I did a cooling system refresh on my 2000 E-450 with the 7.3L Powerstroke diesel today. It has about 130K miles on it now and I had the time AND the cash so I went for it. If the bus was an around town daily driver I would wait until the parts went bad before replacing them but we’re regularly far from home and way off the beaten path so any breakdown is a big problem. The new parts give us a little peace of mind too.
I replaced the radiator, upper and lower hoses, water pump assembly, fan, pulley and fan clutch. My fan had been chewed up when a belt idler pulley broke off a few years back and it’s recommended to replace the clutch with the water pump. I’m glad I replaced it all at once because we live in the rust belt and even with a hammer assist I couldn’t get the fan & clutch off the old water pump.
The water pump assembly includes the water pump itself (O-ring gasket included), a heater nipple w/ O-ring, a coolant temp sensor, a thermostat (gasket included), an upper outlet pump extension (the thermostat is the gasket) and a lower pump elbow w/ O-ring. The water pump came from International (cheaper than Ford but the same part). I got a used pulley off Ebay and the rest came from Ford.
I assembled the stat, elbows, sensor, heater nipple and pulley to the water pump on the bench. I bolted up the fan and fan clutch but didn’t attach them to the pump yet.
There are two ways to remove the water pump:
1) leave the radiator in place and separate the fan & clutch from the water pump while the pump is still attached to the engine (special tools are available from many parts stores) then remove the water pump, or 2) pull the radiator first then take out the water pump, pulley, clutch and fan as a unit. I went with #2 because my clutch nut was rusted tight and refused to unscrew.
So here’s the drill:
> Drain the coolant
. The radiator drain plug is on the bottom of the radiator on the driver’s side. It’s white plastic and can be easily broken if it’s old so be gentle. An O-ring seals the drain so no need to reef on the plug when tightening. Snug is fine.
> Remove the air filter housing
. Loosen the big radiator-hose type clamp at the back of the filter housing, undo 4 bolts and a bunch of those plastic clips on the front part of the assembly, then twist out the air temp sensor on the lower left side of the filter housing. Piece of cake.
Here’s the air filter housing
> Move the fan cowl back away from the radiator
. Two bolts hold the fan cowl to the back of the radiator at the top. Remove the bolts and lift the cowl up to unclip it from the bottom of the radiator then push the cowl back over the fan and away from the radiator. The fan won’t let you remove the radiator and cowl together.
> Separate the fan/clutch from the water pump
(if you’re not pulling the radiator). Borrow the Ford fan clutch tools from one of the big parts stores to do this. Put some cardboard between the radiator and the fan to avoid damage to the radiator core. The clutch nut is huge (1 7/8”) and my big crecent wrench wouldn’t fit. There’s a special tool set that includes the big wrench and a tool that slips over the pulley bolts to hold the water pump pulley. The fan nut is a right hand thread so “lefty loosey”.
Ford water pump tools
Ford fan clutch tools.jpg
Here’s the big fan clutch nut hidden behind the fan. The big square wrench slides over the pulley bolts and the smaller wrench goes over the clutch nut.
> Remove the radiator
(if you’re pulling the pump and fan as a unit). Disconnect three coolant hoses (upper & lower radiator hoses and a small hose going to the degas bottle) and two transmission cooler hoses at the bottom back of the radiator. Remove the two steel radiator hold down brackets at the top of the radiator and it will now lift up and out. Note that there are rubber pads on the top and bottom of the radiator. You’ll need them when reassembling. Once the radiator is out you can lift out the fan cowl.
> Remove the serpentine belt
. The belt tensioner has a square hole for a ˝” breaker bar. Insert the breaker bar and pull like hell to the passenger side to untension the belt then slide the belt off the tensioner pulley. Note how the belt routes over the pulleys for later reinstallation then remove the belt.
The tensioner with the square hole
> Remove the water pump
. Take the heater hose off the nipple on the top of the pump. Unplug the coolant temp sensor next to the nipple. The cam position sensor (CPS) pigtail support plugs into the lower left of the pump body. Just pull it free. There are nine 10mm bolts (IIRC) holding the pump to the engine. I live in the rust belt but all of my bolts were pristine. Not a speck of rust. If you didn’t remove the fan the bolts can be an adventure to get at but with a bit of contortion you can get them all. A long 12 point 10mm box end wrench came in real handy for me.
> Clean the gasket surface on the front engine cover
. The gasket is a rubber O-ring type and doesn’t leave a lot to clean up. I used a piece of crocus cloth to get a nice clean gasket surface.
The gasket surface
The back of the water pump with O-ring gasket installed (old pump)
> Install the new pump and pulley without the fan
. Make sure the new O-ring gasket is securely mounted in the gasket slot. It’s recommended to tighten the pump bolts in a cross pattern to factory specs. Torque spec is 15 ft lbs. I started from the center and worked my way out, tightening each bolt to TTE (that’s tight enough). Basically, about as tight as a 5” ratchet could get them.
> Plug the camshaft position sensor cable support into the hole at the lower left of the pump flange
. The CPS is a known weak point on this engine so now is a good time to replace it. It’s pretty cheap.
Camshaft position sensor
> Reattach the heater hose and coolant sensor connector at the top of the pump.
> Reinstall the serpentine belt
. If it’s old, now is a good time to replace it.
> If you’re installing a new lower radiator hose (which is actually three hoses cobbled together) it’s easier to snake it up to the pump and degas bottle before the radiator goes in.
> Install the fan & clutch
. Spin the fan/clutch assembly onto the water pump (right hand thread) and snug it down with the big special wrench. If you didn’t remove the radiator, slip the fan cowl over the fan and lower them both in place together. You can’t install them separately with the radiator in place.
> Slide the fan cowl over the fan
if you haven’t done it already.
> Install the radiator
. Make sure the rubber pucks are in position on the lower body mounting points and just slide the radiator pegs into them. Place the top rubber pucks over the radiator pegs and reinstall the radiator hold down brackets. Attach all three coolant hoses and the two trans cooler lines.
> Bolt up the fan cowl
. The cowl clips into the bottom of the radiator with two tabs and bolts to the top of the radiator with two bolts. The medium sized hose going from the lower radiator hose to the bottom of the degas bottle connects to the side of the fan cowl with a push-in connector like the one used on the CPS pigtail. Plug it into the hole in the side of the fan cowl.
> Bolt up the air filter assembly
. Don’t forget about the band clamp at the back and the air temp sensor on the side.
> Refill the coolant by pouring it back into the degas bottle
. Now is a good time for a coolant flush and some fresh SCA.
> Start it up and watch for leaks
. Turn on the heater to fill the heater lines. Mine filled right away and didn’t need repeated heat/cool cycles to get the air bubbles out.
> Check the trans fluid levels
if you lost much of it when pulling the trans cooler lines. I lost about a half quart doing mine.