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HELP! How to close/re-insert radiator drain plug

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  • 1 Post By mysterylectricity
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Old 22 Apr 2018, 02:32 pm
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Default HELP! How to close/re-insert radiator drain plug [Solved]

Yet another post about those stupid radiator drain plugs.

A few months ago I drained the radiator. Needed an adjustable wrench to loosen and re-tighten, but otherwise uneventful.

Today I drained the radiator again. This time I was able to use my fingers to loosen. But it seems I backed it out too far: a good half an inch maybe. Now it turns freely in both directions. I can't seem to get any "bite" on the helical threads or whatever. I've tried tapping lightly with a hammer in each of 4 90 degree positions, no go.

I'm about to try tapping lightly in each of 8 45 degree positions. If that doesn't work I'll probably try removing the plug completely and get an inspection mirror up there to see what's going on.

Any tips? Anyone know the "o'clock" position for closing or re-inserting the petcock? I hate to really start pounding on it
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Last edited by mysterylectricity; 22 Apr 2018 at 05:21 pm. Reason: solved
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Old 22 Apr 2018, 02:45 pm
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Default Re: HELP! How to close/re-insert radiator drain plug

It has to be twisted and then pulled partially out in order to drain. And it often sticks. Work it very carefully back and forth until it comes completely out. You may need pliers for this but be very GENTLE. Then lubricated it with Vaseline and put it back in. It should then work great.

I've had to do this on all three PT's I've owned and on my Charger.

Here's a photo of the same thing on my Charger. Same deal as a PT.


Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 22 Apr 2018 at 02:49 pm.
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Old 22 Apr 2018, 05:18 pm
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Default Re: HELP! How to close/re-insert radiator drain plug [Solved}

Oooh excellent photo, I was hoping for one

I got it back in about 5 minutes after posting. I noticed that as I turned and pushed, it just felt different in different positions. As I recall I turned it to the point where there was the least friction, and could sort of feel it go in just a hair's breadth, like it was rocking in a bit of a valley. A few light taps with the hammer and it went in, then a twist or two CW and it cinched up. No leaks (yet).
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Old 23 Apr 2018, 11:19 am
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Default Re: HELP! How to close/re-insert radiator drain plug

You are supposed to twist it 1/4 turn, then the fluid should drain out of the downspout except with my 09, the radiator came with the downspout molded shut as did a replacement that I bought last year. So the only way to drain the radiator is to remove the petcock which unless you know how it's constructed, is very easy to mangle. As Handy shows, the petcock has a hook to prevent it from being removed intuitively because it wasn't designed to be removed, only opened.

If you happen to mangle your plug, go to OReilley or another parts store that has the "Help!" brand carded parts. It's only $5 compared to $8.45 from Chrysler.

The other option is to remove the lower drain hose but be sure to get the spring clamp on correctly when reattaching. If you close the clamp a little too far out, the hose may seem attached firmly but the hose will pop off when the pressure rises to 18 psi and you'll loose all your coolant. Guess how I know?
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