Once I finally had the new clutch assembly on the new engine, along with all the accessories from the old engine, it was time to drop that new to me engine in.We wired the generator and the starter. We put a new fan belt on. Dropped in that radiator. Connected all the hoses and lines. Connected everything to the carb. All systems go, it was time to start her up.
She started! And ran!
And there was small pop and all the sudden a big pool of coolant developed on the ground.
At first I thought we blew out one of our freeze plugs but that wasn’t it. There was a small drain hole at the front of the engine where there wasn’t one before. It was very strange. I managed to stop the giant leak with a spare screw I had laying around that happened to fit, it managed to keep the leak to a minimum until we could figure out what was going on.
After endless hours of searching on the internet about why this hole exists in the engine and where I can find a plug to close it I came up with nothing. I messaged a new Instagram friend, and fellow 1963 F100 owner, April, seeking advice for what this thing was. I saw that she had the same engine and transmission that I had on Betsy because of her awesome YouTube videos, which made me wonder if that drain hole existed on her engine and how it was plugged if it was there.
After sending her a million and one pictures, we finally came to the conclusion that was a drain hole that was supposed to be plugged with a tiny freeze or pressure plug that was 1/4 inch in diameter. The hole was not threaded so it wasn’t a regular threaded plug.
Now came the search for this illusive tiny freeze plug. I called several machine shops in town, none of them had anything that small. I scoured the internet looking to see if anyone even makes pressure plugs that small, and again I came up with nothing. I could not figure it out for the life of me.
Yet again, truck dad Evan came to the rescue. We decided to tap the hole and plug it with a screw and some RTV. After a quick trip to Home Deeps (pro tip: they have really cheap coolant and engine oil in their automotive section), we came out with everything we needed to preform the operation on Betsy’s new heart.
It only took a few minutes, but it seemed to work. We tapped the hole, slowly but surely, squirted some RTV in it and screwed in the right sized screw. I had to wait until the next day for the RTV to dry to add coolant back in and really test our fix.
The next day I was a ball of nerves. I didn’t know how well our fix would hold and I was out of ideas about how to go about fixing this thing. Again I was pushed to my limits, as with every part of this project. Betsy sure needed to test what kind of person I was under pressure before she would let me drive her across the country.
This time, it quickly turned out I had nothing to worry about. Our hack fix worked like a charm and hasn’t given me any problems since.
Now that I could keep coolant in her, I planned to make some final adjustments to make. And that was a whole other adventure…