We are a team of ASE certified mechanics that have created this guide to help
you save money while doing the job yourself, or at least see what you are paying
for when having the job done at a shop. A
water pump is bolted
to the front of the engine block or timing chain cover and is driven by a
serpentine belt, timing belt or timing chain which you should consider servicing
at the same time. A water pump and coolant pump are the same thing, the following
guide is performed on a rear wheel drive vehicle.
What Goes Wrong?
When a water pump goes bad
it can do so in three different ways, the pump shaft seal can fail allowing
coolant to leak from the pump's weep
hole causing the the engine
to overheat, The second failure is the shaft bearing will fail causing a grinding,
rumble or squeaking noise. The last way a water pump can go bad is if the impeller
either falls off or deteriorates failing to circulate the coolant throughout the
engine and radiator. A water pump will typically last between 70,000 and 110,000 miles.
What's the Cost?
Labor time will vary due to the configuration of the vehicle. The determining
factors are, front or rear wheel drive, and if the water pump is driven by the
timing belt or timing chain, these jobs can take longer because parts of the engine must
be taken apart. A new water pump can cost between $65.00 and $130.00 on Amazon or
the local parts store. If exact times or procedures are needed you can
ask our experts to supply you with the information
(free), or consult an online resource such as AllData DIY (pay) but this guide and
video will be sufficient in most cases.
Let's Jump In!
Start with the engine cool, and the vehicle on level ground.
Raise and support the vehicle
using jack stands, use latex gloves and protective eyewear. Slowly loosen the radiator or reservoir cap to relieve any residual pressure
inside the cooling system, this will also allow the system to drain more rapidly.
The engine coolant
should be drained to avoid spillage when unbolting the pump from the
or timing cover. Use a fluid catch basin, and open the radiator drain valve or
remove the lower radiator hose. (Keep coolant away from animals).
It's a good idea to
the battery to ensure there are no accidental electrical short circuits
To help gain access to the water pump a few parts will needed to be removed
first, such as plastic covers to help uncover the engine.
Use a hose clamp tool to remove the
upper radiator hose, a pair of
channel locks can do the job as well.
Remove the mounting bolts that hold the upper fan shroud to the radiator,
also to the lower part of the shroud. In some cases the fan shroud is one piece, you will be able to remove the shroud completely once the fan blade
A cooling fan may be connected to the water pump, some cars use an
electric fan which will be attached to the radiator shroud and will come out in one
piece, in this example the fan is mounted to the water pump. A water pump pulley
holding tool is necessary to keep the pulley from turning while
loosening the clutch fan. You can
rent this tool at the local auto parts store,
watch this video to see how to
remove the fan clutch.
Fan Clutch Removal Tool
Use your cell phone to take a picture of the serpentine belt routing, then locate the
belt tensioner which is spring loaded, apply downward pressure to
release the belt from the pulleys,
in this case we use a 1/2 inch ratchet.
In this case, the water pump pulley must be removed before the water pump.
The pulley must be held in place to remove the mounting bolts which is done
by wedging a large standard (flat blade) screwdriver between the bolts and the
center thread. Use a socket or wrench to loosen and remove the bolts and pulley,
(Some manufacturers press the pulley onto the water pump which cannot be removed,
skip this step).
Please watch this video of the job being done, then continue down the guide
to glean additional helpful information.
The water pump mounting bolts are now exposed, there may be additional hoses
or brackets that will need to be removed depending on the design.
Locate the mounting bolts that hold the water pump to the engine block
or timing cover, use a socket or wrench to remove the bolts, turn
counterclockwise, take note on which bolts come out of which location
because some bolts can be different lengths that can create problem during reassembly.
Make sure all water pump mounts bolts have been removed,
gently tap the pump using a small hammer to break the seal which will enable
the pump to be removed from its location, a small amount of coolant will also
be released so have your fluid catch pan ready.
Firmly grasp the water pump and wiggle it loose, be careful no to drop it
because it could roll into the radiator damaging it.
Remove the new water pump from the box and match it to the old pump, check
the mounting flange for the fan clutch and the gasket surface, they should be
identical. A new gasket or O ring will be included with the new pump, this will
help seal the pump to the block or timing cover and avoid leaks.
Install the new gasket or O ring seal while making sure not to damage the
integrity of either the gasket or the seal, this step is important because it
can cause a leak.
Before the new water pump can be installed the sealing surface must be
prepared, this is done by using a gasket scraper or razor blade to remove
old gasket making the surface as clean as possible. Use a shop towel and wipe away
any dirt and grease from the area until the metal is clean and smooth.
Use a small amount of gasket sealer (silicone rubber) while mounting the
gasket to the pump. Lower the new water pump down into the engine bay and
gently insert it into the engine block or timing cover and push it into
place. Insert one of the pump's mounting bolts to help keep it in place and
tighten it by hand, follow up with the remaining bolts. Be sure to insert
the right length bolts into their rightful place or damage can occur when
Use a wrench or ratchet to tighten the mounting bolts in a even cross
pattern, torque to factory specification which is usually between 19 and 22 foot
If your water pump is equipped with a detachable pulley reinstall the pulley
back onto the pump and insert and tighten the mounting bolts in a cross pattern.
Use a large flat blade screwdriver to hold the pulley from turning while tightening.
The bolts can also be tightened once the serpentine belt is reinstalled.
Reinstall the serpentine belt and the fan clutch in the same way it was
removed, again this would be a good time to replace the belt with a new one.
Also, many mechanics feel this is a good time to
replace the thermostat,
coolant hoses and
flush the radiator
for safe measure. Reassemble the upper fan shroud and any other plastic clips
and guards. Make sure everything is out of the way of the fan blade area.
Reinstall the upper and lower radiator hoses and double check your work.
Then start adding coolant while looking under the car for any obvious leaks,
once the reservoir is full step back from the engine compartment and start the
engine. Listen for any strange noises which can be an indication that something
is wrong. If the belt has coolant on it you may hear a squeaking noise that
should go away in a short amount of time. Watch the level of the coolant and
add more while the engine is warming up to operating temperature. Once the engine
is warm the thermostat will open and there may be a drop in the coolant level.
After topping off the reservoir or radiator coolant level reinstall the radiator
cap with the engine still running. Drive the car for a few days and then double
check the coolant level once the engine has cooled down, also check for leaks.