How to Install a 1996 Ford Contour Water Pumpby Jeb Hoge
The 2.5L Duratec V6 in the 1995 to1997 Ford Contour was known to have a water pump that typically failed at approximately 60,000 miles. The culprit was a weak plastic impeller that did not cope well with the normal engine temperatures and pressures. However, the designers of the 2.5L Duratec placed the water pump at the front of the engine bay, making for the component's easy replacement.
Removing the Old Water Pump
Remove the three bolts holding the plastic engine cover from the front of the engine. Remove the cover.
The water pump and pulley are located on the right side of the engine, between the cylinder block and the battery. For additional working space, you can remove the battery, but this is not required.
Push the spring-loaded tensioner pulley toward the water pump to take the tension off the water pump belt. Remove the belt and set it aside. If the belt is in good enough condition, it can be reused, but it's wise to replace it anyway.
Use the socket wrench to remove the 8mm bolts holding the water pump assembly in place. Take note of the length of the bolts and of their position. There should be three long bolts and five short bolts.
As you remove the bolts, the water pump assembly will begin to loosen and leak coolant. Make sure that you use your paper towels and tray or bucket under the car to catch as much coolant as possible.
With all bolts removed, work the water pump assembly to separate the assembly from the side of the engine. A few taps with a screwdriver handle may help it come free. Once free, inspect the impeller; if it appears broken, carefully inspect the side of the engine, where the pump fits, for any broken pieces. Extract any visible pieces carefully.
Installing the New Water Pump
Make sure that the old gasket material is thoroughly cleaned off from the side of the engine where the pump fits.
Align the new gasket on the water pump, so that all of the bolt holes and holes in the gasket line up. Carefully fit the pump to the side of the engine, so that the gasket stays properly fitted.
Insert the three long 8mm bolts through the correct holes and thread them finger-tight. Insert the remaining five bolts in the remaining holes and also thread them finger-tight.
If you have a torque wrench, tighten all bolts to 13 ft lbs. If you do not have a torque wrench, tighten the bolts to be snug, but be careful to avoid over-tightening. Apply equal force for each bolt for uniform tightening.
Replace the old water pump belt, or install the new water pump belt. If you have removed the battery, reinstall it. Top up the coolant level to "Full" and start the engine. Monitor the coolant level for a few minutes of idling and make sure that it stays full; add coolant as needed. Once the job is finished and you have verified that the pump is not leaking, reinstall the engine cover.
- A small dab of gasket sealer or silicone can help keep the new water pump gasket in place during the installation procedure.
Things You'll Need
- Water pump for Duratec 2.5L V6 (should come with new gasket)
- Water pump belt for Duratec 2.5L V6
- 8mm socket wrench
- Torque wrench (recommended)
- Tray or bucket to catch spilled coolant
- Paper towels
- Bottle of coolant to top off system
- The engine should be cool when performing this procedure. Performing the task on a hot engine puts you at risk of scalding yourself, or possibly damaging your engine.
- Coolant is toxic to both humans and pets if ingested! It has a sweet taste that may encourage animals or children to drink it, but causes painful kidney failure that leads quickly to death. Avoid spills or leaving open containers or soaked paper towels or rags in accessible locations.
Jeb Hoge has a degree in English and more than 10 years of experience as a technical/business writer supporting federal defense contractors and government agencies. He is a member of the Society of Technical Communicators and Toastmasters.