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So all this ticking and bearing noise I've determined is the water pump. It's been making noises like this for a looong time and still works. It doesn't even leak.

It's a cheap part, and the labor looks easy enough.

I've read some people snapping these bolts as they try to remove the housing bolts. This van was mostly Florida driven. Have a lot of you who have done this job, snapped a housing bolts?
 

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Careful with those cheap parts, as they will break and make bigger problems. Plastic impellers can crack and depending on design, make the engine overheat by not moving coolant or putting pieces of plastic shrapnel into the cooling system. Metal impellers are superior.

I got lucky with the only 4th gen water pump I removed, had been previously replaced so the bolts didn't break. I snapped a couple on my 3rd gen water pump removal, but those are mounted low and in the front of the engine. I had to remove the timing cover to get the snapped off bolts out (was doing it anyway, to replace the leaking O-rings).
 
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I'd guess a Florida car should be a bit easier. I snapped the lowest bolt doing my water pump. Easy enough to drill out & put a nut on the back. But some of the bolts took quite a bit of effort to get out. Ended up using the cherry wrench and Kroil to get the worst 2 bolts loose.

I did mine by loosening the motor mounts to get a bit more clearance without disassembling too much of the engine bay.

Best thing you can do is to put some penetrating oil on there a few times over a few days before you start the job & heat the area up. Either by driving & getting things warm. Or by using a torch to heat things.

May as well replace the serp belt and tensioner while you're there. They're cheap, and unless they're quite new, good to swap with a quality part. Gates makes a "problem solver" kit that has worked well for me, and several others on the forum.

Let us know how it goes. Should work out fine.

Good luck!
 

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2006 Dodge Caravan SXE
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So all this ticking and bearing noise I've determined is the water pump. It's been making noises like this for a looong time and still works. It doesn't even leak.

It's a cheap part, and the labor looks easy enough.

I've read some people snapping these bolts as they try to remove the housing bolts. This van was mostly Florida driven. Have a lot of you who have done this job, snapped a housing bolts?
I have a big write up on this forum replacing the water pump with an all metal impeller from SPK I believe, bought from Rockauto.com It's super!

Also, there is a really nice tool getting in the TIGHT places of all the tiny bolts.

Go here:
 
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At over 300K miles, I've replaced the water pump three times and never broke a bolt. The key is using a small 1/4 inch rachet and flexible head rachet open box wrench. You have to make sure you don't over tighten the bolts. When removing them, make sure your tool is turning counterclockwise, facing the bolt.

As to the plastic impellers, never had a problem with them. Outside of leaking after 100K miles. No big deal since I do coolant flushes between 100K to150K miles. Just change the water pump at the same time.
 

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Nice, used the correct coolant! Not happy about that plastic impeller design though. If it cracks, it's spin city and no coolant will flow. FABRICgator had that problem; overheating engine despite coolant flushes, new thermostat and radiator cap, maybe even radiator? Finally removed the water pump and the impeller about fell out! Another member had to fish plastic pieces out of his block after it failed, either the impeller hit something and broke or a previous installer broke it upon installation.

I've seen other water pumps with a plastic impeller molded over course splines or a hexagonal insert, so if it cracks it will still be turned by the water pump shaft. Heat cycling and time will crack it.
 
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2005 Town & Country 251k miles
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Old water pump with plastic impeller lasted 15 years and 220k miles and installed at the dealer. Car is now only used as a winter beater so maybe 3000 miles per year. I doubt I will ever need to change the water pump again.
 

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I replace timing belt, tensioner, hoses, thermostat and water pump at 100K to avoid failure on the road. Much cheaper to do it in my shop rather than on the road after a tow. But that's on a 4.0. You don't have a timing belt. But still a good idea to do the other stuff which is what I do on my 3.3 and 3.8 vans.
 
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