Engine Cooling problem
1996 Ford Escort 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 88,000 miles
A 1996 Ford Escort 1.9 Front wheel Drive 88,000 miles.
What is the best way to determine if the water pump needs to be replaced? And on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the worst) what would you rate it's difficulty level for a do-it yourself mechanic?
Lots of things can make your car run hot, bad hoses, a radiator not flowing properly or even a stuck thermostat. If you haven't already done so I would check the thermostat. Take off the radiator cap and watch for the thermostat to open, once it has opened you should see water gushing around in the radiator if not then you should replace the thermostat and if that doesn't fix it then I would check the gauge, they sometimes go out of calibration after 10 years. The gauge on my Mom's car always said it ran hot but the car never over heated.
The only way you can tell if a water pump is bad is to
grab opposite ends of the water pump pulley and check for play. Try to rock it back and forth. There should be no give. If there is, the bearings are going and it's time to replace the water pump. By the time you can feel play in the water pump pulley, you may also be able to hear the bad bearing when the engine is running - there may be a low-pitched grinding noise coming from the water pump pulley.
I replaced the water pump on my Mom's car and I will tell you one of the hose clamps is hard to get to but possible with about a 10" pair of adjustable pliers, I would have to rate this one at 5 or 6, I believe it took me 2 hours but it was also my first time to ever work on a FWD.