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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Coolant Leak

I've been having one heck of a coolant leak issue the past couple weeks. 2009 3.7L...Strong coolant odor coming from the engine compartment and it appears that the coolant has been sprayed all over the place. Added coolant to both the radiator and the reservoir respectively...coolant disappeared completely within a day or two. Went and replaced both my lower and upper hoses as well as the thermostat. No change...coolant keeps disappearing. This morning my engine started to overheat, so I pulled over, and checked the engine again. I noticed a very strong leak coming from the bottom of the engine near the front...looks to be a busted water pump/gasket. I'm planning on replacing these tonight...have any of you guys gone through this process before? I think I've got a good idea of what I need to do but any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 11:48 AM
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I just did it on my 3.7L Commander this weekend, its easy peazy....

Either the seal on the water pump shaft fails or the seal between the body and engine fails. If the seal on the shaft failed, then at least the bottom half of the pump body would be wet and the pulley would be slinging the leaked coolant everywhere (sounds like your case). If its just the seal between the pump body and engine, the body of the pump should be fairly dry and NOT slinging off the pulley, obviously the seal itself is a lot cheaper than the whole water pump. You can't replace the shaft seal on the water pump yourself, you just have to get a new one.

I've read a lot of water pumps, even new are NOT lasting very long at all, the industry is just pumping out bad crap. The only aftermarket water pumps people are NOT saying bad things about are AC Delco and Gates, perhaps Beck Arney.

So either get the OEM water pump or one of those. I got the NAPA new water pump, Tru-Flow? which is really Gates (Gates is clearly printed on the pump body) for $60. It comes with a gasket in the box.

I also got a new pressure cap, they do go bad and will cause overheating if they can't hold pressure.

Remove the accessory belt.
You'll have to unbolt the idler wheel on the tensioning arm closest to the water pump to get access to one of the water pump bolts behind it.
Put a pan under the front of the engine to catch the anti-freeze.
Pull the bolts and pull the water pump off.
Three of the bolts are longer than the rest, they pass through the timing chain cover and bolt into the engine block, they have residue of thread sealant on them. So get some Permatex Hi-Temp thread sealant and put it on the threads of the longer bolts.
Clean the gasket surface on the engine.
Insert the gasket into the water pump.
This gasket seems like one of the newer silicone shaped gaskets, designed to work without any sealant, in fact using RTV or other sealants with them usually causes a leak, just bolt it up dry or a little wet with the coolant.
Bolt up the water pump, tighten down in a criss-cross fashion.
Bolt on the idler wheel you took off the tension arm.
Reinstall the accessory belt.
Fill with Coolant

Don't forget to use the correct coolant, either Dealer Chrysler HOAT or Zerex G-05. NAPA sells G-05, mix it 50/50 with distilled water.

While you do the job, draining and flushing the cooling system if you need it soon, is smart, it will be half done while doing the job. Replacing the accessory belt is smart if you need it soon, since you have to take it off and put it back on anyway.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 01:15 PM
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Don't forget the air bubble that form in system when you drain and refill it.

Either pull the vent plug at the top of the neck to the upper radiator hose, or take a lot of time filling at the radiator, letting the air bubble out.

I leave the pressure cap off, overfill the overflow jug slightly, the coolant in the overflow jug will trickle into the opening of the radiator neck about the same speed the air bubbles out. I just come back every few minutes and top up the overflow jug, and go back to work on other things. After a half to whole hour, almost all the air will have bubbled out and you won't overheat.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Knocked it out last night with no problem at all. Everything was smooth and easy. After taking the water pump off I noticed a piece of plastic sitting in the water pump housing. Crazy thing is, the water pump I pulled out was in perfect condition other than the gasket being busted. Somebody must have replaced a previous busted water pump and left the broken piece in the engine. Scratching my head over this one..
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 10:10 AM
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Hmmm, that does look like a piece of the plastic impeller on the water pump, but its big enough that you could easily see if it had come off the existing pump.

My pump looked in great shape as well, but the plastic impeller obscures the shaft seal, and from all evidence the shaft seal had failed on mine and was leaking. Darn shame since the pump still looked like it had a ton of life left in it.

No leaks anymore on mine with the new water pump.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 08:23 AM
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I replaced mine and it was pretty easy. The new one had a rubber ring that fit into a groove around the pump. 6 bolts and it was done. When you refill loosen the bleed bolt with a hex driver to let air out.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 07:04 PM
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Now its my turn. The pump I installed 4 years ago has developed a small leak at the shaft seal. The serpentine belt is slinging the fluid left and right, very slight.
Going to NAPA tomorrow to pick up a new pump and belt.
Anyone have anything good or bad to report on the NAPA water pumps?
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 02:05 PM
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Completed this morning. Installed new NAPA pump and serpetine belt. Did not flush the system or replace the tstat...short on time.
The old pump was not leaking at the shaft seal but at the gasket lower left side.
Ill do the flush and tstat this spring as part of the seasonal tuneup. As far as i know, this stat is original with 112k on it.
I did notice some pitting on the engine face where the pump mounts to, just inside of the gasket. If the pitting was on the gasket mount area, i would have used high temp loctite gasket sealant on the rubber pump gasket.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 10:03 AM
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I just solved a small new leak yesterday. The seal at the cap was leaking. Replaced cap and so far good no leaks. I noticed this due to a small leak visible on the ground no slinging of coolant FYI.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 11:30 AM
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I had a leak from the hose that runs from the radiator to the overflow tank, easy fix once you find the correct size hose - 5/16 ID. Try to find a flexible hose, not "Fuel Line" hose.

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