Wondering if it's time to change your VW water pump? It is important to follow the vehicle manufacturer's water pump replacement schedule. As a general rule, timing belt and VW water pump replacement should be done every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. A VW water pump provides reliable service and is typically a maintenance free part within it's suggested life span. Since the water pump is a key component of the cooling system, changing it at the specified service interval is very important. Replacing the VW water pump during a timing belt change is recommended. Remember that the timing belt and water pump work closely together (timing belt runs the water pump) and have a similar life cycle. VW water pump failure symptoms are often seen around timing belt replacement intervals. This is why Blauparts only sells the water pump in a complete VW timing belt kit.
The older a vehicle gets (i.e. over 100,000 miles), regular inspection of the VW cooling system becomes a more essential part of preventative maintenance. Checking the radiator, expansion tank, hoses and connections is often associated with high mileage engines.
This is a basic overview of how to replace a VW water pump and timing belt. The location of the water pump on most engines is directly behind the timing belt on the front side of the engine. VW inline mounted engines have to be put into the service position first. When the front bumper is removed, special tools are used to support the radiator valance, enabling the valance to slide out about 6-8 inches. The whole front of the engine is then accessible for repair. For transverse mounted VW engines, the front of the engine is accessed through the passenger side wheel well and over the fender.
Remove all serpentine belt(s) and accessory belt components. Remove all timing belt covers. Set engine timing. Utilizing special factory tools that lock the crankshaft and camshaft in place is a crucial part of the replacement process. When this is complete, all the timing belt components, water pump, and thermostat can be replaced. Replace the timing belt, tensioners, idlers, tensioner damper, as well as any seals showing signs of leakage. All of the timing belt components including the water pump have a similar service life of 60-90k and should be replaced at the same time.
The typical VW timing belt replacement service takes between 6-10 hours of labor, dependent on vehicle engine and condition. The VW water pump replacement cost will depend on each repair shop's hourly labor rate. When replacing a VW water pump or timing belt, always refer to and follow the factory Robert Bentley manual. Blauparts recommends having an 'Audi VW Factory Trained ASE Certified Technician' install your parts.
Installation Note: During VW water pump and thermostat replacement, the coolant system needs to be thoroughly flushed (no short cuts). Thoroughly flushing the coolant involves flushing the engine block, radiator, and heater core. See the 'How to prevent your water pump from premature failure and leaking' page and Blauparts VW water pump replacement 'Service Bulletin' for details.
Please see the 'How to prevent your water pump from premature failure and leaking' page for some important DOs and DONTs of VW water pump replacement.