How to Replace the Water Pump in a 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier
- 1). Lift the hood of the Cavalier, and prop it up using the hood prop rod. Visually inspect and the "Belt Routing Diagram" on the passenger front corner of the Cavalier. The diagram is a sticker on either the underside of the hood or on top of the radiator to show you how to route the serpentine belt back onto the car. If your Cavalier does not have this diagram, proceed to Step 2. If your Cavalier has a belt diagram sticker, proceed to Step 3.
- 2). Draw a box on paper to represent the engine. Draw each pulley you see relatively in the same position it is on the engine. Label each pulley if you know what the pulleys are, such as the power-steering pulley and crankcase pulley. Draw a thick line between the pulleys to represent the belt and belt routing on each pulley. This drawing will be necessary for installing the belt later.
- 3). Place an open-end wrench on the tensioner pulley, and depress the belt tensioner assembly into the open, or remove, position. Remove the serpentine belt with your free hand. Set the belt on top of the engine so it is out of the way.
- 4). Insert a flat-head screwdriver through one of the large holes in the pulley on the water pump. Rest the tip of the screwdriver against a hard metal surface. The screwdriver is used to hold the pulley in place while you remove the pulley bolts. Remove the three water pump pulley bolts from the face of the pulley, using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Turn the bolts counterclockwise until you can remove the bolts by hand. Remove the screwdriver from the water pump pulley, then pull the water pump pulley off by hand.
- 5). Place a 2-gallon or larger drain pan underneath the Cavalier directly below the water pump area of the engine. Remove the four water pump mounting bolts from the car, using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Insert a flat-head screwdriver between the water pump and the engine, and gently pry the water pump free from the engine. Place the water pump directly into the drain pan beneath the car. Do not set the water pump off to the side or on the ground.
- 6). Scrape the water pump gasket material off the engine mounting surface for the pump. Use a straight razor blade or box cutter blade to scrape the material in a motion that drives the gasket material away from the large hole in the side of the engine. Do not scrape the gasket material into the large water pump hole, so as not to introduce gasket material and debris into the cooling system of your Cavalier. Discard of the razor blade when you are done scraping the engine mounting surface.
- 7). Place a thin film of RTV gasket maker or equivalent onto the mounting surface of the new water pump. Coat the entire gasket mounting surface of the water pump with the gasket-making material. This will help seal the gasket more permanently onto the pump but also will help hold the gasket in place during installation of the new pump and gasket. Place a thin film of the gasket-making material on the engine mounting surface where the water pump will mount to the engine. Do not worry about slight excess on the outside areas of the water pump, but do not leave excess gasket making material near the water pump mounting hole. Allow the gasket-making material to sit for about two minutes before moving to the next step.
- 8). Install the new water pump gasket onto the water pump. Place the gasket straight down onto the pump, making sure all of the bolt holes line up, and the center hole in the gasket lines up with the mounting surface of the pump. Install the new pump and gasket onto the Cavalier engine, and start the mounting bolts into the engine by hand. Tighten the water pump mounting bolts to 18 foot-pounds of torque, using a 3/8-inch drive-certified torque wrench and socket.
- 9). Install the water pump pulley, and start the pulley mounting bolts by hand. Stick a screwdriver through one of the large holes in the pulley to brace the pulley while tightening the mounting bolts. Tighten the water pump pulley mounting bolts to 22 foot-pounds of torque, using a 3/8-inch drive-certified torque wrench and socket.
Reinstall the serpentine belt onto the engine of the Cavalier, using the "Belt Routing Diagram" or the diagram you drew earlier to guide you in installing the belt. Make the tensioner pulley the last stop on your serpentine belt routing. Depress the tensioner by placing an open-end wrench on the pulley and pushing the tensioner to the open position. Install the serpentine belt over the pulley using your free hand. Visually inspect the alignment of the serpentine belt on all of the engine's pulleys. The belt should be centered on all of the pulleys. If you need to make adjustments, depress the tensioner halfway, and slide the offset belt where it needs to be positioned.
Fill the radiator overflow bottle with coolant to the "FULL" mark on the side of the bottle. Start the engine of the Cavalier, but leave the radiator overflow bottle lid off. Turn the heater control panel dial to full fan speed and front defroster. This will engage the entire cooling system and allow air pockets created during this project to escape the cooling system. Leave the engine running for no less than 15 minutes to allow the new water pump and gravity to push all of the air pockets out of the system. Turn the engine off when finished. Fill the radiator overflow back to the "FULL" mark, and install the overflow bottle lid.