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Water Pump Removal and Replacement

Despite being easily accessible at the front of the engine I must confess that this is quite a nightmare of a job.  Mainly because some of the bolts are tricky to get off and the viscous fan is tricky to remove.  In fact you must not start this job without first getting hold of a viscous fan spanner.  It is a special 32mm thin spanner with a bend in the shaft to allow you to get it on the fan nut.  I purchased one of these at the recent 'Spares and projects' day held by the Capri Club.  I know that you can buy them at large Halfords and you could also get something similar from a cycle shop that will do the job.  Make sure that you purchase a water pump of the correct type with the viscous fan fitting.  They cost around £15 and are readily available.  You will also need something to grip the pump with while you tackle the job.  A Black and Decker work bench is perfect.  Make sure you have some gasket sealant handy as well.

Assuming you have the spanner and the other bits ready off we go:

To remove the water pump you will first need to drain the cooling water by pulling off the hose at the bottom of the radiator.  Catch the fluid in a clean bucket and if it is less than a year old you should keep it and reuse it.  Otherwise treat yourself to some new antifreeze.

With the coolant drained detach the top hose of the radiator and then remove the radiator from the car by undoing the 4 10mm self tapping screws.  You should also remove the black metal shroud in front of the radiator and disconnect the light dimmer resistor (if you have one) that is screwed to the underside.

Having done this job a couple of times now I am convinced that the following method is easiest:

Remove the viscous fan from the pulley using 32mm fan spanner.  With the spanner in place try tapping it round clockwise (it is on a left handed thread) using a block of wood and a hammer.  Hopefully the friction on the fan belt will hold everything tight and it will undo, but if not then simply loosen the alternator bolts and lever the alternator away from the engine block (trolley jack handle is perfect) and re-tighten so the fan belt is very tight.

Next undo the four bolts that fix the alternator belt pulley to the front of the water pump.  Then remove the timing belt cover.  Undo the three bolts and their washers from the cover and lift it carefully outwards and upwards from the car.  Check the condition of the belt whilst the cover is off! With this removed you now have easy access to the three bolts that hold the water pump in place on the front of the engine block.

The bolts are, as you will discover, all different.  The bottom bolt in particular is a special extended shape as it doubles up as a retaining post for the timing belt cover.  Use a good socket set and undo them in sequence and very slowly.  Unfortunately in my case one of the bolts snapped because it was badly corroded.  This turned the job into a major nightmare because I had to get someone in to drill and tap the broken stud out.  

It is unlikely that the pump will fall off as you undo the bolts but I would support it with your hand as you complete the job.  Make sure you note which bolt goes where - they are so different it would be hard to mix them up.  With all three bolts undone you can gently rock the pump and it should pull away from the gasket.  Remove the pump and place on the bench.

You will have some water pour out of the block but it will settle down after a few seconds.  It is important that you make sure all the old gasket is removed.  The best way to do this is using an old chisel and scrape hard.  The old gasket will look almost metallic and it can be easy to think that it has all been removed!  Clean up the metal surface with some wire wool.

You are ready to fit the new pump to the car.  Firstly smear a thin layer of blue gasket sealant on the bottom surface of the pump and press the paper gasket on.  Next apply more sealant to the top surface of the gasket.  Allow the sealant to dry for a couple of minutes.  While you are doing this wipe down the mating surface on the engine block taking care to make sure there is no water present.

To fit the pump seems to require three pairs of hands.  Press her up against the engine block and try to get all three bolts started Don't worry if it gets all messy -  the sealant will spread itself about when the pump is tightened down.  Keep spinning the fan to make sure the pump is not catching anywhere.  It is not practical to use a torque wrench so just keep tightening the bolts in sequence until they are nice and tight.  Best way to judge is to tighten with your hand half way down the spanner.  Once if feels like it is going to need a big heave to tighten further than that is the time to stop.  It is worth checking the tightness again after ten minutes.

With the new pump in place you can refit the pulley and replace the fan belt and tighten so it gives 15mm deflection in the mid point.  Withy the belt tight you can check the tightness of the pully bolts and then refit the fan itself by spinning it on to the front thread.  Remember it is left handed so you need to use the spanner ant-clockwise to tighten it on.  Refit the timing belt cover taking care not to catch on the belt.  The radiator should then be refitted and the hoses re-attached.  With everything in place you can replace the coolant water by pouring it into the top radiator.  This job is made much easier if you undo and detach the top hose on the automatic choke to allow the air to escape.

Start the car and watch out for any leaks around the pump.  You may need to tighten the bolts a bit more but it is unlikely that you will have any problems.  The water in the radiator will drop as the engine heats up so keep topping her up until the radiator remains full and the expansion tank is at the correct level.  Keep an eye on the engine temperature during this stage as it has been known for there to be a large air-lock in the system causing an overheat!

Hopefully that is the one and only time you will need to do that job!


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Last updated 1/1/17
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