Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'97 Ford Contour 2.0, Must Replace Water Pump?!
I have a ’97 Ford Contour 2.0 4 cylinder engine with just 100,000 km's on it. Some Ford Dealers are telling me that I have to replace the water pump when I replace the timing belt. They say that the timing belt turns the water pump. Another dealer says I don’t need to replace the water pump as it is run by the accessory belt. I know they want my money but would you know if the pump has to be replaced also?
You don’t have to replace the water pump! The water pump is driven by a belt other than the timing belt. If I were working on your vehicle, I would suggest replacing the water pump while the timing belt is being serviced. Why is that? If the water pump fails 6 month later, guess what has to be taken off to replace the water pump? The timing belt. The darn thing is located behind the timing belt. In fact, if I were replacing your vehicle’s timing belt I would also suggest replacement of the camshaft and crankshaft seals. Why is that? Because they’re behind the darn timing belt. Many years ago I replaced a timing belt on a customers vehicle. In less than a year the front crankshaft oil seal failed. The oil from that failure got on the timing belt. If a timing belt gets oil on it, it must to be replaced. The customer chewed me up and down for not telling them of all the possibilities that resulted in them having to buy another timing belt. Our shop policy now is to inform the customer of the oil seals, water pump and any other component that is affected when replacing the timing belt. I let them make the informed choice and that choice is documented. Replacing the water pump while replacing the timing belt will save you labor/money if both jobs are performed at the same time. I’d suggest the seals at the same time if you’re keeping the vehicle. Either way, you are the one paying for the repair. You now have the information, it is up to you to decide.