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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter #1
'97 Taurus GL 3.0L: Water Pump Recommendations?

What should I be looking for in a water pump replacement for this car (if I don't go with the Motorcraft dealer unit)?

1.) Should I avoid remanufactured units?

2.) Are there any special features that are worth paying for (like particular impeller designs, special bearings, etc.)

3.) What about AutoZone's Duralast units? Any opinions?

4.) Are these things sold in pieces such that I may have to transfer parts off the old unit to the new if I buy the "wrong" thing? For example, does the "neck" come with the new unit. My "neck" rotted out a few years ago and I hammered in a brass replacement. Will I have to do that again?

5.) What kind of sealant is used? I've got a tube of sealant left over from my Lower Intake Manifold gasket job on my '02 Impala. It's the black (Permatex). Can this stuff be used?
 

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'97 Taurus GL 3.0L: Water Pump Recommendations?

What should I be looking for in a water pump replacement for this car (if I don't go with the Motorcraft dealer unit)?

1.) Should I avoid remanufactured units?

2.) Are there any special features that are worth paying for (like particular impeller designs, special bearings, etc.)

3.) What about AutoZone's Duralast units? Any opinions?

4.) Are these things sold in pieces such that I may have to transfer parts off the old unit to the new if I buy the "wrong" thing? For example, does the "neck" come with the new unit. My "neck" rotted out a few years ago and I hammered in a brass replacement. Will I have to do that again?

5.) What kind of sealant is used? I've got a tube of sealant left over from my Lower Intake Manifold gasket job on my '02 Impala. It's the black (Permatex). Can this stuff be used?
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On a 10 year old car the price difference between new and used water pumps should be negligible, so I would get a new one.

If the black stuff you have is heat and chemical resistant then it's OK, but I thought black Permatex was the windshield grade stuff? I use the orange high-heat sensor-safe stuff for everything. The main trick with the sealant is to use a very thin bead where needed, so that it doesn't clot up and actually form restriction in the passages. A little sealant goes a long way, and you just need it to fill in tiny surface imperfections, the gaskets do most of the heavy lifting.
 

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'97 Taurus GL 3.0L: Water Pump Recommendations?

What should I be looking for in a water pump replacement for this car (if I don't go with the Motorcraft dealer unit)?

1.) Should I avoid remanufactured units?

2.) Are there any special features that are worth paying for (like particular impeller designs, special bearings, etc.)

3.) What about AutoZone's Duralast units? Any opinions?

4.) Are these things sold in pieces such that I may have to transfer parts off the old unit to the new if I buy the "wrong" thing? For example, does the "neck" come with the new unit. My "neck" rotted out a few years ago and I hammered in a brass replacement. Will I have to do that again?

5.) What kind of sealant is used? I've got a tube of sealant left over from my Lower Intake Manifold gasket job on my '02 Impala. It's the black (Permatex). Can this stuff be used?
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I just replaced my pump with a Cardone unit that I got from Ebay. I think it cost me $35. I have other issues that prevent me from completing the job (installation of a new radiator and straightening out a broken bolt in the thermostat housing which necessitated removing the lower intake manifold). I now have a tremendous knowledge of the Vulcan engine. Doing head gaskets, if ever necessary, seem like a snap now.

I used Permatex gasket shellac on the gasket, but you can use the permatex stuff from your intake manifold gasket job. Just keep track of the bolts when you take them out of the old pump by putting them into the holes on the new pump. The Cardone unit is a rebuilt and I suggest that you only go with a new or rebuilt unit. Once you take off your old unit, as I did, you'll find out why this assembly fails so quickly. The turbine or pump impeller wears out because it looses it vanes. Also the bearings go on the assembly at some point I've been told. Like most modern water pumps, they are poorly designed. I guess that's why most performance engine builders have switched over to external electric pumps. Besides reducing drag on the engine they are easier to service, last longer, and the speed can be varied to compensate not just for engine load but also for prolonged idling. Such an installation is beyond the scope of your project or mine.

Make sure you loosen and remove the four bolts which hold the water pump pulley onto the pump prior to removal of the unit. In fact, it would be best to do this while the belt is still in place.

Also remove the alternator and then the power steering bracket before removing the bolts from the water pump assembly. Clean the surface of the block by scraping the old gasket that may remain with a plastic or wood, not metal, scraper. I've also used Scotchbrite to remove residue. Becareful not to score the aluminum of the front cover to the block.

Its also time to determine if you need a new tensioner and idler pulley as well as a replacement belt.

Good Luck.
 

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hi,

yes, Permatex works great, avoid the paper type gaskets.

I used new pump from Carquest, usa made about $ 50

I needed to replace the belt tensioner because the belt
would slip off the pulley around 130K miles.

good luck, take your time and it will go quick.

tip: remove the Degas bottle, you can see the
pump bolts easier.

also use a brass brush to clean the threads of the
pump bolts, you do not want the bolt to break in
the front cover.

regards,

james
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WJC:

I wasn't considering a used unit (as in a junk yard pump). It was going to either be new or rebuilt, but I wasn't sure which was better. Don't rebuilts sometimes have better parts installed inside than the original unit (in some cases)? As far as the black Permatex stuff, I haven't looked at the label yet, but since I used it on the lower intake, it must be heat and chemical resistant. Then again, it's been 10k miles since I did that job and it looks like I might have a slow leak under the throttle body (where I DIDN'T have a leak before - it was on the PS side)! But it might be the T-Stat housing that's leaking ... can't tell without removing stuff and I don't feel like doing that right now.

tired4alltime:

I've heard the original Motorcraft pumps lose there vanes. What are they made of? Someone suggested I get a replacement pump with cast iron vanes, but wouldn't aluminum be better? Or are the aluminum ones so flimsy that they fail anyway. Also, AutoZone's Duralast ALUMINUM water pump says "Extended life antifreeze is highly recommended". I use Wal-Mart's "mixes with anything" coolant mixed 50/50 (or thereabouts). I don't mix it with any other types of coolant. Is this stuff considered "extended life"??

Remove the pulley bolts BEFORE the pump itself - probably because it's hard(er) to do this with the unit removed from the car?

My belt is only one year old, so it's going back on (unless, of course, something seizes up on me before the weekend and the belt gets fried again). The idler pulley has a one-year-old bearing in it, but might need replacement again. Not sure about the tensioner. I think there is a way to determine if it's still good by looking at a pointer on a scale (or something like that). Seem to remember this from the idler work last year.

james27613:

You say avoid the paper-type gaskets. I remember when I replaced the water pump on my '02 Impala 2-3 years ago it came with a flimsy paper gasket (and no instructions). So I ended up putting the gasket material (blue stuff?) aroud the perimeter of the sealing surface on the unit, then placing this paper gasket on top of the blue gunk before pressing it onto the block and bolting it all up. Was this a waste of time? Should I have just skipped the paper gasket all together? I don't think there is going to be any problems with my tensioner because everything looks straight and the belt travels fine on all the pulleys. Plus, when I did the idler last year I think that scale pointer was OK. Clean the threads of the pump bolts so that they go back IN easier? INSIDE the block AND the bolt threads themselves?
 

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There is nothing wrong with paper gaskets when installed properly. The sealing surfaces must be clean, dry, free of defects, and then two surfaces bolted together properly.

Silcone sealer has it's own problems. Like longer setup time, and the fact that the silicone will migrate and ruin your O2 sensors and cat. To use silicone sealer, the surfaces still have to be clean and dry, but they also must be grease free, otherwise the silcone sealer will not stay in place, it can squish out at a later date.

I have owned and driven Taurii with the Vulcan engine for getting close to 20 years and hundreds of thousands of miles and numerous water pumps. The best new and rebuilt water pumps are the Ford ones. New Ford water pumps only have a one year warranty, rebuilt ones have a lifetime warranty. Recently a coolant bottle failure led to a low coolant situation, and the water pump in my 96 Taurus was damaged as a result. Dorman is going to replace the coolant bottle. I looked at the Cardone new water pumps, and they don't look very well made to me. I am staying away from all Chinese made Taurus parts until they get their act together. I recommend that you avoid buying Chinese made parts as well. The AutoZone brand new waterpump is US made, and much better looking quality from what I can see. The lifetime warranty does not bother me either. So if you want to go with an inexpensive choice ($39) go AutoZone Brand. If you don't mind spending twice as much ($79), get the Ford Motorcraft Branded part from RockAuto.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just called the dealer and they want $95 for their (new) Water Pump (discounted from $128). Vanes are cast iron, which means it'll probably corrode again. The AutoZone unit ($38 here) says it's aluminum, but I wonder if that means the vanes inside are aluminum. I guess I should go take a look at it to see.

So Duralast is US made, heh? Didn't know that. Also didn't know that Duralast is NOT their "store brand". I always thought it was, but one of the clerks told me that Valucraft is their brand. Duralast comes with the LLT while Valucraft only has a 1 year warranty.

By the way, AutoZone also lists a "Severe Duty" (optional) water pump which has a core charge. This probably means it's a rebuilt, right? Would a "Severe Duty" water pump be a better built pump? And would it be worth an additional $20 with only a 1yr warranty as opposed to the Duralast?

I'll probably just buy the Duralast ...
 

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The vanes on the pump only corrode when you don't keep on top of cooling system flushes. When the vulcan coolant degrades, it causes a lot of crap to build up in the system which plugs the heater core and eats away at the impeller vanes. As long as your coolant is in good shape, this won't happen, since coolant has anti-corrosion properties in it.

As for new or rebuilt, i don't know that there's any difference in the bearings, impeller material, etc. AFAIK, i've only ever seen impellers made of iron or plastic, and the plastic ones have only been on small pumps for 4-cyl engines.

Use the paper gasket, and if you want, put a thin film of silicone on both sides of it. That's what i do at the shop, to make sure any tiny scratches or imperfections in the pump housing or front cover are filled by the silicone. You don't have to worry about the O2 sensors - the silicone you use on a water pump gasket can't get into the combustion chambers to get out the exhaust, so it can't get to the sensors. Besides - there's silicone in the engine coolant already, which is why head gasket leaks can ruin the O2 sensors if coolant starts blowing out the exhaust - so a bit of silicone on your gasket won't make a lick of difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nidan,

I've tried keeping the cooling system on this car in check, but it just doesn't want to cooperate. I tried Prestone flush then Ford's TSB stuff - ph Iron Cleaner - thinking that would finally clean it out, but neither seemed to help. It seems that there is just corrosion (or sediment) in there that can never be cleaned out - and it just keeps making it's way to the heater core to plug it up! Every year I snap on my custom-made Core Flushing hose remnants and blow out my Core (3 or 4 times in either direction) to get heat. This usually gets me through the winter (more or less). This year, however, the Core blocked up again after only about a month! I don't know what to do next. I'm hoping the new pump at least improves the flowrate (improving the heat), but it might just cause the Core to get plugged up even sooner! I wish there was a way I could vaccum out the cooling system, or flush it out more rigorously to get all that sediment out. Ford knew what they were doing when they did that recall (TSB?) to install that "H" hose line parallel to the heater core. They knew the cooling system would forever dredge up sediment that would block the heater core. Without the parallel line installed, all coolant flow would be completely blocked - leading to serious engine damage. It was a kludge to turn a potentially fatal heart attack into a manageable case of diabetes ...
 

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Not all coolants include silicone.

In fact, I only use silicone and phosphate free coolants, and have since I bought my first watercooled Porsche back in 1981.

Silicone can migrate from coolants and car waxes into your engine intake. Everybody spills coolant at one time under the hood, and some of that ends up in your intake. Wouldn't it be smart to eliminate, as many sources of silicone contamination as possible?
 

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Not all coolants include silicone.

In fact, I only use silicone and phosphate free coolants, and have since I bought my first watercooled Porsche back in 1981.

Silicone can migrate from coolants and car waxes into your engine intake. Everybody spills coolant at one time under the hood, and some of that ends up in your intake. Wouldn't it be smart to eliminate, as many sources of silicone contamination as possible?
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Yes, it would be smart, but there is a difference between being cautious and being... well, crazy. Perhaps there are silicone free coolants, but i really doubt they come stock in most cars. And I've yet to hear of someone's O2 sensors going bad because of a bit of a coolant spill or someone's car wax that got to the sensors. If you want to go to those kind of lengths to protect your car, more power to you, but it think it's a bit excessive for most ppl, and i don't really see the need.

Colt -

IDK if you're read the entire procedure on that cooling system flush that the dealers were doing to fix those problems, but it was a fairly lengthy process, and you may need to duplicate it, or at least most of it, to clean all the crap out of your engine. Start by flushing all the old coolant out, and then refill the system with plain water and a bottle of that ph iron cleaner, and run the engine until it's good an hot and all the air is purged out. Then let it sit for a couple hours to soak and cool off. Next, drain the engine, disconnect the coolant tank, upper and lower rad hoses, and heater core. (We also had to remove a frost plug from the front and rear of the block, but you may want to skip doing that, as the rear one especially is a pain to get out and replace with the plug) Next, take your garden hose and flush everything out as much as you can - the heater core, the block, the reservoir, the rad - run that hose thru every part of the cooling system you can. When you've got everything flushed out really well, hook it all back up and refill the system with water and coolant, and add a bottle of diesel cooling system additive. I think it helps keep the coolant from going crappy again. Get the air all out, and you should be good to go. If you've only been flushing the heater core all along, then you've never gotten the rest of the crap out of the system, which is why it keeps making its way back to the heater core and plugging it up. You have to do everything all at once to get it all out. I ran into that on a customer's car once - i flushed the crap out of his heater core and got it blowing nice and hot, for about 15 mins, and then it was plugged up again. I had to go thru that whole big procedure to get everything cleaned out before it worked ok.
 

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What Nidan is talking about is a repeated long term soaking, or a ROYAL soaking of coolant on the o2 sensors. Not a little blow out from a small leak.

Nidan,
You can skip removing a frost plug by removing the in put house from the rad to the goose neck, then the goose neck and thermostat on the engine and put your hose there cant you? Then isolate your heater core and chem flush it and the rad ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nidan,

When I did the ph Iron Cleaner flush, I didn't have a procedure, so I pretty much did my own flush routine. And I didn't flush just the heater core; I flushed the entire system - fairly extensively. It took me several hours on and off. First I drained out as much coolant as I could (no freeze plugs, no block plugs). Then I ran several cycles of clean water through the block, heating the engine up each time and draining it out (I thought this was better than just blasting a hose through it). I think I did this about 8-10 times waiting for the water to run out clear. Then I closed the sytem back up and filled it with the 2Qts of ph Iron Cleaner and water and ran it hot again. Then I drained it out, rinsed again with water 1 or 2 times, and re-filled with fresh coolant. I guess the mistake I made was after the heat-up cycle with the ph Cleaner, I didn't let it just sit and soak - I drained it pretty much immediately. Maybe that was why it didn't work very well.

I probably should try your procedure - but I wonder if I can find another 2Qt bottle of that stuff. When I bought it last time, none of the local dealers had it. I had to drive to a dealer further away, and he only had the one bottle that just happened to be lying around leftover from the TSB work. It wasn't like he stocked it. Is there another chemical I could use? It seemed to me that the ph Cleaner was a very different product than, say, Prestone's Flush product. And I've read where some people say not to use the Prestone flush because it can cause more problems than it cures.

The ultimate fear with this car is that the freeze plugs eventually rust out and I end up with a major problem on my hands. My Dad bought a '97 Taurus GL on my recommendation and had one blow out near his PS pump (?) that cost him $100 to repair (easy to get at). But then after that, another one rusted out that required the tranny to be removed. The mechanic billed him $700+ to install a $5 part!!!! I had warned him about his gunked up cooling system on my bi-annual visits home, but his mechanic did nothing and my Dad ended up suffering the conseqences. He dumped the car immediately after the $700 bill and to this day cannot say anything good about the Taurus (or even Ford). Another example of how bad mechanics give car makers a bad name (in my opinion)...
 
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