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Old 08-30-2011, 07:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default block heater freeze plug frost plug

I have a 1998 Taurus SE, and I'd like to install a freeze plug / frost plug block heater. (Which is the correct term?) I've searched the site and can't find any posts with information about installing one.

I've attached a couple of pictures of what I think is a freeze plug next to the oil filter. The pictures are taken from under the car while on ramps and the bottom of the pictures are the front of the car.

Question 1: Is it a freeze plug?

Question 2: Is this the best place to install one of those block heaters? (it's the only easily accessible one I've found)

Question 3: Does anybody know an exact part number? (All I've found is a Zerostart brand part number 3100002)

If this seems like it will work for me, I'll take pictures as I go through the install process and write up an install guide to post on this site.

Thanks in advance!
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block heater freeze plug frost plug-copy-taurus-freeze-plug-001.jpg   block heater freeze plug frost plug-copy-taurus-freeze-plug-002.jpg  
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemonkeysd View Post
I have a 1998 Taurus SE, and I'd like to install a freeze plug / frost plug block heater. (Which is the correct term?) I've searched the site and can't find any posts with information about installing one.

I've attached a couple of pictures of what I think is a freeze plug next to the oil filter. The pictures are taken from under the car while on ramps and the bottom of the pictures are the front of the car.

Question 1: Is it a freeze plug?

Question 2: Is this the best place to install one of those block heaters? (it's the only easily accessible one I've found)

Question 3: Does anybody know an exact part number? (All I've found is a Zerostart brand part number 3100002)

If this seems like it will work for me, I'll take pictures as I go through the install process and write up an install guide to post on this site.

Thanks in advance!
I don't think that's a block plug. The block heater should be a plug, there will be a wire going to it, or there will be a fitting for one on it. It has a little element on the otherside of the plug.



You should be able to get them at most parts stores, at least in my area. Mine went bad last winter, I called up ford and they wanted $30ish for a replacement plug (I think) . I just bought a regular old plug and hammered it in.

I could always be wrong though.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry for the confusion. I'm asking if that is the plug I remove to install the block heater.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemonkeysd View Post
I have a 1998 Taurus SE, and I'd like to install a freeze plug / frost plug block heater. (Which is the correct term?) I've searched the site and can't find any posts with information about installing one.

I've attached a couple of pictures of what I think is a freeze plug next to the oil filter. The pictures are taken from under the car while on ramps and the bottom of the pictures are the front of the car.

Question 1: Is it a freeze plug?

Question 2: Is this the best place to install one of those block heaters? (it's the only easily accessible one I've found)

Question 3: Does anybody know an exact part number? (All I've found is a Zerostart brand part number 3100002)

If this seems like it will work for me, I'll take pictures as I go through the install process and write up an install guide to post on this site.

Thanks in advance!
What kind of engine is that? I'm thinking duratec, but I can't tell for sure. How large is the plug you're pointing in to picture? I think the plug for the block heater is well over an inch. Whatever that is in the picture looks threaded, with a hex head. If it was, it would be a threaded block plug? I'm not sure so that's what you need.

They are (from what I've seen) usually installed towards the middle of the engine block. I would look under the exhaust manifold, or around that area. You might even have to remove the exhaust manifold to install it.

Here's where mine was installed (left is top, right is bottom):



This is what plugged into it:



I think I need to buy a gasket set, something is leaky.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The VIN Decoder on this site says my engine is the 3.0L DOHC V6 Duratec. The plug in my pictures is about 1" diameter. The hex head is approximately 12mm (my largest hex wrench is 10mm, and it is too small, so I'm guessing it's 12mm).
The block heaters I've found online have threads, so that's why I believe I've found the correct spot. I think I unscrew the plug with the hex wrench, then screw in the block heater.

Last edited by lovemonkeysd; 08-31-2011 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So, does anyone have a duratec with a block heater here? There must be someone.

It could be, but I've never seen one on a duratec, so I'm not sure.
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Old 09-03-2011, 05:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a Duratec on an engine stand waiting to be dropped into my 97 Sable and I can't find one traditional freeze plug on it. I to see lots of threaded plugs with a allen heads. Perhaps Ford went with the threaded plugs due to the different expansion rates of brass/steel freeze plugs and the aluminum block and wanted to prevent the occurence of leaks? If anyone can take a pic of a traditional freeze plug on a Duratec, I'd like to see one.

Napa sells the Balkamp 6051608, which is a thread in type and the location is given as "front, right hand side" which sounds like it would be placed right above the oil filter. That would be the same location as shown in the OP's post. the Balkamp heater has heat protective wrap on the cord, which would indicate that it would be close to the exhaust manifold, which that threaded plug would be if it were the proper one.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just to update my post, I was unable to get that threaded plug out because it has some sort of thread lock compound. I took the car to a mechanic, and he verified that is one of the places to put in a block heater. Another place is near the top rear of the engine, and it has the same type of threaded plug. I was going to have the mechanic put in a block heater for me, but he said he has about 12 customers with Ford Tauruses and hasn't had a problem with them starting in the winters here (SD). He actually talked me out of having him install a block heater. If I have starting problems this winter, I'll be taking it to him to put one in.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, you probably don't need to plug in your block heater unless it sits outside and it's less than 10F at night. My car started decently when left out on some -5F nights. Just let it warm up until it drops to curb idle (~700 rpm) and take it easy on it until the temp gauge starts moving.

The weakest link in the system will be the battery. If you have decent battery it should start even if it's -20F. You might also want to go with a semi/full synthetic 5W30.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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+1 on the battery. A float charger will help maintain the battery's charge and prolong the battery's life. A good float charger cost around $20-$30 and some of them come with a cig lighter adapter so if you have a garage you can leave the window down and plug it in. If you get one make sure it has the leave on battery plug.
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