A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, April 17, 2006

Learning Something New

One of my jobs over the Easter weekend was to change out the waterpump on my Jeep Grand Cherokee. It had been changed out once before with a high volume unit to enhance cooling. I am not sure how many miles ago that was, likely 30 thousand or so. The high volume unit wore it's bearings out and began to rattle, making my Jeep sound like it had a diesel engine. I drove it that way for several weeks until I could take it no more. I entered a NAPA and bought a water pump with a lifetime guarantee and tossed it onto the passenger side floorboard.

On Friday morning I began the installation. I refused to remove the radiator and it's shroud to gain extra clearance. I had to jam my arms between the sundry engine assemblies and that damned shroud for the better part of an hour and a half to work. The way Chrysler built the thing, the shroud could not be removed by itself. What a bunch of idiots! I almost resorted to getting a sawsall and making a minor modification. My daughter was assisting me, so I had to keep the cussing child friendly.

When I at last had the pump installed with #2B sealant and a paper gasket, I refilled the radiator, installed the serpentine belt, and then I learned something. The XJ Grande has a spring loaded belt tensioner. I was raised and learned on the old V-belts with a slide bar and lock bolt to hold tension. This spring loaded contraption was kind of neat, assuming one had an appropriate tool to move it to get the belt on.

I've been testing my work over the weekend, and the XJ goes back to work this morning.



Blogger Paul Simer said...

Yep. When I replaced the idler wheel and belt on our 97 Sable, I found out about the new-fangled springy thingy. "Oh, cool!" I thought, until I realized that I didn't have a wrench long enough to turn the thing.

(Hint: Don't try it with a 6" socket wrench...Without bandages.)

9:59 AM  
Blogger Dr. StrangeGun said...

I used to have an '84 Thunderbird. Right about the 130K mark it started eating water pumps, even the good ones, at a rate of one every 5K or so. (thankfully even the good ones were $25 and a gallon of antifreeze with a 20 minute change). It ate fan clutches at an alarming rate as well, even before that.

About the fifth one in I finally stood back a bit and thought to treat the problem rather than the symptom. I sat my fan on a lawnmower blade balancer and was surprised to find it extremely out of balance and somewhat bent.

$90 and an afternoon later and I had a thermostatically controlled electric fan, better mileage, more horses and a smoother engine to boot. Finally retired the old beast at 192K miles :)

PS blogger's cramming so many letters into the verification slot that it's almost illegible now... axfbdwhs

11:11 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

You can easily release tension in these spring loaded tensioners by inserting a socket wrench into the square hole on the outside of it. This provides enough leverage to turn it by hand while working the belt off the pullies.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

In my experience, a breaker bar works best. If you must use a ratchet, use a piece of pipe as a cheater bar for safety's sake.

7:20 PM  

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