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How to Replace a Water Pump on a 1998 Ford Escort

by John Rose

When the water pump stops working on your 1998 Ford Escort, it won't properly circulate the coolant, and your car will begin to overheat. Leaking around the water pump is a tell-tale sign that you need to replace the pump and the gasket. Yet another way of knowing that the pump is bad is if there is play in the water pump pulley when you wiggle it, indicating that the bearing is shot. The replacement process is not very difficult, so save yourself some money and fix it in the driveway.


Remove the negative battery terminal with a wrench and drain the coolant from the engine into a drain pan. The drain valve is on the radiator at the bottom and can be opened with a wrench.


Use the wrench to remove the timing belt covers then rotate the crankshaft with a ratchet until the timing notch on the crankshaft lines up with the timing mark on the engine. Remove the crankshaft pulley and hub with a socket and ratchet.


Mark the direction of the timing belt as well as the placement marks with a marking crayon. Loosen the timing belt tensioner with the socket and ratchet and remove the timing belt.


Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels and raise the car up with a jack.


Remove the oil dipstick bracket bolts from the water pump with the wrench then remove the two bolts and the gasket from the water inlet pipe with the wrench.


Unscrew all the bolts from the water pump except the one at the very top with the socket and ratchet. Lower the vehicle back to the ground with the jack and remove the remaining bolts from the water pump.


Remove any remaining gasket material from the water pump mounting surface with a scraper to lightly scour it away.


Place a gasket on the new water pump and install it on the engine. Screw the top bolts into the pump hand-tight.


Raise the car up again with the jack. Install the remaining water pump bolts and torque them between 14 and 19 ft.-lbs.


Install the bolts on the water inlet pipe and torque them between 14 and 19 ft.-lbs. Reinstall the bolt onto the oil dipstick bracket with the wrench. Lower the car back to the ground with the jack.


Reinstall the timing belt according to the markings you made when removing it.


Reinstall the crankshaft pulley, making sure to line up the timing marks on the engine and pulley as in Step 2. Reinstall the timing belt covers and tighten the bolts with the wrench.


Pour coolant into the radiator and reservoir. Reconnect the negative battery terminal and tighten it with the wrench.


Start the car and bring it to operating temperature. Check the system thoroughly for any leaking.


  • Never work on the cooling system, when the car is hot, to avoid severe burns.
  • Never drain the coolant onto the ground. It's bad for the environment, and ethylene-glycol attracts dogs and cats and is a poison.

Items you will need

About the Author

John Rose has been writing professionally since 1981. Now contributing to various online publications, he specializes in auto repair, home maintenance and similar topics. Rose studied English at Frostburg State University.

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