A while back Kathy noticed a noise coming from the front of the Dakota. It was out of my hearing range so I wasn’t aware of it. I had Paul Wright listen to it and he thought it was the take-up pulley on the serpentine belt. Finally it got loud enough that I could hear it but I couldn’t tell exactly from where it was coming although it sounded like it was lower than the pulley. After driving it a bit more I decided I would take it down to
After thinking about it for a day I thought, “You know, I’d better see just how much that’s going to cost”. So I went back down to get a firm estimate and to my amazement it was about $500. That included a new serpentine belt because I figured it was about time for a new one before that one stranded me some place. I called Hanson’s Garage in Orofino and got a more reasonable estimate but by this time it was leaking so badly that I knew I’d never make it to Orofino. So … that left Mickey the Mechanic.
I got the parts from
The next problem was getting the 1 ¼ inch nut loose. Since the serpentine belt system was the only resistance, the only way I could get the nut loose was to cause impact by striking it with a big hammer. As you can see by the picture I followed the shade tree mechanic’s creed: “Problem? Get a bigger hammer”. And, by the way, the
The water pump has seven bolts. Six of them are no problem. The problem bolt is situated so that a socket will not fit straight on it. As I did not have the required 14 mm box end wrench, I called it a day and went over to Schucks’s the next day to get a wrench. By removing an idler pulley and another bolt that was in the way I was able to get the last nut out with my new wrench.
The next monumental problem was replacing a small manifold bypass hose that the Service Manager at Hanson’s had recommended that I replace while replacing the pump. In order to replace this little six inch long hose you have to remove a large platform bracket attached to the front of the engine on which the alternator and air conditioner compressor are mounted. After getting the platform bracket loose I found I couldn’t move it very far because of all the electrical and refrigerant hoses attached. Finally I was able to move it just far enough to get to the top hose clamp by rigging up a crowbar to hold it in place so as to free my hands to get the clamp off. Of course, after removing the clamp the hose was heat glued to the mount so I had to work a knife in the small space to cut the hose loose.
Before replacing the new pump you must remove the gasket remains on the front of the engine. I had a good scraper but the material was attached so well I had to make another trip to
Remarkably, things went pretty well reassembling things except for one maddening circumstance – I had one bolt left over. When I took things apart I had marked all the bolts except for this one which I had set on top of the pulley I had to remove in order to get the seventh bolt out of the water pump. This was ruining my whole day. It was time to quit anyway so there was nothing else to do. Finally, just before bedtime I remembered that one bolt I had had to remove along with the pulley to get the seventh water pump bolt out. I went right out in my pajamas, removed and replaced the pulley again after replacing the bolt.
I finished getting things back together the next morning and so far so good. If you think this sounds like a lot of grief and pain, you’re right. Of course, I’m used to that (The Warnock slogan is “Nothing is ever easy”) and I do have about $350 more in my pocket. I didn’t forget to hit the Easy Button when I finished either.