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.

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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.

Step 4: Drain Coolant

Before you take off the old water pump, you have to drain all the coolant out of the system. You'll find the drain nozzle on the bottom of the radiator. Open up the nozzle, and drain all the coolant into a bucket. Don't touch/breath/drink the stuff; it's not very good for you.

Step 5: Remove Everything to Get to Water Pump

I already took off almost everything to find the leak, but if you haven't now is the time.

To remove the serpentine belt, you'll need a breaker bar (i.e. lever arm). There's a notch in the back of the automatic tensioner that you attach the breaker bar too. Pull the tensioner up and remove the belt once it's loose.

Everything else is just removing screws and hose clamps. Be sure to take a bunch of pictures because you'll probably forget where everything goes when you try to put it all back together.

Step 6: Remove Broken Water Pump.

Take off the old water pump. Mine came off pretty easily, but sometimes you have to pry it off by gently hammering a chisel into the gasket area. But be careful not to scratch the gasket area or you won't be able to make a good seal later!

After the water pump is off, scrape off any old gasket that's still hanging on (but again don't scratch the metal).

Step 7: Prepare New Water Pump

There were pretty good deals for new water pumps on eBay, but I was in a hurry, so I bought one from the local autoparts store.

Apply some RTV silicone to one side of the gasket. I'm not sure exactly how much to put on. The internet says that you should not put "too much" or "too little" on, without really going into more detail. Put the gasket on the water pump. Then, apply the silicone to the other side.

Step 8: Install New Water Pump

Put the new water pump back on the car.

Tighten the bolts. Whenever you tighten a bunch of bolts, it's generally a good idea to follow some sort of "star" pattern rather than a "circle" pattern (e.g. top,bottom,left,right rather than top,right,bottom,left).

Step 9: Replace Everything

Put everything back together in reverse order of how you took it apart.

Step 10: Fill With Coolant

Fill it up with coolant (50/50 anti-freeze/water).


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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.)


    7 years ago on Step 8

    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.


    8 years ago on Step 7

    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!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I'm fairly certain these are the same instructions for the Mazda 323 of similar years ;)