How to Replace a Water Pump

Replacing the water pump on your vehicle may be an easy job.  However, if you’re watching this video you’ve probably got a doozy on your hands.  If you’ve got a rear-wheel-drive car or truck with a fan belt driven water pump, you probably have a relatively easy job ahead of you.  But there are some vehicles that have water pumps that are difficult to change for different reasons.  Things like timing belt driven water pumps, rear-mounted water pumps, or in our case a transverse-mounted V6 engine usually have water pumps that take a lot of time to change.  The good news is there are some quick tips we can give you on how to replace a water pump that can make your life easier.

How to Replace a Water Pump in a Difficult Place

  • Remove everything you can
  • Use the new water pump as a guide
  • Don’t be afraid to loosen the motor mounts
  • Change your thermostat too

Anytime you get in a tight spot it’s not a bad idea to remove a few more things.  This doesn’t include big things like your cylinder heads or discharging your air conditioning system but it does include things like accessories, wiring, and maybe even your intake manifold.  You’ll appreciate the extra room and you will save more time by doing this than trying to fight your water pump through a tight space.  If you have a timing belt driven water pump, taking the water pump and any associated pulleys or gears off will not only give you space but help keep you from getting coolant on any critical components.

In the video, we mentioned how important it is to keep track of all the nuts and bolts you remove the water pump so you know which one goes back where.  Usually, water pump bolts are different sizes or lengths and your new water pump makes a great storage device to help you keep track of the fasteners you remove.  You can also use it as a guide to know how much room you will need to slide your old water pump in and out.

We also talked about how we removed a motor mount and loosened another to get this water pump out.  This trick is especially useful on transverse-mounted V6 vehicles.  Your motor can move quite a bit before it pinches or damages any wires or lines and it may just be enough for you to get to that bolt or slide the water pump out.  If you do have to remove a motor mount, make sure the motor is properly supported somehow and have a helper watch for pinches, kinks, or other issues while you slowly move the motor into the position you need.

Anytime you change your water pump it’s a good idea to change the thermostat too.  This is to help prevent a problem later on from an overheated thermostat as well as to make sure it’s not clogged with any debris your broken water pump may have left in your system.  This is especially true if your thermostat is easier to get to with the water pump removed.

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Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash