Vehicle Water Pump problems

Hello all. I have a 1997 dodge ram 1500 5.2 liter that is leaking water. I can see it is coming from the area of the water pump. There is also some squeaking but I think that is coming from my belt since it is getting splashed with water from the leak. I’m thinking all I have to do is replace the gasket, but I have been unsuccessful as to finding a method of how to remove it. I know I can go in there start taking off bolts and go at it blindly, but I would rather go in knowing what all needs to be done in order to remove and reinstall swiftly and correctley. There is a hose coming off the top of it that appears to be going back toward the block, but there is very limited access to it and this is my main reason for coming here. If I have to replace that hose how do I go about doing so? Also, if I need to replace the water pump how will I be able to tell? It hasn’t given me any problems in the past, minus the recent leaking.

Any informaion will be helpful.



My guess would be that your leak is coming from the water pump’s shaft seal, in which case it’s going to get a lot worse pretty quickly. The fix is a new (or rebuilt) water pump. And you probably ought to replace that P-hose (the little hose you were describing) at the same time. Until then, carry a big jug of water with you; if the truck runs out of water and overheats, you can do a lot of damage quick.

I can’t give you any advice on how to go about replacing the pump, I’m afraid. But I do have general advice: Whenever I buy a new car (which admittedly isn’t often), I buy the shop manual for the car from the dealer’s parts department. It isn’t cheap (around $100) but it’s sure useful.

Replacing just the gasket or bypass hose is almost a guarentee that the pump will fail next week. This is Murphy’s law of trying to cheap out on an auto repair. :smiley:

Either get under the car and shine a light up, or take a small mirror and examine the underside of the water pump you will probably find a trail or rusty or sometimes coolant colored trail leaking out of a weep hole. If you evidence of leakage there, the pump is bad. Also wiggle the fan. If ther is any noticable play the bearing is bad in the pump.
Instructions for pump replacement can be found in Chilton’s and Motor’s manuals often available in the library.

Good luck.

If the access isn’t too cramped, a water pump R&R is fairly simple. A few tips:

Replace the original hose clamps with worm gear stainless ones.
Make sure you get every bit of the old gasket off the engine before putting on the new one.
While you have the coolant splattered all over the floor, you might as well replace the thermostat.
If you choose to put on new belts while you have them all removed, go back in a couple weeks to recheck the belts for stretching.

I wouldn’t plan on just replacing the gasket. I’ve hardly ever seen a leak from a water pump gasket only, and even if that were the case, it’s a 9 year old pump. Replace the pump.

This may not be a job you want to do yourself.

The fan shroud needs to be removed (no big deal) and the fan assembly unscrewed from the water pump shaft (tough without special wrench). The spring type hose clamps can be tricky to deal with without special pliers. The coolant return pipe doesn’t come with the replacement pump, and removing it from the old pump often requires an acetylene torch.

The bypass hose does not have to be removed to replace the water pump. It’s just a little tricky slipping it on and off the pump. However, if the bypass hose does need replacement, note that the instructions say to remove the A/C compressor and alternator for access.

I am not a mechanic, but I have replaced 3 or 4 water pumps in my day (because I’m a cheap bastid!). A professional with the right tools and knowledge will do it in an hour or two. For an amateur (like me), block out at least half a day and have another vehicle available for the inevitable multiple trips to the auto parts store. Also, be prepared to have it towed to a garage if you get in over your head.

Lastly, since it’s already leaking water (almost certainly from the weep hole as Rick pointed out, and it’s squeaking which probably indicates a bad bearing, it will quite likely fail sooner rather than later. If this occurs, DO NOT attempt to drive it more than a few blocks or you risk doing severe extreme damage to your engine.

Good luck.

Thanks for the tips. Now I need to head to my local parts store and start stocking up. Any idea as to what size wrench I’ll need to remove the fan from the water pump. I know I don’t have any thing big enough and I don’t think using plyers will be a wise decision. Also what type of wrench should I use in order to keep the pully wheel still?

Also, if the fan is mounted to the water pump, plan on replacing the radiator when the bearing goes and the fan hits the radiator.

I’m not planning on it getting that bad.

I don’t know the wrench size offhand. A big enough adjustable (Crescent) wrench could do. Big enough pliers (“water pump pliers”) could also do if the nut isn’t too tight. And of course you can buy the special wrench for it. The pulley is held by a prybar across two of the bolt heads holding the pulley to pump - unless it’s a pressed-on pulley in which case you’ll have to get creative.

Removing the coolant return pipe is usually the biggest challenge. If you don’t have a torch, you may need to take it to a machine shop or auto repair shop to get it extracted, or you can get a new one from a dealer (not available in the aftermarket, I’m told). Or you may luck out and find it comes out with just some twisting, but don’t get your hopes up.

By the way, don’t lay the fan clutch down horizontally. It can muck it up. Lean it up against something so it stays basically upright.

Will do.
I’ve replaced a water pump in the past but it was a chevy and a great deal easier than this appears.
thanks for all the help.

Kevbo’s tip of the day:

DON’T get the “lifetime warranty” aftermarket replacement. They are made as cheaply as possible so they can afford to give you two or three at that price. Figure in the opportuinty cost of the extra price and your labor, and it is a bad deal.

OEM pump either new or rebuilt will cost half or a third as much, and likely last much longer.

On the other hand, I replaced the water pump on my 94 Dodge Dakota last summer & it was a LOT more involved than any water pump I ever replaced in the past. It seemed like I spent the better part of a day removing parts so I could get to the pump itself. I highly recommend getting a Haynes or a Chiltons service manual before you decide to venture into the engine compartment.