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Water Pump Replacement questions

Hi there! Hope everyone is doing great here…

I recently noticed a humming noise coming from the passenger side on my Mazda Protege 2000 ES . I suspected it was the water pump, so I took the car to my mechanic. He inspected the coolant reservoir and it was empty. He also checked the noise and the area were the pump is, and told me that the water pump had to be replaced. He gave me a quote for $797 with parts and labor included, saying that the timing belt, the tensioner, gasket and a bunch of other things had to be replaced at the same time.

My dad told me that his 1994 Sentra had the water pump replaced but none of these things had to be done and that it was unnecessary. But then I thought, every car is different. I am attaching the quote he gave me here so you guys can have a look.

I was in shock with how much the repair would cost, so he then gave me another quote with just the timing belt and water pump replacement for $503, but this time he said that he will not give me any warranty for the repairs because of the tensioner.

My question is… Is it really necessary to replace all these things? How much do you pay for these kind of repairs? I live in San Francisco, but since I am an international student and can’t afford to pay much, I go to East Bay in the hope for better prices.

How many miles on the car? The timing belt is due for replacement at 105k mi. If your mileage is anywhere close to that, then it should be replaced when you replace the water pump. Otherwise you will have another expensive repair when it is due.

And you should replace the other items at the same time. there is a high labor cost here, so it’s better to replace everything replaceable in that area once you have the area open.

Also have the coolant replaced at the time.

On a 20 year old car that likely has 200,000+ miles you must consider that if you expect the car to last another 20,000 miles getting the complete repair done would be worthwhile. But regardless whether you choose the complete or partial job it would be in your best interest to have the mechanic look closely for indications that there is damage to the head/head gasket caused by overheating due to the faulty water pump. It would be a shame to pay for the obvious repair only to face a $2,500 +/- repair immediatly afterward.

I got the car at 145,000, and right now it has 197,300 miles on it. I don’t think the belt was ever replaced. So it should be timing belt + water pump right? What about the rest of the parts? Thermostat, the bunch of seals and the tensioner on the list?

I would highly recommend that the spring be replaced along with the Timing belt, water pump and coolant at the very least. But again, be as certain as possible that there is no indication of damage to the cylinder head/block seal.

@“Rod Knox”

Hey Rod, thanks for the replies. Should I ask him to check the head gasket even if I have never seen the car overheat? The temp indicator has always being below the center, and I have always thought the temps are better than fine.

Alright, I guess I will go ask for more quotes around the area. If they all cost about the same then I will go ahead and ask them to fix all these. Thank you guys!

Of course the 94 Sentra didn’t need all those things. It doesn’t have them. But your car does.

To replace only the water pump and timing belt without doing the tensioner, spring, and idler on an aging car like yours is a fool’s errand.

Auto repair prices in the San Francisco area are among the highest in the country, with some independent shops in the $150/hour range, but the price isn’t really related to what the car needs. I would recommend the complete package.

The timing belt also has a 7 year life. It should be overdue for its second change regardless of miles. The bulk of the cost is the timing belt. You are getting a deal on the rest of the parts because if any of them fail, you have to bear the bulk of the cost again just for that part.

The short answer is yes and then you can rest easy for the next 7 years. Thats just over $100/year, or $9.50/mo. What a deal.

Thanks for the replies asemaster and keith. Yeah I figure both cars were different and that the repairs on my car would cost more because of that. Just wanted to make sure all these other things besides the pump and the belt were necessary.

Now my dad wants me to sell the car, but if I can keep driving the car after the repairs then it will make no sense to sell it because all I can afford is another $2000’ish car.

Thanks again!

If there is absolutely no chance that the engine has overheated then there is considerable certainty that there is no damage to the head/block seal. Good luck.

Thanks Rod, got it! =)

Is a Mazda a Mitsubishi engine like the quote indicates? But yeah if you go to all that work to replace a timing belt, you replace the water pump, tensioner, etc. and visa versa if you have to go into it for a water pump. Just crazy not to while you’re in there. That to me though would also be the time to replace the hoses and serpentine belt(s) too. Sometimes economy cars are cheap on fuel but a little pricey to maintain.

I don’t think this car uses a Mitsubishi engine. I think this is a generic belt that fits both cars or something. I was looking on ebay for the parts and found timing belt + water pump kits…They are about 80 bucks. Some parts are GMB like the ones of the list. Should I go with a kit and buy the rest that is missing off from ebay? Because that will save me a lot of money.

I bought my suspension parts from ebay and they came out very good, but this repair job is different. =/

“Should I go with a kit and buy the rest that is missing off from ebay?”

Only if you’re going to put them on yourself.
No self-respecting mechanic is going to repair a car with parts the customer brings in.
And a non-self-respecting mechanic is not going to guaranty the work.
Me, I can’t afford to do things on the cheap.
There’s a lot of junk on ebay.


No, it’s not a Mitsubishi engine

If you look very closely at the list and strain your eyes, you’ll see the timing belt is made by Mitsuboshi

I used to have a 1997 Protege. Almost the same engine as OP’s car. It was a very reliable car. It was very inexpensive to maintain over the years

@“FXing Serious”

Almost all shops make a fair profit on labor AND parts, otherwise they’ll be out of business very soon

Just because you found a timing belt kit on ebay for $80 bucks, doesn’t mean the shop will charge you $80 for the parts. They will make a fair markup

And most shops do not want the customer to supply the parts. And if they allow that, they may charge more for labor. And they certainly will not warranty the parts you supplied

He’s is absolutely correct in proposing to replace all those parts listed. He wants to do the complete job, versus just slapping a timing belt on, and hoping everything else holds up.

By the way, the price quoted sounds fair.

I say go for it, and don’t try to whittle away at the price. Nobody’s trying to gouge you

The price quote is fair and odds are the hum is an idler or tensioner bearing as a failing water pump will not hum; at least not that I’ve personally heard or ever heard of.

Your father is wrong by stating that items such as tensioners, idlers, etc do not need replacement.
If you do the work yourself and are willing to gamble then you certainly can skip things.
Expecting a shop to cut corners and assume the risk is not the proper method.

The best decision long-term is to replace everything the mechanic recommends. Of course it is your car and it’s your decision. You aren’t required to replace anything if you don’t want to. The reason all that stuff tends to come as a package deal is b/c the way the engine/water pump/timing belt is situated, the front engine mount probably has to be removed to replace the water pump. There’s a lot of mechanic’s time doing that job, and a lot of that effort is common to replacing the timing belt and tensioner. So it makes $$ sense to do it all at once. But if you simply don’t have the $$, you could just replace the water pump and cross your fingers about the other stuff. I’m not recommending this b/c if the timing belt later breaks it could severely damage the engine, to the tune of thousands of dollars. The timing belt is what synchronizes the valves to the pistons, and if that synchronization is lost, the valves and pistons can collide. Not a good thing. On some engines – called non-interference engines – that valve/piston collision won’t happen. So that’s another considering. Suggest to Google to see if your engine is interference or non-interference.

Thanks a lot to all of you for your great responses. I will definitely save up a little to fix everything at once. Going back and forth to the shop because of future breakdowns and more expensive repairs will be stupid. I will try not to use the car for now until I get these fixed.

I was looking at DIY videos for this vehicle and yeah the job was time consuming, and involved taking off the timing belt and all that.

Aside from the water pump issue everything seems fine, so I guess if everything else is alright and working, a $797 investment to keep it running might be worth it.