Replacing the water pump

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Thanks to Ken Mark.

I replaced my water pump to solve a leakage problem. It's an expensive pump ... more than 3 times the price of a conventional one. It was the most agonizing repair job I've ever, ever done on a car! Proper tools and time are essential.

The biggest problem I had was with the "infamous crankshaft bolt". Mine must have been tightened to a few hundred ft-lbs! You have to take the wheels off and use prybars thru the wheel studs against the floor to prevent the axle from rotating as you apply torque to the bolt.

To remove the bolt, I first tried applying heat and a 3 foot bar with a socket without success. I then rented an electric 1/2" impact wrench ... still no go. Next was an electric 3/4" impact wrench. After 10 minutes of applying red hot heat and hitting it with the impact wrench, the stubborn bolt still wouldn't budge. I took time out for a quick prayer and it finally came loose on what was intended as my last attempt! A powerful air driven impact wrench is mandatory and probably would have made quick work of an otherwise troublesome bolt.

Ed. note: There are several alternative methods for removing the crank bolt. If you don't know what you're doing, though, don't try any of these! Darwin's principles apply to humans too, after all. You can remove that stubborn crank bolt by putting a breaker bar on the bolt, allowing the bar to dangle in front of the subframe crossmember and using the starter motor to break the bolt loose. The EEC should be disabled by either disconnecting the DIS, the EEC ground, or the coil pack before doing this to make sure the engine doesn't start. You can also try having one person stand on the brakes with the clutch engaged and the car in gear, while a second person wrestles with the bolt.

Virtually the entire right side of engine compartment has to be dismantled to get proper access. It's also helpful if you remove the engine strut brace because it obstructs access when removing belts. The crankshaft bolt itself has to be accessed thru the wheel well. I also replaced the timing belt at the same time since you have to remove it anyway to avoid getting coolant all over it.

The actual pump replacement was a breeze. No gaskets or sealants required. It's a high tech looking pump with 2 rubber o-ring seals. Make sure you wet down the big o-ring with water before slipping it onto the coolant pipe. I failed to do this, and the o-ring distorted as I assembled things, causing a leak.

I think most dealers will quote you 4-6 hours for this job. After having done it, I can probably do it in less than 4 hours if I had to do it again with the proper tools. I probably spent a couple of weekends with my head buried in the wheel well of my SHO trying to break that bolt free!