So, some more car troubles… overall my minivan has been pretty good. I replaced the alternator at the beginning of the season and apart from some ‘new’ wheels, the only real problem has been when I put a crack in my sump (aka oil pan) when I drove over a rock on the logging roads between Horne Lake and Port Alberni.

I had noticed my car running a little hot and had topped off the radiator at Quagger and Tawney’s, but after the 1.5hr drive to Rob’s in Courtany, it was again super low. I topped it up with some coolant, and happen to notice it streaming out from under the car… that wasn’t good. I was happy to be car pooling!

After a fun weekend caving, I returned to my sick vehicle and after a quick inspection (looked like water was coming out from the pipe from the bottom of the radiator entered the water pump – though I found out later that it wasn’t really part of the pump), decided to risk driving back to Port Alberni. I have been caving a bit with Jim and Jason who are both mechanically inclined and would have some tool I could borrow.

I crashed on Jason’s couch and almost went caving+hiking with them the following day. But in the end wasn’t really feeling it and wanted to get a start on the repairs. At this point I still thought it was the lower coolant tube. Jason had offered to bet me it was the pump… lucky I didn’t take him up, as after watching some more videos, remembering the rust lines from the pump, jacking the car up, I saw that there was definitely water coming from the weep holes.


There are several good videos I found online that helped walk me through the process (see the references below), but essentially I:

  • Jacked the car up
  • Jack stands
  • Took off wheel
  • removed the two plastic shrouds

The following day I:

  • Drained the radiator using the plug – I really could have skipped this I think…
  • Removed the lower coolant pipe. I first had to remove a hose clamp. The pipe is held in with two bolts. Drained out more coolant.
  • I could then loosen the bolts on the water pump pulley. To get access to all the bolts I could put a socket on the cranking pulley to rotate the serpentine belt.
  • Removed the serpentine belt using a crowbar.
  • Removed water pump pulley – already loosened
  • Removed the 5 bolts holding on the pump.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to drop the engine, but couldn’t find an easy way to get the pump and pulley out. I put a jack under the engine, and after putting a piece of wood in-between, jacked the engine up a little. Removing the large rubber hose gave access to the three engine mount bolts that after loosening allowed me to drop the engine just enough that I could take the water pump out.
There was obvious rust marks. It seemed to spin okay on the bearings though did feel a little stiff. Later inspection revealed that it looked like the seal was damaged.

I didn’t have so there wasn’t much more I could do for the day. But the following day Jason gave me a ride to M&Js to pick up a new one grabbing some gasket sealant whilst there (originally I had misquoted the year and thought I’d have to wait a day, but when I checked I realised it was actually a 2006 model and they had one of those in stock).

We also stopped by Jason’s Dad’s to grind back some of the rust on the radiator pipe. When I get back I gave it a coat of paint and whilst it was drying cleaned up the water pump surface with a razor and rag.

Next, I applied the sealant and bolted the pump back in place, cursing the 5th bolt that hides around the back. Applying a second coat of paint I returned to hand tighten the pulley and then get the serpentine belt onto the hard to reach pulleys.

  • Raised the engine, bolting it back in place.
  • Put the belt back on.
  • Tighten the pulley.
  • Apply sealant to the O-ring
  • Bolt pipe back in place (had to do this again when I started filling it up with water – the O-ring hadn’t gone in… very annoying!)
  • hose back on with hose clamp (vice grips very handy here!)
  • Filled radiator.
  • Ran engine with heater on. Wow! So much quieter. Check out the videos!

Here are some before and after videos of the engine running. I think this resolves the strange noise I have been hearing since I bought the car!

Then a matter of putting the plastic guards and wheel back on. I think I’ll need to buy some more trim panel connectors as I broke a couple.

Also need to flush the radiator a couple of times and put coolant in.