Dodge PU coolant leak

Tiny
EXELANT
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 DODGE RAM
  • V8
  • MANUAL
  • 185,000 MILES
I noticed a lot of radiator fluid under the hood after driving my 1500 Ram PU with the 4.7L to the store. Thinking I had a blown hose I put fluid in the radiato to see which hose was leaking and saw most of the fluid drain right out of the front of the engine.? Of course I'm broke and need to try and repair it, I am assuming it's the water pump. How common is it for the pump to fail this way and what should I look out for?
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 4:20 PM

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Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
With the mileage you have it could very well be the water pump they can go suddenly or it could something else. The best thing to do is to rent a coolant pressure tester and use it to pump up the cooling system. They work really well then you can see where the coolant is coming from under pressure. Let me know what you find.
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 4:37 PM
Tiny
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Thanks for your response. I'm afraid it is leaking tooo fast to pressure test. I will be pulling the fan and or things in the way of a good view to try to get a better look. Another symptom is the fan itself is wobbly. I am really hoping at this point that it is the pump and not coming from the engine block itself.
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 4:42 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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If the fan itself is loose it could be a bad fan clutch or a loose water pump shaft. You will have to look close to see which one is loose. Also try getting a extending mirror to help you see where the leak is coming from. Let me know what you find.
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 4:53 PM
Tiny
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I will let you know, and thanks again. It's below zero here in Colorado so I'm not going to do anything until Saturday or Sunday when it's back to the 60s. It is the pump's fan shaft - the fan is tight. Again, thanks for the advice. I'll bring a mirror home from work. I am used to working on big 600 horse water pumps at a treatment plant, I hate it when work follows me home, ha-ha.
Mike
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 7:20 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
If the pump's fan shaft is loose then I would say the pump would be leaking. Let me know what you find when the weather get's better.
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
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I replaced the water pump today. The leak was from the weephole whose plug was completely gone. The impellor on the pump was totally shattered and not attached to the shaft. The job was actually not too bad. The hardest parts were getting the fan shroud out with the fan connected and, of course, getting the fan clutch off the shaft. I also had to use a cheater bar to loosen the belt tensioner.

I think I could (should) have done it with the fan shroud in place because it was such a tight squeeze getting it past the fan clutch. I borrowed the fan clutch tool from the auto parts store and discovered there really wasn't anyplace to attach it to hold the pully in place while trying to turn the wrench on the shaft. So I took the pump off, then attached a couple bolts to the holes in the pully part of the pump. Then wedged a bar between the bolts and was able to give the wrench on the shaft a good whack with my hammer to loosen it and get it turning.

A couple good things about the 4.7 in the 2003 Ram 1500 is that there is a lot of room to work in and there is a lot of shaft to get a wrench on - I used a big Cresent. Bad thing was I couldn't see a way to hold the pully while turning the shaft. It would have been easier if I had gotten the fan and fan clutch off before removing the pump. The gasket for this pump is cool - heavy rubber material that fits into a slot. I did use gasket sealant on it anyway and I put some on all the bolts. I am sure Dodge has a tool to hold the pulley but I didn't want to but one for one use. I also laid the bolts out in order to keep track of them - they're all a different length.

The only things I'm unsure about is if I got the fan/fan clutch shaft on tight enough and if the belt tensioner is adjusted properly. I did a good shake down drive and everything seems tight and no leaks - yay!. I will probably run it by the garage to have them check those two things for me for a few bucks. All in all it went well and took about 4 hours - but I spent a bit of time getting the fan clutch off.
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Sunday, February 20th, 2011 AT 1:08 AM
Tiny
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Glad to hear you got it all installed and no leak's that's what we like to hear.
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Sunday, February 20th, 2011 AT 5:46 AM

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