Preventative repair - 2009 Ford Flex water pump

Joined
Oct 17, 2014
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2,186
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SW Ontario Canada
Back in May I did the waterpump on the 2009 Flex, this was a preventative maintenance project, the internet being full of sad stories about failure of the Ford 3.5L V6 water pump, so I decided to tackle the job when the time suited me, versus how Mr. Murphy schedules this type of work. The Flex had 206,600km when I started the process, no real evidence of any coolant loss, and oil remained clear - no milkshake colour tinges. The car has seen a good routine of maintenance, the Ford Plan covered the routine stuff for the first 5 years, and I've done the work since the Plan expired at 100,000km. I change the oil and filter at 6 month intervals which is usually 8k - 10k kilometres. I've used PP 5W20 and Motorcraft FL500S filters. I purchased most of the Motorcraft parts from Village Ford in Michigan and had them shipped to my SIL in Florida, same for the special tools needed for this work (cam locks, harmonic balancer puller, etc.) Rock Auto supplied valve cover gaskets, 2 drive belts. Parts and tools cost me about $900 CAD. A nice driving trip in April in my 2013 Maxima to Key West allowed me to stop off at SIL and get all my goodies :o) The photos: Valve cover beauty shot: [Linked Image]20190717_141952_resized (2) by Ken McCandless, on Flickr Old timing guides, showing virtually no wear, but put in new ones anyways.. [Linked Image]20190609_131636_resized by Ken McCandless, on Flickr Deep inside the engine lies the ticking bomb? well this is a shot of the new pump secured for the next 10 years or so.. [Linked Image]20190605_163845_resized by Ken McCandless, on Flickr Additional work included: - new Motorcraft thermostat & gasket - new Ford Specialty Green Coolant mixed with distilled water. - Pennzoil Plat 5W20 and FL500 filter - flushed the power steering fluid. - new power steering stretch belt - Continental - new serpentine belt - Continental. The work took me an honest 29 hours to complete, I could shave 10 hours off if I had to do this again, but the space between the frame and engine is tight and cleaning and repeated practice for the installation of the big front cover added significantly to the time required. If I had removed the A/C hose on the passenger side of engine bay, I would have saved 5 hours, but then have spent more to restore functional system. I paid for a subscription to AllData - I think this was money well spent. The car now has 209,000km, with no leaks to report. The timing cover was a major pita to install with the special TA 357 sealant, the stuff skins over pretty fast and with the tight access I made some neighbours aware of my alternative vocabulary tongue2 Sad fact: the old water pump has virtually no play in bearing, it might have lasted another 5 years? duh Added bonus: trick for installing the stretch belt: fasten the stretch belt to the small pulley with zip ties, cut a piece of 3M scotch brite green pad to fit a strip into the crank pulley at 12 o'clock, and wedge it while turning the crank clockwise. The extra friction of the Scotchbrite prevents the belt from slipping as you turn the crank clockwise. Spin the crank until the Scotchbrite is released and say "well that was easy!" cut off the zip ties from small pulley and sit back and thank me?
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
7,293
Talk about a design nightmare. The engineers had to have been drinking when they decided where to place that water pump.
 
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Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
17,106
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
I think it was more of a "we want this engine in this bay so make it happen" kind of thing. At least on the previous Duratec V6 engines where the pump was driven by a belt off the back of one of the cams, you could replace it without much fuss. Also the same 3.5 and 3.7 in the trucks is driven my a belt as are the 2.7EB engines no matter if they are mounted transverse or proper.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
37,143
Location
NY
Wow! As the saying went years ago, Ford has a better idea. Not in the case of this water pump though. FTR the engine internals look great!
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
17,106
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted by zzyzzx
Ford uses a stretch belt?
Yup, my Mustang has one for the AC but I have the kit to delete it. There is a bolt hole on the timing cover for the tensionor used on F-150s.
 
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Feb 6, 2014
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Canada
Good work OP! That job was the main reason I avoided going with a used Taurus. Despite the time and aggravation, at least you know you never have to worry about it again during your ownership! smile
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
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5,997
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted by bdcardinal
Originally Posted by zzyzzx
Ford uses a stretch belt?
Yup, my Mustang has one for the AC but I have the kit to delete it. There is a bolt hole on the timing cover for the tensionor used on F-150s.
What is the purpose of adding a tensioner? I actually remove them on all the truck LS based engines anymore and replace with a stretch belt. To me at least, it saves the customer money not replacing tensioner and I don't have worry about the wussy, low quality tensioner bearing fragging.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
17,106
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Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted by The_Eric
Originally Posted by bdcardinal
Originally Posted by zzyzzx
Ford uses a stretch belt?
Yup, my Mustang has one for the AC but I have the kit to delete it. There is a bolt hole on the timing cover for the tensionor used on F-150s.
What is the purpose of adding a tensioner? I actually remove them on all the truck LS based engines anymore and replace with a stretch belt. To me at least, it saves the customer money not replacing tensioner and I don't have worry about the wussy, low quality tensioner bearing fragging.
The stretch belts on the Coyote engines have been theorized to be the cause of some low end noise by pulling too much on the crank pulley and therefore causing some accelerated wear on the main bearings.
 
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
7,234
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Originally Posted by The_Eric
Originally Posted by bdcardinal
Originally Posted by zzyzzx
Ford uses a stretch belt?
Yup, my Mustang has one for the AC but I have the kit to delete it. There is a bolt hole on the timing cover for the tensionor used on F-150s.
What is the purpose of adding a tensioner? I actually remove them on all the truck LS based engines anymore and replace with a stretch belt. To me at least, it saves the customer money not replacing tensioner and I don't have worry about the wussy, low quality tensioner bearing fragging.
I think a one time use belt is extremely wasteful.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Messages
2,572
Co-worker owns a 2010 Flex 3.5L with 191,000 miles. He's facing a $1500 repair bill for a leaking water pump ...³ Crank case is full of coolant and thank goodness the computer went into limp mode before the engine overheated to the grenade stage. Great engine, but a horrible design!!!
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
190
Location
IL
Originally Posted by kstanf150
Co-worker owns a 2010 Flex 3.5L with 191,000 miles. He's facing a $1500 repair bill for a leaking water pump ...³ Crank case is full of coolant and thank goodness the computer went into limp mode before the engine overheated to the grenade stage. Great engine, but a horrible design!!!
Agree. It's a good engine that requires attention to water pump. However, the engineers have designed this to be an expensive repair. The water pump itself is not that expensive. These types of repairs drive customers insane. "My $100 waterpump will cost 1500 to install."
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
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2,572
Probably not if your gona keep it forever and a day But If your gona drive it for 100K and trade You'll be fine
 
Joined
May 2, 2019
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1,147
Location
USA
Originally Posted by super20dan
would never buy car with this engine in the first place
Exactly. They were designed to be early imploders.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
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Texas, USA
Thanks to BITOG, I found out about this last year and convinced my mother to ditch her 2013 CX-9 before it destroyed itself. What a terrible design.
 
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