ATTENTION: CAMARO/FIREBIRD/TRANSAM LS1 OWNERS EASY DO IT YOURSELF WATER PUMP REPLACEMENT!
Thanks Junkman2008 for your post and pics... I have a 2001 Camaro SS Convertible 6M that I love to death and it started spewin' DexCool on the parking lot of the local burger joint for lunch on Monday (not Cool)... So I took it up to the first local mechanic's shop I drove past before I lost anymore coolant, he has a look at it and goes in that condescending-I'm-gonna-rape-your-wallet-voice "Well, the water pump is gonna cost you $490 and that's about 5 or 6 hours of labor to put it in place there cuz you got a fancy car there
(his actual words) so that's gonna be about $1000 plus taxes..."
I said I don't think so, then he went to stage two defense trying to say all mechanics would quote the same to which I replied "I can't afford that, let's fill it with water" so I could get the HELL out of there. You can imagine what I REALLY wanted to say to him but somehow I am better at using restraint than I used to be.
I get online and start googling about LS1 water pumps and find your EXCELLENT post. It gave me the confidence to realize how EASY this job is, I'm telling you almost anybody can do this and actually ENJOY it, it's that great.
I ordered a new Bosch LS1 replacement pump online, delivered to me Thursday for $210CDN (a bit more than yours but from a Canadian source and express shipping) I then treated myself to a new torque wrench, HOSE-CLAMP PLIERS - (the BEST tool EVER)
, new upper rad hose section (old one was baloonin' kinda scary), 2 jugs of Prestone DexCool, Prestone SuperFlush, and a RadRescue flushing tee kit from Canadian Tire here, my cost for all supplies including pump was $300.
I cut the heater core hose (smallest hose out of the pump) to install the flushing tee (easy comes with two screw hose clamps), opened the radiator cap and petcock and attached the garden hose, turned on the hose SLOWLY and started the car to get 134,000 miles of old dirty dexcool the hell out, after only a few minutes the rad is runnin' clear.
Closed the petcock, added the SuperFlush, topped up the rad water, closed the radiator cap, started the car and ran for 10 minutes, (turn your heater on full) and then flushed it all out as above.
DETAILED COOLANT FLUSH VIDEO HERE
Notice I did all this BEFORE installing the new water pump. You DO NOT want to have ANY old circulating coolant and contaminants even think about touching your shiny beautiful new pump!
I did do a couple modifications to Junkman's procedure only to speed things up for Camaro/Firebird owners...
1) The airbox/MAF can be left all together, leave the MAF connector clip on, just loosen the screw clamp on the accordion part of the MAF where it meets the throttle body, pull it off as one with the air box lid and invert it back over towards the drivers side, tons of play to do this in the SS, take the air filter out (I also have the K&N) and place it in the lid out of the way... Now the bottom part of the lid is a temporary tool tray! (ok probably not recommended but come on I cleaned it all out after with engine cleaner - can you believe I even found a soda straw under the filter - how did that get in there?)
2) Take off the throttle body - easy it's three 10mm bolts in a triangle, take off the two small hoses (again the difference in this job being ridiculously easy and a pain is the HOSE CLAMP PLIERS - BUY SOME ALREADY!
) that connect the throttle body to the block and the upper rad. For the Camaro I found this was necessary for easy clearance of the old and new water pump.
3) DO NOT pre-attach the belt tensioner pulley to the new water pump before installing, not a big deal but I found it a real pain to get at the passenger side water pump bolts for tightening and torquing with the pulley installed, there's tons of clearance to attach the pulley after.
4) Preload the 6 - 10mm bolts in the water pump, then put the new gaskets overtop and use both hands to carefully put the pump into place. (Position the grip of each palm and fingers of your hands to prevent the bolts from sliding back as you maneuver - The gasket bolt holes are just big enough for the bolts and thus align the gaskets perfectly, just start hand tightening and after a couple of bolts you can breathe again!) DO NOT USE RTV SEALANT/SILICONE/GASKETMAKER/GOOP!
It is not necessary, these gaskets are O-rings in the metal cutout, they are fatter than the cutout width, they form a PERFECT seal under compression. MAKE SURE YOU CLEAN THE MATING SURFACE OF THE BLOCK FIRST!
RTV could POSSIBLY lessen that effect by not allowing the spec 22 lb ft torque to squeeze those O-rings as tight.
5) In my case, the local parts place gave me the WRONG thermostat
... I'm ready to get my damn car rolling again already so I used the old one, my car never overheated so supposedly it's ok. I did use a very thin smear of RTV on the outer edge of the thermostat housing, as I had my doubts on whether the old compressed gasket would hold. The RTV I used was grey, made by Permatex specifically for thermostat housing. Says it takes 24hrs to cure fully and it's sealed perfectly.
Once again Junkman, THANK YOU
- These points were written only to add to your great post for all the other shadetree mechanics searching online - DO IT it's so easy!
- and the knowledge that I saved myself $800 from a 'mechanic' thief is SOOO DAMN GOOD - I booked a trip to Hawaii instead.
I'm not a Corvette owner (YET) but I still have an LS1 heart.
P.S. Hindsight is 20/20 but for a few weeks before I noticed a faint marbles-in-a-box noise, but couldn't tell from where...this is the sound of failing water pump bearings before the seal is about to spew... Well now I know.