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krax1969 01-27-2011 09:24 AM

Leaking water pump replacement
2003 Sahara, 4.0L 5 speed

Long story short: I have a leaking water pump, need a new thermostat, and need to replace both upper and lower radiator hoses.

Easy to do by yourself? The only thing I do myself at the moment is my own oil changes, lube the suspension, and rotate the tires.

The estimate I got from the garage is over $800 (including a flushing and refil with new antifreeze). The labor is over half that amount and kinda hard to swallow.


98tj25l 01-27-2011 10:02 AM

I did this over the summer, and it was the first time I've worked on a car. It's really not that bad, the biggest thing is that you take your time. You'll need a good ratchet set, and a repair manual to work from. You can also look around online there a some good step by step write ups to give you an idea of what's involved. Just a tip, the pet cock on our radiator is known to break so to drain the radiator fluid just remove the lower hose. If you plan on flushing your radiator I would recommend prestone's "flush and fill kit" it allows you to back flush your system. Also remember that when refilling your radiator fluid, use distilled water not your tap water.

krax1969 01-27-2011 10:28 AM

What about the Prestone (I think) 50/50 mix? Is that a good one (and don't have to worry about the distilled water) and does it work well in cold climates? I am moving to Denver in a month.

dan188 01-27-2011 10:43 AM

Prestone 50/50 is fine. The only difference between the 50/50 and regular prestone is that 50/50 is ready to go into your radiator and the original prestone has to be mixed with water before you pour it in... like 98TJ said above, the water pump is not too difficult to tackle. He made a good point about draining the coolant by taking the lower hose off. A quick description of the job is:

1. drain the radiator and block, and while it is draining, unbolt the rad. fan shield and the fan bolts, and loosen the belt and remove it. Once the belt is off, take the fan bolts out and pull the fan and fan shield out together.

2. now that the fan is out of the way you can easily access the water pump and thermostat housing. Unbolt the T-stat housing, and get the upper hose out of the way

3. unbolt the water pump, get the lower hose out of the way

4. clean everything! every part of the block needs to be completely clean before putting the new pump on or it might leak.

5. put the new pump on and re-assemble everything.

6. Fill the block back up.... when I did my pump I filled the radiator and the water filled the block via the lower radiator hose. For the upper rad hose I had it connected to the t-stat housing BUT I didn't connect it to the radiator. I wanted to make sure that water flowed all the way through the block and air had an outlet (via the upper hose). This will prevent an air pocket. Once coolant started to flow out the upper hose, I reconnected it and topped it off.

good luck

krax1969 01-27-2011 10:49 AM

You guys make it sound so easy! Thanks for all the advice, seems like something I can handle. If not, I have AAA plus so I can have it towed to the repair shop... ;-)

scavanau 01-28-2011 01:40 AM

If you're still wary of doing it yourself, try another shop. $800 should be considered rape. Honestly, water pump and t-stat replacement is as simple as can be.

krax1969 01-28-2011 05:48 AM

I checked on the parts prices online. I can get all the recommended stuff for under $200 (including all new antifreeze). The shop wanted almost $400 just in parts. Come on, $25 for a thermostat I can get on line for $8??

Part of the problem is that I bought an extended warranty from CarMax (this was before I realized I can do a lot of work myself), and if I do the work myself, it might void the warranty. Not sure if it is fully covered or not, so I either pay about $200 and do it myself, pay $840 up front and hope the warranty covers it and pay a net of $175 (deductible plus antifreeze flush and refill), or I get stuck paying all $800 if it isn't covered, but keep my warranty good.

krax1969 01-31-2011 04:54 PM

Good news! The repair is covered by my warranty (less a deductible and a hose that wasn't covered). Cost me about the same as it would have had I bought the parts myself. This way, the Jeep is still covered. Once that warranty expires, maybe THEN I will start doing my own repairs beyond oil changes and tire rotations...

Thanks to all that gave me advice, and look forward to more in the future!

dan188 01-31-2011 06:16 PM

haha, sounds good man.

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