How to Install a Chevy Caprice Classic Water Pump

by Russell Wood

A Chevrolet Caprice Classic has a water pump mounted on the front of the engine, which pumps the coolant around the radiator and the engine, keeping it moving at all times. When the water pump goes out, that coolant can't circulate. This leads to a potential overheating condition, which could cause the engine to seize if left unchecked. To solve the problem, the water pump needs to be replaced, which should take an hour or two to perform.

Open the hood. Open up the radiator cap. If the radiator cap is hot to the touch, wait until the cap has cooled off enough that you can grip it without getting burned. Put a drain pan under the water pump. Locate the belt tensioner on the lower passenger side of the engine. Turn the tensioner clockwise with the 3/8-inch breaker bar and a socket, then pull the serpentine belt off of the water pump.

Remove the hose clamps holding the lower radiator hose to the water pump with the flathead screwdriver. Let the coolant pour into the drain pan. Unbolt the water pump from the engine with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and take it out of the engine bay. Clean off the mounting surfaces on the engine with a gasket scraper and the mechanics rags.

Unbolt the water pump pulley from the old water pump with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then bolt it onto the replacement water pump with the same tools. Put a thing coat of the RTV sealant onto both sides of the replacement water pump gasket. Install the replacement water pump onto the engine with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, making sure the gasket sits between the pump and the engine.

Reinstall the radiator hose to the water pump with the flathead screwdriver. Reinstall the serpentine belt by turning the tensioner with the 3/8-inch breaker bar and socket, then looping the belt around the pulleys. Fill the radiator with 50-50 pre-diluted coolant.

Run the engine on the Caprice Classic with the heater temperature controls set to the highest position. Allow the Caprice to hit operating temperature. Let the radiator cap cool again, then fill with additional 50-50 pre-diluted coolant as needed.

Items you will need


About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.