Replacing the water pump on a '97 Camry...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott_lb, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    In a few weeks I will be replacing the timing belt and drive belts on my 1997 Toyota Camry (75,000 miles). I heard from a friend that it is typically best (i.e., most financially advisable) to also replace the water pump at the same time. In short, he argued that replacing the water pump later on (as it's own job) would cost me much more money than if I was to replace it at the same time as my belts. Does anyone know if this is true? If I had the money I would replace them simultaneously. However, things are a little tight right now, and it would be easier to do them seperately. But if it ends up costing me much more, I'll bite the bullet and do them at the same time. Thanks!
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Scott,

    I'm a Toyota mechanic in a largish dealership in CA.
    If the water pump is not leaking or noisey, leave it alone.
    If the car's cooling system is maintained well (coolant changed every 3 years or 30k miles) the original waterpump will typically last thru until the second or third timing belt replacement.

    If you've gone 6 years on this car and never changed the coolant, then it might be a good idea to replace the pump at this time. Modern coolants never wear out as far as their ability to prevent freezing and boiling, but the additives for water pump lubrication and corrosion prevention are only good for 3 years or so.

    Additional cost to do the waterpump along with the timing belt is usually 1hr. labor plus cost of pump and new coolant.

    If you do decide to replace the pump I strongly recommend getting an OEM pump from the Toyota dealer instead of aftermarket rebuilt.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well if you're doing the work yourself, I'd probaby replace it seeing as you're there. Keep in mind the newer coolants are a bit different than the older ones so when replacing silicate based ones with organic, a very thorough flushing is in order.
    While you're doing the timing belt, don't forget to examine and replace if needed, the tensioner. You'll find nice kits from Gates.
     
  4. DaveSarcevic

    DaveSarcevic Agent

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    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you aren't having any cooling problem, don't bother with. If anything, while you are replacing the belts, flush out the coolant system and check the hoses for wear.
     
  5. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    While on the topic, how long can a typical timing belt last these days? I have a 99 Accord with 89k miles. I know that 90k is the usual time to change it and I am planning on it but someone told me that belts these days are much stronger due to the fact they have kevlar woven into them. Is this true?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  6. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Thanks everyone for your advice.

    Steve- thank you especially! You helped me before regarding changing the interior light bulbs behind the heating controls. After two trips to Auto Zone I was successful in changing them without any problems. You saved me a lot of money and I appreciate it.

    Regarding my car, everything is running perfectly fine and I haven't noticed any problems with the cooling system.
    I try to be proactive in taking care of my car to avoid any unexpected problems that might arise at the wrong time (important meetings, etc.). I did get the 60K service done last August at a Toyota dealer, so I am certain that the coolant was changed at that time. However, that was the only time in the car's life that the coolant was changed (it was my mom's car before I bought it from her). Therefore, the same (original) coolant had been running in the car for five years, and the new coolant has been in the car for almost one year.

    From the sounds of it, I get the impression that I should change the belts but hold off on the water pump until later on or until something goes wrong with it.

    The reason I posted this topic is because a friend of mine had his water pump go out on him last night unexpectedly. He owns a Jeep Cherokee (1996?) and has about 60k miles on it. I realize that Camry's and Jeeps are two entirely different automobiles, however, it made me think that it might be a good idea to take care of this now instead of later.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Scott,
    Your impression is correct--just do the belts for now.
    There is a tiny hole in the bottom of the pump housing near the shaft called a "weep hole". As long as there's no coolant "weeping" from this hole and the pump is nice and quiet it's ok.
     
  8. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, If it was me, I'd want to change the timimg belt soon. Those babies could go at a drop of a hat. I had one go once after driving to a store and upon coming back out and trying to start the car, it would just spin freely. I was thankful I was only about a mile from my house. Yes, at 89,000 miles, I would go ahead and replace the water pump just for peace of mind, but that's just me.I've always owned used cars that were maintained well and have been fortunate to have never been stranded out on the edge of the highway . Good luck my friend, let us know what you decide on.
     
  9. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Yes, change the belt (especially if it's an interference engine like most Hondas). If the belt breaks on an interference engine the pistons will smash into the valves (and thus require major engine repair).
     
  10. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Jeff, Yes change your belt. Keep in mind I've had alot of friends who have owned Hondas and they all replaced their water pumps at 110k or 90k as well. If you are going to have a dealer do it or a local repair shop then have them do both. Local place here charges like $250ish for a timing belt maybe a little less.

    Camry's maybe a little different but I decided to do my water pump when I swapped the timing belt for piece of mind.
     
  11. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    I understand that I would be charged an extra hour of labor to put in the water pump (if I had decided to change it), however, I have no idea how much one costs. Any ideas?
     

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