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Changing Water Pump In 95 LeSabre - Tips For You

06-07-2009, 02:59 PM
Well folks thanks to all related posts in the forum I was able to gather enough info to figure out how to change my 95 LeSabre's water pump. And I can assure all that there was no shortage of expletives spoken in my garage yesterday! What I thought would be a 2 hour job turned into an all-dayer. But I am satisfied right now because there are no leaks, the job was completed right, and I am certain I saved a lot of money.

So for those of you with a 95 LeSabre (or perhaps a few years plus or minus) here is my how-to & some pictures:

1) Obtain your parts.
-I purchased a presumably new water pump from Advance Auto for $33 (, which comes with a basic gasket.
-Plenty of RTV gasket maker. (I ended up purchasing too small of tube of gray "RTV Gasket Maker For Thermostats & Water Pumps", which I ran out of, then ended up using some other RTV gasket maker (blue) I already had.
-Also you will need thread sealer for the long bolts which end up exposed directly to coolant when installed.
All in all I spent about $50 bucks or so.

2) I chose to reuse my coolant so I put a small tube down the radiator and syphoned out several gallons.

3) Remove serpentine belt.

4) Remove pulley from water pump.

5) Yes, you need to remove the motor mount! Loosen the center pivot bolt that holds the two motor mount pieces together before loosening the motor mount hardware on the frame and engine. I had to jack up and put a jack stand under the right front frame so that I could fit my floor jack with 2X4 underneath the oil pan. Support the engine with a floor jack and 2X4 underneath the entire width of the oil pan. Make sure you remove the cap on the power steering reservoir as it could be crushed by jacking up the motor. Place a papertowl over the open power steering reservoir to avoid contamination. Once the motor mount bolts and nut are removed, jack the motor up. It worked like a charm. Then the motor mount slips right out so that you can access the water pump bolts (First the body side of the 2-piece motor mount, next the engine side).

6) Unbolt and remove the water pump. I used a crow bar to gently pry the water pump from the engine after all of the bolts were removed.

7) Clean the water pump mating surface on the engine.
TAKE YOUR TIME when cleaning the engine-side mating surface where the new water pump will attach! After painstakingly and carefully scraping the surface with a razor blade, I then used carb cleaner and a small wire brush to remove any other material. My gasket was so caked on I knew I would have to be there for long haul. The carb cleaner worked very well. I read the post in the forum about the guy who had leaks after switching out his water pump and I wanted to make sure I didn't have to pull the pump off again due to not cleaning the surface perfectly. I also used a garden hose, compressed air, and a green scrub pad to assist.

8) Wire brush the threads of all water pump mounting bolts as there was caked-on sealer on all of mine.

9) I put grease on ALL of my bolts (incld. motor mount) except for the 4 long water pump bolts, which instead got thread sealer.

10) Place a 1/8 inch bead of RTV Gasket Maker For Thermostats And Water Pumps to the new water pump mating surface.

11) Apply the gasket to the water pump over the bead of gasket maker and smush it / smooth it down.

12) Apply more gasket maker to the gasket itself.

13) Line the assembly up and install to the motor making sure to evenly tighten all the bolts.
Torque specs on the forum were conflicting against another resource on the internet so I called the autoparts store and they checked a Chilton manual that specified to torque as follows:
Long bolts: 22-29 ft lbs
Short bolts: 96-132 in lb

14) Install water pump pulley.

15) Install motor mount which will require you to carefully lower the motor a little at a time in order to line up the bolt holes.

16) Install the serpentine belt.

17) If it has been at least an hour since applying the gasket maker, then go ahead and fill your radiator, then run the motor, adding coolant/water and eventually capping the radiator.

In my case, since I ran out of RTV Gasket Maker For Thermostats & Water Pumps, I used some gasket maker that I had opened at least 4 years ago. I quickly found out that it wasn't drying very fast and was worried that it wouldn't dry at all. But it did eventually dry. I waited about 2 hours between applying the gasket maker, and filling the coolant / running the engine.

18) Don't forget to bleed the cooling system by loosening the bleed screw above the
thermostat until coolant free-flows.

19) Let engine run for at least 15 minutes with AC off to get up to a high temperature so that the cooling fans come on, and then check for leaks.

20) After several hours, check radiator coolant level and if low, top off, and repeat bleed procedure.

Here are some pictures. (
( wire brush above was for cleaning the bolts, and is not the brush used to clean the engine mating surface! (

This was the final result of cleaning the mating surface. I was worried it might not be clean enough!
(It was.) (

I may have over-used the RTV gasket maker. But I wanted to make sure of a good seal. I will eventually flush the coolant from the motor just to be safe, as to remove any bits of RTV gasket maker that may have come loose and are circulating through the engine. (

Isn't this beautiful? (
( this isn't the finished job...don't forget to put the pulley, motor mount, then serpentine belt back on!

Good luck!

06-07-2009, 05:24 PM
Its been a long time since I have had to use "gasket maker" and a gasket! Sometimes less is more. If the surface on the timing cover is clean than there is no need for additional gasket maker. It there is some pitting on the timing cover mating surface than a small amount in between the gasket and the timing cover would be fine.

06-07-2009, 09:52 PM
Good post & very detailed, the RTV on both sides of the water pump gasket is a good idea; it will prevent the gasket from sticking to the surface if you ever have to replace it again! BTW, I moved this thread to our "Tips & Maintenance Procedures" so it will be available to others, rather than disappearing into the background. Thanks for the sharing your experience, been there & done that!

06-11-2009, 02:35 PM
wow very helpful post! im getting ready to install a new water pump on a 91 park ave. and im feeling pretty good about doing this now.

10-25-2009, 04:04 PM
Awesome writeup man, im sure this will be alot of help for someone.

08-02-2013, 09:22 AM
Hey, its me again - the author of this article!
Guess what, that pump I put on in 2009 just went out unfortunately.
The pulley mount separated from the pump shaft and yanked the serpentine belt off. I had to get the car towed. So I will be following my own instructions to do this job over again.

09-03-2013, 01:38 PM
CarDude225, thanks so much for the write up on how to do this. I have a Haynes manual & this is MUCH better!!! Very much appreciated my friend.

12-06-2013, 09:54 AM
Great topic!

Wish more guys would post how-to's like this one. Only the TOP photo was displayed. The rest had corrupt URL's.. (invalid number string :40080) (corrected)

But they could be viewed by editing the links.

Keep up the good work!


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