1994 FORD EXPLORER 4.0L 245cid V6 MFI (X)
Water Pump

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Diagnosis and Part Selection Advice:

How did you know this part needed replacement? Why did you choose a certain brand/part number?
My Explorer has 155K miles on it and has been in service for 14 years. I know nothing of its history until 2003, when I bought it (cheap!) with 115K miles on it.

Knowing this part was dying was pretty simple: (a) the engine ran much hotter than it had in the past, (b) the shaft bearings were starting to make noise, and (c) coolant was appearing at the weep hole. Okay, time for a R&R.

While I was at it, the serpentine belt was in pretty rough shape (cracked), the A/C system wasn't working at all (turns out the aluminum parts of the condenser had corroded into aluminum oxide powder), the thermostat was suspect (what the heck ... it's cheap), the water outlet (what some engines call the "thermostat housing") was beginning to corrode (so that was yet another R&R along with the 'stat), and it was time to replace all those stock radiator hoses. So, this job boiled down to:

... in that exact order. Required parts bold, optional not.

Part Comments

What came in the box? Were additional nuts, bolts, sealant, etc. needed for the repair?
I chose the Cardone (new) pump 5523315. It was of good quality, very decent casting, appeared just like the OEM version, right down to the grooves on the front. A gasket (thankfully) came in the box.

You'll need some gasket adhesive ... I used Permatex RTV gasket adhesive (black goop), which works well.

If you're going after the thermostat, you'll also need a rubber ring that goes around the outside edge of the t-stat, and a water outlet gasket. If you don't have the water outlet gasket, I'm told RTV gasket maker will do the trick (but I hate disassembling pseudo-gaskets made with this stuff!). But there's no substitute for that new rubber ring! It's cheap, and RockAuto has it. But if you insist on being a cheap SOB, reuse the old one at your peril.

Repair / Installation tips:

Special tools needed? Have to remove other parts to reach this one? Any left-hand threads, sharp edges, messy fluids or other pitfalls to avoid?
Oh yeah ... you need special tools to get the radiator fan & clutch off, which I didn't find here at RockAuto. So I went to my local bigbox auto parts store (you know, the "zone" guys), and rented what's called a "Fan Clutch Tool Set" ... these are made specially for Fords. It consists of two very flimsy sheet metal (10 ga) wrenches: the first one is for the fan clutch nut (1 7/16") and the other one holds the water pump pulley still by clamping the pulley bolts in a square pattern. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE YOUR FAN CLUTCH WITHOUT THESE TOOLS ... you can't fit a standard thickness wrench/pliers into the skinny space alloted to work on the fan clutch. Do NOT let the idiot at the 'zone sell you the wrong tool set ... there's one made specifically for Fords ... the key is the 1 7/16" wrench ... the rest of the world uses a different size.

Another word about the fan clutch. I have the Ford service manual for the vehicle. It said that the fan clutch nut has a left-hand thread (and therefore "lefty loosey, rightey tighty" doesn't apply). BS ... it does NOT. It has a right-hand thread, and is turned counter-clockwise to loosen. This little bit of information cost me an hour of wasted time and nearly cost me a rounded-off nut (grumble, grumble).

Don't even attempt this job without a torque wrench. You can get away with a 3/8" drive tq wrench that reads inch-pounds, but you'll be running it at the (inaccurate) sub-low end. A dial tq wrench (the very expensive, small kind) would be best; but I don't have one of those. Gulp hard, eyeball your 9 ft-lb (108 in-lbs) setting and pray your wrench gets it right. Mine did.

The usual nanny-state caveats apply about the disposal of used coolant, of which you're going to have a few gallons.

Okay, so down to the steps:

1. Drain the radiator. Loosen the petcock, and wait about 40 minutes for all that nasty coolant to drain out.
2. Remove the air intake hose from the air cleaner to the throttle body ... it's in the way. Set it aside for reinstall.
3. Remove the fan & clutch. Set the unit aside for reinstall.
4. Remove upper & lower radiator hoses. Throw them away unless you plan to reuse them. You're going to leak more coolant here.
5. Loosen the A/C compressor. Remove the 4 bolts holding the compressor and its bracket, then remove the hose brace with an 8 mm hex head box wrench. Move the whole assembly aside without disconnecting it (unless you're going to throw it away like I did. Nobody needs A/C in New England!). If you are uninstalling your A/C unit, you want to cut the hose back at the pressure relief tank on the RH side of the engine comparment, too.
6. Unload the belt tensioner. Stick a 1/2" drive ratchet into the square hole, and rotate clockwise while sort of pulling up on it. Pull hard.
7. Remove the serpentine belt. If you're reusing yours, set it aside. If you're not, throw it away. Before you do this, make sure your car still has the belt routing diagram sticker. If it doesn't, make one now.
8. Remove the water pump pulley. There are 4 13mm bolts to loosen, these are torqued to about 20 ft-lbs ... you'll need to hold the pulley still with a big screwdriver against the other bolts, so loosen all 4 first, then take them out & remove the pulley.
9. Remove the water pump. There are 12 10mm (if I remember properly) bolts that affix it to the front of the engine block. These aren't torqued in very tight ... they come out easy. You're going to spill some more coolant now. Tip: Clean all 12 bolts now. Mine had oil all over the outside and some gasket sealant on some of the threads. I soaked mine in Deep Creep for a few minutes, then brushed all the threads clean with a brass brush, rinsed them in Deep Creep, and let them dry.
10. Clean off the old gasket material where the water pump meets the block. Very important if you don't want leaks (and who does?).
11. (Optional ... thermostat). Remove the water outlet. There are only 3 bolts you have to undo, but they're all pains in the butt to reach. Try removing the idler pulley; but you'll still need a 3/8" ratchet, 10mm socket, a universal joint, and a 3" extension to get at them. Bleh.
12. (Optional ... thermostat). Remove the old gasket material from the engine block.
13. (Optional ... thermostat). Remove the old thermostat. Note which way it's installed ... you'll want to duplicate the locations of the arms. (Why? So you don't block coolant flow!) Depending on how long the old 'stat has been in there, you may have to pry it out.
14. (Optional ... thermostat). Prepare the new 'stat for installation by installing a new rubber ring around its edge.
15. (Optional ... thermostat). Insert the new thermostat into the block.
16. (Optional ... thermostat). Put gasket material on the new water outlet gasket (you did get one of those, right?), both sides. Stick it to the water outlet.
17. (Optional ... thermostat). Bolt in the water outlet. Torque the 3 bolts to 20 ft-lbs.
18. Prepare the new water pump gasket. Lightly coat both sides with RTV gasket adhesive, then stick it to the pump.
19. Install the new water pump, using all 12 original bolts. Be very torque-conscious here ... you don't want to warp the new pump. Finger-tighten all the bolts first, then use a torque wrench to tighten them to 9 ft-lbs, being careful to alternate bolts. Tip: keep the old pump around as a guide ... not all 12 bolt holes are visible ... the three on the lower middle are particularly blind. The old pump will help you figure out where they are.
20. Install the water pump pulley. Torque the 4 bolts down to 22 ft-lbs.
21. Install the fan and clutch. The threads on the nut & shaft are very fine ... it takes a little patience to get it started. What worked for me was centering the nut on the shaft, putting a finger on the center of the fan (outside, towards the radiator), and then spinning the fan clockwise.
22. Install the lower and upper radiator hoses.
23. (Optional if you're keeping your A/C compressor) Install the A/C compressor using the 4 long bolts. Reinstall the hose brace with that 8 mm bolt.
24. Install the serpentine belt. Follow the routing diagram. You'll need to keep the belt tensioner unloaded while you do this.
25. Don't forget to reinstall that air intake hose (between the MAF and the throttle body). Don't run your engine without it (you can, but it will run like death, if at all).
26. Fill the radiator with coolant. If you live in Cold Country, like me, make sure this is a 50-50 mix of coolant and water. I used about a gallon and a half of Prestone (total 3 gals drained & replaced). Otherwise, if you live where it never freezes, stick your garden hose in the radiator cap opening, start the engine, and let 'er rip. Remember to burp the system.

TIP: The time to check for leaks is before you reinstall the fan & clutch assembly. Obviously, you'll need the serpentine belt installed to do this (the objective is to see that the water pump gasket actually seals), you'll need to put the intake air hose on, and you'll also need a full cooling system. Let the engine get up to temperature, then run it for 5 minutes. No leaks? You're good.

Total time: (including the lost hour to the fan clutch thread issue) 6 hours, counting clean-up. I could do it in less than half the time now that I know what I'm doing :)