An excellent step by step replacement procedure is given in the "Dodge Durango & Dakota Pickups" Haynes Repair Manual. Complete with pictures. (That is for 1998-1999.) I have replaced several and would advise using a factory replacement part. The reason I have replaced several, relates directly to using "rebuilt" pumps. Also, spend the money on the correct dealer replacement hoses. They are expensive but they fit, first time. You can often find these manuals at the half-price book store (cheap), if not the Public Library (for free).
Here is another opinion:
This question is not too involved to answer here. It just takes some explaining as with any repair by the home mechanic.
1. Remove the serpentine belt by rotating the main tensioner clockwise. You may want to leave it on to apply pressure when loosening the nut for the fan, however this does not always work.
2. 4 bolts retain the fan shroud. Simply loosen but do not remove all of the bolts until the fan nut is loose.
3. There are supposed to be four bolts on the water pump pulley to apply counter pressure with a 13mm wrench when loosening the fan nut (this nut has reverse threads so it's not righty tighty, lefty loosey.) At this point you might want to remove the idler pulley right above the water pump to make the following steps easier.
4. The manual says you need a special tool to loosen the fan nut. I couldn't buy it at the auto parts store because the water pump pulley both on the old one and new one did not have the 4 bolts but unthreaded holes instead. Dodge would not tell me what they do in this situation or sell any special tools to customers. Rude. So I used a strap wrench and wrapped it around the pulley and held tight while I unloosened the fan nut. Worked great.
5. Once the fan nut is loose, remove the bolts for the shroud and lift the fan and shroud out together.
6. There are three hoses (on the V8) that need to be removed from the water pump. You will need needle nose and other pliers to do this.
7. Mark the bolt at 12 o'clock on the pump for reference and start loosening them a little at a time clockwise laying them down in order as they are different lengths.
8. Remove the water pump and get ready to start scraping gasket. The upper part is difficult to see but be persistant. Who wants to see a leak after all this work.
9. The water pump has a coolant return hose that will need to be transfered to the new pump and a new o-ring replaced that is included.
10. Apply RTV high temp. silicone to the new water pump and the side of the gasket that faces the engine. Spread it thin. I had to break the habit of thinking more silicone=less chance of leaks.
11. Install the new pump and gasket and torque the bolts in 1/4 turn increments. Let the silicone cure as instructed on the package.
12. Start working your way back up this list, reversing the procedure, refill the coolant leaving the radiator cap off. Start the engine and turn on the heater. Add coolant mixture as necessary until full. Check for leaks and hope the new pump lasts a darn long time.
Here is more input:
On step 3 above, the writer says the big nut on the fan is reverse threaded. Mine wasn't and it cost me hours of sweat and frustration. I had to remove the radiator to get the whole thing out in one piece. From the front of the truck, like the answer just above, it's counter clockwise
Another removal option:
I had no welder or strap wrench. I applied WD-40 to the fan nut, and I used a breaker bar and hammer, tapping the nut firmly on each side. I disconnected all hose connections and all bolts. I leaned the pump and fan assembly gently onto the radiator, enough to expose the water turbine on the back side of the pump. Facing the front of the Durango, I used vise grips at the two o'clock position on the turbine. This locked the pulley/fan shaft against the A/C mounting bracket. The fan nut came loose easily. I then removed the fan and shroud, and then I removed the pump.
There is a metal pipe that extends at a 45 degree angle on the right side of your pump. This must be removed. My pump went out at 108k miles and this pipe stem was corroded into the pump. I scraped the rim with a razor blade and then applied WD-40. Do not use pliers or a pipe wrench! this pipe has very thin walls and will twist and cave in very easily. Instead I secured the pump on a table, and put my channel lock pliers behind the mounting wing that is attached to the pipe and gently hit the back side of my pliers. After lots of tapping I started to wiggle the pipe and working it in a circular motion. This freed it from the pump, and I was able to remove it by pulling and "unscrewing" it. This is not a threaded port, it is held in by an o-ring and pressure.
One More Removal Tip:
I own a 1999 Durango and just changed the water pump. The strap also didn't work but I found out a simple way to loosen the fan nut if you are throwing out the old pump. Drill a 1/4 inch hole from straight above into the water pump pulley. It is thin metal and takes less than a minute. Then stick a screwdriver into the hole to stop the pump from turning. Now you can loosen the fan nut easily. Mine loosened counter clockwise (right hand thread).
Tips for installation:
I applied the RTV on the pump side first, then laid the gasket onto it and waited a few minutes. This allowed the RTV to become more tacky and less slippery. I inserted the 3 mounting bolts into their rightful places into the pump. I threaded them two full turns into the gasket because the threads wanted to catch the gasket and pull it off the pump. Inserting the top bolts will hold the gasket in alignment and allow you to hang the pump into place without having to hold it there and try to tighten the bolts one by one.
I removed the top hose clamp completely off the top hose and used vise grips to open the clamp completely. I l looped the clamp and vise grips onto the top hose fitting of the new pump, leaving it clamped open. As I installed the pump, I had to push the pump up into the hose. Then, I hanged the pump on the mounting bolts as described above, fit the clamp onto the hose and released.
Check your belt for signs of wear and replace if necessary. In 2008 this belt runs 25.99-32.99.
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