Water Pump Replacement in a Chrysler 2.7L Engine

I recently helped my sister-in-law by replacing the leaking water pump in her 1998 Dodge Intrepid with the 2.7L engine. It’s a terribly designed engine in that when the water pump shaft seal goes (as they are prone to do), the leak dumps coolant into the crankcase and fouls the oil. Chrysler seams to think that a simple weep hole is sufficient to catch any leakage and dump it outside, but, I’ve read too many stories about that being inadequate. BTW — the weep hole location is on the left side of the engine block, near the front, about half way up the block. It’s easiest to locate when looking from underneath the car.

The following is not meant to be a complete step-by-step on how to do the job. I intend it to be informational with things that I learned along the way that might help others. I would not attempt this without some kind of service manual(s). I have omitted many important details that are covered in a service manual (like torque procedures). If nothing else, after reading this you should get a good sense for the amount of work involved and why a mechanic is going to charge you north of $500 in labor to do the job.

Tools that you absolutely must have that might not be in the average tool box:

  • 12 mm allen wrench
  • 3/8″ breaker bar — for cam shaft positioning. DO NOT use a socket ratchet!
  • 3-jaw puller
  • Set of Torx bits (for the coil-over-plug removal)
  • Torque wrench (duh!)

Recommend, but, I managed without them:

  • Chain style locking “pliers” to hold crankshaft pulley when removing/installing crankshaft pulley bolt.
  • Crankshaft pulley installer

Enough lead in, let’s get started with the tear down:

  1. Remove the intake Plenum — Disconnect all wires and hoses to the plenum, including the EGR tube. Disconnect the throttle cable(s). Unbolt and remove the plenum with the throttle body attached. Stuff rags into the intake ports to prevent anything from getting dropped in. Use a couple of zip ties to hold the wire bundles over the center of the engine
  2. Valve covers offRemove the valve covers — Remove the coil-over-plug assemblies. I used a sharpened putty knife to carefully slip between the head and the cover to loosen it enough to pop it free without damaging the cover gasket. The cover gaskets are rubberized and reusable if care is taken.
  3. Remove the cross-member above the radiator.
  4. Drain the cooling system and remove the upper radiator hose.
  5. Remove the fan assembly.
  6. Remove the drive belts.
  7. Remove the power steering pump — There’s no need to disconnect any hoses or drain the system. It simply has to be pulled aside. Take note that there are only 3 bolts holding the pump in place and ALL of them are accessible with a socket wrench through the holes in the pump pulley. If you are struggling to get at one of the bolts, most likely the bolt is holding only the bracket and not the pump. The farthest inside bolt has a spacer that is pressed through the bracket and against the pump. This spacer needs to be pried away from the pump in order to free the pump enough to remove it from the bracket.
  8. Now that the pump is out of the way, all the power steering pump idler bracket bolts are a cinch to get at. Remove the bracket.
  9. Remove the bolt in the crankshaft holding the main pulley in place. If you don’t have a proper tool to hold the pulley, you can manage by using the tab at the bottom of the timing chain cover as a prop for a screwdriver through the pulley spoke.Crankshaft bolt cheat
  10. Remove the crankshaft pulley using a 3-jaw puller.
  11. Remove the timing chain cover.
  12. Remove the spark plugs to ease rotating the crankshaft.
  13. Rotate the crankshaft around until “colored” links of the timing chain are oriented with the respective sprockets as shown in the photo’s below. Additionally, align the crankshaft position with the arrow on the crank case (it’s actually the oil pump housing) on the left side of the engine. I found the “dark colored” links to be very difficult to see. Also note that if the timing marks do not line up, keep spinning the engine around and eventually, they will. Or, the lazy way is to simply count that each sprocket is offset by the same number of teeth and the same direction to confirm that you’ve properly identified the alignment links.
    Right Cam Alignment
    Left Cam Chain Alignment
    Note that the crank position does not look correct in this picture — partly due to the camera angle, and partly because it really is off by a little bit…

    Crankshaft Timing Chain Alignment
  14. With everything in alignment, remove the timing chain tensioner. Take note of the extension of the timing chain tensioner before removing it. This will be useful for gauging the wear of the cam chain later.

    Cam Chain Tensioner Travel Limit
  15. Remove all the timing chain guides. Note that this requires removing the large plugs in the front of the heads using a 12mm allen key. I did not have one and my local hardware store was conveniently out of stock when I needed it, so, I made one from a long coupling nut as shown on the right. The coupling nut was 1/2″ wrench size with a little work on the grinder reduce it down to make it ~12MM. No sir, I’m not too proud to admit any of this!
  16. Remove the cam shaft sprockets. Be warned: I had a problem with the cams not staying in the exact location once freed of the chain. Use caution when removing the bolts since the cams may spring violently once the sprocket bolts are removed (ask me why I know about this)! Use a 3/8″ ‘breaker bar’ that has a non-ratchet head so you can ease the spring pressure in either direction after removing the cam sprocket bolts. Do NOT hold the cam shaft with a standard 3/8″ ratchet since it can only apply torque in one direction!
  17. Remove the cam chain enough to clear the water pump.
  18. Finally, the water pump can be removed. Once I got it free, I found that the gasket was disintegrating. The rubber material was literally crumbling into pieces upon removal. Arielle was very lucky that the gasket had not started leaking coolant into the crankcase.Old Rotten Water Pump Seal
  19. I urge you to drain the oil at this point since, undoubtedly, coolant dribbled down into the oil pan upon removing the water pump.


Take a close look at the wear on the cam chain guides. Arielle’s engine had been replaced and we don’t know how many miles it has on it. The deepest wear on the worst cam chain guide was only ~0.020″ deep. We decided not to replace the guides.

Next came the cam chain itself. The tensioner was roughly 3/4″ extended with tension on the chain. The tensioner extends ~1.5″ at the wear limit indicator, and a bit further past that as shown in the picture to the right. Since it had over half of the travel remaining, we decided to keep the old cam chain in service as well.

  1. Even after reading the procedure in the manual, one of the most confusing things to do was to “reset” the cam chain tensioner before installing it. There’s a special tool that might help you with this, but it is not really required. The trick is to release the check valve ball while compressing the tensioner so that the trapped oil can escape. I used a tiny allen wrench to apply a small amount of pressure on the ball while firmly applying compression to the tensioner body. It’s moderately tricky and you are not done until the tensioner wants to spring back on its own after being released from compression (see Updates). If it does not do this, the problem is most assuredly because it has yet to be compressed enough to fully drain the oil out.   This is confusing because once all the oil is removed, it will actually “click” into a fully compressed state and not spring back. However after applying compression again, it should then spring back into the extended position. I’d be wary of using a vise for compression due to the difficult in gauging the force applied (it can easily be done by hand). It’s also very messy and the oils squirts all over — wear eye protection!

    UPDATE: after completely draining the oil from the tensioner (as called for in the service manual I was using), I think this later caused a problem — the timing chain would lose tension at idle when the oil was up to temp. So, I likely screwed something up (also, there was a commenter below that seams to have the same problem). My theory is that releasing the tensioner after installation fills it with air, and that air gets trapped, ruining the hydraulic lock that is probably needed at lower oil pressures during idle. Commenter Dennis did the job and suggested only compressing the tensioner just enough to reinstall it, thus, leaving nearly all the oil in the tensioner. He reports this has worked great thus far. Thank you, Dennis, for reporting back on this.

    More UPDATES: Commenter Ralph describes the following details about the tensioner: Upon examining the tensioner closely I found that it has a tiny bleed hole in the piston, opposite end of where the ball valve is. THE FUNCTION OF THIS BLEED HOLE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, because if the air cannot bleed ot of the tensioner it will cause persistent chain rattle issues upon starting and at hot idle!! I tested the tesioner by putting it in a vise and very lightly tightened it. If the tensioner is OK then after a minute or so oil will start oozing lightly from the bleed hole in the piston opposite from the hole with the ball check valve.If no oil oozes out, discard the tensioner and get new one, the bleed hole is blocked. — Thank you, Ralph, for this helpful info!

  2. Install the water pump. Follow the torque procedure in the manual.
  3. Install the cam chain and cam shaft sprockets. Get the chain alignment with in a tooth or two, but, don’t sweat it just yet.
  4. Now the really fun part — aligning the cam chain to the sprockets while installing the guides. Start installing the cam chain guides one at a time. For better or worse, I started with the one on the right side of the engine (i.e. the side with the tensioner), then the two around the water pump, and finally the left side. I knew the crankshaft was very close to the correct position, so, I correctly aligned the right-side cam to the chain and found a spot that it would rest at without constantly holding the cam. After installing the guides around the water pump, it took a bit of cam positioning to get the chain aligned with the left-side cam shaft. This one did not want to stay in position on its own and I had to use the 3/8″ breaker bar (as mentioned above, do NOT use a normal 3/8″ ratchet for this!) to hold the cam in the correct position while also positioning the chain around the crank shaft sprocket and also installing the final guide on the left of the engine. It really helped to have an extra set of hands for this operation.
  5. Once the chain and sprockets are aligned, install the cam chain tensioner. Once installed, compress it with a small pry bar and it should spring out against the guide.
  6. I then took the opportunity to spin the crankshaft around by hand for several revolutions to make sure nothing clanged.
  7. Install the timing chain cover and torque appropriately.
  8. Install the crankshaft pulley. The correct way to do this is with a special tool that threads into the crankshaft and then pushes the pulley onto the shaft. I tried getting one from the local auto parts store, but, they didn’t have one with the correct threads for the crankshaft. Naturally, the bolt that holds the pulley on the crank is too short to be of any help for the task. I wound up heating the pulley in the oven to ~250 degrees and then tapped it onto the shaft using baby sledge hammer. Not exactly elegant, but I was out of options on a Sunday afternoon and had to proceed. Before you scream at me, remember that this is done in very cramped space and I could only get about a 3 inch swing of the hammer, so, there was no heavy pounding involved — even though it was a 3 lb hammer. I used a backing board against the radiator to prevent damaging it during the backward swing.
  9. The rest of the installation is the reverse of the the tear down.
  10. Don’t forget to connect the hood latch release cable when installing the radiator cross member — yeah, that was an “ohh sh!t” for me (managed to connect it in place, but, twas a pain).
  11. Also, don’t forget to refill all the fluids — engine oil (you did drain it, didn’t you!?!) and coolant.

When it’s time to start the engine the first time, be prepared for quite a racket until the oil pressure comes up — the cam chain tensioner needs to be “pumped up” with oil before it will hold the correct slack on the chain.

If you found this helpful, please leave a comment saying so. Enjoy!

228 comments to Water Pump Replacement in a Chrysler 2.7L Engine

  • Loren Artemis

    I gotta thank you, bud…. I’ve been researching the 2.7 rebuild and you answered a bunch of burning questions that had failed to find satisfaction elsewhere. Appreciate your enrichment of the ether out here!!!

  • ben

    this is very nice! i wish there was one for a 3.2L as well

  • Kevin

    Hey, thanks for the advice! I had the EXACT same thing happen to my Wife’s 2002 intrepid. Her engine wasn’t nearly as clean, however. I’ve heard horror stories about the sludge build-up in the 2.7L, but sort of brushed them aside….until I took the valve covers off! We’re now going to run Mobil 1 full syntetic w/ sludge protection and change it at 1500 miles or so for the next few oil changes. I’ll inspect the engine again and see if I can post an update as to if it got any cleaner.

  • PETE



  • Hello John!

    Could you tell me how to change termostate on 2.7L Intrepid by myself? Should I tale off air intake?

    Thank you very much!


    mechanic at nissan
    doing side work water pump on 2.7 chrysler
    did not know where timing marks were?
    you are a lifesaver and this website

  • Matt Whitehead


    I’ve got a leaking water pump seal in my 03′ 2.7 liter intrepid- mechanics want $440 labor to replace the pump- which it is probably worth it.

    However, I don’t mind a little work to save $440 so I will attempt it myself.

    I have a Haynes manual but your photos and tips made the difference in my attempting this repair on my own.

    I’ll let you know how it turned out.

    Thanks- Matt. Matt.Whitehead@GraphicPkg.com (Macon, GA.)

  • P Spencer

    Thanks for the detailed procedure! The explanation and photos are great.

    The 2.7L in my 1998 Intrepid (103,xxx miles) is probably due for a water pump replacement soon. But rather than do it now, I’m going to continue checking the weep hole, and keep checking the oil for any sign of coolant contamination.

    That’s a LOT of labor to replace a water pump. Mostly because it’s driven by the timing chain, requiring the removal of the valve covers and the timing chain cover. No wonder the dealer wants $$$ to replace it.

  • Paul Mars

    John, I haven’t done the replaceing of the water pump yet but my 1998 Intrepid just went over 100,000 miles and I justhave a bad feeling about it. So I was glad to see that you posted all the information that I would need including the correct tools. That is the biggest headache when doing a job yourself, not haven’t the correct tools. One question ccan you use a 1/2 breaker bar with a 3/8 reducing adapter instead of a 3/8 bar or will the work space be too confinding.

  • Paul –

    Yes, you have plenty of room to use a reducing adapter. If you look at the left and right cam alignment photos, you’ll see the square drive “socket” hole in the center of each shaft. In fact, you’ll likely need a small extension to reach in past the sprocket.

  • bojan


    I don’t know if you still lurk around or not, but I really need some help aligning my cams after replacing a water pump on a 2.7L, please e-mail so I can send some pics of what the problem is, thanks in advance!

  • Rick Mckenzie

    Great articale,my brother’s 01 intrepid just went,cept his has quite a gush of coolant in that area,they want a thousand plus $ to do water pump and chain,so i will be doing it for him,thing is after they told him for sure it was water pump,the 3/4 mile he drove it back home,the motor quit running,and absolutly,will not start back up,none of the electronic’s or coil’s were wet.Does this sometimes happen when the pump goes?…..anyway’s thank’s for posting all this valuble information,and great pictures,iv’e got a manuel,and plenty of tool’s.

  • Bill

    Great write up. Was trying to figure out why coolant was leaking from my friend’s Sebring and after much labor to remove alternator and ac compressor, noticed that “weep hole.” Your article did a great job of explaining what you’re up against in doing this job.

  • David

    John – thank you. I have a 2002 Sebring convt. that died on the road. Low coolant. It rested, I re-filled it. Long story short – there was coolant in the oil pan. I could drive it, but it was plain that something was very wrong. I haven’t worked on engines for 20 years. My mechanic diagnosed the car as one of the Chrysler basket cases, and quickly pronounced; “blown head gasket / cracked block”. Researching the abundance of sludge-related 2.7L engine failures led me to your article. It gave me the confidence necessary to take one last step: I decided to rip apart the engine in a last-ditch effort to confirm the loss this car was going to cost me. I also bought the Haynes manual. With both, I was able to confirm that my water pump main shaft seal was *very* shot. I may be able to resurrect this engine.

    One note: your timing chaine was *not* 6 teeth off on the left cam. All timing chain links will line up correctly if you rotate the chain another 4 (or so) full rotations!

    Again many, many thanks.


  • RE: David –

    Glad to have helped.

    Just to be clear: as written above, the chain was off by 6 teeth on *all* sprockets. I ran it around several times, and it seamed to keep coming back to the same offset each time. Perhaps it did need a few more revolutions, but, it isn’t particularly important so long as the offset is consistent all around.

  • John

    Thanks for the help. I’m in the middle of a water pump replacement, and I don’t think I would have figured out how to reset the tensioner without your experience. I’m also taking this opportunity to replace the intake valve stem seals. I replaced the exhaust stem seals quite a while ago (without removing the primary timing chain) and stopped most of the smoke and oil consumption.

  • Phil

    Very nice write-up John. Good text and photos.

    Be sure to keep this up as long as you can; there are quite a few people out there that need this info.

  • Great write up! The pictures are awsome! Cleaner than my engine. I’m in the middle of a timing chain replacement. I had a question about gaskets. I alumunum gaskets with a rubber seals built in. I was wondering if I should use RTV on this type of gasket or if I should use it without any sealer.

    Thanks in advance.


  • Graham Holmes

    John I have a question for you. It looks like you did this repair way back in 2006. How well has the engine held up for your sister-in-law… ??

    I have a 1999 interpid with 126,000 Km (78,000 Miles) The timing chain is rattling and I’m contemplating going deep into the enging to replace the chain tensioner and guides.

  • leroy.n

    sir,i would like to thank you for all the infomation on this water pump replacement process.wright to the point. thanks again ,wish you and family all the good things in life to come.sincerly,the ngiramulei’s

  • jlsoto

    great detail. a big hassle. If I had known intrepids were so hard to do it your self i would never have bought one. do you know anything about changing the TCM? I read somewhere that you have to take your new TCM to a repair shop so that they can program it for your specific car, is this true? what happens if you don’t do it?

  • RE: jlsoto — Yeah, it’s quite a hassle. I can’t say that I know anything about changing the TCM.

  • Rick

    I just had my mechanic replace the water pump. Chrylser now makes a kit which inludes the waterpump, timing chain and a tensioner arm (I think that was it). Anyway, they got everything installed, but now it wont start. They said something about grounding and teh injectors adn plugs not firing. Any ideas what to check? Tehy have been looking through wiring diagrams all day.

  • Rick

    Turns out that Chrysler makes several of these several of these kits for this engine and the parts folks sent my mechanic the wrong kit which puts everything off. Had to get the correct kit and tear it down again.

  • Kelly

    I just finished replacing the water pump in my 1999 Dodge Intrepid 2.7 .It started right up and purred like a kitten after it warm up it started making a knocking noise. Was wondering if you could help with this?

    • henrik storgaard

      did you ever find out what was wrong – I have same problem after my mechanic changes chain and tightener… Since Chrysler i a rare car in denmark there is not much help to get – except from chrysler co. but they charge 320 dollars an hour :-( – Denmark i not the cheapest country….

  • note: when you align the timing should the mark along with the one tooth on the crankshaft pulley align with the mark on the oil pan. just curious having a problem trying to get the engine to turn over….can you help me……

  • Ralph

    Wow, thanks for the awesome detail – I guess I’ll keep the 97 Intrepid 3.3 – I can do that water pump in an hour, maybe even blindfolded. Apparently the bargain 98 2.7 that only needs a water pump isn’t such a great idea!

  • Joe M

    I’m changing the water pump before I install a replacement 2.7 and Chrysler has redesigned the water pump and gasket. No more 1/4 in wide sealing gasket, it now covers the entire mounting surface. I’m using a 2005 2.7 in a 2001 Sebring Convertible. Should be done in about a week as I work on it as I have the time. I offer my email for anyone that needs some help. servic51@verizon.net

  • Kevin

    This is about the best set of instructions that i could ever use after i thought that it would be a dilemma on paying for it or doing it myself.. i think i can finish this without any regret..Thanks Dude.. you the man..

  • I think I goofed. I turn the car on and it idles at 4000 RPM. HELP PLEASE!

  • Great directions. It was a vacuum leak causing high RPM!
    Thank you very much.

    • Glad to hear it worked out and it was something simple as I had suspected! Thanks for the follow-up.

      • John Messineo

        I completed this job and now have the exact same problem as Renee did, the car is reving to 4k rpms as soon as I fire it up…running smooth but at very high idle, Renee said it was a vacuum leak?..I am wondering if you know what kind of a leak I could have caused during the job, perhaps the intake?…seems like it wouldhave to be a pretty major leak…please help

  • Walter B

    My 2.7L Sebring was a little harder. I had to replace head gaskets. Since it was all apart, I replaced timing chain and water pump but not guides or tensioner. 5000 miles later there is a clanging noise behind the timing chain cover. Used a screwdriver and my ear to verify. Clanging does get faster when I rev up the engine. I only hear it driving real slow and in park. I am going to replace the tensioner and see it that helps.

  • Scott

    I have a 2002 Dodge Stratus with a 2.7L engine. I replaced the water pump. When I went to start the car, it took a few minutes to turn over…once it did turn over it was idleing very high…as if someone was reving up the engine. I am thinking that the timing may not be right, can you give me any suggestions? Thanks.

  • Im helping a friend try and align the cams after the right one spun once he pulled the sprocket off. According to him there is no reference (keyway) to tell you which way the sprocket goes on the cam. Do you have any tips for getting the sprocket back onto the cam correctly?



  • Chris

    I am currently in the middle of desludging and replacing parts on a 2.7 Stratus ( 2004) with 85000 miles.

    I have the Alldata online service manual and the Haynes and the factory Chrysler manual and none of them are as well written and clear as yours. Thank you


    Napa makes a 5 gallon carb cleaner( $120.00, not available in CA) that will desludge a head overnight. you will have to replace valve seals. expensive but saves a ton of time scrubbing and cleans the oil passages real well. You can get the same 5 gallon can from Autozone under the Berryman Chem Dip brand for @ 50.00. I have not used that brand so not sure if it works as well as the Napa

    You have to float the cam sprockets on the end of the camshafts and turn the cams to line up the bolt holes.
    You should only have to turn one camshaft (left side facing timing chain on mine) and you should not have to turn it much. Dipping the chain in carb cleaner worked great to make the marks visible, just be sure to soak in oil before installing

    tricky sounding and I have not gotten there yet

    I highly suggest if your engine shows any heavy sludge build up to do a complete sludge removal and replace your
    tensioner, chain guides, oil pump and water pump.

    the tensioner gets plugged easily and the oil pump needs very little wear to be ineffective and produce low pressure.

    oil starvation and jumped timing chains kill these engines
    and sludge is the culprit ( usually due to coolant )

    I plan to use an adapter and small electric pump to preprime the engine with oil @ 80psi before buttoning up
    you can get the pumps on ebay for @ 30.00 under carbonator pump

  • Debbie

    Thanks for the info. So glad I am not the only one with these problems. I truly wish I had found your info. sooner. My car ran fine up until recently. When it started acting up, it went quickly. Once the mechanic started taking the engine apart he found antifreeze and water mixed with oil. Long story cut really short….He is in the process of reassembling my 2002 Chrysler Concorde. Stated that synthetic blend may have saved the engine. I really hope so as I cannot afford a new vehicle at this time. Will let you know the outcome. I will never buy another Chrysler after this fiasco.

  • Mattw

    I have to ask you a question if you don’t mind, I am working on the same style motor just different car. Dodge Stratus, 2001, 2.7 liter, dohc and am facing the same problems with the tensioner (Do you refill it with oil?)and also with the timing of the motor. The timing I do understand that you have to align all the marks with the colored links of the chain, but my hanes manual says the timing marks have to be set 90 degrees from the mating surface of the head. to me this does not make sense, I have tried everything to set the timing as they explained, but its almost like the chain is too short. If you have any time to comment back on this, that would be great. Thanks by the way, also I didn’t think anyone would be crazy enough to tear apart this poorly designed motor.

  • Mattw

    Hi again, according to the picture I see from the left bank and the right bank you have the timing marks (^)(^) straight up, is that the correct way to time it. LB RB
    the hayne manual say this is the correct way to time it.
    (\) (/) See how the timing marks would be 90 degrees with
    V the head. The V stands for the shape of the block, The \/ represent the timing marks. Again thanks for your help if you have any time thankyou.

  • Mattw

    That didn’t work out as well as I thought(as far as explaining that, hopfully this helps).\ / these marks signify the timing markes in coresponse with the the head, in the shape of a V.

  • Matt–

    I’ve put all the information I know in my posting. I think I used a Chilton’s manual and the factory service manual when I did that project. I don’t recall any mention about the marks being 90* to anything. In the photos, you can see that the marks end up being at the literal “top” of the sprockets, which is certainly NOT 90* to the mating surface of the head.

    I don’t know of any way to “refill” the tensioner, other than to apply engine oil pressure after installation.

    Hope you get it sorted out,


  • Joe

    I have an 04 Sebring convertible with 2.7L engine. It was overheating so I brought it to the shop. They changed the thermostat housing, water pump and some hoses. When I picked up the car it ran fine. After about 10 minutes on the way home the oil light went on and the engine is noisy like the oil isn’t circulating. The oil level is full! What do I do? I was gonna drain the oil and refill it with Mobil 1 to see if there might be a void somewhere that is stopping the oil flow. If that don’t work maybe check oil pressure and change oil pump. Any advice? email: effinboss@gmail.com Thanks

  • nate

    Just a helpful hint… if you have gotten the haynes manual for this or any other car, use it in your fireplace or otherwise. The Chilton book is far better.One commentor said he could not find timing marks,they are ***not*** shown at all in the haynes manual they are in the chilton. I found that the chilton book was a great deal of help when I replaced my thermostat and water pump.You can find the Chilton book at Orielly auto parts.

  • isaac

    What I’m doing is a little more intensive than replacing a water pump, i’m actually rebuilding the hole engine. But I can’t find the torque specification in any manual including Chilton. The one I desperately need is the crankshaft main bearing cap torque specification. If anyone could help me with some advice, the engine size is 2.7 dohc 24 valves.

  • sam

    i did water pump now motor only turns a little bite when i took timing chain off it did jump violently like you said could i have messed up a valve. thank you.

  • Jesse

    I just went through the whole changing the water pump on a 2.7 l 01 intrepid and when i filled the coolant up it just started leaking out the weep hole again in the same place under the thermostat housing on the left side of the block. PLEASE HELP! Haven’t started the car yet just put fluid to see if any leaks.

  • irizarry

    now when you set up your TDC on my car the line is not set to TDC if i take a rod into#1 piston is not TDC tank if i put it on TDC then it jam up what is it what I’m doing that is not right

  • irizarry

    the concorde off on timing i know the lower part did not move but line do not line up

  • irizarry

    i have the chain out and trying to line up the timeing are the two line on the over head cam need to be at 12 clock also

  • Fred Mathes

    John, your a lifesaver, been woring at it for a while taking apart and marking everything and found this site and you answered all the questions I was needing answers to. Hope it all goes back together right or my Ex will be looking for a new car.lol thnx again

  • Fred Mathes

    Hey John Haynes says 17 ft. lbs on water pump have snapped 2 bolts allready do you know what the torque specs are

  • Jesse

    Issac on the all data it says 15 ft. lbs for the main bearing caps and 20 ft. lbs for the rod bearings and then both 1/4 turn after but when I just did mine i think the extra 1/4 turn was a bit much. But then again mine is still knocking after running for like 10 minutes on idle. Does any one know how to install the thrust washers properly? For some reason its not working right!

  • Scott

    Great Info — Helped a lot Thanks! The only problem I have is 0 oil pressure at idle, I am getting 65 when cold and 35 -40 while driving but drops to 0 when idling and hot. I installed a new tensioner but didnt prime it first, seemed to pump up correctly when engine started but NO oil pressure. I removed it and reinstalled almost full of oil but it did not pump up and the chain rattled, removed it again, reset it and primed with oil, seems correct but still no oil pressure. engine has 30K miles and was full of sluge especially around tensioner. Engine runs perfect with no noises but has no oil pressure at idle when hot. Crank Journal #1 is on low side but still in spec and has some pitting. new bearings were installed and plasigaged to .0025 clearance.

  • Benoit Raby

    I want to tell you Thank You for the good pictures and the good info, that water is pretty far away to reach in that kind of engine also if it can help the crankshaft bolt threads are 14 MM X 2.00 pitch i used a long bolt with many washers to install the damper.
    Thanks again

  • Joe

    Where is weep hole? We see inside picture of pump but can’t see weep hole. We are getting water on garage floor but can,t locate weep hole under car as described. Some water in oil once and a while. Oil is red from coolant. Suspect weep hole pluged. If we can locate may be we can un plug hole. I hope we have weep hole.

    Appreciate your comments.

    • Well, I tried to direct email you, but, it bounced …

      The weep hole (on the 1998 2.7L I worked on, anyway) is on the left side of the block as viewed from the drivers seat, a few inches from the front of the block, about half way between the oil-pan gasket and the head gasket.

      It’s about 1/8″ in diameter.

      If you’re getting coolant in the oil, cleaning the weep hole isn’t going to solve the water in the oil problem. I’d stop driving the car until I could get the pump changed…

  • David

    Hi, John just recently researching the 2.7 engine. I have a 2000 chysler concorde with the 2.7 engine and it has 131,xxx miles on it. Im afraid with all these engine failure stories that my car may be ready to go. As of now it runs fine but the oil light was coming on in july due to low oil pressure during idle. A mechanic changed the oil switch and told me to put the car in nuetral and give it gas while in idle to keep the oil flow to the engine. I have been doing this for months and it is getting extremely annoying. Just wondering if you had any advice on how I can keep my car running and what oils i should use when changing? How often should i do a change? and anything else u would recommend in keeping my car maintained. Thanks you.

  • Monte

    I Just lost water pump in my 2001 intrepid 2.7l and your procedure really helped 95% done thanks oh that oil pressure problem in previous post is wear thies pumps become inefective quickly with heavy wear..good luck

  • Roger

    2002 2.7 V6 stratus.

    What a terrible design for a mechanic. The 2.7 turned sideways in a stratus is packed way to tight.
    It took me 10 hours to get to the water pump! :( Wa Wa!!!
    Anyway, the hydraulic cam chain tension-er appears to have had a metal ring on the outside that was broken. I actually found half of it under the tension-er cover. Any clue as to what this is? Can I install it without it? It looks like a ring to either stop tensioner from going to far in the hole or hold it in place???

  • Roger

    what are the torque spec’s for the pump? Haynes says 17foot Lbs.
    There are 6 small bolts & 2 large bolts.

  • Great “How To”. Getting ready to replace the pump and chains. One question though, you had the following statement: Use caution when removing the bolts since the cams may spring violently once the sprocket bolts are removed (ask me why I know about this)! Can you provide more information on this? Thanks.

  • When any valve that is partially opened, the valve springs want to rotate the cam into a position that lets the valve close. With the cam chain all lined up according to the marks, some of the valves are opened, and thus, the tension in the cam chain is holding torque on the cam. Removing the sprocket releases that torque, and if you don’t take precautions, it rotates freely into some neutral position and it does so with some force.

    The better way to release the tension is to hold the cam shaft using a 3/8″ square drive on end of the cam shaft. However, it’s difficult to tell which direction the cam is going to spring. Thus, you need to use a solid breaker bar instead of a normal ratchet so you can hold the cam solidly and prevent it from rotating in either direction while remove the bolts. Then it’s a simple matter of gently allowing the cam to rotate into a neutral position by releasing the pressure with the breaker bar. This has the added advantage of letting you know *which* direction the cam has rotated away from the “lined up” position, eliminating guess work during reassembly time.

  • Luis Amoa

    Hi John that was great DIY for the water pump. I’m in the middle of it right now. I found the colored marks on the chain but nothing lines up like what it says it would in the book. I have NOT removed the chain yet as i trying to figure the marks are in the right place. Timing chain replacement has never been done to it so its factory settings. Also my 2.7 V6 is positioned different than yours. I have a head in front and at the firewall. So i placed a screwdriver in the cylinder #1 and i see it come up and down but how can i tell if anything is lined up if none of the marks are lining up. Any chance of getting a help # 847-977-4124 ( Luis)

    help would be great appreciated. :-)

  • patrick

    hey man great diy…. i need some help though… i just got done replacing the water pump and before i started it up i was filling it with antifreeze and it started pouring out of the weep hole again can you tell me whats going on????

  • timothy

    i an wondering same as patricks comment above (” hey man great diy…. i need some help though… i just got done replacing the water pump and before i started it up i was filling it with antifreeze and it started pouring out of the weep hole again can you tell me whats going on???”) the reason i am wondering is because the new water pump came with a gasket that covers the entire housing and the old gasket actually goes in a groove and seals off the small passage that leads to the weep hole but the new seal does not seal off the small passage goin to the weep hole so im just wondering if this newly desined gasket is going to cause the fluid to leak from weep hole? Which sounds like the problem PARTICK is having wanting to know before i use the newly designed gasket and have the same problem that PATRICK is having does anyone know ?

  • timothy

    it was perfect help no cut up knuckles,cut fingers, and most of all my wife thinks i am an expert now. She picked the wrong car. Oh it so pretty. Damm Or farm mule does better milage and less to maintane. I will not sell this car to nobody. It will be a sin. No body deserve such hardship. Thank y0u again.

  • Luis Amoa

    Hi this reply is for whomever tried contacting me. The voice message was choppy and i barely heard anything clearly. Anyway, i bought a new pump from Napa. They sell both a remanufactured unit with a fibre gasket and the other is brand new and comes with a metal and rubber fused together. Get the metal with rubber. I had no leaks from the weep hole and my car now blows heat inside like crazy. So it went real good. As for the water coming out the weep hole as your adding coolant, my best guess is that its not sealing right, either due to a failed gasket or improper torque. It should be 17ft lbs by the book.

    ****Oh yeah very important, make sure your timing marks are dead on because these cars have a crank sensor too, so if is off it will not start.

  • david V

    Hi John, Appreciate your site alot! I got a 02 chrysler intrepid, just changed the water pump. I get slack(chain) on the passenger side sprocket to water pump off and on as I rotate engine with tensioner intalled.The timing marks are all lined up. what am I missing here? Baffled in canada and havin a beer. thanks. & merry xmass

  • D Eutsey

    I am having the same problem as Patrick. I replaced the Water Pump and without the engine running I put antifreeze into the overflow tank. The antifreeze runs right out the weephole. I bought a new pump and it came with the gasket that has the metal with the rubber fused to it. The old gasket was not like this. I am wondering if the gasket is causing the problem. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • I emailed the following to Patrick, and since this has come up more than once, I’ll just state for the record that I don’t know a definitive reason why this is happening. I can speculate, but nothing “pleasant” or trivial comes to mind:

    1) compromised seal (or missing seal). Perhaps some seals require additional sealant to be effective. IIRC, I used some when I did this job. Compromised seal could also be caused by incorrectly tightened water pump bolts
    2) faulty water pump shaft seal
    3) bigger problem, like a cracked block or something really serious…

    And of course, it’s worth triple checking to be 100% certain it’s the weep hole and not something leaking above the weep hole. Any loose hose or some other issue around the manifold could be the source of the leak. I’d give a serious look’n around the outside components before going back into the water pump.

  • D Eutsey

    Hello John,
    Thanks for the quick response. I figured something out last night that I think might have fixed my problem. The gasket that I got with the new water pump was a rubber gasket fused with the metal plate. The gasket that came off the car was just a rubber gasket. The engine in the car is not the one original one. I took both gaskets to the auto parts store and had them search different years to see if they may have different styles of gaskets. They dont. The guy told me to look closely at the block. He thought that maybe the rubber gasket seperated from the metal plate. He was right the metal plate was stuck to the block and it was hard to even see that it was not part of the motor. In reality I had 2 metal plates and one rubber gasket on the water pump. I have not tried to put antifreeze in it yet but I am thinking that the two gaskets is probably the reason that it was leaking out the weephole. I am not sure if this might be Patricks problem but it may be something for him to look at.
    Thanks again,
    D Eutsey

  • Just had the water pump replaced. Within a day, oil pressure problem and the engine locked up! What could have caused this? Thanks.

  • Frank H.

    John we just changed the water pump on a friends Dodge Stratus 2.7 liter. It’s a 2004 with 100k+ miles the inside was fairly clean ,no sluge every thing came apart and reassembled just as your instructions. We started the engine and now we have a lot of noise and little or no oil pressure at idle. We changed the timing chain guides and we did not have to compress the tensioner very much. The engine ran very good before with on indication of oil pressure problems. Can you shed some light on our problem?

  • @Frank H. — Seams like a fair number of us have had possibly similar problems after doing this. As I mentioned in the write-up, the timing chain rattled at idle after I did the job when the engine warmed up. I never put an oil pressure gauge on it to see if the oil pressure low, but, that’s a distinct possibility. Another commented had the same problem you are having.

    Since the tensioner is part of the the pressurized oil galley system, any problem with a compromised seal would be dumping pressurized oil. Other than the tensioner, I can’t think of anything else that could be to blame.

    I wish I knew what we did wrong.

  • david v

    Hey, Changed the water pump, reset the cam sprockets & timing chain with guides. Car runs Great!

  • Terry S

    We replaced the water pump on a 2004 Chrysler Sebring 2.7L, engine started properly,no noise until
    it reached operating temperature, now has a rattle noise from tensioner/chain area

  • david v

    Its either the tensioner was not reset properly, after reseting the tensioner slightly poke the bearing at the back of it. It will give a slight spurt of oil. Another possibility are the galley way where the oil runs down to fill the tensioner may be plugged. You might have to clean away any sludge present.Also the last sprocket cam to be installed is on the drivers side. With the tensioner extended completely.

  • San Pham

    I changed my water pump,oil pump, all timing chains, I’m now stump as why the crank shaft marking to the oil pump marking don’t set my #1 piston at TDC as the Hayne book indicate ( piston has already traveling down ) cam gears also have 2 markings ( arrow and dot ). which one do I use to time the engine? greatly appreciate your reply.

  • San Pham

    I forgot to mention it was a 2002 chrysler sebring. thanks

  • rognelson777

    Tensioner info. My chrysler mechanic and I just installed water pump. He recommended changing tensioner, only cost $50.00 Also he noted that after you install a new tensioner, you have to smack it with a hammer. sorry did not get any pictures, but he said this is a common problem at dealer. tensioner not right can bend valves because chain slips.

  • rognelson777

    Also, loved the article, it kept me from starting the engine even to move car, Amazing part of our car, no signs of leakage in driveway day it exploded. only 10 miles incompletely let go.

  • david v

    I pushed down with a pry bar on my tensioner.You have to make sure the tensioner is fully extended and then install the drivers side cam sprocket assembly

  • Josh Baranowski

    Can this be done with removeing the timing chain? 2000 2.7 water pump

  • Edi

    Just wanted to ask if the water pump problem happens to all 2.7 engine. Shouldn’t Chrysler have installed a better pump in the later year models? I drive a 2005 sebring which is now at 65K miles. I’m thinking of getting rid of the car before it dies on me because the cost of the repair at a dealer would probably be half the value of the car. It just isn’t worth the trouble. Thanks for any info.

  • Jeff

    I’m doing a head gasket on a 05 sebring 2.7l
    To anyone one else brave enoungh to do it on this engine.
    My plugs needed a 10 mm allen wrench not a 12.

    John do you if it would be easier to buy a new cam chain tensioner(does it come rest?)

  • @Jeff: Good info that they changed the plugs in later years, thanks! I *did* purchase a new tensioner, and I still had problems. It’s been a few years now, but, I recall it was not “reset” out of the box.

  • Tom

    I’m in the process of changing the water pump in a 2001 Sebring 2.7 DOHC and have the following questions and observations.

    1. The engineers who designed this wonderful piece of frustration should be made to pay penance by having to change the water pump 100 times.

    2. I have worked on and built cars for over 40 years and have never come across anything this badly designed for maintenance.

    3. If I actually finish the work without having a stroke from pure frustration and anger and I ever need to work on this engine again, I will yank it out of the car first.

    I have a few other comments but since this is a family show, I will refrain. Now for a question. This var has less than 70k miles and the amount of sludge and hardened grease everywhere is immense. The oil has been changed every 3 to 4k miles. Why would it be so severely sludged up?


  • Joe Walker

    I need to know rod bolt and head bolt torq specs on the 2.7

  • Tom

    Someone help me out with a reality check please. Working on a 2001 Sebring 2.7. Changed the waterpump and installed a new primary timing chain, new guides and a new tensioner. All timing marks lined up and all bolts tightened. Before replacing the timing cover I wanted to make sure that all turned fine and turned the engine over several times using the crankshaft damper bolt. No interference anywhere, but the chain timing marks no longer line up no matter how many times I turn the crank. All timing marks are out by exactly 3 links.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thank you

  • Jeff

    I had to wait for the heads to be checked, so while I was waiting i order the special tool(about $36.00)By the problems john said he had i thought i should just buy one and give that a shot. Plan on putting it back together this weekend will let you know if I have any problems.

  • bob

    worst piece of junk i have ever worked on. Haynes says purge the chain tensioner. However Cloyes states it must be primed prior to installation. Anyone out there got any ideas how to prime it and keep it reset at the same time?????? What a joke

  • Jeff

    I broke a bolt on the cover for the tensioner. now i might have to pull the head again to get it out.
    @ Bob I would love to hear what you find out about priming that thing. I followed the Haynes book and reset it put it in and released the tension everything looks find and the chain is tight but I know it sucked air and not oil. Went back to torque evrything and thats when the bolt broke.

  • James

    I’ve got a 98 chrysler intrepid at which i am attempting to get at the water pump. i just got one question: which way do you rotate the engine to allign the timing chain?

  • Dave Van Horn

    I just finished installing a new water pump in my 2001 Sebring convertible with a 2.7 l. v6. Although I have been a shade tree mechanic for 30 years, I never could have installed the pump properly without the benefit of a factory service manual. After reading the comments at this site, I can tell that the aftermarket books don’t cut it.

    The 2.7 is a marvelously efficient little motor with many performance features. However, it suffers from the problem that when the water pump or water pump gasket leaks (it was the gasket in my case), the coolant runs down the front of the block into the crankcase. In some cases, this causes sludge to develop in the oil pan which, if left unattended, will eventually block the oil passages causing the engine to seize up. In other cases, such as mine, the coolant simply builds up in the pan but does not turn to sludge. Although I cannot be certain, I believe that the difference depends upon whether coolant containing ethylene glycol has been used in the system. My car has always had DexCool in the system–never coolant containing glycol–and I suspect that is why sludge never built up.

    About the timing chain: The timing chain must be set in precisely the configuration you describe. If you rotate the engine manually after properly installing the chain, you will have to rotate it at least six or seven time (I didn’t count ‘em) before it returns to that configuration. That is why the chain appeared to be off a few teeth. Believe me, if the chain was off as many as three links, the motor would not run smoothly.

    About the timing chain tensioner: The factory manual calls for use of a special tool to reset the tensioner after purging it. This tool comprises a little cup that you press the tensioner cylinder into. The cup will only allow the tensioner to compress a given distance. If the cyliner is compressed only partially, it will not extend when installed in the head. Thus, the distance it is compressed is critical to successful installation.

    I didn’t have a little cup and I installed the tensioner after compressing it an arbitrary amount. I could not get the tensioner to extend no matter how hard I bumped the tensioner shoe. So I took it out and re-examined the situation by bench testing. I found that the tensioner clicks or “rachets” as it is being compressed. It must be compressed to the very last click in order to extend when bumped. Any click short of the last click and it will not extend. I made a little cardboard guage (which served the same purpose as the factory cup tool) to locate the last click.

    A couple of other comments: I bought my car with 65,000 on it. The water pump gasket failed completely at 127,000. However, during the entire intervening period, the car used a small amount of coolant and, being unaware of the design problem, I could never figure out where the coolant was going. After disassembly, I discovered that the rubber seal had separated from the metal gasket, probably when the gasket was installed at the factory. How was I to know that my new gasket would not be similarly damaged when I installed it? So I bought a new tube of blue RTV, cut the end of the application cone for a very thin bead (maybe 1/16″ or slightly more), and applied it to both sides of the gasket just outside of the rubber seal. So far, this seems to have worked well.

    Most of the electrical connection plugs have little red tabs that lock triggers that fasten the connector. Slide these back about 1/4″. You don’t have to remove them completely the way I started out doing.

    Of all of the mechanical jobs I have ever attempted, and I have attempted many over the years, this was the most difficult and frustrating. However, I learned many little tricks about working in tight spots along the way and, If I did it again, things would go much faster and smoother. You can do it you are patient and have proper instruction. If you can’t afford a factory manual, buy a subscription on the net to Alldata instead of purchasing an aftermarket manual.

  • john greco


    thanks for your instructions, i cheated on the chain tentioner, on the outside of the head, there is an oblong plate i lossened the bolts enough to let me install the chain guides and then retightened the bolts. what did you use to flush the remaining antifreeze from the crankcase ? i plan on adding engine flush and running for 100 miles then change oil. any thoughts ?


  • e bodkin

    son’s 2002 dodge stratus, 2.7 l water pump replacement. i removed the timing chain very carefully making sure where all marks were and no movement. when i tried to reinstall the chain i could not get marks to line up properly. took a full day and finally figured out that the overhead cams must have moved to the rest position. lined the crank chain mark up and used a ratchet to line up marks on overhead gears. took a while but was able to reinstall chain properly. chain tensioner, i compressed to last ratchet squirt oil in it before installing and reset after in place. engine made a lot of noise when i cranked it. took test drive, noise quieted down after getting it up to speed 50 mph after about 10 min. now i am about to replace a water pump on a 99 neon 2.0. any comments?

  • I’ve been losing coolant very slowly over since I bought my car, more recently it has become more pronounced. I took it to the garage I usually go to and they said the water pump was the issue and gave me a $925 estimate. I can’t afford to pay them that much money, but it’s obviously an urgent repair. I have a Haynes manual and have been searching for whatever information I can find before I tackle the project myself, and this post was exactly what I needed. You’ve done a great job of highlighting the problems areas (the color photos are the biggest help from the Haynes manual) and I’m getting ready to start work next weekend with the help of a few friends.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to post this up.

  • Tried tightening the bolts per the Haynes manual (17 ft lbs)… stretched every bolt. According to Alldata, the torque spec is 105 in lbs (8.75 ft lbs)… that’s a pretty big difference.

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