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Changing a water pump on a truck

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by 8_finger, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. 8_finger


    Jun 1, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I am just trying to figure out if this is something I can tackle this without taking the truck to the shop.

    Truck is 1994 Nissan Hardbody/D21 king cav XE RWD, 4 cyl KA24 engine.

    Back story:
    Two months ago I took the truck to a local shop to have the antifreeze flushed an changed - I did't drive the truck in a while and the coolant leaked (almost no coolant in when I took it to the shop) and I told the shop to check for leaks and flush and change coolant.

    The truck was fine for few weeks - I don't drive it often it is a backup vehicle. After I got back from vacation I took the truck for a test drive and it started overheating very fast I parked it and checked the coolant level and it was almost depleted (the shop claimed they checked for leaks in February). Just to be sure I ordered a radiator/cooling system pressure test kit and after re-filling the cooling system with water and testing it I found the leak in 3 seconds - it seems to be leaking from the water pump.

    So my questions are:
    1. Is this something I can do by myself (I am handy but I have not tackled car repair of this scale by myself yet)?

    2. DO I need any special tools?

    3. If I am doing it should I replace anything else with the water pump (fan clutch seems to be recommended to be replaced at the same time, belts maybe?)?

    I do have the Nissan service manual for the truck, but it does not go into great detail how to change the water pump.

    Any input appreciated
  2. you probably should look at the SHOP manual....
  3. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    No firsthand experience with your vehicle, but I have done my own water pump replacement. Original was still running fine but was already upgrading the radiator and it made sense to grab it since it's right there.

    Probably should have replaced the fan clutch while there, likes to get toasty in stop and go traffic...
  4. AGH


    Jun 18, 2013
    Long Island NY
    All of the stuff I got for free wore out!
  5. kev b

    kev b

    Nov 28, 2012
    The worst thing that can happen is snapping off the bolts in the block as you undo them.

    Do you have enough experience to tell whether a fastener is about to break? If you don't and don't have a friend with the skill to undo them safely, then leaving it to a professional is probably the best option.

    OTOH snapped bolts are unusual and a water pump swap is a pretty easy job otherwise.
  6. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.
    I would recommend investing in a Haynes or Chiltons manual for the car.They're very helpful, and cover repair and replacement of every part of the car step by step.

    Well worth the $27 dollar investment IMHO. (Available at parts stores)
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    FIRST- do a web search for a Nissan Hardbody truck forum.

    THEN do a search for "replace water pump". Odds are all the info you need will be there.

    But you should always buy the shop manual as soon as you get the car...(I see now that you have one).
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  8. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    No voodoo changing that pump, I say go for it. The YouTube link posted earlier should pretty much cover it if you need help. I didn't bother to watch the whole thing but I can give you one tip he may have left out and that is to loosen the 4 nuts that secure the fan clutch to the water pump before you loosen the fan belt, otherwise you'll find yourself trying to hold the pulley still while cracking the nuts free.

    To determine whether you need a new fan clutch, grab the fan itself and see if you can rock it back and forth..... not in a spinning motion but towards the engine or radiator. What happens is the clutch itself loosens over time and the vibrations from the looseness will cause the water pump bearings to loosen and the seals to leak. If in doubt, replace it for the extra $50.
  9. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
  10. You're going to have to remove the fan clutch and fan blades and belt with that job (which is why getting those parts replaced is generally a good idea, though not necessary). If there's nothing wrong with your fan clutch, there's really no absolute need to replace it.

    The thing about removing the fan clutch is that it will happily just rotate with you when you try to wrench off one of the bolts holding it on, so this requires a special wrench that slips over two of the bolts so the pulley can be held in place while you loosen the still exposed nuts, loosen all the nuts but do not remove them, that way the wrench still has the bolt heads to grab onto while you loosen the remaining three bolts. Another trick is to use an oil filter wrench (the type that has a rubber strap to fit multiple sizes), that can go around the pulley allowing you to hold it in place while you remove the bolts to the clutch. This is if you've removed the belt prior, really best to loosen the bolts to the fan clutch while the belt is still holding tension on the clutch.

    The water pump itself, once fully exposed, is a relatively easy job to do. Best practice is to break all the bolts free before completely removing them from the engine block. Be sure to have a gasket scraper and completely clean whatever pieces of gasket might stick to the block where the new pump will go on. I always use RTV silicon in addition to the new gasket (they are usually paperboard), you can find a tube at any auto parts store, they make one just for water systems, cost about 8 bucks, I swear by it. Just a thin layer on both sides of the new gasket works well, it dries in about an hour and can be exposed to water and fully cures in about a day, no need to wait a day before filling it with coolant or running it, an hour will usually do.

    As others have said, the 20 or so bucks for a Chiltons manual is a great buy and can guide you step by step through nearly anything, well worth the price.

    Nothing very technical about this job and you'll be happy having completed it with just the cost of parts.

    Best of luck to you!
  11. 8_finger


    Jun 1, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Thank you all for the responses.
    Either way I will buy the Haynes/Chilton manual for the truck and a torque wrench, I need to see the parts cost and go from there.
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    only thing not mentioned is the thermostat. If it is as old as the water pump it's worth the trouble to do it while you are already there. Unless it's a no money situation, replacing the fan clutch is just good insurance. Same with the drive belt. If it's old and the truck sits a lot, take a good look at the belt to make sure it's not cracked.
  13. While I'm sure that torque specs are given for the water pump, I don't ever use one for that job (cylinder heads and other things are a different story of course). For me there are three basic levels of torque: finger tight, tightey tight and gorilla tight. A water pump will do just fine bolted on at the high end of tightey tight.

    Also, if you're not planning to use the torque wrench a lot, you might ask your local auto parts tore if they will rent you one, many do and many times for free with a deposit.
  14. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I would just add a suggestion to thoroughly clean the mounting bolt threads (a wire brush often will do it, but in stubborn cases sometimes I've had to use a thread die to chase the threads) and put a smear of anti-seize lube on them when you put it all back together.
    tmdazed likes this.
  15. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
  16. 8_finger


    Jun 1, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Just to give everyone an update:
    I managed to get the parts (water pump, fan clutch, belts+ misc stuff) disassemble everything needed and in the process I discovered that some of the belt drive parts are broken (power steering pump assembly adjuster and probably alternator adjusting bolt) and I need to special order them (I could not find them in the regular parts store).

    So water pump is installed, but I need to wait for all the other parts before assembling everything.

    Thank you all for your assistance.

    Also anyone have any idea how to pry out really rusted stuck screws/bolts?
  17. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Heat them up with a torch.
  18. Try soaking overnight with PB Blaster first. If that doesn't do it, heat generously with propane torch, being careful not to burn wires or hoses or just generally setting the truck ablaze. Let cool completely before attempting to remove. The idea is that the heat expands the bolt, crushing the rust around it slightly. Once cooled the bolt with have a little wiggle room. That's the theory.
  19. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
  20. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania