torch.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:53 PM   #14
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Good point on the Coolant being present. The production shops work on cores that are always empty of coolant and oil.
Although I have seen the trick used many times observing customers do their job I have not needed to use it on any I have worked on, knock on wood.
Hope it works the first time around.
Mike, I bet your use of the torch on the plug caused expansion which broke the rust bond and aluminum does expand more than Steel.
I wonder if the wax trick will losen my Frame to body mounts? Might be worth a try?
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:51 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the input

Heat and wax method used. Plug broke. Looks like its the drill and tap for me

Last edited by 54greg; 01-05-2012 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Sp
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:46 AM   #16
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I wish it had worked, curious if you saw the wax draw in? Whenever I watched the process you could visibly see the wax pull into the threads as the guy touched it to the plug.
First saw this used at AER a very large rebuilder in Dallas TX. At one point they rebuilt close to 50,000 engines a year. They supplied GM and Ford with a lot of the aftermarket engines and warranty replacement engines. They were the largest rebuilder in the US in the late 90's.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:18 AM   #17
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Thanks for the tips.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54greg View Post
Thanks for all the input

Heat and wax method used. Plug broke. Looks like its the drill and tap for me
which plug is it??....if the one for the temp sender, or one close to the t-stat, you don't have to pull the manifold.....
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:34 PM   #19
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Yes I did see the wax pull in.

Its the one next to the thermostat.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54greg View Post
Yes I did see the wax pull in.

Its the one next to the thermostat.
i would try this approach....drain the coolant and remove the stat and housing, pack two small rags, not paper towels, to close off the water runners but leave open under the plug so the drill bit will not tangle them....drill away and when finished use a shop vac and a magnet to remove the shavings....remove the rags and youre done....good luck...

you should be able to access all this from the t stat opening in the manifold.....
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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