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Thread: Cost to pull transmission

  1. #1
    Scott sconnors's Avatar
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    Cost to pull transmission

    Hi Guys
    Pretty sure my anti freeze leak on my 1950 Buick Special with a 248 is the rear freeze plug in the engine. Mechanic says the transmission needs to come out to get to it. Anyone have any idea how much it should cost to pull the transmission, fix the freeze plug and put it back in? I don't have the place to do it myself, so I'm going to have to pay someone to do it and I don't want to get screwed.
    Any input would be GREATLY appreciated
    Scott

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    Driver Owner JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    I might recommend leaving the tranny in, and pulling the engine instead. While your at it, change all the plugs. But I never had one of these straight eights, and I do not know if the engine can be pulled separately.

    John C. De Fiore BCA # 3757
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Scott; Has you had the coolant system pressure tested, if not, it may be in your best interest to have that done first to be absolutly sure of where the leak is comming from, also GM makes a real good cooling system sealer that does'nt gum things up like bars leak, I've had good luck over the years using them to stop minor irritating leaks, they can be bought at any GM dealer, just ask for GM cooling tabs and follow the instructions.
    Don
    1947 56C

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    Scott sconnors's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Don,
    I'm bringing the car in to the mechanic this weekend to see if a) he can identify the leak, and b) get an idea of the price to fix it. Sounds like this might be a good fix I'll certainly look into them. Would they stop the freeze plug leak?

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    Scott sconnors's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Well here's a consnesus of input I've received so far:
    Most people tell me that if it's the rear freeze plug, it's going to require either a) pulling the engine, or b) pulling the transmission to fix it. I have heard from some people that pulling the transmission will not work because the freeze plug is too high up on the engine.

    Another bit of input I've received is to cut a 4-6 inch hole in the firewall to access the freeze plug and replace it and then weld it back into place once it's fixed.

    Yet another piece of advice is to put GM cooling tabs in and see if that stops the leak.

    I've heard that if I pull the transmission it's going to be a huge expense because the rear end has to be pulled to get the transmission out.

    Looking for any other input people may have or feel free to weigh in on the options listed above.
    Thanks
    Scott

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    Proud BCA Member buick5563's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    If it can't be accessed with the trans in, I would think it would still be difficult with the engine in the car. My vote is pull the engine and do all of the plugs. Then you can paint it, too.

    Where is the stinkin' pulling the thread on the sweater gremlin???
    Mike Middleton

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    Ben Bruce BCA# 44599 First Born's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    HI Scott.
    After reading ypur PM and this thread, something kept bugging me. Well, I finally snapped and started revirwing my pictures of my engine rebuild. Discovered something we all should have caught on to from the start, Unless I am blind, or my picture is lying, THERE IS NO FREEZE PLUG IN THE BACK OF THE BLOCK. So, if a leak is back there, tha one in the head is suspect. A lot simpler.

    Ben
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    Driver Owner JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Bruce, good catch. That's why I love this board...

    John C. De Fiore BCA # 3757
    56 Super 56R: acquired September 1974 :D
    69 GS 400: Convertible Added in 2003 :rolleyes:
    69 Electra Limited 2 dr. bought 1995 or so. Sold March 2009!
    78 Estate Wagon: added 10-2008 :cool:
    95 Riviera Supercharged: added May 1998. Sold September 2006
    06 Lacrosse CXL Purchased July 4th 2006. Traded in Aug 2013
    2013 Regal GS acquired Aug 2013 ( thanks to the La Crosse)

    "Yes! I'd really rather drive my Buick!"

    Member of the UPSTATE NY CHAPTER
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Scott; checked a few things out today and came to the same same conclusion as ben, I believe the only freeze plug at the rear of the engine is in the head, if the engine is original there is a petcock drain at right rear lower side of the engine, this could also be the source of your leak,it's hard to see, on my car [a 47] it is located behind the vacuum advance unit on the distributor, at some point someone my have replaced it with a pipe plug but it still my be leaking and it is in the area you say your leaking from, but it would be best to pinpoint the leak before you take any hard parts off or out of your car.

    Don
    PS In our shop we use florescent dye and a black light to find difficult leaks, you put the dye in the coolant and warm the engine up, shut it off and shine the black light over the engine hoses etc.if there is a leak the dye makes it easy to see, you may be able to buy the dye and rent a light at your local parts store.
    Just an after thought
    Last edited by sledheader48381; August 24th, 2010 at 16:42. Reason: additional thought

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    Proud BCA Member buick5563's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD1956 View Post
    Bruce, good catch. That's why I love this board...
    Exactly!!!
    Mike Middleton

    http://www.midtownrestorations.com
    Regional Co-Director South Central Region BCA
    Vice Director Alamo Chapter BCA
    Assistant Chairman BCA Driven Class

    1955 Special 2 dr. sedan (BCA Gold Senior Driver)
    1955 Century convertible (Updates at Me and My Buick http://forums.aaca.org/f163/55-centu...ct-272999.html)
    1955 Century Estate Wagon (Driven Hard and Fast)
    1948 Buick powered hot rod
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    Scott sconnors's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Okay guys,
    Received the following information from someone on another board today. Please take a look at let me know your thoughts:

    The freeze plug on that block is on the back of the cam shaft and covered by the bellhousing. So when looking at the engine it's on the passenger side just below the cover that covers the push-rods.
    An expansion plug won't work.. there is only about 3/8" space behind the freeze plug and then you have a turning cam shaft.

    Pulling the trans and rear end is NOT easy on one of those, did one a few weeks ago and they are made to stay in the car.. The 3 crossmembers are all in the way, some thin paper gaskets between everything.. messy to say the least.

    Drilling a hole in the firewall won't work, unless you are planning to also drill a hole in the bellhousing/clutch/pressure plate or torque converter.

    Pulling the engine is a lot of work on one of those, because the engine is so long and heavy you pretty much need an a-frame, cherry picker won't handle it too well. And it's hard to do with the hood on.

    So I guess what I'm saying, no matter what you decide to do, it's going to be hard. My advise (and yes I've done this before) is to pull the engine.
    I've attached a picture of a bare block so you can see where the freeze plug is. Mine is still out (it was leaking ;-)

    One more thing I forgot to mention.. This motor has a chicken/egg problem that's no fun to work around. This is true for a manual car, not sure about the automatic trans setup. You can't remove the bellhousing with the flywheel in place and you can't remove the flywheel with the bellhousing on the engine.

    The flywheel has to come of first as there are bolts behind it that hold the bellhousing on. The only way to take the flywheel of is while it's attached to the crankshaft. So, you have to pull the crankshaft/flywheel assembly (2 man job!!) before you pull the bellhousing and can get to the plug.

    Replacing that freeze plug requires you to take the whole engine apart.

    Also, if you are leaking coolant it's not the freeze plug at the back of the engine, which only holds in engine oil.
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    Driver Owner JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    It appears the writer is refering to a core plug at the end of the oil galley, not a core ( freeze) plug for the coolant. The picture Ben included shows that the bell housing is in the lower skirt of the block and it appears that the antifreeze/coolant would be above the top line of the bell housing.

    Note: I never personally inspected or owned one of these so I definitely could be wrong. But it would not make any sense to have a core plug for coolant right behind the end of the cam shaft.

    John C. De Fiore BCA # 3757
    56 Super 56R: acquired September 1974 :D
    69 GS 400: Convertible Added in 2003 :rolleyes:
    69 Electra Limited 2 dr. bought 1995 or so. Sold March 2009!
    78 Estate Wagon: added 10-2008 :cool:
    95 Riviera Supercharged: added May 1998. Sold September 2006
    06 Lacrosse CXL Purchased July 4th 2006. Traded in Aug 2013
    2013 Regal GS acquired Aug 2013 ( thanks to the La Crosse)

    "Yes! I'd really rather drive my Buick!"

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    Ben Bruce BCA# 44599 First Born's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    I agree with John. In fact the writer clarified this in his last sentence. And he is wrong about the flywheel,bellhousing, crank. I did not have to do that.
    Scott, you really need to locate the leak!! I know, easier said than done. Like some one said earlier, a pressure test might show the culpret. A radiatorhop should be able to perform this for you. Do you have a picture of where you think it is coming from.

    Ben
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Well I'm putting the car up on ramps and am going to attempt to identify the leak tomorrow morning. I'm still dropping it off to the mechanic Monday to see what he comes up with but tomorrow I'm going to see what I can find. I'll try to take some pictures and keep everyone posted. I'm so glad there's guys like you around and this forum is great!!

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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Well guys I put the Buick up on ramps this morning. Wiped everything clean, spread newspapers underneath and let her sit. No leaks. Then I started her up and let her run for awhile and get up to temperature and then shut her off and watched for leaks. I think I found the leak! It appears to have been coming from a new frost plug that was put in. It seems that the nut on the end had loosened a bit and anti freeze was running down the block, onto the oil pan and dripping beneath the car. I've attached some pics.
    Let's hope that's it!
    Thanks for everyone's help and input it was as always greatly appreciated
    You guys are the best
    Scott
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    Driver Owner JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    This brings up a good question, for those with experience. Any information on how long one of these expandable core plugs is good for?

    John C. De Fiore BCA # 3757
    56 Super 56R: acquired September 1974 :D
    69 GS 400: Convertible Added in 2003 :rolleyes:
    69 Electra Limited 2 dr. bought 1995 or so. Sold March 2009!
    78 Estate Wagon: added 10-2008 :cool:
    95 Riviera Supercharged: added May 1998. Sold September 2006
    06 Lacrosse CXL Purchased July 4th 2006. Traded in Aug 2013
    2013 Regal GS acquired Aug 2013 ( thanks to the La Crosse)

    "Yes! I'd really rather drive my Buick!"

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    Ben Bruce BCA# 44599 First Born's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Well, I know I have not seen everything, but that is a new one on me! An expandable freeze plug? With a nut?? Don't believe it is standard Buick. Good news is that it is accesable. Installing a new plug should be a snap.

    Ben
    1995 Park Ave
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Those rubber replacement plugs have been around for a while.They are meant to be a quick fix when one doesn't have the time for a more permanent solution and for when there's no room to swing the hammer with the propper tool to install the original type of plug without getting the engine out.They work in a pinch.

    They are tapered rubber plugs with a hole through them to allow for the bolt.There is an external washer as well as one on the other side which is threaded,thigtening the bolt will expand the diameter of the rubber plug thus creating a seal around the orifice being plugged.They work.I have used them on two engines before(non Buicks) until I was able to use the permanent plug.

    You may just need to tighten the bolt one or two turns to get rid of the leak.The outer washer shoud have the size stamped on it,I would buy another one as a spare.They only cost a couple of dollars and you can find them at most generic auto parts stores.

    I would suggest you give some thinking about hiring that mechanic for any work on your vehicle if in fact that is the only place that coolant is leaking from.Either he's blind or is trying to get some money from you in the worst way.That is just my opinion but your pictures are very clear,he must have seen that.

    Good luck with it.
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Perhaps the mechanic's estimate was based on pulling the engine and fixing the problem CORRECTLY ?
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Personally I would consider rubber freeze plugs a temporary fix until the correct repair can be made. [A real freeze plug]

    Don
    1947 56C

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    Proud BCA Member buick5563's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    I agree with the last two posts. If you ARE going to keep a temporary plug, you should buy a new one: What happens if you tighten the nut and it snaps?
    Mike Middleton

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    Ben Bruce BCA# 44599 First Born's Avatar
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    Re: Cost to pull transmission

    Restorer32, that engine can have all the freeze plugs replaced without pulling the engine. May have to remove the accessories, put should be a simple repair.
    And I would probably do just that. Remove the manifold on that side, and whatever needed on the other, remove all six plugs and flush as well as possible. Not as good as removing the engine, but ever little bit helps.

    Ben
    Last edited by First Born; August 27th, 2010 at 20:54.
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