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Pelican Technical Article:

Water Pump Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets 10mm, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Water pump, water pump pulley, engine coolant

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will cool down again or restore function of heater

Complementary Modification:

Change friction wheel, change water pipes.

MINI R56 models utilize a mechanical water pump driven by a friction wheel off the crankshaft pulley. Other cooling system components consist of:

Radiator and coolant reservoir

Electrically-heated thermostat

Electric cooling fan attached to rear of radiator. The cooling fan is controlled by the engine control module (ECM) via an output final stage.

Automatic transmission cooler (heat exchanger)

Auxiliary water pump for turbocharged engines

Coolant temperature sensor at cylinder head

Coolant hose and lines

The water pump mounts to the right side of the engine block and is sealed with a rubber profile gasket. The pump body is constructed of plastic with a metal pulley flange. The water pump pulley has a rubber friction surface that is driven by the friction wheel. The rubber friction surface resembles a drive belt wrapped around the pulley. The rubber can become detached from the pulley or crack and wear out. I always replace the pulley when replacing a water pump. Doing so gives peace of mind.

When a water pump begins to fail, you'll notice that the car tends to overheat at low engine speed, such as sitting at a stoplight. When you accelerate, the engine temperature will drop. Now, this is not always indicative of a coolant pump failure, but a good starting point. You may also want to try squeezing the top radiator hose with the engine warmed up and running. You should feel pressure build up on the back of the hose and surge once it is released. If you feel no pressure, it's a fair bet that the coolant pump is failing. The most common problem with the electric coolant pumps is a fault code for coolant pump volume.

In this article I will describe how to replace the water pump on your MINI R56 engine. Be sure to work with a cool engine and confirm the cooling system lacks pressure before opening the cooling system.

NOTE: Now is a really good time to inspect and change out your water pipes. They are made of plastic and often crack over time or get baked onto the water pump due to heat in this area. 

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Drain the cooling system. See our tech article on cooling system draining and filling.

Remove the engine drive belt and wheel well liner. See our tech articles on drive belt replacing and wheel well liner replacing.

Place the radiator support in service mode. See our tech article on radiator support service mode.

The water pump (green arrow) mounts to the right side of the engine block and is sealed with a rubber profile gasket.
Figure 1

The water pump (green arrow) mounts to the right side of the engine block and is sealed with a rubber profile gasket. The pump body is constructed of plastic with a metal pulley flange. The water pump pulley has a rubber friction surface that is driven by the friction wheel (red arrow). The rubber friction surface resembles a drive belt wrapped around the pulley.

When looking for water pump leaks, look for signs of coolant dripping from the right rear corner of the engine.
Figure 2

When looking for water pump leaks, look for signs of coolant dripping from the right rear corner of the engine. A lot of times there is coolant on the bottom of the friction wheel (green arrow) and the right side drive axle (red arrows).

Start by supporting the engine from below using a jack or jack stand and a wood block (green arrow).
Figure 3

Start by supporting the engine from below using a jack or jack stand and a wood block (green arrow). Be sure to evenly spread the weight using the wood block.

Working at the right side of the engine, remove the 18mm engine mount nut (green arrow).
Figure 4

Working at the right side of the engine, remove the 18mm engine mount nut (green arrow). Then remove the four 13mm engine mount fasteners (red arrows). Leave the bracket in place, removing these fasteners allows the engine to be lowered and raised as needed. Once the engine mount bracket is loose, lower the engine just enough to access the friction wheel. Remove the friction wheel. See our tech article on friction wheel replacing.

Then, remove the three 10mm water pump pulley fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 5

Then, remove the three 10mm water pump pulley fasteners (red arrows). These fasteners are not very tight. You can hold the pulley (green arrow) still while loosening if needed.

The pulley is usually stuck due to rust on the water pump flange (red arrow).
Figure 6

The pulley is usually stuck due to rust on the water pump flange (red arrow). Clean up the rust and spray a small amount of penetrating oil on the flange.

Then pull the flange off the water pump.
Figure 7

Then pull the flange off the water pump.

Raise the engine slightly, just enough to access the engine mount bracket.
Figure 8

Raise the engine slightly, just enough to access the engine mount bracket. Then working below it, remove the two 10mm wiring harness mount fasteners (red arrows).

Lift the wiring harness up and hold it out of the way using a bungee cord (red arrow).
Figure 9

Lift the wiring harness up and hold it out of the way using a bungee cord (red arrow).

Slightly lower the engine to access the water pump (red arrow).
Figure 10

Slightly lower the engine to access the water pump (red arrow). Then place a drain pan under the water pump (green arrow).

Remove the five 10mm water pump fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 11

Remove the five 10mm water pump fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the water pump from the engine.
Figure 12

Remove the water pump from the engine. Be sure the profile gasket comes with the pump. 

Using a plastic scraper (inset) and a Scotch-Brite pad, clean the thermostat sealing surface (green arrow).
Figure 13

Using a plastic scraper (inset) and a Scotch-Brite pad, clean the thermostat sealing surface (green arrow). It is important not to use a metal scraper or razor blade here. You could damage the sealing surface so it will not seat properly, resulting in a leak. Once clean, confirm the sealing surface isn't pitted. It if is, it may not seal correctly. You may have to add some epoxy and sand it down to get a smooth and even sealing surface.

The rubber friction surface resembles a drive belt wrapped around the pulley.
Figure 14

The rubber friction surface resembles a drive belt wrapped around the pulley. The rubber can become detached from the pulley or crack and wear out. I always replace the pulley when replacing a water pump. Doing so gives peace of mind. Shown here are the differences between the early (green arrow) and updated pulley (red arrow). Note the chamfered and sealed edge. This is assumed to reduce noise and prevent oil from entering the area between the rubber and metal. Install the new water pump and evenly tighten all the fasteners. Then install the pulley and the friction wheel. Check alignment and mating of the two. Then reassemble the remaining engine items, reversing the removal steps. Fill and bleed the cooling system. Remember to check the cooling system for leaks and top up the coolant when complete.

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