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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, getting into the 4th gens with both feet.

I am in the middle of a water pump replacement. I moved up from a 3rd gen on which the water pumps are super easy to replace. On the 4th gens you are very space-limited. I did a search and didn't seem to find any tips like this (unless I'm wrong - in which case, mods please merge this thread with the existing one!) I wanted to share three tips that should help you out:

1. Don't try to get the pulley off separate from the pump. Just thread it down even with the pump so it doesn't take up any room.
2. Grind down the outer end of the of the shaft of the new water pump with an angle grinder, file or belt sander. This will give you some more room.
3. Take a pry bar and gently pry the engine away from the passenger side frame rail by prying against the serpentine belt tensioner mounting bolt. This will give you that last bit of room you need to get the old water pump out and the new pump in. The rubber engine mounts can handle the movement just fine. I will post pics once I'm done the job.
 

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I do not remember where but I saw it somewhere that the engine mount has to be loosen to get the sucker out. Your pics would be helpful.
On the other note, how many miles can the water pump can go? Meaning at what mileage is water pump usually goes out. 100K miles may be the magic number but I am not sure. I have bought mine used at about 100K miles and do not know if the water pump has been replaced or not. Do I just wait until the pump goes out or should I just replace it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I searched the internet and it seemed to be about 50/50 that people did or did not drop the engine to replace the water pump. This would indicate that manufacturing tolerances are so close on water pump access that just easing the motor over a bit on its mounts via the prybar would be sufficient. When you add up the slop in the motor mounts, water pump plate thickness, rotor thickness, etc, it's entirely reasonable that some would drop out easily and some would not. I remember watching one video where a mechanic just reached up and wiggled it out in 5 seconds, then I went and spent 10 minutes finagling it out, and thinking "there has GOT to be something different between that van and mine!"

One definitely could remove the three bolts on the passenger side motor mount and then lower the motor slightly with a jack to give more clearance, but doing it this way means you have to keep a close eye on every single hose and wiring harness that connects between the motor and the body, and damage to any of these would quickly drive up the cost of the repair. I don't think I shifted the motor over more than 1/8" with the prybar, and the hoses and wire harnesses can easily handle that. You DON'T need much extra room to make this repair happen. My main concern is to not damage the plastic vanes on the new water pump.

As for mileage, who knows. The one I just serviced had 122k on it. Get under the van and look at the bottom of the water pump impeller housing just behind the pulley, and if you see any drops of coolant there, then it's time for a replacement. Otherwise, don't bother with it.
 

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I do not remember where but I saw it somewhere that the engine mount has to be loosen to get the sucker out. Your pics would be helpful.
On the other note, how many miles can the water pump can go? Meaning at what mileage is water pump usually goes out. 100K miles may be the magic number but I am not sure. I have bought mine used at about 100K miles and do not know if the water pump has been replaced or not. Do I just wait until the pump goes out or should I just replace it?
Mine began leaking at just over 130K miles. You might think about replacement if you're planning any long trips in the near future.

On my '02, the engine did not have to move in order to change the pump. The pulley un-bolts from the shaft hub, and there's (just) clearance to remove and replace.

When you un-bolt the pump from the timing cover, go easy on the bolts holding it in. Especially in the lower quadrant of the pump, the bolts are likely to be seized into the aluminum timing cover. You can try working them slightly loose-tight-loose-tight. If it's possible to reach them with a spray of penetrating oil, (on the threads, not the bolt heads) that would be a good thing. One of mine pulled the threads out of the cover.
 

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Did mine with less than 70,000 miles. Wasn't leaking but bearings were noisy and worn to the point the pulley was wobbly.
 

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Hi everyone, getting into the 4th gens with both feet.

I am in the middle of a water pump replacement. I moved up from a 3rd gen on which the water pumps are super easy to replace. On the 4th gens you are very space-limited. I did a search and didn't seem to find any tips like this (unless I'm wrong - in which case, mods please merge this thread with the existing one!) I wanted to share three tips that should help you out:

1. Don't try to get the pulley off separate from the pump. Just thread it down even with the pump so it doesn't take up any room.
2. Grind down the outer end of the of the shaft of the new water pump with an angle grinder, file or belt sander. This will give you some more room.
3. Take a pry bar and gently pry the engine away from the passenger side frame rail by prying against the serpentine belt tensioner mounting bolt. This will give you that last bit of room you need to get the old water pump out and the new pump in. The rubber engine mounts can handle the movement just fine. I will post pics once I'm done the job.
Thanks for the tips. There are many ways to "skin the cat" or should I say "rabbit" ... maybe "snake" ......... :ask_wsign

That's a very restricted space to get the water pump out. Grinding the shaft a smidgen (shortening), if a bit longer than the original, won't cause any problems. If it does, you will be the first to know. :) As to dropping the engine, about an inch to get clearance for the shaft to drop, should do. Prying is good, basically, whatever works to get the water pump out and back in place properly and to get the bolts torqued to specs. The manuals don't mention all the tricks to simplify these types of jobs. One would think Chrysler should have put a dent or a hole there to make the work easier.

A couple of videos, showing different methods for replacing the water pump follow:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vooA_tgJzM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iuOD62LkFE
 

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I think that my dad and I jacked the engine up, using a block of wood between the oil pan and the jack, to get enough clearance to get his water pump out.
 

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I think that my dad and I jacked the engine up, using a block of wood between the oil pan and the jack, to get enough clearance to get his water pump out.
This one is new. And yes, I think it will work just fine.
 

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The mechanic used a pry bar and shifted the motor to one side on our van and the water pump and pulley came right out, and made things easier to go back in. Much easier than dropping the engine a bit and risk damaging other components as OP said.
 

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had mine replaced on my 2002 3.3 about two years ago at 150k miles. started to leak at the weep hole. it took him a half hour and very little cussing to change out the pump on a lift. i dont know his trick, but he said they are easy on the 3.3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With all due respect, have you ever actually done this job?

Take a look for yourself. The end of the shaft sticks out from the pulley bracket. From a manufacturing/assembly perspective, that stub likely exists only so that a slight chamfer can be put on the end to help guide the pulley bracket while it is being pressed on. Since these water pumps are not remanufactured, once that mount is on, that metal has served its purpose and is no longer needed. When you try to install it, that is the critical dimension that hangs up against the frame rail. Grinding that metal off means less prying you have to do against the engine to get it in. It has NO EFFECT on the water pump whatsoever.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Finally got pictures up.

Here's a demonstration of where to pry to get that last 1/4" of clearance. Use a prybar between the serpentine belt tensioner bolt and the frame. WAY faster and safer than jacking or lowering the engine.


Some of these vans will end up with extremely close clearances just to assembly line and parts manufacturing variability (it's called "tolerance stackup" in the industry). If things are real tight, you can grind off some of the excess metal on the end of the new water pump and that will save the plastic impeller vanes from getting scratched on the way in.


The van that had this work has had zero water pump problems since the repair 9 months ago.
 

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With all due respect, have you ever actually done this job?

Take a look for yourself. The end of the shaft sticks out from the pulley bracket. From a manufacturing/assembly perspective, that stub likely exists only so that a slight chamfer can be put on the end to help guide the pulley bracket while it is being pressed on. Since these water pumps are not remanufactured, once that mount is on, that metal has served its purpose and is no longer needed. When you try to install it, that is the critical dimension that hangs up against the frame rail. Grinding that metal off means less prying you have to do against the engine to get it in. It has NO EFFECT on the water pump whatsoever.

Using these type of modifications and other tricks and tips are how professional repair technicians beat flat rate, make more money :biggrin: and keep their customers happy by getting their cars back to them sooner.
I would not think twice about trimming off the otherwise unneeded stub shaft on that water pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think we're talking past each other. What I was trying to communicate is that the extra metal there serves a purpose during manufacturing. Once that process is complete, the need for that metal is done, so if I grind it off, it doesn't hurt the operation of the pump. Most vans will not have clearances as tight as the one I was working on. Frankly the grinding took a lot of time as I had to be careful not to overheat the metal. I only did it because I was uncomfortable with how far I had pushed the motor with the prybar and wanted to buy some relief elsewhere.
 

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A professional would not do it this way....
The guy who posted just before you gave this idea his ok. He doesn't usually wave his credentials around here, but he'll haul them out if you need proof about how long he's been a Professional. And that's more than good enough for me. I did the engine mount drop when I did the pump on my '03. But I'm always willing to consider a better way, and will most definitely use Joel's suggestion to trim the pump, if I need to do this job on my daughter's '05.
 
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A length of 2x4 also works to pry the engine over. I found it a bit easier because I can get a little more length than my big pry has and it has a little more give while pressing against or on the engine so less chance of damage if it slips.
 

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Its all right guys,if you want to do it,then do it. I should have said that i would not personally do it that way.
Here at mechanics school,we are encouraged to do it per the service manual.
 
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