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Old 11-06-2004, 11:12 AM   #1
Lurker1999
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Default Water pump replacement for $300?

I took my car to the local Saturn dealer yesterday to have them pin down the source of my coolant leak. I've gone through about 2 liters of coolant in the past month. For $36 they confirmed that my water pump is shot. They quoted me $310 to have it replaced of which $100 is for the pump, $16 for coolant and the rest for 2.5 hours of labor.

I've looked at the threads in this forum on how to replace the pump myself but I only have a parking lot to work in. It's getting colder around here and the earliest I could get around to doing so would be in two weeks (although I couldn't take it to the dealer any time sooner either).

I figure the coolant costs about $8 retail and the water pump could be mail ordered from saturnparts.com for $70 + shipping.

The $310 wouldn't break the bank and I don't expect that this is a skill I'm going to need again. This is the original water pump after 12 years and 54k miles. But the quote seemed a bit high. Is this a reasonable cost?

(Oh yeah if anyone happened to be in Boston that wanted to help me I could probably spring for a meal. I have everything on Wolfman's list of needed tools.)

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Old 11-06-2004, 11:51 AM   #2
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Default

water pump is somewhat easy! I was afraid to do mine before I really looked at it and pondered how to do it.

Hardest thing is getting the pulley bolts loosened. With belt off the car, get a 6" or longer 1/4 drive socket extension to stick through that hole in the pulley. That will brace it against the framerail, holding the pulley in place so you can loosen each bolt.

Other way to do it is with the belt still on. Undoing the pulley bolts, the engine will want to turn in reverse, so put it in "P" for autos or 4th for manuals. Using a block of wood between the pump pulley and the crank pulley helps and is suggested by the manual.

Use 6 point sockets!!! Make sure you get a long torque wrench or other suitable breaker bar because the pump bolts that go to the engine are on at 22 ft-lb. (too tight for a short combination wrench). Removing the top mount and A/C compressor and brackets will also give you lots of room (relatively) to work with.

My new pump cost me $36 at NAPA. Good luck!

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Old 11-08-2004, 12:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Water pump replacement for $300?

Water pumps are fairly easy to do- like the above poster mentions. However, I would stay away from any non-Saturn replacement part for this. I put in an Autozone pump a few months ago and just recently replaced it again (with another Autozone pump- lifetime warranty). Many other people I have talked with have said that for critical engine components, go with genuine Saturn parts.

I've also had several failures of an Advance Auto radiator.

When my factory pump failed it didn't give me any visual indication- no leaking coolant. It did start grinding horribly a day or two before I changed it. I couldn't get to it right away due to work and school. When it did finally fail, the pump completely seized up and threw the belt off. Luckily I was just down the street from my garage and the outside temp was about 15 degrees so I could drive it. However, if I had been much farther away I could not have driven it home without doing serious damage to my engine.

I'd bite the bullet and have Saturn change it for you. A $310 water pump is cheaper than an engine rebuild.

--Tom

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Old 11-08-2004, 01:03 PM   #4
mitya000
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Default Re: Water pump replacement for $300?

I just had my water pump replaced in Austin this last weekend (11/6/04) and $310 is almost exactly what I paid. I had an oil change and they added coolant so my total was $345.

With respect to the Water Pump, the pump itself was $100, the labor was $200. You can expect to save that much by doing it yourself.

Listen to Tom, he guided me straight.

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Old 11-08-2004, 07:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Water pump replacement for $300?

Thanks for the tips. I'm going to be rather busy the next few weeks so I think I'll just have them fix it with their own parts rather than mail-ordering. Now I just wish I could find time to drop the car off. They're not anywhere near public transport unfortunately.

I just hope the water pump will last another 2 weeks until I know I can find the time to get it fixed. I suspect it's been leaking for months though..

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Old 11-08-2004, 07:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Water pump replacement for $300?

$310 is quite fair for this work. Toss in a couple of extra bucks and have them replace the serpetine drive belt (it will be off anyway) if it is more that 3-4 years old as well.

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Old 11-08-2004, 09:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Water pump replacement for $300?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman
$310 is quite fair for this work. Toss in a couple of extra bucks and have them replace the serpetine drive belt (it will be off anyway) if it is more that 3-4 years old as well.
The belt was changed at 20k miles in 12/97 so it's nearly 7 years old now..

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