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Pelican Technical Article:
Water Pump & Thermostat Replacement
 

 
Time: 2 hours
Tab: $450
Talent:  
Tools:
Swivel socket set
Applicable Models:
986 Boxster (1997-04)
987 Boxster (2005-08)
Parts Required:
Water pump, thermostat, and gaskets
Hot Tip:
Install the low-temp thermostat for better performance
Performance Gain:
Protects your engine against overheating
Complementary Modification:
Replace radiator hoses
 
   

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster.  The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads.   With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
 

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
   
     The modern, water-cooled Porsches have been known to have cooling systems that have some troublesome problems. Two of the principle areas of failure are the thermostat and water pump.

     Begin the replacement process by jacking up the car (Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up and Lifting the Boxster on Jack Stands) and removing the lower plastic tray that covers the front part of the engine and the coolant hoses. Disconnect the lower hose that is attached to the water pump (see Figure 4), and let the coolant empty into a five gallon or larger bucket. If you are replacing your thermostat too, then now would be a good time to disconnect the hose attached to it as well.

     The next step is to gain access to your water pump. This requires the removal of the main belt (see Pelican Technical Article: Drive Belt Replacement). You may also want to remove the right side (passenger) seat as well, in order to give you more room to work. With the belts removed, the front of your engine should be relatively accessible. Seven bolts attach the water pump to the engine, and access to some of them may only be achieved from underneath the car. I recommend using a flex 10mm socket to get into the tight spots.

     When the engine was assembled, Porsche installed the coolant manifold and the water pump together. Therefore, they use a shared gasket, which you must cut apart in order to remove it from the engine. Photo 2 shows the gasket removed from the water pump housing on the engine, and Photo 3 shows where you must clip it in order to remove it. The new gasket must also be modified prior to installation (see Figure 3). With the pump removed, check the inside bore where the water pump fits for debris or corrosion. With a wire brush, remove any corrosion or debris that may have built up there. Clean off the water pump mounting surface on the engine and install the water pump with the new gasket. Tighten down the bolts to 10 Nm (7 ft-lbs).

     At this time, I also recommend that you remove the thermostat housing (located below the water pump) and replace the thermostat as well. The thermostat is a relatively cheap part that can fail quite easily, which leads to your engine overheating. Simply disconnect the thermostat hose if you haven't already, and unbolt the thermostat from the engine. The thermostat used to be sold separately from the thermostat housing, but now Porsche and the aftermarket suppliers simple sell the whole assembly as one integrated unit.

     The factory thermostat starts to open at about 187 F (86 C) and only fully opens at almost 210 F (99 C). This means that the engine needs to get very hot before it starts sending its coolant to the front radiators. For this reason, I recommend installing a low temperature thermostat in place of the factory one. For example, LN Engineering developed a thermostat (now discontinued but similar thermostats are currently available) that began opening at 160 F (71 C) and fully opened at about 180 F (82 C); lower coolant temperatures translate into lower oil temperatures. It is my guess that Porsche designed the thermostat to open a bit later in order to help the cars run a bit hotter, which typically helps with emissions testing and the burning off of water out of the oil, which can then lead to longer oil change intervals. Installing the low-temp thermostat is a smart idea for engine longevity: they're available for about $175 from PelicanParts.com.
Disconnect the main hose to the thermostat, as indicated by the red arrow.
Figure 1
Disconnect the main hose to the thermostat, as indicated by the red arrow. In order to gain enough clearance to remove the thermostat, you typically need to disconnect the water pump hose shown by the yellow arrow. For the tight spaces near the thermostat, I recommend using a swivel-foot socket (green arrow and upper right inset photo).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Here's what the engine looks like with the water pump removed.
Figure 2
Here's what the engine looks like with the water pump removed. For the 1997-04 Boxsters, you need to cut the old metal seal in order to get it off, as part of it is still trapped in the engine off to the right (it's a dual-purpose gasket). With the new gasket properly trimmed, it should fit into place (lower left).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
The water pump seal needs to be trimmed prior to installation (1997-04 only).
Figure 3
The water pump seal needs to be trimmed prior to installation (1997-04 only). The part off to the right is separate from the water pump, and is typically only used when rebuilding an engine. Trim the seal at the yellow marks and use the part on the left. The upper left photo shows a brand new water pump. The lower left shows a new thermostat and seal. The newer-style Boxster thermostat is integrated into its aluminum housing.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
The water pump is located next to the crankshaft on the right side of the car.
Figure 4
The water pump is located next to the crankshaft on the right side of the car. Access to the pump is obtained through the access panel behind the seats, and from below.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Install the new thermostat in place using a new gasket (lower left).
Figure 5
Install the new thermostat in place using a new gasket (lower left).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
See Bonus Photos
Bonus Photos
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Comments and Suggestions:
braszuca Comments: what is the torque for Porsche boxster water pump and thermostat
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't that info handy. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Badger Comments: Excellent help. Water pump installed. My 2005 Boxster S and I are becoming one. I could not find the drain plug. Googled and one of your forums came up with an ooops...there is no drain plug on the 2005/07 models. Here is the link for the hoses to disconnect...http://forums.pelicanparts.com/boxster-cayman-forum/601935-where-987-coolant-drain-plug.html
Many thanks...will continue to buy my parts from you.
July 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
matt t Comments: thanks pelican parts.
water pump replaced.
jacked up the back. drew a diagram and punched holes in the cardboard so we didn't mix up the screws.
do 2 from below. 5 from above. one is very tricky, hence my post - undid with the 30 degree bit of a combi wrench as you can only get about 15 degrees of turn as its in a tight spot! doing it up was very hard also - hard to be comfortable a long lunge squat behind the seats seemed best ! and then tightening was difficult, the 90 degree wrench adapters were awkward for me, I couldn't get it to work I was undoing and then doing it up all the time - in the end, I used the combination wrench again to get it a bit above hand tight and I found a 90 degree allen key very useful to help me push the combi wrench onto the bolt, basically any L shape with about 2 inches for one part of the L, and then finally got a T bar wrench set onto it to get it toward 10 nM. good luck with that bit - it was a workout, took about 20 minutes to do up that 1 bolt, but if I did it again, I could do it in 5 maybe.
the other tip I have, is the hose. it was easy to undo the clip flat head screw driver or a 7 bolt but taking the rubber pipe off without tearing it - what we did in the end was when the unit is free, you can pull it down a bit, and then lever it against another metal component and then it is easy to take off from below.
thanks pelican, we did the water pump, and I'd just like to share my 2 tips or what we did when we got stuck
May 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
SATX Comments: what's the size of the swivel socket needed?
March 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If I remember correctly, 10mm. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
frank Comments: i see so many options for hoses for my boxster - i'd like to change the hoses when i do the pump and thermostat - any chance of offering a kit for hoses based on model and year? that way we can just click and order what is right for our car. If not a kit, can you document somewhere which hoses we will need for a given model/year/transmission? i don;t want to choose two of the wrong thing and none of the right one, and if i change all but one hose chances are it will be the one that strands me in the countryside one day soon...
March 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
frank Comments: update the price of the low temp thermostat at the end of the article - they are much cheaper than that nowadays!
March 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks, I will have them update it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mrcountryboy4! Comments: is there any special tool that i need to know about
February 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A swivel socket set helps. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
larry Comments: 2001std boxster, replaced water pump, thermostat, radiators and cap. Flowed water through hoses to check passages to radiators clear. Overheats after 30min at idle, no smoke on start up, gauge reads 190,coolant pressurized through relief valve fans come on. No coolant in oil. Blockage in engine or head gasket?
January 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check if coolant is moving through the engine. If it has good flow, check for a faulty head gasket. Check for combustion gas in the cooling system (co2). - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Berry Comments: My car started to overheat so I replaced the thermostat and water pump. After I got it back together and fluid back in, I warmed it and took it for a short spin. As soon as it got up to 180 deg. the temp started to shoot up. I checked under the car and fluid was pouring out df the overflow. What else could be causing the fluid not to flow through the system?
November 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have air trapped in the cooling system. First be sure it is properly bled. If it is and still goes to the red when driven, you may have a faulty head gasket. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dan Comments: Is it mandatory to tighten the bolts to 7lbs. I don't have a small torque wrench..In fact I can hardly fit my small ratchet in some the tight spots and I'm force to use a small wrench. I tighten the bolts just at the point where the bolts won't turn anymore..Will this suffice? Again Thanks.
October 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the proper torque must be observed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jlipper Comments: While following your procedure for "Water Pump & Thermostat Replacement", you indicate that the torque setting for the water pump bolts are 7 ft/lbs.

You do not mention what the torque setting for the thermostat housing bolts? Is that also 7 ft/lbs?
October 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the thermostat is 7 ft-lb - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tom Comments: Thanks for this article! Knowing how straightforward the job is has saved me money directly - my water pump failed and the repair shop charged me 6 hours labor to replace the pump and an additional 2 hours labor to replace the thermostat at the same time. I complained that the two jobs' labor overlap and they refunded the extra 2 hours.
September 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jim Comments: Does anyone know which two holes require the longer bolts? 2001 boxster S. I was keeping up withe order and apparently switched them so 2 are not bottoming out but are too tight to turn.
August 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bolts are different lengths, when I remove them I mark the location of each bolt to help with reinstalling. I don't recall the order off the top of my head. I suggest installing each bolt two turns, when in the right holes, they should be at the same height., by height I mean the amount sticking out of the bolt hole. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andres Comments: I just replaced my water pump however the bolts are not all the same size and am unsure as to which hole they go into. Any ideas?
August 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bolts are different lengths, when I remove them I mark the location of each bolt to help with reinstalling. I don't recall the order off the top of my head. I suggest installing each bolt two turns, when in the right holes, they should be at the same height., by height I mean the amount sticking out of the bolt hole. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
zabo Comments: I have a 1999 boxster and love it. just recently the water gauge went to 200 deg. and i drove to shop. they replaced the thermastat and tank cap and bleed the line. now the car is running at 190 deg. and holdidng but water light is flashing. i had car at 180 deg. for years. what could be the problem
August 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a failing water pump or debris restricting flow. I would inspect the thermostat and check the cooling system for exhaust gases, just to be sure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
butch Comments: i put waterpump on 2001 porse boxer the oil light comes on at idle but it goes out at faster speed.the heat is not coming on inside the car.
June 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If your oil warning lamp is on, do not drive the vehicle. First, check that the oil level and quality is correct. Then, check engine oil pressure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
xcat Comments: My serpentine belt got shredded length-wise recently. I changed my serpentine belt but for some reason the belt keeps coming off the track of the water pump pulley when i start the car comes off by one tooth of the belt. I'm not sure if its my idler pulleys or the water pump pulley. I spun the water pump pulley with the belt off and it seems a little rough. The idler pulleys spin freely. Is the water pump pulley supposed to spin freely?
May 31, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check that all the pulleys are properly aligned and not crooked. The water pump should spin free, of course there will be some resistance from the engine coolant. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pete Comments: On April 30, Nick responded to CB including the following:
"They work well and should be a concern if installed correctly."
I hope I am right that Nick really meant to write,
"They work well and should NOT be a concern if installed correctly."
May 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for catching that Pete. I will fix the typo. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CB Comments: I have a 2000 Boxster S and I think the water pump and or thermostat may be out as well I got the car home but it was 250 deg by that time. I checking with a local mechanic he says that the low temp thermostat is not a good idea because the boxster is made to run hot??? I need some help!! Will it effect the warning light as the mechanic says? Help!!! It looks like a job I can do.
April 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Installing a lower temp thermostat will not set a warning light. They work well and should be a concern if installed correctly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Magic Mike Comments: I am replacing the Water Pump and Thermostat on my 2001 Boxster. The Water Pump is now installed. I'm having trouble threading several of the Thermostat bolts. The angle at which the swivel socket reaches the mounting hole is causing the bolt to go in at an angle. I'm also having trouble getting the bolts into position as my socket is not mangetic.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mike
April 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Always start the bolts by hand. Once you are sure they are properly threaded, use the swivel to tighten them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: Hi,
In the article above you mention an L&N thermostat. But on your web site you do not list this part. There are other low temperature thermostats.
Are they just as good/suitable.
Is it okay to just repalce the thermostat and not the water pump?
November 26, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will find the thermostat you are looking for.

You can replace just the thermostat if need. If is a good idea to inspect the water pump while doing so. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BR3TT Comments: I have water on top of the engine and when I loosened the coolant fill cap it started to drain fluid from under the front of the engine. When I think the water pump went out the other day, it drained all the cooland from the block. The poly belt is not properly aligned on the water pump. Just want to check if there is anything other than the pump that I should be looking at.
June 20, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the belt is not aligned, I would guess the water pump is faulty. Pressure test your cooling system to be sure you don't have more than one leak. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sonar23 Comments: Does anyone apply sealant to the mating surfaces or is the the gasket adequate to seal the pump?
May 21, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I typically like to supplement most gaskets with a tiny bit of sealant - this methodology has helped me greatly in the past. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Cj Comments: If a thermostat is 175 how much is a pump Jesus thes Porsche parts are a crime? Why so much for a thermostat?How much is the standard thermostat?
March 1, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: In general, Porsche parts can be expensive. if you consider the cost of the vehicle when new, the prices are in line with other makes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
g60 Comments: Hello, just replaced the water pump following article. Not too bad, some screws are hard to reach, and different in size, but I manage to get them out with a modified "L" shaped tool get the 10mm flex socket and attach the leg and tape the joint to secure the "L" shape. No need for the wrench. As I said, the screws are different in lenght, make sure you remember the right order I used the new gasket as a guide, removed the screw and placed it in the new gasket one by one in the right order. I wouldn't mess with the thermostat, you will have plently in our plate just with the water pump replacement, and IMHO it is not needed, the whole low temp thermostat concept is not accurate, the engine will ultimately run at the same operating temperature, it would just take longer to get there, which I think is not good. Besides you will save the cash and the work. Trust me, the water pump itself is plenty. Good luck.
February 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback and additional information. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Devin Comments: Do you recommend applying any sealant on the gasket and surface? Is the gasket by itself adequate?
January 15, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The gasket alone is fine. No additional sealant is required. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bull Comments: I have a question-- for a 2000 Boxster S-- how is the water pump pully attached? Along with that, what would cause the pully to seperate from the shaft?
December 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe it's just a big nut that is attached on there from the factory. New / rebuilt pumps come with the pulley attached, so there's really no need to remove it. If the pulley has separated from the shaft, I would think that is a rebuilding / manufacturing error from the factory. I would replace the whole pump asap. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
01986320s Comments: Wayne, I just ordered the L&N thermostat for a 2001 986S from Pelican today, and have one question. If I remove the OEM thermostat while the car is on ramps, can I just reuse what coolant drains out, or do I also have to perge the system of air also? thanks for any additional information.
June 24, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes and yes - you should be able to reuse coolant, but you will still have to go through the coolant bleeding process that is documented in the coolant flush article in our tech articles section here. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jville Comments: I would just like to say thank you this Forum, its going save me $$$$ which I surely need to repair my car myself, I've replace two water pumps in two years @ not less than 9 hundred per job at two different repair shops, so I will be ordering my parts from you real soon.
May 11, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat, thanks for your continued support! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
puma Comments: I think this article is in the wrong place. It is listed under "Suspension" articles.
February 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yup, you're right. I will fix that right away, thanks. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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  Applies to: 1997 Boxster, 1998 Boxster, 1999 Boxster, 2000 Boxster, 2001 Boxster, 2002 Boxster, 2003 Boxster, 2004 Boxster, 2005 Boxster, 2006 Boxster, 2007 Boxster, 2008 Boxster, 1999 Carrera, 1999 996, 2000 Carrera, 2000 996, 2001 Carrera, 2001 996, 2002 Carrera, 2002 996, 2003 Carrera, 2003 996, 2004 Carrera, 2004 996, 2005 Carrera, 2005 997, 2006 Carrera, 2006 997, 2007 Carrera, 2007 996, 2008 Carrera, 2008 997
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