Installing a new water pump on a '95 Ford Taurus

The water pump on my car developed a leak in its rotating seal and started to hemorrhage coolant. Here's how I replaced the water pump.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Disconnect the battery

Disconnecting the battery is a good first step for almost any car repair. Now you don't have to worry about shorting/frying anything expensive or pesky radiator fans turning on and chopping your hands off.

Step 2: Find the leak

There was obviously a substantial leak. Every time I parked the car, a pool of bright green liquid formed underneath. However, the leak hadn't quite gotten to that easy-to-find spraying, steaming, hissing, girlfriend-yelling-at-you stage.

First step in finding a leak is to get under the car and follow the bright green coolant trail. Unfortunately, in this case the trail quickly hid behind a pulley.

Second step in finding a leak is to just take everything off that might be in your way off. Don't be timid here; if it looks like it might come off, take it off! I ended up taking off the coolant reservoir, wheel, belt, alternator, idler pulley, water pump pulley, etc... And I still didn't find an obvious leak! Though, I did find a suspicious puddle of coolant on the crankshaft pulley.

Step 3: Really find the leak

The leak still wasn't in plain view, but I was pretty sure it was coming from the rotating seal of the water pump. Before I took of the water pump, which is kind of a pain, i wanted to make sure this was the source.

So, I pressurized the coolant system by running a hose into it. To make a seal between the hose and coolant system, I used an old bicycle inner tube (Anyone who's hung around TimAnderson knows that these are the solution to all of your problems).

The area behind the water pump pulley starting spraying water. My mission was clear: I had to replace the water pump.
Gelfling65 months ago

Hopefully, this is an easier job than it was for me with a 1999 SE. The 'Vulcan' V6 (The Duratech was a 24-valve overhead cam, the Vulcan was standard thru-head lifter rods to 12 valves), also had a nasty history of self-disintegrating the water pump itself. the cast-Iron block Versus the Aluminum water pump face, made for a perfect electrolytic process that caused the block to internally rust, and the mild steel impeller to slowly errode. (what started as 1/16" thick plate steel, was less than 5/64" thick, with the "L" bends totally gone.. ) I was the 4th owner of mine, and it warped the rear head. (previous owner impacted a post, bent the AC condenser up against the radiator, and the radiator was plugged up with rust.)

ckeith32 years ago
You need to let the RTV set for at least an hour before putting the pump back on otherwise you risk squishing out all the RTV with most of it going into the pump to cause issues later. RTV "skins" at an hour and takes 24 hours to fully cure. The best way would be to RTV the new part and let it set for 1 hour, then put the part on and only apply the bolts finger tight, then wait 24 hours before bolting it down securely. Aluminum water pumps require very little force on the bolts, the torque rating is usually something very low, around 30ft/lbs which is something like "just snug". Overtightening the bolts can lead to snapping the bolt, cracking the water pump housing or breaking the gasket seal.
Thats about how much rtv silicone I tend to use. I have done at least a dozen water pumps and never had any problems or leaks doing it that way. Nice Work!
lemonie7 years ago
I don't understand why you're using silicone sealant, since a new gasket ought to do the job. Does this bit of the engine suffer from poor design and bad gaskets, is that why the thing failed initially?

Calorie lemonie6 years ago
Please read my comments below. All engine components have a rough life span. Some wear out more quickly than others. The Taurus was actually a good car. It's just that everything comes to an end. The cooling system is an inhospitable place, with large temperature differences and high pressures. By leaking the way it did the water pump fulfilled its function. There are small holes called "weep holes" on the surface of the water pump housing. The only time coolant comes out of them is when the bearing seal is compromised. By leaking visibly, you are given a warning well before corrosion destroys the water pump bearing and causes very serious problems.
Calorie6 years ago
You did a nice job. I do use a sealant on the gaskets for two reasons. One, you need something to keep the gasket from shifting out of place on the water pump itself while you are wrestling it into place. Two, a very light smearing on both sides of the gasket is a bit of cheap insurance. As far as removing the old pump, I would recommend using a rubber mallet. In case you don't have one, wrap a couple of rags around the head of the hammer and tap around the accessible areas of the water pump housing. The chisel could lead you to a nasty gouge on the face of the housing, and then your problems would really begin. Excellent job. I personally never have the patience to take pictures while I am working on my car.
gentry6 years ago
You might want to replace that serpentine belt too while you're at it. It looks pretty cracked. And you really don't need any goo on your gasket, just good clean, smooth surfaces.
trebuchet037 years ago
I'm fairly certain these are the same instructions for the Mazda 323 of similar years ;)