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  #1  
Old 09-15-2011, 10:22 PM
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Hey all,

So I am pretty sure my water pump is bad but I just want to confirm with you all to see if there is any other possibilities before I start tearing things apart.

The truck has 106,XXX miles and during my regular checks of the radiator reserve tank I had noticed the fluid levels decreasing. I figured maybe it was just because of summer or maybe somehow I was burning off coolant. Just today I noticed a pretty bad leak, a continuous drip. It was pretty hard to see where it was coming from exactly but it was definitely not the radiator and the hoses seemed ok. The drips were spreading around a bit but mostly hitting the differential below the block and that is why I think it is the water pump.

The weird part of all this and the reason I did not notice this all the time, is it does not always leak! As soon as I noticed the leak I went in the store and when I came back out it had stopped. I filled the fluid back up and drove home and now it is not leaking!

I guess that is a good thing because at the rate it was leaking, the radiator would be empty by the morning. I am guessing by the inconsistency of the leak it cannot be the hoses or the radiator so that leaves the water pump.

any other input would be appreciated! I have a Haynes manual but I do not know much about water pumps.

thanks in advance
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:38 AM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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We just went through the exact same thing with my son's '96 truck. Regular checks of coolant level indicated a "mysterious disappearing coolant" situation. I hadn't seen any leaks or puddles, so was stumped. Like you, I was finally able to catch it leaking, and in fact there was a pancake sized puddle right under the front of the engine, directly below the water pump. A few more clues that I discovered, and these are things you can look for, are:

1) residue on the sides of the engine compartment (adjacent to the accessory belt) that would indicate coolant being sprayed to the sides after dripping onto the belt
2) a sloppy fitting cooling fan which you can test by gently tugging on a fan blade - be careful not to bend a blade -- the fan should be sitting firmly in place. You shouldn't be able to move it from side to side. (ignore this if your model year truck has an electric fan that isn't mounted to the water pump -- I'm only familiar with our '96 model)

The water pump replacement isn't a hard job at all and in fact I found it easier than swapping out the thermostat. There are several "how to" threads available but if you have questions, post up again and we'll see what we can do to help.

Good job on catching it early -- well done!
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:02 AM
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Thanks for the help! Yea I noticed the leak only seems to start when I stop the engine which is interesting but also makes sense. The flow is at a stand still so it would be easier for liquid to find the weep hole. It certainly has coolant sprayed around, I will check on the fan tightness. I am also getting a wheezing sound when the engine is on which is probably another indication. It sounds like a bad belt, which would also make sense because of the belt and pump locations. Sounds like I have a little project for the weekend.

Is there anything else I should be replacing while I have things apart? I am thinking water pump, fan belt, radiator hoses, and maybe the fan clutch and thermostat?

Also how much does the radiator take? I have a 1997 5.9L 1500. I am guessing I should be good with one bottle of coolant and filling the rest with water? I live in california where nothing freezes.

Thanks
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:24 AM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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Yes, that wheezing sound is also a good indication that points to the water pump. Your list of things to replace is pretty thorough. I guess the fan clutch is optional -- we chose not to replace ours but only decided that after doing some diagnostics that I found here on the forum. I think the tests included fluid leaking from the clutch, bent blades and maybe some other factors. That's not a very good list so you'll want to do a search here on RamForumz to get better guidance.

I wish I could tell you exactly how much coolant we put back in the system after the work was complete, but we had some half-full bottles to use up, and I buy the full strength stuff and mix it with distilled water which makes it a little harder to tell you how much we used. Your owner's manual should have that info for you, or you can search the site here to find it. I'd like to add that even though you're in a mild climate, I'd still recommend you go at least 50/50 on your coolant/distilled water ratio since the coolant also provides corrosion inhibitors and protection for the water pump, too.

Yes, you'll have a good and rewarding project for the weekend. Have fun and good luck!
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:12 AM
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UPDATE

got the pump off and all and things are looking good so far. my one issue right now is i noticed that 4 bolts that attach the pulley to the front of the pump are not the same size, do i have the wrong pump?

it looks right, i also noticed that on the old pump the pulley comes off real easy when the bolts are out but with the new one it does not seem like the bolt holes go to anything and the pulley seems pretty firmly in place.

it was kind of dark out and i may be missing something simple but the original bolts definitely seemed small.

what am i missing?
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOPAR stallion View Post
UPDATE

got the pump off and all and things are looking good so far. my one issue right now is i noticed that 4 bolts that attach the pulley to the front of the pump are not the same size, do i have the wrong pump?

it looks right, i also noticed that on the old pump the pulley comes off real easy when the bolts are out but with the new one it does not seem like the bolt holes go to anything and the pulley seems pretty firmly in place.

it was kind of dark out and i may be missing something simple but the original bolts definitely seemed small.

what am i missing?
I had to replace mine as well awhile back. There are two pumps. you may have the wrong one if it is not exactly the same... One pump has a bolt on pulley, the other is a pressed on pulley. The pressed on Pulley needs no bolts to hold the pulley in place, the other the pulley is held on with the bolts, same pumps but different pulley set ups, get the exact one you removed.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonocativo View Post
I had to replace mine as well awhile back. There are two pumps. you may have the wrong one if it is not exactly the same... One pump has a bolt on pulley, the other is a pressed on pulley. The pressed on Pulley needs no bolts to hold the pulley in place, the other the pulley is held on with the bolts, same pumps but different pulley set ups, get the exact one you removed.

Really? Why would they make new pumps with 2 different ways of attaching the pulley? Every new water pump I have seen so far has the pressed on version. I feel like how the pulley is attached should not make any difference and every tutorial I have seen on this peoples old pump had the bolt on pulley and the new one was pressed on. Thanks for the input so far guys, someone please confirm if I need to return this pump and find one with a bolt on pulley

Thanks!
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:00 PM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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IF it's not too much trouble to find one with the pulley already attached, then yes, I think I would return the pump you have and get one with the pulley already attached. It's a peace of mind thing, plus it avoids the hassle of bolt sizes mentioned in your earlier post. For our '96, all the local stores only offered pumps with the pulley attached, so maybe you'll have pretty good luck finding one.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadzDodge View Post
IF it's not too much trouble to find one with the pulley already attached, then yes, I think I would return the pump you have and get one with the pulley already attached. It's a peace of mind thing, plus it avoids the hassle of bolt sizes mentioned in your earlier post. For our '96, all the local stores only offered pumps with the pulley attached, so maybe you'll have pretty good luck finding one.
oh yea my pulley is attached already on the new pump it just was not on the old one and that is why I was questioning whether I had the wrong pump. the pulley will not come off of the new pump but for some reason it still has bolt holes that are the wrong size. any idea why this is? did your new pump have no bolt holes in the pulley?
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:19 AM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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Sorry, I didn't catch on right away, but now I'm with you. Yes, our new pump has holes in the pulley, but I didn't give them any thought because the pulley was already firmly attached to the new pump when we bought it. I think you're going to find you're in good shape and ready to install the pump you've already bought. Don't give another thought to the fact that the bolts can be removed from the old pump but cannot be inserted into the new one. Like sonocativo said, there are pumps out there that have bolt-on pulleys, but you're a step ahead because your pump already has the pulley firmly attached. The good news is that you're going to compare the new pump to the old pump just before you install the new one. Chances are very good that it's going to be an identical fit to the one you took off, and at that point, you're ready to put everything back together. Again, don't give another thought to the pulley since your new pump has its pulley already mounted.

I'll toss in a few more points that you've probably already thought of, but are too important to skip just in case you haven't:

* when you are in the process of removing the old pump, be careful to note which bolts came out of which holes in the old pump. They are different lengths, with some shorter than the others. You'll be glad you noted this when you're installing the new pump. Some guys will set the new pump on the garage floor beside the truck, and as bolts are removed from the old pump, they'll insert the bolts into the same hole on the new pump. Then when the old pump is out, they set it next to the new pump and then one-by-one, move the bolts from the new pump to the old so they'll know where to insert them on the new pump as it's being installed. If that description is hard to follow, just know that it's important to note whether each bolt hole holding the old pump had a short bolt or a long bolt.
* if your old pump has a small, removable "water inlet tube", don't bother trying to remove the old tube from the old pump. Buy a new inlet tube for the new pump so you'll be sure to get a good fit and a good seal.
* this is a good time to change your thermostat unless it's been changed not too long ago.
* check the hoses, especially the lower one. Our lower hose was reinforced with a metal coil that had started to rust, spreading a mess throughout the cooling system. We did a complete flush twice to remove the mess before changing out the pump.

I think you're ready to rock and roll. Good luck!
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