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Old 07-29-2014, 11:16 PM   #1
marsjupiter
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Default water pump leak advice before I start repair

After work today my 2001 SL1 (135k miles) let all its coolant onto the pavement over the course of four hours. After looking at where the fluid leaked out (on the passenger side all over the bottom plate and on the belt which sprayed it everywhere) I concluded that I probably have to replace the pump which is something I can actually do, so that will be fun.

However, I have something else which I couldn't find in the forums: in the week before the leak the belt was making a loud squeaking noise. I was putting off looking into it because I am super busy until after Thursday so I thought it would be ok. Then suddenly the noise stopped and after two days of no noise this terrible leak happened. I am thinking the noise could be due to the coolant on the belt and the sudden stop due to even more coolant on the belt, which means I have had a slow leak for over a week. But I wanted to get your opinions before I rush on ahead because of my inexperience.

Also, if I have to take it to the mechanic can I fill the coolant tank with just water and drive it there in ten minutes, or should I fill it with 50/50? Seems like a waste when I just need to move it a short distance and it definitely won't be freezing.


Finally, hooray for Saturns because it has been three years since I had to do a real repair.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

You can run with water. I've experienced squealing noise from the pump bearing before having my water pump crap the bed...
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

The noise could have been either the belt or the pump, but if you found your leak source I really wouldn't worry about the noise unless it remains after replacement of the pump.

These pumps can be funky when they leak, sometimes not leaking for a while, then sometimes dumping. I just recently did mine, and it was hit and miss as to when and how much it would leak.


They aren't that bad to do though, so that's a plus. If you do take it to a shop, don't waste the money on coolant, water will cool these cars just fine.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Once you get the wheel, the plastic inner panels, and the serp belt off, it is easy to spin and wiggle all the other pulleys to make sure they are ok. Take your time doing the pump and clean the mating surface on the block well. You do not want to have to do the job again because of a leak. This is also a good time to flush the entire cooling system, change the tstat and ects, check and/or change radiator and heater hoses if you want to cover all the bases.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Ran into an unexpected problem. Two different guides said to loosen the water pump pulley bolts before loosening the serpentine, but when I try and loosen them the water pump just spins instead of the bolt. I got two of three bolts loosened by holding one bolt to keep the pulley in place in order to loosen the other, but now I'm stuck on what to do with the last bolt.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by marsjupiter View Post
Ran into an unexpected problem. Two different guides said to loosen the water pump pulley bolts before loosening the serpentine, but when I try and loosen them the water pump just spins instead of the bolt. I got two of three bolts loosened by holding one bolt to keep the pulley in place in order to loosen the other, but now I'm stuck on what to do with the last bolt.
The best way to describe this is that you have to walk them off, playing one off of the other. So reinstall one of them, them use it to loosen the last one. You may have to do this a few times but eventually you'll progress to them being loose, typically.

There is also the trick of finger tightening two of them and using a screw driver across them to hold the pulley in place. It actually works but is hard to describe.

I've also had some so tight I've had to grind them off.

-Robert
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Thanks Robert, I was just out and succeeded in doing just that!

Now I'm on to the bolts on the pump itself. I was able to get the most accessible one off by torquing with all of my might and I'm worried about my ability to do the rest, especially the top two you have to reach from above. Man, in the video the guy so casually takes off these bolts, I didn't think I had to be Hercules to do it. It's dark now so I will have to wait until tomorrow to try again.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

I suspect our SL2 has the same problem. It's been leaking coolant more and more frequently over the last couple weeks and it appears to be coming from the bottom end of the right side of the block (passenger side) towards the rear - closer to the firewall. I haven't had it up on ramps or jacks, so I haven't seen exactly where it's coming from, but it drips onto that lower suspension plate that's horizontal and runs back towards the firewall. All the hoses up top look fine, so I am guessing the pump is leaking, or maybe it's a cut hose or a clamp that's going bad. It's to the point now where if I fill up the reservoir, within a day or 2 it's empty and the low coolant light is on. Previously it'd take a few weeks. I don't usually drive the car (it's my wife's) but I know I've heard squeaking from belts in the recent past. My guess is this is like what the OP describes. I'm just real afraid that it's going to let loose on her while she's driving on the highway and leave her stranded in a dangerous area in the 100+ degree heat of summer.

A new water pump assembly is about $100 on Saturn Parts .net, and the hoses are under $20 each, so this doesn't look like it will necessarily be terribly expensive, I hope.

I'm going to go look for that video mentioned above of replacing the water pump, but a link or any advice would be appreciated. I'll probably be doing this same repair very very soon...
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Found this, probably applicable as the 1.9L is more or less the same all the way around on this.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:22 PM   #10
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Dizzy Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante View Post
Found this, probably applicable as the 1.9L is more or less the same all the way around on this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwFVKwEwvbQ

The link isn't showing up!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

You do not want to delay this repair. If it overheats not only are you broken down somewhere at probably the most inopportune time and place, but you risk cooking your engine into a massive repair bill or a new car.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by el diablo viejo View Post
You do not want to delay this repair. If it overheats not only are you broken down somewhere at probably the most inopportune time and place, but you risk cooking your engine into a massive repair bill or a new car.
Exactly what I'm afraid of... and with it being my wife driving it, I'd much rather it not end that way. I've got a new water pump on the way already from my parts hookup. I checked it today after she drove it and it probably leaked out 8 to 12 oz of coolant in 2 trips/ heat cycles. It seems to mainly leak when it is hot, and not when it's cold.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Did you confirm that it is the pump that is leaking ?
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: water pump leak advice before I start repair

Dante - yes I was following that video and something from this forum: forums/showthread.php?t=149588

Diablo - I was fairly confident it was the pump from the way the hoses were dry and how the coolant was flowing on the passenger side. I confirmed it once I had the wheel and splash guards off I poured more water from the top and watched it flow out the bottom of the pump.

My update: I got PB Blaster and got 4 of 6 pump screws off. The last two still defy me. This fix should be quite easy if it weren't for the rusted bolts. In order to visit the mechanic I reassembled everything in 15 minutes - if the bolts had come off easily the entire job, starting from ignorance, should have been quick and easy. I want one of those bendy electric socket guns, I think that might work.

Last edited by marsjupiter; 07-31-2014 at 11:49 PM.
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