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How do you replace the water pump on a Nissan Maxima?

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βˆ™ 2011-09-12 21:07:36

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Water Pump Replacement

This is a How To on how to replace the water pump in a 3rd generation Maxima with the VG30E engine. (89-94 GXE and 89-91 SE models only) The VE's may be similar but I am not sure since I do not have one.

Tools needed:



tire removal tools

flathead screwdriver

8, 10, 12, and 14 mm sockets

1/4" and 3/8" drive socket wrenches

Impact wrench with a 27 mm socket

(if impact wrench is not available you can use a socket wrench but you'll need a long tube for more leverage and something to hold the pulley still, like a rubber wrapped steel cable wound around the pulley a couple times then fastened to the frame of the car)

Air compressor (if above available)


Rubber mallet

Large sized 2 or 3 jaw puller. Autozone OEM part number 27078

Items needed:

Water pump (of course)

gasket (if not supplied with the pump)

gasket sealer/compound

WD-40 (just incase you have to take off the lower plastic coverings)

water (for you)

anti-freeze with a 50/50 mix, or 70/30. whichever you prefer and whichever the bottle says to do. 70/30 is good in the winter but just do 50/50 cause it's easier

GoJo with pummice (you'll get very dirty but you can use others)


1. Unplug the negative wire from the battery terminal.

2. Drain all of the anti-freeze, if newer get a container and keep it for re-use.

3. Raise the car up off of the ground and secure with jack stands.

4. Take the front right wheel off.

5. Take the plastic cover that exposes the engine 10mm

6. Take the bottom plastic coverings of the car. 10mm(BE CAREFUL with these screws. They get very rusted and break easily. I recommend using WD-40 A LOT and tightening and loosening those bolts until they come out all of the way. The work on doing that is better than having to drill out broken bolts later on)

7. Remove the hose from the radiator to the splitter thingy. There is a metal piece holding the hose on. Take a 12mm socket and take the piece off. should be under the distributer. 12mm bolt and 2 flathead s/d bolts

8. Remove the other hose that goes from the splitter thingy to the thingy right below it (right to the top left of the water pump) 2 flathead screwdriver bolts

Note: you may need the screwdriver to pry off the tubing cause it gets kind of stuck on there. just work the screwdriver around the tube.

9. Take off the top cam gear cover. 8mm bolts

10. Unbolt but do not take off the water pump pulley. 4 10mm bolts

11. There is a tensioner to the rear of the main pulley. Get out a 14mm socket and loosen (not take off) the tensioner pulley. Then, with a 12mm socket you will turn the bolt on the bottom clockwise (tighten) this will actually loosen up the belt. Get it loose enough where the belt slips over the water pump pulley easily. Now you can take off the water pump pulley

12. While you are down there loosen the bolt on the top of the alternator and on the bottom, then turn the tensioner bolt counter-clockwise (loose). Then take the belt off. 12mm all

13. Go back to the top of the car and there is another belt. The tensioner puller is right to the rear of the a/c. Loosen the pulley bolt then turn the tensioner bolt counter-clockwise. Get it loose enough to pull the belt off.

14. Pull the belt off.

15. Remove the a/c belt tensioner completely off of the car by removing the 2 12mm bolts located on the rear and the bottom of the tensioner and the 14mm bolt located on the front of the tensioner.

16. Get out the Impact wrench with the 27mm socket and take off the bolt on the main pulley.

17. Get the 2 or 3 jaw puller and set it up on the pulley. If you've never taken the pulley off before once you get the puller set up you might need to use a hammer and hit the bolt that tightens the puller to kind of knock loose the pulley. Tighten the puller until the pulley is almost off. Pull the pulley off with your hands because you don't want this 8.35 pound piece of metal to hit the ground and bend or scar.

18. Remove the bottom cam gear cover. 5 8mm bolts

19. Now you have full access to your water pump. Get the 12mm socket and socket wrench out and remove the 6 bolts holding the pump in. Notice there is a different bolt on the top front of the pump. It has a threaded end. Make sure that goes back into the same spot. 6 12mm

20. MOVE BACK and pull of the pump. Some anti-freeze is sure to come out (cause it did on mine and if you read my story you know i had none)


1. Get the new pump and clean the surface then put some gasket compound on the pump then put the gasket on the pump. Clean the engine where the pump goes. Add some more gasket compound to the top of the gasket. Kind of clean up the inside of the pump if any compound got in there.

2. Carefully manuever (sp?) the pump into the correct spot without hitting anything to dirty up the gasket and put a bolt or two in there.

3. Put the bottom cam gear cover back on. 5 8mm bolts.

4. Put the top cam gear cover on. x(?) 8mm bolts

5. This is out of step if you reverse it but makes life a little easier. Get the water pump pulley and kind of put it on the pump (it won't fit right on cause it's going to be a little snug) Line up the bolt holes and finger tighten one in there. Spin the pump around and put a bolt in the oposite side of the one you put in. Now put in the reset of the bolts. Get the shorter of the 3 belts and put it over the water pump pulley. Hold the belt down as hard as you can and start tightening the bolts on the pump pulley. Just do a cross pattern i.e. do one, then go right across to then next, then do the one beside, then go across (i hope you understand what I'm saying) Do this until the bolts are all of the way in and the pulley is on the pump all of the way. When you get all of the belts back on try to tighten all of the bolts again just to make sure. There is more tension so it won't move this time making it easier to get the bolts tightened all of the way.

6. Put the main pulley back on and hit it as far in as you can with a rubber mallet.

7. Put the main pulley bolt in and tighten it with the impact wrench. 27mm bolt

8. now just put on the plastic pieces and the tubes and you are set.

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βˆ™ 2011-09-12 21:07:36
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