We have to tell you a little story about this ‘burb. A very near and dear friend owned this vehicle previously. After ten years decided he was going to get him a newer truck. He knew how crazy in love I was with this Suburban so to our surprise he and his wife decided to offer it to me when the time came for him to get his new one. FOR FREE!!!! So after having the truck for a couple of months, I started hearing a squealing coming from the engine and I knew that it couldn’t be the idler pulley, or tensioner pulley because the previous owner had already replaced them. Plus, we had replaced the serpentine belt at the same time as the other repairs. So it could only be one other option as my dad would say, “Process of elimination is to check the other accessories being run by the serpentine belt.” So one day, I saw a leak coming down from the water pump and I knew I had found my suspect.
Well, so much for the hard work of trying to be “Mr. Detective”! Now I go on the hunt for a reasonably priced water pump. I also want a great warranty!
So I got my new pump and it also comes with a thermostat and thermostat housing. This may sound crazy but I wanted it painted in GM orange! Now I bought this paint many years ago thinking one day I would have a vehicle I could use it on.
I taped off the pulley and the hose inlets and the mounting surfaces on the backside of the water pump, also the same was done to the thermostat housing. Now I put on three coats of the GM orange that is rated at 500* then I also put on two coats of the same temperature clear coat to make this beauty stand out and last a long time. Between each coat I let it dry between 20 and 30 minutes and this would vary on the temperature outside.
Now onto the repair! I am doing this step by step of the teardown of the front end of this engine to get to my water pump. I start with the air ducting from the air filter to the throttle body. Then I drained the radiator and removing the upper radiator hoses then removing the upper half of the radiator shroud. Which is removed by 2 front bolts at the top of the radiator and four clips at the halfway point of the shroud, which can be removed by using a #2 flat tip screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver in between the clip head and the clip washer. Rotate screwdriver which will pop the head up. Which will make this easy to remove. Once that is done you have full access to the fan, serpentine belt and water pump with ease.
Once you get to the fan you may want to use a two-inch open-end wrench and the fan nut turns counter-clockwise to take it off. Now if you don’t have a two-inch wrench, a pair of channel locks work very well on this nut. You may want to use a Locking Chain Clamp. I was only able to get the fan off with this specialty tool because I tried to take it off with the belt still in place but it was a no go. But they do make a specialty tool for this but I used the tool I had and it did a much better job. And it won’t cause any damage. Now the bolts holding this pump on are 10 mm sockets and I used a 3/8 drive ratchet and you may want to remove the tensioner pulley which is also bolted to the water pump.
It will give you access to two of the bolts of the right side of the water pump. Once you have all the bolts out, be sure you have a catch pan under your vehicle to catch any extra antifreeze that may still be in this water pump and by any chance you happen to drop a bolt or gaskets. Once I got this beast off I set it off to the side, went in and cleaned up my work area on the engine and removed any grease and residual oil from the timing chain cover and the front of the engine back on so it may be clean for the new water pump. But before installing the new water pump, I replaced my a/c belt because this one is driven separately from the other accessories. I’m doing this now because it is much easier to get to this way than replacing it later. Once that is done, I can move on to the water pump install.
I put my thermostat in my housing which is made to be “dummy-proof” so there is no wrong way to put it in. Then I put on an even layer of silicone gasket maker, then I gently put on the gasket, then install the housing on my water pump. Then I install it on the pump. Then I put the bolts through the pump being sure that the bolts will hold the new gaskets in place and aligned while installing the bolts. Once all the bolts are in finger tight, you can tighten them all down in a sequence and torque them down to 30 ft.lbs.
Then you can reattach all your hoses and I like all my screws on my clamps to be pointed forward they’re much more accessible just in case you have a leak, you can get to them easier to tighten them down later. The rest of your items that go back into place is all in reverse of taking it apart. Then you fill this vehicle up with GM dex-cool coolant. The dex-cool is the only certified coolant for GM vehicles from 1999 to the present.
P.S. This truck took 3 gallons of that coolant for this job. Because he’s a BIG BOY!