The Wasteland Survival Guide: Engineering Greta - Page 408 - JeepForum.com
 
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post #6106 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
Sundowner
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Hidden Problems Resolved: Cooling System Overhaul

After replacing the test-repaired stock radiator and completing a reasonably thorough flush I thought I had the majority of Greta's cooling system in decent shape...and even though she's given me few issues since then, I really couldn't have been more wrong. Everything appeared to be fine, but things aren't always what they seem in the Wasteland; a tiny, intermittent coolant loss was the only clue pointing towards a host of long-standing issues that were 1) invisible from the surface and 2) caused by nothing other than good, old-fashioned stupidity...not all of which was mine. Those of you that have been paying attention will recall that I experienced a snap-overheat and radiator cap failure a few weeks ago when the overnight temperature hit 4°F outside Muppet Labs; I suspected that something went wrong with the thermostat so I made a mental note to replace it, and the installation of a new radiator cap got Greta back to functional status. Functional status was short-lived, however; before I got a chance to order the thermostat another leak showed up...and as luck would have it, this one was in a slightly worse location.

Pictured: Damn it...I was supposed to be ordering something from Northridge 4X4 right about now...




That's a textbook water pump failure, My Pretties, so if you ever wanted to know what one looks...well, there it is. I took that particular image about halfway through the repair process...and let me tell you: getting to that point was much, much harder than it ever should have been, because the person that last worked on this pump cut a few corners and didn't have a lot of concern for the quality of their work. Now, I'm not saying that expedient repairs don't have their place: they most certainly do, and they're great for short-term patches and trail fixes...but if left in place and forgotten about - or worse, hidden - a shoddy or improper repair can multiply difficulty upon difficulty down the road, either for yourself or someone else. With that in mind, I'm writing this particular article from a slightly different point of view; I'm not making it a point-by-point "how-to" on changing a water pump because we all know how to turn a wrench and follow a basic set of directions; instead, I'm going to attempt to show what I did and what I had to work around because someone in the past didn't do things properly...I'm going to show the corner-cutting and negligence that turned an afternoon-length job into two days of needless frustration, and that could have easily rendered an engine repair in the Wasteland completely impossible.

Now, if you were paying attention you probably caught the two words in that last sentence that explain the importance of what's shown in the following image; if you weren't paying attention, a picture of a freshly-washed engine bay probably seems a bit out of place...

Pictured: ...unless you're getting ready for an Ultra4 Mall-Crawl...




...or unless you realize that whenever you replace something like a water pump you're working on the internals of an ENGINE. Did you catch it that time? Yes? Good. If not, let's state it clearly: this is an engine repair and the interior of an engine is no place for any unwanted/foreign material. If you want proof of that statement, look no further than your local performance engine shop: a good one is cleaner than your average neurosurgery ward because non-simian engine builders know what dirt and grit and grime can do to engine internals in very short order - translation: radically shortened lifespan - so they take pains to keep their work areas clean. Even with something as relatively non-invasive as a water pump replacement on a low-tolerance Jeep 4.0, dirt is your enemy; you have to get the pump and block mating surfaces as clean as possible in order to guarantee a leak-free gasket seal, and if you're doing that in the midst of a grime-covered engine bay your chances of success go WAY down. So, to all of you guys - and girls - out there that never wash your engine down after oil changes or mud runs or even a few thousand miles on the pavement: do yourself a favor and clean your engine bay before you start any sort of internal engine repair. My preferred method is to go through a lather/rinse/repeat cycle until I've used an entire bottle of Simple Green; I then allow the engine to dry before starting it...or in this case, before starting the repair. I also washed off the suspension and front axle and photographed it...mostly because I like photographing front axles and suspensions.

Pictured: And I'd like it better if that 44 was a high-pinion...



Know what I don't like photographing? Take a guess:

A: Sasha's undies.
B: Illinois Nazis.
C: Horrifically-orange coolant.
D: All of the above.

Correct Answer: C. While I do admittedly hate Illinois Nazis, I actually don't mind photographing them...and I probably wouldn't mind photographing Sasha's undies, but I can't say for sure because she never wears them when she visits. As far as the horrifically-orange coolant is concerned...

Pictured: What. The. F***.




No, seriously...what the f*** is THAT? It looks like...I don't know...sweet tea concentrate, or vegetable stock, or some kind of deicing fluid or...well, anything except healthy coolant. The Zerex G05 that I use is sort of a clear, yellow-ish color - it's decidedly NOT A RUST-COLORED ORANGE - so my best guess is that I didn't get all of the old reddish-pink coolant out when I drained/flushed/changed the it last year, and that whatever remained in the block caused this color shift. There's also a slight particulate in the fluid - not entirely abnormal, but also not desirable - so another good flush is in order; I don't want any rust or dirt particles getting into the seals of my brand new water pump or scouring the metal surfaces on the interior of the engine; that would just set me up for another unexpected repair down the road. Before the flushing can happen, however, I have to get the pump changed...and the best way to make that easy on yourself is to remove the radiator and fan shroud in order to gain some extra wrenching real-estate.

Pictured: There's so much more room for activities.




I can't overemphasize how nice it is to have adequate working room, and how much of a difference it can make on the quality of your work. When you're in tight confines it's easy to start down the "I just want to get this done" road and rush the job; when you have room to work you have room to think, and having room to think makes a LOT of difference when a repair or modification goes wrong. So if you have to replace your water pump, take my advice and spend the five minutes that are required to remove the radiator and shroud, you'll be stacking the deck in your favor and giving yourself the space you need to work on the single most aggravating part of the entire cooling system...namely, the fan clutch nut. Removing this thing is a cast-iron b****...so much so that the 2003 FSM states that you must use a "suitable fan wrench" in order to do it. Since most of us don't have a "suitable fan wrench" - whatever that might be - we can make use of an alternative method; we can use a pair of wrenches to hold tension on the water pump pulley mounting nuts while someone else tries to reach through/around our arms and loosen the 36mm clutch nut, as shown here.

Pictured: It's only slightly more difficult than it looks.



As you can probably tell, it's not easy to even reach the fan clutch nut while holding the water pump pulley stable with a pair of wrenches, much less hold the pulley stable enough to allow removal of the clutch nut; if the clutch nut is rusted or stuck at all you're likely to get a hernia...and may the gods help you if you try all of this without pulling the fan shroud out of the way; it's basically like sitting two feet away from a wheel and trying to loosen the lug nuts, all with the tire off the ground and spinning freely. You're almost certainly going to mangle something - either yourself or the hardware you're trying to remove - and when people get rushed or impatient that's exactly what they do. Thus, it's best to avoid all of the frustration - either in the present or in the future - by spending the five minutes it takes to create a "suitable fan wrench" out of a piece of scrap flat stock.

Pictured: Wait...what?




In case you can't tell, the above picture shows a piece of 3/16"x1" flat stock - steel in this case - with two holes drilled in it and a slight radius cut between them. The holes are drilled in such a manner as to allow the piece of steel to be bolted into two adjacent holes on the water pump pulley, and the radius is cut to allow enough room for the clutch nut to rotate while being loosened. Once it's bolted into the water pump pulley, you can use a 36mm wrench or a large adjustable to remove the clutch nut in more conventional fashion.

Pictured: Pull them towards each other and tell your helper to get a beer from the fridge.




Pictured: Another shot, from directly above.




As soon as the clutch nut loosens it will spin off by hand; overcoming the initial torque is the difficult part and it's what causes most people to get impatient...and we know where that can lead. When you remove the fan, store it upright; as Jeep says in the FSM: "(7) After removing fan blade/viscous fan drive assembly, do not place thermal viscous fan drive in horizontal position. If stored horizontally, silicone fluid in viscous fan drive could drain into its bearing assembly and contaminate lubricant."

Pictured: Besides, it looks prettier this way...sort of like a lopsided metal flower.




Once the fan is removed you can take off the water pump pulley...pending that the remaining bolts aren't horrendously over-tightened like Greta's were. As it so happened, the two bolts I removed to install the spanner were the loose ones; the other two were so tight that I barely broke them free with an 18" breaker bar; I'd guess that they were torqued in at around 100 lb.-ft. or so, probably because someone used a f****** impact wrench to put them in when they worked on the pump, before. The first two that I removed were at somewhere around 15 to 20 lb.-ft, which is a bit low but much more reasonable; I'd belabor the point of using an impact wrench anywhere near the engine, but there's no need to do so because we already know that Impact Wrench + Engine is not an equation that's tolerated here at Muppet Labs. Instead, we'll take a look at the leaking pump itself and see what's gone wrong with it.

Pictured: You cost me an Antirock, you bastard.




It was invisible from above and difficult to see from most any other direction, but once the pulley was removed it was easy to see that the freeze plug had a seepage coming from behind it. I don't think that there was any sort of actual freezing that took place and moved the plug because its position looked identical to that of the new Hesco unit that I installed; thus, I'm not sure what that black-looking gap is behind the plug, but it only leaks when there's 15 to 18 pounds of pressure in the system...and if it was an actual gap from freeze plug movement it should be leaking constantly. Below, there's another shot of the leaking area; it was easier to examine after I removed the pump. You can see where the coolant has made a trail downwards across the housing.

Pictured: And onto some...black RTV?




Now, aside from the fact that someone RTV'd the pump gasket into place the pump itself was removed with relative ease...but a fastener-torque mishap struck here, again; two of the five bolts that mounted the water pump were MASSIVELY over-tightened, again pointing to someone that either didn't know or didn't care about what they were doing. Jeep specifies a mere 17 lb.-ft. for the water pump bolts, and - incidentally - they also specify that the water pump gasket is installed dry; that means NO RTV. As for how the gasket didn't develop a leak despite the fact that neither of those two instructions were adhered-to...well, I don't know; maybe the sheer mass of RTV prevented leakage. I also don't know why - and perhaps I should base it on sheer ineptitude, at this point - whomsoever installed this pump saw no problem whatsoever with using RTV as a thread sealant for the water inlet tube; evidently RTV is great for that kind of thing.

Pictured: Fact: RTV can also be used as a toothpaste, a hand lotion, and a Level 5 hair gel.




That's what happened to the threading on the water inlet as a result of the inlet tube being cross-threaded when it was installed; we've already seen what happened to the tube itself. I probably don't need to state the fact that while this sort of thing is merely problematic around town it can be an outright disaster in the Wasteland; trying to separate the cross-threaded tube from the water pump rendered both of them useless, even though one of them was functioning perfectly fine before the repair began. This is the kind of mishap that takes a basic repair - and I'm not just taking about a water pump, here - and renders it infinitely more difficult; I was lucky to find the part I needed in-stock at a local auto parts store, but you can't count on that kind of fortune...and although improvisation can usually serve in a pinch, one can't shouldn't rely on that, either. The best solution is to set yourself up for success by doing a job right, to the best of your ability. The person that installed that cross-threaded water inlet tube into Greta's water pump was either so inept that they didn't realize how badly they were f****** it up, or they knew and they didn't care...and either possibility is downright inexcusable. The same is true of the RTV silicon; not only was it used instead of thread sealant, but when the pump was removed a solid layer of RTV remained attached; that's impressive, considering that Jeep clearly states that no RTV is to be used when installing it. Nevertheless...

Pictured: ...every bit of this black "gasket" is RTV silicon.




It's negligence and ignorance, and while it may seem trivial I'm honestly surprised that neither the water pump housing nor the engine block itself suffered any damage from the over-tightening, and because of the gasket problems I'm amazed that the pump ever held water at all. Based on all of the wrongness experienced up to this point, I was fully expecting to deal with the same frustrations when I pulled the thermostat housing...but to my pleasant surprise this portion of the repair was a breeze; the temperature sensor came out of the housing with no protests, the hoses slid off easily, the mounting bolts were quickly removed and the gasket peeled right away from the housing. What was left on the engine block after removing the water pump and thermostat housing, though, was another story entirely. It was somewhat...frightening.

Pictured: "AHHHHH! KILL IT!! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!"




Looks pretty horrid, doesn't it? Of course the thermostat is scrap metal, but aside from that, this area could be a lot worse: I've seen these things come off and have nothing but rust and corrosion and pitting and all types of ill s*** inside those water passages...so a little bit of surface rust and some needing-to-be-removed gasket material isn't any big deal. There's not much that can be done about the surface rust aside from frequent coolant changes - and that will only get rid of whatever flakes off into the coolant stream - but the gasket material is easy to deal with; all you do is gently scrape it off with whatever tools you have at hand that will 1) quickly and easily remove whatever is clinging to the mating surface and that will also 2) present little chance of damaging the metal. My favorite tool for this job is a sharp utility knife blade; although the metal of the blade is hard enough to mar the surface of a steel engine block, the small size of the blade makes it very difficult for one to impart the force necessary to do so unless you're a Shaolin monk, a ninja, Chuck Norris, or all three.

Pictured: And if you're the latter of those four options, everything seen here is a deadly weapon.




If you're careful and deliberate the gasket material will come off quicker than Sasha's undies - told you I'd work it in, somewhere - and the underlying metal will be undamaged; if you're doing this on aluminum...well, I'd use a plastic scraper or a brass brush and some gentle solvents because the metal blade will tear up aluminum, and a torn-up aluminum block is Not Cool. Something else that's Not Cool is getting a bunch of the gasket material and surrounding grime into the water passages; that's why you see paper towels stuffed into the head and block...they'll keep most of the big pieces out of the Important Spaces, and the interior of cylinder heads and engine blocks are high on the list of Important Spaces. After all of the scraping was finished I hit the mating surfaces with the aforementioned brass brush, some Simple Green, and a rag; again, you have to get the pump and block mating surfaces as clean as possible in order to guarantee a leak-free gasket seal. Once that's done, a bit of vacuuming will remove anything that's made it's way past the paper towels and thus prevent contamination of the coolant.

Pictured: Starting to look a lot better...




A final cleaning and degreasing of the surface is all that's needed, now, but if you like you can finish off the prep job with some New-Car scented Febreeze.

Pictured: Choosing to do this is fine, as long as you don't also make the choice to reproduce.




At this point I'd basically uncovered and removed all of the problems and goblins with the core components of Greta's cooling system, so all I had to do was properly install the water pump, thermostat, housing and gaskets. To facilitate the gasket installation I used gasket tack, which is basically a contact cement that not only holds gaskets in place while you install them, but also lets them cleanly release from a surface in the future...so in that regard it's almost entirely - but not quite - unlike black RTV silicon. It's well worth the $5 investment that a small can will require, and it's a simple product to use:

Pictured: Step 1: Apply thin layer to one side of gasket.




Pictured: Step 2: Apply gasket to surface.




Pictured: Step 3: Install part as directed.




You'll note that I did not use RTV for the thread sealant when I installed the new water inlet tube; I bought a small can of Permatex Thread Sealant, which - unless it dries out - will be enough for the next fifteen years. Here's another look at the shiny new Hesco pump - which is by far the most cleanly-made and nicely-finished water pump I've ever seen - along with a view of the new thermostat and the new lower radiator hose.

Pictured: Very swank.




The old thermostat housing had some corrosion on it - perhaps from a coolant-type-mismatch and/or intermittent heater use with low coolant levels - and I wasn't sure as to whether it was damaged or not during the snap-overheat or for any other reason, so I elected to replace it with a Hesco high-flow unit while I was this far into things. I should have taken a comparison shot to show the differences between the water passages of the two units, but I wasn't thinking about it at that particular moment; if you're interested, you can see a decent shot of them on Hesco's website. I should note that since there was nothing wrong with the factory temperature sending unit I chose to not replace it; if it goes bad in the future it can be easily removed and replaced, which is also the case with the water pump pulley, despite the retard-strong torque values to which it was subjected. I used the makeshift spanner to quickly bolt it back in place...

Pictured: Useful little tool, this...




...and then I remounted the fan while I still had it in place. After that, it was just a matter of re-installing the fan shroud and the radiator; the former got a good wiping-down before it was put back in place, and the latter got a fresh coat of paint on the upper and lower tanks. Once those were back in place I inspected the spring clamps that retain the hoses - I'll want to replace them with something more user-friendly at some point in the near future - and reconnected all the plumbing; the serpentine was the last piece to go in before 2.5 gallons of distilled water were fed into the radiator in order start flushing the system and to pressure test it.

Pictured: Pay no attention to the slight bit that got spilled.




The flushing process was a series of fill-run-drain water changes using only distilled water; I really don't trust tap water in a cooling system, so it was worth the couple of extra dollars for water that I can trust to be essentially non-reactive. Because the coolant that I drained at the beginning had a high content of dissolved Tang or whatever-it-was, I elected to fill and flush the system as many times as was possible with the water I had on hand; I had about 15 gallons so I managed five changes, and each was cleaner than the last. When I was done with the last flush cycle I added a solid gallon of G05 to the empty radiator and then filled the remainder of the system with about a gallon of water; no leaks, no temperature spikes and no unpredictable thermostat behavior. I'd call that a success, belated as it was.

So, what can we take away from this far-too-verbose write-up? Well, we can break it down into "always pay attention to instructions" and "learn how to use a torque wrench" and "don't be an impatient f***-tard" if we like, but there's a bigger lesson to be learned here. That bigger lesson is this: Think Ahead. If someone had thought ahead in the past, none of the shoddy, attention-free mistakes that I found during Greta's repair ever would have existed in the present. Furthermore, they would have been given no chance to grow into bigger problems - sheared bolt in the block, perhaps? - in the future. If you think ahead and set yourself up for success both in the present and future, your life will be easier across the board; you'll spend more time enjoying it and less time mending it. The Wasteland is waiting on you to make mistakes; it is waiting on you to get impatient, to cut corners, to throw in the towel, to settle for "just getting it done" and to fail. Don't help it.


The standard "apologies in advance" regarding typographic errors and the like is hereby issued, and a very special apology goes out to Jay Callaway in regard to my intimating that RTV can be used as a Level 5 hair gel. It was wrong of me to do that, because RTV cannot, in fact, be used as a Level 5 hair gel...and Level 5 hair gels are things that we shouldn't joke about in the first place. Jay, you have my abject apologies for that horridly-inappropriate spot of humor, and also my very public congratulations for your KOH finish. I will wager that if anyone can understand how much it pays off to Think Ahead, it will be you...so, again: well done.


If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing.

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post #6107 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 07:40 PM
G Beasley
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Holy mother of water pump replacement write ups !

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post #6108 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Beasley
Holy mother of water pump replacement write ups !
I'm glad I read that last paragraph..... That was almost a disaster! For Tate. Haha.


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post #6109 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 08:55 PM
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This makes me want to change my water pump. Wtf...

I never make the same mistake twice - it's more like three or four times.
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post #6110 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 10:57 PM
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The orange fluid in the bucket was Tang. If it was good enough to go into space, it should be fine! Although I've always been a bit leary about a powder that starts out green and turns orange when water is added.

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post #6111 of 8099 Old 02-12-2014, 11:00 PM
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Umm, dang! That was intense!

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post #6112 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
Sundowner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Beasley View Post
Holy mother of water pump replacement write ups !
Quote:
Originally Posted by gst95dsm View Post
I'm glad I read that last paragraph..... That was almost a disaster! For Tate. Haha.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthetj03 View Post
Umm, dang! That was intense!
Yeah, it was an intense and long bit of writing - no arguments there - and the funny part is that I managed to get through the entire write-up without actually providing any sort of comprehensive instructions for how to change out the pump itself. That wasn't really the point of the article, though; the point was that a water pump replacement should only require two or three relatively easy hours...and the only reason that this instance showed the difficulty that it did was carelessness on the part of whomsoever did it before. Thinking Ahead would have made this as simple as it should have been: that's what I hope people get out of the article...and if they picked up a few helpful hints along the way, so much the better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 91AzXJ View Post
The orange fluid in the bucket was Tang. If it was good enough to go into space, it should be fine! Although I've always been a bit leary about a powder that starts out green and turns orange when water is added.
I didn't taste it, but I think you're correct. I did, however, go over to the Arkanenwërks at Muppet Labs and asked all of the sciencey-looking people - those are the ones with lab coats and clipboards - about whether or not Tang would make a good engine coolant, but I only got half of the sentence out of my mouth before they started frowning at me and shaking their heads disapprovingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redrelyt12 View Post
This makes me want to change my water pump. Wtf...
I know exactly what you mean. About the time I was halfway through removing the baked-on RTV I thought "Damn it...what else have they f***** around with in here??"

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post #6113 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 08:40 AM
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Do you have an air compressor? The easy way to take a fan off a water pump if you are changing the water pump is to use an air hammer to loosen the nut. Just angle the air hammer so it hammers in a loosening direction (opposite the way the fan spins) and it will usually loosen in about 2 seconds and you can spin it off. Then to tighten, just spin it as tight as you can get it by hand. The rotation of the engine will make it as tight as it needs to be.

If you are worried about unsightly chisel marks in the fan nut, generally if you are replacing a worn out pump it's a good time to replace the fan clutch too.


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post #6114 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have an air compressor? The easy way to take a fan off a water pump if you are changing the water pump is to use an air hammer to loosen the nut. Just angle the air hammer so it hammers in a loosening direction (opposite the way the fan spins) and it will usually loosen in about 2 seconds and you can spin it off. Then to tighten, just spin it as tight as you can get it by hand. The rotation of the engine will make it as tight as it needs to be.
I have a very nice compressor, but I don't have an air hammer...yet. Great tip, there! Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by clintrivera View Post
If you are worried about unsightly chisel marks in the fan nut, generally if you are replacing a worn out pump it's a good time to replace the fan clutch too.
I thought about that, but since the fan clutch seems to be working just fine I thought I'd leave it until it either goes out - not a great option, admittedly - or until I have some extra caps. I think I'll do a replacement when I do the heater hoses and upper radiator hose...pending that I can even find a Goodyear upper hose; RockAuto lists an alternate for the correct part number, but it doesn't fit. I'd also like a mythical seven-blade fan, but that's just wishful thinking.

In unrelated news, here's the current view from Greta's cockpit...

Pictured: Time for a road trip.




I'm heading out of town for the weekend, so updates and responses might be sparse...but I also might bring Jay a 12-pack of something alcoholic, so that could be fun. Lots of snow and ice between here and there, so wish me luck.

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post #6115 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 09:09 AM
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Good luck!

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post #6116 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 09:31 AM
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Good thing I'm changing my water pump this weekend along with my timing set. 213k is a long time on factory parts.

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post #6117 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
...that wasn't really the point of the article, though; the point was that a water pump replacement should only require two or three relatively easy hours...and the only reason that this instance showed the difficulty that it did was carelessness on the part of whomsoever did it before. Thinking Ahead would have made this as simple as it should have been: that's what I hope people get out of the article...and if they picked up a few helpful hints along the way, so much the better.
A very excellent point...and another excellent point of the article is to be adaptable. You made a difficult removal into a significantly easier one by creating your very own "suitable fan wrench". Adaptability makes survival much more possible in The Wasteland. It's what I like to think of as a Jackie Chan approach where everything is potentially useful. And, you know, I may just have to add another quote to my signature...

I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way.

Do not let circumstances control you. You change your circumstances. - Jackie Chan
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post #6118 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 09:57 AM
The_Eng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna Belle View Post
A very excellent point...and another excellent point of the article is to be adaptable. You made a difficult removal into a significantly easier one by creating your very own "suitable fan wrench". Adaptability makes survival much more possible in The Wasteland. It's what I like to think of as a Jackie Chan approach where everything is potentially useful. And, you know, I may just have to add another quote to my signature...
The Wasteland is an unforgiving mistress
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post #6119 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 11:54 AM
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Ironic you post this. I'm changing mine today after work.

1998 Chili Pepper Red Jeep
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post #6120 of 8099 Old 02-13-2014, 05:48 PM
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Nice write up! The tool you made for the fan is actually nearly identical to the BMW "special tool" that we use at the dealership. The only difference is that one of the bolt holes is slotted to allow for multiple pump pulley sizes. And just as a side note, if you have a properly sized wrench for the fan, you can also whack the end not attached to the fan clutch nut with a dead blow to loosen those fans that aren't put on with gorilla strength.
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