How to Fix a Water Pump on a Ford Probe

by Cayden Conor

The water pump on the Ford Probe is located behind the timing belt covers. The timing belt turns the water pump pulley. It is advisable to replace the timing belt when you replace the water pump, unless the timing belt has less than 20,000 miles on it. Though, according to AutoData: Timing Belts, the OEM has not recommended a timing belt replacement interval, trade practice dictates that it should be replaced every 60,000 miles. If you are replacing the water pump because of a leak, you should always replace the timing belt. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to complete the entire process.

Slide the drain pan under the radiator petcock. Open the petcock and allow the coolant to drain. If the coolant is clean and less than five years old, you can reuse the coolant. If you are replacing the coolant, you should use extended life coolant. Disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside, ensuring that it does not touch metal.

Loosen the lug nuts, but do not remove them, on the right front wheel, using the lug wrench. Jack up the Probe, using the floor jack, and support it with jack stands. Remove the right front wheel, using the lug wrench. Remove the right inner fender panel.

Remove the accessory drive belts. Depending on the year and the engine in your Probe, the belts could have automatic tensioners or sliding brackets. If your Probe has automatic tensioners, place a socket on the bolt in the center of the tensioner pulley and rotate the pulley toward the engine to loosen tension on the belt. Allow the pulley to fall gently back into place after you remove the belt. For vehicles with sliding bracket tensioners, loosen the through-bolt, lock-bolt and adjusting bolt for each accessory. Slide the accessory toward the engine to loosen tension on the belt, then lift the belt off the pulleys.

Place the block of wood on the floor jack. Slide the floor jack under the engine and raise it up just so it touches the bottom of the engine, to support the engine. Remove the right engine mount, using the appropriate socket. Remove the crankshaft pulley bolts, using the appropriate socket. Remove the crankshaft pulley and upper and lower timing covers, using the appropriate sockets.

Turn the crankshaft clockwise until the timing marks on the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets are lined up. The timing mark on both sprockets are at the 12 o'clock position. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt, using the appropriate socket. Push the tensioner away from the belt and tighten the bolt enough to hold the tensioner out of the way. Lift the belt off the sprockets.

Disconnect the coolant inlet pipe and remove its gasket, using the appropriate socket or wrench. Remove the timing belt idler pulleys that are attached to the water pump, using the appropriate socket. Remove the water pump mounting bolts, then pull the water pump off the engine.

Clean the gasket-mounting surface on the engine, using the scraper and rags. Smear a thin layer of RTV silicone on the water pump, then press the gasket into the sealant. Install the water pump and tighten the retaining bolts to 15 foot-pounds of torque. Reinstall the timing belt idler pulleys. Reinstall the inlet coolant pipe and tighten the bolts to 17 foot-pounds of torque.

Ensure that the tensioner pulley operates smoothly by spinning it in your hand. If not, replace it. Check that the timing marks are still aligned. Install the timing belt, starting on the crankshaft sprocket and working in a counter clockwise direction, over the top of the water pump pulley, under the guide pulley and over the camshaft sprocket, keeping tension on the belt on that side. Route the belt behind the tensioner pulley.

Loosen the tensioner bolt and allow the tensioner to put tension on the belt. Turn the crankshaft two turns clockwise until the timing marks are lined up again. Tighten the tensioner pulley bolt to 33 foot-pounds of torque. Press in on the belt halfway between the camshaft sprocket and the guide pulley. The belt should deflect 0.30 to 0.33 inches. If not, repeat the tensioning process.

Reinstall upper and lower timing belt covers and the crankshaft pulley, using the appropriate sockets. Reinstall the right engine mount, accessory drive belts and the wheel. Lower the vehicle off the jack stands. Tighten the petcock on the radiator and refill it with coolant. Reinstall the negative battery cable.


  • close The engine in the Ford Probe are interference engines. The timing belt must be perfectly installed, or you will grenade the engine.

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About the Author

Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.