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Turned out not to be a frost plug (the only one back there covers the cam shaft) but rather perforations in the aluminum block wall. This was the area exposed only to the torgue converter and transmission. Seems to be a flaw in the casting. I'm checking on "GM quiet recalls". Aluminum wall thickness would be thinner in that area by virtue of the way a casting is made, but there must be other people having the same problem. We are going to try aluminum epoxy, but we have our doubts. It seems to hold a pressure test but the true test will be the elements / heat included.
Wish me luck or it's replacement motor time.
Cheers
 

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That's the first time I've heard of it in that area of the block. I've posted info on the same issue happening on the SIDE of the block to several Northstars with approx. 150K miles.
 
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