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Pump it Right!

My mechanic says the water pump on my 2005 Caravan SXT is shot. He wants $220 to replace it with a new one. Seems a little high -priced, but I’m not sure. Tough job?

You could get another estimate.

Or do it yourself and learn whether or not it’s a “tough job.”

not an easy job. price seems reasonable.

Myself! OMG!! I don’t even know where to find it on the car!! OMG!!!

This is not a job for an amateur. You need special tools.

You can get a second opinion. However, the part may cost $100 and the labor charge of $120 seems reasonable.

One more thing – whenever the water pump is replaced, it is recommended to change the timing belt at the same time. No additional labor is involved. Mention this to the mechanic.

Fair price–a little on the low side I’d say but labor rates vary widely across the country.

Thanks for that info. I will discuss that with him.

Mini van motors are very difficult to work on, I’m pretty sure they’ll need to haul the motor out of the van to get to the pump. So I agree with asemaster, the price seems oddly low, though it doesn’t hurt to shop around

Some years ago, I was replacing the water pump on my 1978 Oldsmobile. It was a difficult job and I was turning the air blue. A friend named Wes who lived around the corner from me came past and asked “Why are you doing that? You obviously don’t like what you are doing. Use my rule–if I can’t do a job in 15 minutes, I hire someone to do it.”

Since that time, I have never changed another water pump. I use what we call Wes’s rule: if I don’t think I can fix something in 15 minutes, I pay someone to do the job. I think $220 is a reasonable price. I would pay that before I would tackle the job.

Wow! Great advice from everyone here on the board. I’m sure my mechanic knows what he’s doing, and I’ll gladly pay the $220. I checked it out on youTube, and doesn’t seem the engine has to drop down for the 2005 Caravan. Many thanks to all.

If your van has a four cylinder, the water pump is very difficult to replace as it is driven by the timing belt. If this is the case, the timing belt and tensioner should be changed at the same time to avoid catastrophic engine failure, as the four cylinder is an interference engine. If your van has either of the V6 engines, the water pump is comparatively easy to replace (drain coolant and remove the belt and a dozen or so bolts and it’s out), and neither of these engines have a timing belt. The water pump is actually quite easy to replace if you have access to a lift or don’t mind lying on the ground in a pool of coolant, but it still takes about an hour and a half for the complete job, including removing trapped air from the cooling system. $220 is cheap for this job. If I were you, I would get it done without complaint, unless you want to do it yourself.

If it is the 3.3 or 3.8 engine it requires the serpentine belt to come off and then the pump changed from bellow/passenger wheel side. It is a bit involved but not as bad as taking the engine out. The price quoted, if includes parts is pretty fair. I will also change the belt if it has more than 50K miles on it.

That is great technical info you’ve given about this water pump. Thank you so very much. Not being the world’s most blessed about this kind of thing makes it so much easier to accept when those who respond are willing to share what they have experienced. Everyone has been so helpful and willing to assist with their automotive knowledge. I appreciate evryone’s response.