Sunday, October 25, 2009

Water Pump Change for a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel!

Several weeks ago we began noticing small amounts of coolant on the garage floor under my wife’s truck. After looking under the hood I didn’t notice anything too obvious other than some splatter on the bottom of the upper radiator hose. Assuming the hose was the problem I replaced it. A week later we saw more fluid on the floor and on the engine.

I put the truck on the lift and with an extension mirror and flashlight I was able to make out rust and distinct wetness just under the water pump. The following picture shows what I am talking about.

Digital Camera First Import 046 This is a view of the water pump opening once the pump was removed. As you can see there is significant buildup that is indicative of a long, slow leak.

This job was not going to be easy on my knuckles, but we bought a new water pump and lower radiator hose (why not?) anyway. We also bought all new fluid figuring that since I needed to drain the coolant anyway, why not go ahead and do a complete flush.

Draining the old fluid was a breeze. You simply remove the drain plug from the radiator, let it drain completely then open the radiator cap to suck any additional fluid out of the reservoir tank.

Digital Camera First Import 026 No job would be the same without my trusted helper, Justin, there to assist!

Digital Camera First Import 027Draining the coolant really takes a long time. I guess it was about 40 minutes per drain.

Digital Camera First Import 029 Location of the radiator drain plug.

Digital Camera First Import 034 This is the lower radiator hose connection to the radiator. As you can see there are still some stains from the water pump leak on it.

Digital Camera First Import 035 I used some simple locking pliers to loosen the clamp. I know there is a real tool for this purpose but I haven’t found one yet.

Digital Camera First Import 037 The same hose as it connects to the engine. Much tighter quarters here but reachable if you remove the fender shroud first.

Digital Camera First Import 038 The new hose, along with a trolling lure that I really need to put up and a tasty beverage.

Digital Camera First Import 039 The new hose on the truck. Note that I went ahead and switched to a traditional hose clamp for the engine connection. It was just too difficult to get that spring loaded one on in such a tight space. Also note that the lower hose has a large spring inside it to keep the hose from compressing and blocking flow during WOT moments. I was sure to remove it from the old hose and insert it into this one.

Getting the water pump off wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I used a 1/2 inch ratchet to remove tension from the belt tensioner spring then pulled the belt lose. Once that was done, it was easier to access the front of the engine. I removed the belt from under the truck, but removed the water pump from above. After two bolts were removed, it took a small strike with a hammer and pry bar to pop it lose.

Digital Camera First Import 043 This is the old water pump.

Digital Camera First Import 049 And after closer inspection I believe that it was leaking through the vent on the left in the above picture. Not sure why it was doing this but it was.

Digital Camera First Import 044 Again, where the new one is to be placed on the engine.

Digital Camera First Import 048 This is the new one along with a new o-ring. I bought some rubber gasket conditioner that was excellent for helping hold the o-ring in place while attaching the pump to the engine. Speaking of which, what a total B*TCH. This, by far, was the most difficult part of the job and a big reason why I don’t have any pics of the new pump on the engine; I was just too happy to be done and didn’t even think to take a shot.

Once the new pump was on, I put the belt back into place and filled the radiator with distilled water. I then started the truck and ran it for what seemed like forever before it hit 190 degrees and the thermostat opened. After letting it run for a few more minutes to thoroughly flush the system, we shut it down and let it cool a bit before draining it again.

Digital Camera First Import 033Justin and I waited for another 40 minutes or so then filled the system up with 1 gallon of 100% antifreeze (assuming that there may still be some distilled water in the system) and 4 gallons of 50/50 solution.

Anyway, it was a fun project and I got a good feeling of accomplishment afterwards. Plus it has been 3 weeks since the new water pump change and no leaks yet!


  1. Thanks for the how two. It was very helpful. I try to do as much of the repair as i can to save money and. I enjoy working on my truck. My helper is off in the marine corps hopefully home for good in oct 2010. Thank again T Steinberg

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mr. Steinberg. I enjoy working on the truck as well; it's a great way to have fun and save money, just like you said. This past weekend I replaced some really bad axle u-joints on this very same truck so stay tuned for a post about that job coming soon! Thanks again and be sure to thank your son for me for his service to our country! I'm glad you found the blog helpful. Wayne

  3. Thanks for posting this! I completed this job on my own truck this morning and found your instructions to be very helpful to me! This is about my 4th or 5th water pump on this truck, but the 1st outside of the warranty period...hence the do-it-yourself job! I also will add that it cost me approximately $60 total (as opposed to the $750 that the dealer was billing the manufacturer each time!).

  4. Thanks for your comment. I am always pro do-it-yourself because a) it's really rewarding when you are done and you can see the fruits of your labor, and b) it's sooo much cheaper. Congratz on saving a lot of money. It's amazing what people pay for such easy work when they could do it for much less in their garage or driveway.

    Four of five water pumps is a lot of water pumps to go through when it seems pretty rare to have to replace one during the life of a vehicle. Manufacturer defects?

    As for our water pump, the truck is still running great and still no leaks yet. I'm glad you found my post helpful!


  5. I appreciate your info I for some reson cannot get the drain plug on the radiator to tighten up so I cannot fill my truck up w/ fluid
    It feels like the damn thing is stripped out or somthing When I went to back it out to drain It felt like it came loose ok but i dont know for sure Now I really do not know what Im going to do

    any thoughts>

  6. Hey there. It seems that with every project something like this pops up and tests your problem solving skills!

    I didn't have a problem with mine but I did do some searches on this and it seems that you aren't alone. There are several posts on the forums from people with similar issues.

    I would try to push on the knob VERY hard and turn clockwise to see if it catches. If you think the plastic part of the plug inside the radiator snapped you may wish to remove the plug all together (it should pull right out), fish out any pieces that are in there and order a new one from the dealer.

    You can also plug the drain permanently with some epoxy and when you need to drain your radiator again just remove the lower radiator hose. Shoot I may even start doing that just to avoid this issue in the future. Here is a link that I found. Come back and let us know how it goes!

    Good luck.


  7. wayne.. in your write up you said you used a 1/2" ratchet to loosen the tension on the belt... where exactly do i loosen the tension.. and is it a 1/2" socket? or you just used the handle of a 1/2" ratchet to loosen it?.... im lost, despite how helpful your post is.

    also, where is the thermostat? i need to change that out as well...


  8. Hey Blaine,

    Thanks for commenting! Basically if you look at the belt tensioner you'll see what looks like the ratchet side of a 1/2 inch ratchet socket. You pretty much put the ratchet or ratchet extension right into that small square hole and turn. As you torque on the ratchet the tensioner will move and release tension on the belt. No sockets are necessary - just the ratchet or 1/2 inch ratchet extension. I hope this helps!


  9. Oh and just noticed the thermostat question. This one is super simple. Basically follow the upper radiator hose from the radiator to the top of the engine - if looking at the engine from the front, it connects right up front on the left side of the valve cover. You'll see a black 90 degree elbow that is bolted to the block with 3 or 4 little bolts. Take those bolts out and remove the elbow. The thermostat is right in that hole and is super easy to remove and replace.

    A little more clarity on the belt tensioner; to locate it think of the front of the engine as a clock and you'll find it at about 8:00. It's basically shaped like infinity symbol with it being bolted to the engine on the left, and on the right you'll find the 1/2 inch ratchet insert. Put your ratchet in there and turn to the left(I think) and the belt will loosen.

  10. Did you remove the fan shroud? It's really not much room to work.


  11. Hey Steve,

    No I didn't but I did remove the bolts that hold it in so that I could move it around in there to make room for my arm/hand. When putting the new water pump on I used a long pry bar and wedged it against the front of the pump to hold it to the engine block while I threaded the bolts on. I really had to improvise because there just wasn't any way both my arms were going to fit in there.


  12. Wayne,

    Thanks for the information. I see that I have my work cut out for me. I fact, 4 hands are better than 2. I think I'll get my neighbor to help me.

  13. Great site. Wished I had a garage like yours. I changed out the coolant as req'd in the service manual, but forgot to change out the hoses..? stupid me! I ordered hoses from Geno's and noticed the lower in the truck currently has some kind of spring. Which is what i searched on the web and found your great site/blog. although my pump is currently in good health, I'm suffering an exhaust smell in the cab and there is soot from #1 exhaust port I'm assuming thats where the smell is coming from so I checked out a local diesel shop to install a BD exhaust manifold and they've quoted me 3 hours to re-re. Have you had this problem yet? Oh i too have a 2005

  14. Hey Stilltrippin,

    Thanks for the compliments! The garage is a source of joy for me and I hope it remains that way until I die happy from old age. I haven't been doing much mechanical work lately, just brewing lots of beer. But I do have a couple projects that I need to post up here and I am going to do a complete transfer case seal replacement soon which should be pretty intensive.

    I've not seen that problem on our 05 yet but it certainly sounds like the culprit. I haven't changed a manifold before but I did put in a BD Brake exhaust brake on my 01. Didn't have to remove the manifold or anything but I did have to drill it for the thermo sender. I don't think it would be too difficult to do though.

    I'm glad you found the blog helpful!!!


  15. Thanks for the help. If u take out the airbox. It gives u a lot more arm room. Also NEVER try to take the bolts off the fan it won't help. And getting the bolts back I'n takes some finess. And took longer than the whole job all I'n all this job was not bad at all
    2005 , 2500. 6" exhaust. Airaid air box. Bullydog down loader.
    Good luck. JOE , ny

  16. Thanks - that was huge help. I was thinking the pump was behind the mechanical fan. I was pulling the radiator before I came across this.

    Thanks again for going through the trouble.


  17. Glad the post was helpful. Of all the write-ups I've put on the blog, this one has received the most attention. I wonder how common a water pump failure is on a 05 Ram!?! Wayne

    1. I am getting set to replace my second at 130,000 the first under warranty at 8?,---. I spoke with the parts guy and he disclaimed part failure and pointed to idler tension being to tight. No, I didn't point out that their mechanic owes me a new pump if that is the case.

      I do have two questions, one what is the best source for parts? I'm checking out Earnhardt's and Dodge Parts Discount. I have no idea whether I'm buying rebuilt or new.

      The second ? did you have to remove the bracket to the fan shroud or alternator?

      Thanks for the info and I am just a little jealous of your shop. Congratulations on that accomplishment. Richard

    2. Hi Richard,

      I'm sorry but I just realized that I missed this comment and your questions. My bad!!!

      I typically get my parts from Napa or Advance Auto parts. They can tell you in person whether the part is new or rebuilt. I tend to not go for the cheapest part when shopping for them.

      And no I didn't remove any brackets to do the job.

      Again sorry for the delay! I feel bad about that. Thanks for the comments on my shop! If you're in the area and need to use the lift, let me know. : )


  18. Hi Wayne I posted just a moment ago and realized that I failed to complement you on one of your best "assets" Justin. I suppose that I am a tad bit older than you as I have several grandchildren right in that age bracket. Children are a wonderful purpose for life.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Awesome Awesome posting...I really appreciate it. I have a 2005 Diesel Ram....little drops are being noticed under the front end. The color of the fluid is orange/red. One thing that confused me was that the fluid did not smell like typical anti-freeze. Glad to see that this is most likely a water pump issue too. I wish I had a shop to replace it myself....but nice to go to the Meechanic to tell them specifically what to look for and what to replace. I also have a friend with a 2005 Ram with a gas engine....same issue.

    1. I'm glad the post helped out! These things are failing like crazy apparently! : )

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