Should You Panic When the Warning Light Goes On?

The water pump is an important part of your Subaru's engine. However, even when not functioning at 100%, the water pump will rarely cause your engine to overheat. If your Subaru is overheating there are other more likely other culprits. Before you consider replacing your Subaru's water pump, check to be sure that your vehicle's coolant levels are good and that its electric fans are cycling on and off. If the fans are functioning properly, consider the possibility that an internally collapsed radiator hose, weak or damaged radiator cap, plugged radiator, or failed head gaskets may be causing your Subaru to overheat. Contacting us before replacing can save you time and money in the long run.

How to Replace a Subaru Water Pump

Although it rarely completely stops circulating coolant, over time your Subaru's water pump may leak and lose its ability to keep your car's cooling system pressurized causing an overheating issue. If you are certain that it is time to replace your Subaru's water pump, we recommend taking your vehicle to an experienced Subaru technician. Accessing the water pump requires removal of a number of other engine parts under the hood, including but not limited to the radiator, fans, timing covers timing belt, hoses and coolant, which may also be ready for replacement. If you decide to undertake the repairs yourself, understand that accessing and replacing this part will involve many of the following steps.

  1. Remove the existing coolant. Place a drain pan underneath the radiator and disconnect the lower hose. Allow the fluid to collect in the pan. Remember, coolant/antifreeze is a hazmat material and can cause harm to both the environment and your pets if they come in contact. Always handle this in a responsible and proper way. We are Suburb Service always recycle used coolant in an approved manor and EPA rules and regulations, it's the right thing to do for our environment.
  2. To remove your Subaru's water pump, you will first need a selection of various metric sockets, ratchet handles, wrenches and extensions just for openers. Then figure out the exact tools and sizes to remove the necessary nuts and bolts to remove the radiator, fans, and drive belts. (On average a professional mechanic/technician will have in excess of $60,000.00 in tools, and test equipment). To remove the radiator, disconnect the coolant hoses, then the transmission coolant lines at the radiator, (being careful not to allow atf fluid to run on the ground) fans, and remove the bolts, sliding the radiator out from the top. Now find the correct size socket and remove the bolt securing the crankshaft pulley to the crankshaft. This alone is extremely difficult as it is torqued to 300 foot pounds of torque. It's even more difficult to re torque this bolt upon reassembly. (If you do not get this right you will cause damage to both the crank pulley and in extreme cases ruin the crankshaft requiring engine replacement, very costly). Now remove the bolts around the timing case to expose the timing belt, release the tension on the tensioner and remove the old belt.
  3. Remove the water pump by removing the bolts and pulling toward the front of the vehicle. Exercise care as some coolant may remain. Wipe the area clean with a shop rag. Next carefully clean any gasket residue from the motor block.
  4. Place the new water pump and steel gasket on the mount. As you secure the bolts, the pump should fit firmly.
  5. Replace the remaining parts in the same order in which they were removed.
  6. Once you are sure the radiator is fully reinstalled, refill the coolant. The next most difficult procedure will be to properly purge the cooling system of all trapped air bubbles. This alone may take nearly 2 hours to complete in its entirety. Start your car and continue to refill until completely full. The factory has placed a 5.5 hour time schedule for water pump removal and replacement by professionals with all the correct and proper tools. What is your time worth, and do you really want to take a chance on damaging your motor due to improper pump installation or incorrect purging of the cooling system?

Subaru water pump replacement how-to video:

Before beginning a major car repair project like replacing your Subaru's water pump, consider the time and anxiety you may save by taking your car in to an experienced, reliable technician. You have made a wise investment by choosing to buy a Subaru. Ensure the long-term health of your car by giving it the best possible care. In Western Washington, independent Subaru service center, Suburb Service uses genuine Subaru parts and the latest tools and diagnostic testing equipment, combined with a knowledgeable staff dedicated to servicing only Subarus. To have your coolant system problem diagnosed and repaired by a skilled professional, contact Suburb Service today.

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