How to Install a Water Pump on a 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier

The water pump on the 1988 Chevy is not difficult to replace. The procedure is basically the same for all models, though there may be some minor differences. It is important that you install the new water pump as soon as you know there is a problem, since repeated overheating of your Chevy can create greater damage that's even more expensive to repair. The project can be taken care of in your driveway, so there is no need to take the car to a repair garage to have it done.

Tools Used: Drain pan, Wrench set, Socket set, Screwdriver, Scraper

Install a Water Pump

Make sure the Chevy engine is cool before you begin the project. The engine may appear to be cool on the outside but internal temperatures may still be high. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Open the valve on the bottom of the radiator and drain the engine coolant into the drain pan.

Release the tension on the serpentine belt by loosening the idler pulley with a wrench. Note the proper routing of the belt in case the diagram is missing from the engine compartment. Pull the belt from the engine. Unplug the wiring harness from the alternator. Disconnect the main electrical lead by removing the nut with a wrench.

Remove the alternator and bracket by loosening the bolts with a socket and ratchet. Pull the alternator away from the engine. Remove the bolts from the water pump pulley using a wrench. Take the pulley off the water pump. Remove the mounting bolts from the water pump with a socket and ratchet. Pull the pump away from the engine block.

Clean any remaining gasket material from the engine block using the scraper. Place a new gasket and the new water pump on the engine block. Tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Install the water pump pulley and tighten the bolts with a wrench. Install the alternator and bracket and tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet.

Connect the main electrical wire to the alternator and tighten the nut with a wrench. Plug in the voltage regulator harness. Put the serpentine belt on the engine and properly route it according to the way you took it off. Place tension on the belt by tightening the idler pulley with a wrench.

Connect the negative battery cable and tighten the terminal nut with a wrench. Refill the radiator and reservoir with engine coolant. Start the Chevy and check the engine for leaks.

Tips & Warnings

Antifreeze has properties that cats and dogs find to be sweet and they will drink it. If they consume sufficient quantities, it can be fatal. Keep the drain pan out of reach of your pets.

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