If you hear a squealing noise coming from the Firebird water pump, the bearing is shot and you need to replace it as soon as possible. The water pump controls the flow of the engine coolant through the Firebird engine. If it does not flow properly, the engine will overheat. The hotter your engine gets, the more damage that occurs. The repairs get more expensive as the problem progresses. Fortunately, it is not difficult to replace the water pump, and you can complete the project in under an hour.
Things You'll Need
- Drain pan
- Socket set
- Wrench set
Make sure the engine is completely cool before you begin this project. Place the drain pan under the radiator and open the valve with a wrench to drain the engine coolant. Remove the tension from the accessory belt by turning the idler pulley with a wrench.
Note the proper routing of the belt on paper if the diagram is missing from the engine compartment. Pull the belt from the engine. Remove the cooling fan from the engine using a wrench to loosen the bolts. Remove the water pump pulley using a wrench to loosen the bolts.
Remove the hoses from the water pump, loosening the hose clamps with a screwdriver. Remove the water pump retaining bolts with a socket and ratchet. Pull the pump and old gasket away from the engine block. Clean any remaining gasket material from the engine block using the scraper.
Place a new gasket and water pump on the engine block and tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet. Connect the heater and radiator hoses to the water pump and tighten the hose clamps with the screwdriver. Attach the water pump pulley to the pump and tighten the bolts with the wrench.
Install the cooling fan and tighten the bolts with a wrench. Properly route the serpentine belt according to the diagram on the engine or the one you made. Place tension on the belt by turning the idler pulley with a wrench. Refill the radiator and reservoir with engine coolant. Start the Firebird and check your work area for any leaking.
Tips & Warnings
- If you drain the engine coolant into a clean container, and you keep it clean, you can reuse it when the project is complete.
- Engine coolant has properties that dogs and cats find to be sweet and they will drink. If they drink a sufficient quantity of the coolant, it could cause death. Keep the drain pan out of reach of animals, and never drain coolant to the ground.
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