How to Change the Water Pump on a Jeep Cherokee

by Jeanene S. ValentineUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Draining container that can hold at least 5 gallons

  • Garden hose for fresh water source

  • Pliers

  • Clean shop towels

  • RTV sealant

  • New water pump for Jeep Cherokee with gasket

When your Jeep Cherokee overheats or makes a kind of "duck" noise, your water pump may be failing. Replacing a bad water pump is essential to the life of your vehicle. This can be a challenging repair, so you should have some mechanical knowledge under your belt before you attempt it.

Removing the Water Pump

Disconnect the negative cable from your car battery, using a wrench.

Turn the radiator cap counterclockwise with your hand to remove it.

Place a large container under the radiator drain.

Loosen the radiator drain plug, on the bottom of the radiator, by turning it counterclockwise with the wrench. After the coolant has drained from the radiator, move the drainage container so that it is beneath the engine block.

Remove the engine block drain plug using the wrench. On four-cylinder and inline-six engines, this drain plug is on the bottom of the driver's side of the engine block, below the exhaust manifold. On V-6 engines, there are two drain plugs toward the rear and on each side of the engine block. Drain the entire engine block.

Insert the tip of a garden hose into the top of the radiator, and flush it until the water runs clear.

Disconnect the electric cooling fan wire harness on the main engine fan by pulling the black connector apart. Remove the two fan mounting bolts on either side of the fan shroud, and carefully lift the fan out of the engine.

Loosen the four water pump pulley bolts, using the wrench, and remove the drive belt by simply lifting it off the pulley.

Remove all the hoses from the water pump by detaching their clamps. If they're stuck, twist them with the pair of pliers to break the seal and pry them off.

Remove the four bolts on the water pump with the wrench, and pull the water pump out.

Installing the New Water Pump

Use a clean shop towel to wipe off all traces of the gasket from where the old water pump was attached.

Apply a thin coat of RTV sealant to the engine side of the new gasket and to the mounting surface of the new water pump; then press the two together. Slip a bolt or two through the pump mounting holes to hold the gasket in place on the new pump.

Attach the water pump and gasket to the engine, and start the bolts with your fingers. Install the remaining bolts, then tighten all bolts with the wrench. Do not over-tighten, or you may distort the pump.

Replace the water pump pulley and tighten the bolts with the wrench.

Place the drive belt evenly on the water pump pulley, and tighten it with the wrench.

Replace the radiator plug and engine block drain plugs.

Pour new coolant into the radiator and coolant reservoir.

Replace the negative cable on the car battery's negative terminal, tightening it with the wrench.


Wait until the engine is completely cool before beginning removal of your water pump; otherwise you could be seriously burned.

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