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Discussion Starter #1
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! :4-dontknow:

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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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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!
Good info. My pump is leaking in the same manner as stated above, so I'm sure I'll be replacing mine soon. I can actually smell antifreeze when exiting the truck and I saw a small amount on the bottom tip of the balancer. I was hearing the "waterfall" sound when turning the truck on and off. I refilled the cooling system and the noise went away, but with that leak I'm sure it'll be back in no time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks for the pointers!

i do plan on changing the thermostat, i do have new hoses for the upper and lower and i am replacing everything except the bypass hose. that hose seems to be in good shape and it looks like a real big pain to get out. by the inlet tube, do you mean the metal tube with the flag where the heater hose enters the water pump? that one seemed pretty lodged in there good, will they have this part a regular auto parts store?

how hard is it to get to the thermostat? i have not looked into it yet.

i watched a couple of video tutorials that really helped me out. if anyone is planning on doing this job check these videos out, they were really helpful to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_Djfr-U9qg&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZlgTTOOPVk&feature=relmfu
 

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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!
I dont know why? When I went to get ti they asked if it was a bolt on or pressed on pulley. The pump with the pressed on pulley comes with a new pulley and only $40 no core charge... the bolt on pump comes without a pulley since you use your old pulley. Mine had 4 holes in the pulley but nothing threaded or anything to bolt to behind the pulley as well. Its weird but thats just some of the crazy stuff manufacturers do....lol:smiley_thumbs_up:
 

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LOL yup, the bolts are different length and I drew a diagram on the wall with numbers ( I marked the bolt heads with numbers ) and my wife come out and seen it and looked at me like "WTF" ? :LOL:
 

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Tractorerik - yep, that waterfall sound is familiar. We had the "mysterious disappearing coolant" syndrome because the pump was only leaking a little at first, not enough to point with certainty to the water pump. But we had that gurgling sound from air in the system, and low coolant levels, so by the time the pump started leaking a lot, we were pretty sure we knew what was going on!

MoparStallion,
Too funny, that's EXACTLY the same video I watched before tackling the water pump on our truck! I can tell you that our water pump swap-out went exactly as described in Brian's video. EXACTLY. In fact, those tips I included in my earlier post were things I learned only after watching his videos.

On the bypass hose -- I didn't change ours, but soon after the water pump job I was talking to a mechanic at the local dealership and he said I should have tackled it while I was in there. Maybe so, but I don't have any regrets leaving it alone (at least not yet!)

Yes, the inlet tube is the one with the flag, and yes, it's available at the auto parts stores for under $10. I'm glad you're going to get a new one. The manager at the local Autozone told me he'd never seen anyone successfully re-use the old one.

We have different engines (5.2 vs 5.9 L) so I can't speak to your thermostat, but on ours, the thermostat was a bit of a challenge to get to, but nothing to cause any worry or delay. Two tips I might pass along -- on ours, I loosened the alternator's lower-left bolt, and removed its upper-right bolt, which allowed me to move the alternator a bit to the left. This gave me access to reach the hose clamp. Also, once the thermostat had been replaced and I was putting everything back together, I wondered how I was going to start the bolts when putting them back into the thermostat's housing. I used one of those magnetized reachers you use when you've dropped something in a hard-to-reach spot, and put the bolt on the magnet and then patiently started the bolt. Once it was a few turns in, I could then use the sockets (with 6" extension) to finish the job.

I installed a 195 degree thermostat, only because that's what the store's web site called for as being OEM. I've seen that several of the guys on here prefer 180 degrees, and I think that was actually the OEM temperature some time ago before emissions control became such a big factor.

This winter, when it's down around zero in Kentucky, too bad I can't send some cold air to San Jose so you can give your heater a workout. With your cooling system maintenance all done, your truck would be ready for it!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
thanks for all the help so far everyone.

i managed to swap in the new thermostat without removing anything else believe it or not. it took me a little bit of time because i dropped one of the bolts in the dark which was not fun to find! haha. i used a flexible extension and ratchet to get the bolts loose and then just pulled it out with a little maneuvering. as you mentioned above getting the bolts back in was going to be the hard part! i tried the magnet trick (funny i thought of this too before reading your post) but the tool spun too easy. i ended up wadding up a piece of duct tape and sticking it in the socket, it held the bolt nicely and i was able to bolt it all up! hopefully i wont have any leaks. i used permatex ultra gray on both sides of the gasket. not sure if that stuff is good enough to withstand the heat and liquid..
 

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Ah, duct tape! My father-in-law can fix anything with just duct tape and a pipe wrench. I looked up Permatex Ultra Grey and their web page specifically mentions water pumps and thermostats in its list of suggested applications, and it says it has outstanding resistance to oils, coolant and shop fluids. So, you should be in good shape!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
hey all,

i finished the job so thanks for all the help with it.

HOWEVER, i still have almost the exact same leak and after taking a closer look i am pretty sure it is coming from the one thing that i did not change...

the bypass hose!!! :doh:

needless to say i am not happy right now. does anyone have any good articles/videos on how to replace this? it seems like it goes way back in the block somewhere. i am hoping i can remove some things on the top of the engine and not have to mess with the water pump again.

thanks
 

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YEP! That's what wives do best! And the more you try to explain why you did something, the bigger they roll their eyes.:i_rolleyes:
Oh, I cant even start to explain anything to her, she is a bookworm and if it aint in writting she doesnt want to hear it. What I get from her is : Whats the bottom line? Cost?:str:
 
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