2005 Chevrolet Suburban • 144,000 miles

A local shop confirmed for me that I have a small leak from the water pump on our '05 Suburban Z71. (5.3L with the "Z" vin #, 2wd) From what I have been able to find researching so far, this looks like a job that I should be able to tackle myself successfully, and I was hoping to get some confirmation here. (I am having the shop replace the oil pan gasket for me today, though.)

My plan is to replace the thermostat at the same time and also the ac belt which is starting to look a bit old and dry. The main serpentine belt looks good and I believe it is newer, but if I can't confirm that from my records, I'll replace it too while I'm at it.

Our Suburban has the two electric fans mounted right behind the radiator, so it has a good amount of room between the fans and the water pump.

I would so appreciate hearing from any of the pros here about any tips, things to watch out for, etc. Oh, one thing I am curious about: should I just go with the gaskets supplied with the new (not remanufactured) water pump or are there any recommendations to use the gaskets plus a thin line of rtv on both sides?

Thanks very much.
October 8, 2013.

This is a straight forward job. Just tag things when you remove them so it is easier to replace them. Also, the gasket that comes with the new pump is fine.

Thanks very much for the reply. A follow-up question on this project: I bought the vehicle used, about 4 years and 60,000 miles ago. Only sometime maybe last year did I ever add any coolant, and I have added some on a couple of other occasions. I "think" that what I've been adding was the regular green variety (pre-mixed). What I'm not at all sure about is what type of coolant was in the truck when we bought it. I had no idea (until starting to research this water pump project) that there were differences or concerns with coolant types. I.E, the whole "Dexcool vs. Regular green" issue and that it might be very bad if the two are ever mixed.

So, what should I go back with since I'm going to drain the system? Assuming that what drains out into the catch pan looks okay (doesn't come out as a soupy mess), will simply draining the system as completely as gravity will allow be fine? . Do I need to blow air through to push out any remaining old (and possibly green/dexcool blend) fluid?

Thanks very much,

Oct 10, 2013.
Luke: I believe all GM vehicles used Dex-Cool on 2005. It should tell you right on the overflow lid. Check that. If it had dex cool in it and you used regular coolant (green type), it can cause a lot of problems. If that is the case, I recommend getting a good cooling system flush and flushing the entire system, both the radiator and the engine block with pressurized water.

Let me know if you have other questions.