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Old 04-09-2021, 03:30 PM   #1
Melissa_M
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Default water pump install tips?

Getting ready to change the water pump so I have read a ton of threads and watched videos.

Will be using duralast which should have the spaghetti gasket. So the options are to use a few dabs of RTV to hold the gasket, or use copper spray tack. Which is the more fool-proof method for a neophyte like myself? My understanding is that just the gasket itself if needed, and using (too much) RTV will yield leaks.

Also concerned about re-installing the bolts since it’s unlikely to get a torque wrench in there and I have no idea what 22 ft-LB “feels” like.


Does the fireman cv method (NOT having to move the engine up/down) work for a ’99? I found plenty of people saying they used this method, then realized none of them were for the ’99. My jack handle doesn't fit under the front of the car so doing the mount is a hassle.
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

On my '94 I did not have to move the engine; I would be surprised if the frames on the later years were any different and would require moving the engine.

For the torque, practice on some other screw/nut out in the open; use a larer one, like 10mm or more, so there is no danger of ruining it applying that 22 ft-lb. Tighten with a torque-wrench to 22, then note the position of the head/nut. Now loosen it and tighten again with a simple wrench until the head/nut is back to the same position. Lubricate the threads with oil to minimize friction and (hopefully) give most consistent results. Do this a few times and I think you will get all the feel experience you need. Note that the distance your hand is on the wrench, from the turning axis of the screw, is important. You want to hold the "practice" wrench the same as the one you will use on the pump screws so you have the same leverage in each case.

That spaghetti gasket? Be careful with it! I am ashamed to say I got one in incorrect and had a leak, had to re-do it. And that is with lots of experience... The RTV should work OK, and no worry about too much; you would have to put on so much that it oozed in and gagged the pump impellor/passages to cause any problem.

Don't want to tell us where you are, to see if some friendly soul can advise in-person?
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

If you have never removed the water pump in the past, then one of the lower left bolts holding the water pump in place might require the use of an impact wrench to remove. This can deform the bolt, so you might need a replacement bolt. You can order the following bolts from eBay by searching for, "M820-STL":

M820-STL 10mm Hex Flange Bolts M8 x 1.25 x 20

It might be easier to drain the antifreeze by using a siphon rather than trying to remove the drain bolt under the car or by using the radiator drain petcock. The fins on my radiator petcock broke off, so I replaced it with a Dorman one.

Use a six point hex wrench.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post

Don't want to tell us where you are, to see if some friendly soul can advise in-person?
location should show to the left. PMs welcome. Plenty of *good* beer available. Which I understand is helpful for a good day under the hood.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

I used a very light coat of RTV from the spaghetti gasket outward to the edge, none on the inside edge. This kept the gasket in place and provided an extra bit of sealing. I did the same with the thermostat housing. Never had a leak.
Get three threaded studs the same thread size as the bolts, but a bit longer. You can cut off the heads of bolts if you have a few extra. Thread them in three holes. Slide the pump onto the studs. Then install bolts in the unused holes. Then remove the studs and install the other bolts. Saves a lot of effort trying to line up the pump with the holes and messing up the gasket and sealer.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

I followed the FiremanCV video on my 98. First water pump replacement for me, used the copper spray tack stuff. No real problems that I recall, though it is really tight for space there.

The flat ratchet I think we discussed in another thread worked OK, though I wished the handle was longer for leverage. Lots of times, I could only turn it enough for one click worth before turning back and turning again. I think I often used a longer flat (fixed/non ratchet) wrench just to get the bolt started maybe 1/4~1/2 turn, then the ratcheting flat wrench would work.

If whoever did your water pump first time used antiseize, that will help a lot. 22 ft/lb is not a lot. IIRC, the oil drain plug is 21 ft/lb
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

When we replaced the water pump in the SL, my father-in-law tied the gasket in place with sewing thread, as it would eventually disintegrate after once it was installed.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-11-2021, 01:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

Great tips! How clever about the thread, and stud (don't have any, darn).

My instinct with the rtv would be to put a small dab IN the groove and then the gasket on top, but I don't see anybody else explain it like that. Even a repair guide I am using shows to use a dab next to the bolt hole.

So the copper spray stuff should hold the entire gasket and seems more idiot proof. I'll use that, even tho that can will never get used again.

Can you tell by feel if the gasket gets displaced as you are putting it back on the block?
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Old 04-11-2021, 02:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

Feel it? I sure didn't, but I am a clumsy oaf that can't change a serp belt in 5 minutes. You may do better, especially being forewarned. Don't be too worried about using too much RTV, it will scoot out of the way as much as necessary to allow the gasket to fit properly. In fact, the RTV should be less problem in that regard than thread. I'm not saying thread won't work, just that RTV would be better. Anything that will hold that seal in place will work. Even rubber-cement used for art projects should work fine.

PS: I am assuming that you would use the RTV "wet", not letting it harden before installing the pump...
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Old 04-11-2021, 03:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

The RTV will certainly hold the gasket in place, but there are some better suited gasket sealants available for this purpose. I use the Permatex Hylomar universal blue racing formula. Tubes are available at the FLAPS on the same aisle as the other sealants. You just have to follow the directions and allow time for the solvent to flash before assembly.
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Old 04-11-2021, 04:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyne View Post
The RTV will certainly hold the gasket in place, but there are some better suited gasket sealants available for this purpose. I use the Permatex Hylomar universal blue racing formula. Tubes are available at the FLAPS on the same aisle as the other sealants. You just have to follow the directions and allow time for the solvent to flash before assembly.
the directions seem to say it's fine to use immediately. I imagine the solvent flashes pretty quick?
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Old 04-11-2021, 05:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

It does depending on ambient temps. The instructions on the card are a little more in depth:

"Ensure surfaces are clean and dry before use. Apply a thin film of Universal Blue Racing Formula uniformly to both surfaces. Allow the solvent to evaporate (failure to allow the solvent to fully evaporate may lead to reduced sealing performance.) Due to the product's unique characteristics the joint can be left open for an unlimited time. Assemble the joint and bolt down. With certain applications, it may be necessary to re-tighten the bolts after a few minutes."

The last tricky sealing job I used it on was on a cut gasket I made for a generator. I applied the solvent and waited for at least five minutes before assembling. The product is non-hardening so you can let it flash for a little while if needed without concern such as with RTV. It also allows for disassembly if needed.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

I'm a big fan of Hylomar Blue (or its Permatex equivalent) but none of the local FLAPS carry it (on my Amazon list should I need to order it). OldNuc (RIP) turned me on tho this product when I did my timing chain and I used it again for the cam/valve cover and oil pan.

The copper spray is very tacky / sticky and stays that way. Unless you are sliding the water pump around, the gasket should stay put with any sticky product. What I did was (after spraying and putting the gasket in place) put the water pump bolts into the water pump holes, get it into location and spin each bolt by finger for just a couple of turns to engage the first few threads.

That holds everything in place - continue finger tightening around, a little bit on each bolt at a time, and the water pump will move straight back to the mounting surface.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

one tip that I haven't come across, but is in the pump install leaflet (yes, i read it!) is that the new pump may briefly leak via the weep hole after install.
Hope I get lucky on that one, this adventure is complicated enough. I still have no idea if the whole procedure can actually be done just thru wheel well-- the guy who did it for me previously did move the motor mount and A/c and went thru wheel well. Guess I will just dig in and find out, but I'd rather be prepared.

Leak check works with distilled water just as well, correct?
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: water pump install tips?

I just did a water pump and R&R two of the pump bolts from above since I found it easier. I did not touch the compressor or engine mount. Everything except for those bolts I did thru the wheel well. Using distilled water for the leak test is fine.
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