Water pumps are driven by the timing belt, or an accessory drive belt that spins a pulley outside of the pump. On different makes and models of cars, the belts can last anywhere between 60,000 to 120,000 kilometres, so you can expect your water pump to last about that long, too.
Most vehicles have their water pump behind the timing belts and pulleys in the centre of the engine. The easiest and most obvious way to recognise the water pump will be the hoses coming from it., so one of the easiest things to do, if you’re going to go to all the effort of changing your Timing belt is to change your water pump at the same time. This cuts down cost, and if you’re doing it yourself precious time.
At this point let me advise you that changing your timing belt and water pump will take several hours, and a lot of elbow grease. It is recommended you get a professional to change your timing belt and water pump…However if we can’t talk you out of going to a professional, here are steps to changing your water pump.
- Follow steps 1 – 16 on How to change my timing belt.
- Water pumps tend to have about 6-8 bolts holding them to the engine block with a gasket behind it. Make sure you remove all the bolts.
- Place a large pan under the car to try to catch the coolant, for when you start to remove the hoses and the water pump. Because coolant will be contaminated by the dirt on your motor, it is best to dispose of the coolant.
- Disposing of coolant can be done at most service centres for a small fee.
- When the water pump can be accessed, remove any hoses that are attached.
- As you remove the hoses, mark them regarding where they were hooked to the pump. Also Keep track of the clamps because you will need them later. Inspect the hoses. If they have any weak spots or bulges, consider replacing them while you have easy access. It is best not to remove the pulley attached to the pump unless you cannot get to all of the bolts with it in the way. If you can avoid removing it, it will be easier to deal with when it is off of the car.
- You will almost always need two different size wrenches or sockets to remove a water pump.
- Water pumps usually have 4 large and 4 small bolts fastening them to your engine. Make sure you note which bolts went into which holes.
- When the pump is off, it’s time to remove the pulley. If you have already removed it, make sure that it will fit onto the new water pump. If you had to remove it to get to the bolts, you will want to wait and put it on the new pump after it is installed. Otherwise, bolt it onto the new pump now.
- Scrape off the old gasket from the engine block before attaching the new water pump.
- Use a scraper and remove the old gasket entirely. This can be a slow and arduous process if it has really bonded to your engine. If you do not get all the stuff off the gasket, it will cause your new gasket to leak.
- Use a little gasket sealer to bond the new gasket to the engine block. DO NOT USE ORDINARY SEALER.
- Put the gasket sealer evenly around the entire surface that the gasket will cover. Use the same sealer to coat the surface of the water pump that will cover the gasket.
- Carefully place the water pump onto the gasket. This job needs to be done slowly and very precisely because if you bump the gasket to hard, it will shift and none of your bolt holes will align. With the pump against the gasket, insert to two upper bolts and tighten them with your fingers until they are snug against the water pump. Do not over tighten the bolts. Do the same with the bottom two bolts, that are underneath the pump.
- You need the water pump solidly attached to the engine so it is time to tighten the bolts with your fingers, you do not want to over tighten the bolts, or you may crack your new water pump.
- When the bolts are tight it’s time to start replacing all the things you removed to get to the water pump. Start with the hoses…if you are changing your timing belt this is the time to follow steps 17-28 in how to change your timing belt.
- Refill you cooling system with coolant. Add enough coolant so the system is completely full
- Now everything is complete, so start your vehicle and let it warm up. After it is warm, check for leaks around the water pump gasket. You may want to take the car out for a short drive. If it does not overheat and the heater works, and you’re ready to go.
Tips & Warnings.
· Always keep a first-aid kit at hand when you're doing any work on your car's engine.
· It is always good to have someone else present while working under the vehicle.
· Always work in an open or well-ventilated area
· Always dispose of used car parts, and fluids using the proper methods or disposal companies.
· If you do not understand any of the instructions in the how to posts, or you do not have an understanding of vehicles it is recommended you see a professional to undertake the work needed on your vehicle.
For more information see
- How to change your timing belt
Or to find your local Mechanic or Dealership go to www.carservice.com.au
‘The information provided in this article is for general advise only. It is not intended for instructional use. Use of the information is at your own risk. We recommend you seek the advice of a trained professional.'