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Discussion Starter #1
So I replaced my water pump a while back, and I noticed today that one of my fan bolts has backed itself out a little bit. This strikes me as being pretty dangerous. IIRC, the fan bolts slide through the fan, through the spacer, through the pulley, and then thread through the pater pump. It seems to me that there should be a nut or something on the back side to hold it all together. Maybe there is and I just don't remember putting them on? Maybe there are supposed to be nuts, but they weren't there when I acquired the car? If there are not supposed to be nuts back there, what keeps the bolts from backing themselves out?

So that's my first question. My second question is what is the trick for removing the fan (bolts) w/o removing the radiator? I've got no more than one inch clearance between the fan and the rad, which obviously means I can't back the bolts all the way out. So either my bolts are too long, or there's a trick I don't know.

Thanks!
 

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I wouldn't doubt that you stripped the hreads on the water pump when you replaced it, happens a lot. They do not have nuts on the back of the bolts, they thread into the water pump.

#2, can't be done, the radiator has to come out to get the bolts all the way out. You can loosen all the bolts and then pop the spacer loose and remove the whole thing. Put a piece of plywood in front of the radiator to avoid damaging it.
 

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The bolts screw into the pump, no nuts. Put a piece of poster board or cardboard in front of the radiator to keep from bending the fins or shredding your hands.
Use a ratcheting wrench to loosen the bolts and you might be able to pop off the fan and spacer.

I use a drop of med Loctite on the fan bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
fast68back said:
I wouldn't doubt that you stripped the hreads on the water pump when you replaced it, happens a lot. They do not have nuts on the back of the bolts, they thread into the water pump.
You mean stripped the bolts, or stripped the threads on the pump? The latter would mean I need to replace the pump (again), no??
 

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The threads on the pump wold have stripped before the bolt. Its possible it just came loose, but my guess would be stripped. Whne you tighten it down you'll know. You could try loctite, but like was mentioned, you would need to loosen all the bolts to get the loctite on the threads. Thing is, with the radiator in, its next to impossible to get a torque wrench in there, so odds are you could strip another one. Just dont muscle $&%* the wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So if the pump is stripped, replacing the pump is pretty much my only recourse, correct?
 

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You could try and helicoil it (do a google search), or (shadetree mechanic), you could use the loctite and tighten the bolt until right before its stripped. The bolt can not come all the way out and go through the fan, but it could however screw up your radiator pretty bad...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: I was able to get the fan & spacer out w/o removing the rad. I had to loosen all 4 bolts and then take it all away at once. It appears one of the holes in the pump is stripped. :mad:

So for the time being...how ridiculously unsafe is running with 3 fan bolts?
 

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The 4 bolts that attach the fan blade assembly to the spacer mount to a flange that is pressed onto the water pump shaft. This flange assembly has 4 threaded openings spaced evenly around the flange.
Go to this link to see a picture of the pump.

http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductDetail.aspx?MfrCode=AIN&MfrPartNumber=WP352&PartType=54&PTSet=A

The backside of this flange is not accessible once everything is assembled. The pump pulley is dished and completely hides the flange. To attach a nut on the flange you would need to weld it into place. If you do that you need to attach the same size nut exactly 180 degrees opposite to maintain balance in the assembly. Imbalance in the flange, pulley, fan blade assembly will over a period of time destroy the water pump bearing. I know this from personal experience. Running without one bolt will cause a slight imbalance and possibility of the fan assemby working loose and really causing destruction.

Your options are to replace this flange. You will have to find one that has proper threads and use a puller to remove damaged one and a press to install new flange. Or you can just replace the pump.
 

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hbar said:
Update: I was able to get the fan & spacer out w/o removing the rad. I had to loosen all 4 bolts and then take it all away at once. It appears one of the holes in the pump is stripped. :mad:

So for the time being...how ridiculously unsafe is running with 3 fan bolts?
Been there, done that, not dangerous at all. Run only two if you're worried about balance. I don't get the impression you're revving the motor very high, so it will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hemikiller said:
Been there, done that, not dangerous at all. Run only two if you're worried about balance. I don't get the impression you're revving the motor very high, so it will be fine.
Your impression is correct. I only drive it "around town," occaisonally getting up to 80ish on a few deserted back streets. I figure I'll replace the pump (again) eventually, but I just got it all put back together, so I'm not eager to pull it all apart again. I guess I'll just have to keep a close eye on things until then.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I know you were all on pins and needles...

I was able to get the fan out w/o removing the radiator by carefully and tediously loosening all the bolts, and then sliding the whole structure back from the pulley, up and out of the engine compartment. Victory, the first.

I got some new grade 8 bolts from the hardware store (I always read about you guys going to the hardware store, which in my head means Home Depot, but now I realize that I hadn't been in an actual hardware store in years. That place had everything!!) and ran them in and out to either confirm or deny once and for all that one of the holes was cross-threaded. It took a little bit of effort, but after a short time I was able to run the bolts in and out smoothly and evenly. So it would appear that I did not strip one of my holes. Victory the second!

Putting the fan back on was a challenge like no other. I put some loc-tite on the threads and somehow managed to get one of the bolts started by hand. It took the better part of an hour, but I got all the bolts tightened. Victory the third!


How tight is the question, though. I put a socket on them and got them snug, but I really tried to not over tighten them. I guess I'm relying on that loc-tite hold things in place. I started it up, and let it run for a while....no evidence of the bolts backing themselves out. I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on those buggers.
 
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