Water pump and cooling system When doing a major cooling job on the van, you should consider changing many hoses as possible. The Westy cooling system is more complex than most normal car and the bleeding process is more difficult. Apart from the 2 long main front heater cooling hose, I found out that in general the original hoses where in very good condition and are of very good quality. Changing those is only a precaution. (My van as about 90k miles, 87GL).

 The work & procedure done in this section include the following; water pump, the big left cooling tube, thermostat, both oil cooler tube & hose, the 2 main heater line, front heater valve, rear heater O-Ring, and many other small hoses & tube. All part are new, OEM and bought at my VW dealer, except for the Water pump. OEM pump are too expensive, the HEPU German made pump bought at Bow-Wow Auto parts in BC is at least the same quality or maybe more. (I studied in that field).

So here we go… (click here if you have the 1.9 engine)

Overview of the main cooling parts.

First thing first, drain the coolant from the van, you will get about 2 gallons (8 L) at the most (half of the van coolant)
1 2 3 4

Open the expension tank cap


Open the termo bleeding screw (about 1 turn, won't go further)


Open the front rad bleeding screw, remove this one all the way, faster draining...


Finally, open each of the cylinder bleeding drain plug, it's  an Allen screw. Have a beer while it drain


Removing the Water pump
  1. The following steps are if you don't remove the crank pulley (on your right)
  2. Remove the Distributor housing, cap and wire, they are in the way. The distributor housing is hold in place by a single screw, it's the one 90° from the distributor view on the lower part of this one, it strangle the distributor. (be very careful to mark the distributor position, this is crucial when putting this one back) (see Step # 2 picture on the right)
  3. Fist, put something under the pump section, more coolant will come out
  4. Remove the 3 x 13mm water pump pulley screw (Yellow arrow), it can be hard...use a big adjustable pliers to hold the rear triangular pulley shaft. (A)
  5. Remove the small oil  cooling tube (B), for that you will have to unscrew the collars (Blue arrow) and remove the upper flex joint (E), removing or leaving the lower flex joint won't change much.
  6. Unscrew the 2 Allen screws (Orange arrow) holding the big cooling tube (D), This can be tricky if the 2 bolts are stuck like mine where. I use a series of socket extension shaft with a special  Allen socket at the end, you can do that from the lower left side / rear corner  of the van, from there you can see the 2 screw from under the van but they are about 1 1/2 feet far. If not stuck, you could probably use a normal Allen key. (see Steps # 5 # 6 picture on the right)
  7.  Remove the big clamp (pink arrow) from the expansion tank hose, you can now remove the big tube (D)
  8. Unscrew the 2 Allen screws (Green arrow) from the right smaller lower cooling tube (F) (this one does the coolant  jonction between the left & right heads), don't try to pull the small (F) tube now, it won't come out, the pump is in the way. (follow this tube, it goes to the right head, in between there is a small "junction" flexible black tube with 2 collars, for now only  loose those 2 collars so you can turn the metal tube (F) to remove the pump. (see Steps # 8 picture on the right)
  9. Leave the oil cooler tube (C) there, no need to remove this one when replacing the pump.
  10. You are now ready to remove the pump screws (13mm); unscrew the # 1 screw first, easy. Unscrew the # 2 screw second, a flexible 13mm socket is not a must but it's more than welcome. Unscrew the # 3, this one is a bit tricky, what you have to do is find you way between the 2 oil cooler flexible joint that attach to the 2 metal oil cooling tube (B & C), if you where able to remove the flexible (G) oil cooler joint, you won't have any problem. No need to go under the van to do that, a strait 1/4 socket system will do the job
  11. Pull the pump out slowly, the lower small cooling tube will be a bit in the way, just make you way true.  I hope you're pump is out... Clean everything with brake cleaner.

More to come later about the installation...

Step # 2


Steps # 5. # 6


Step # 8


Step # 11

Check this site if you have the 1.9 engine (1983 1/2, 84, 85)

These are my pictures; use them with that in mind... Thanks, Ben

Special thanks to the member of The Vanagon Mailing List Server & http://www.westfalia.org