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How to: 2013 Explorer 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 Water Pump and Timing Set Replacement

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by mkennedy100, January 4, 2019.

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  1. mkennedy100

    mkennedy100 New Member

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    Hi All. Recently changed out the water pump on my 2013 Limited and replaced all timing components while I was at it. Watched the YouTube videos by fordtechmakuloco and the tips posted here by mcpcartier (Thanks to both!). Happy to say that it was a success and I think I caught the failing WP before any coolant contaminated the oil (at least based on visual examination). I wanted to pass along a few tidbits that might be helpful to others contemplating this job.
    • It’s a big job but more tedious than physical. I followed the FSM but for one key difference: Like mcpcartier suggested, I did not evacuate and disconnect the indicated AC line. The AC line is in an inconvenient location but you can work around it. I used a zip tie to hold it out of the way as much as possible without damaging the line.
    • It took me roughly 20 hours split over 3 days in total but I’m slow. I could do it faster now that I’ve done it once but it would still be a 2 day job.
    • I was alerted to the problem by a smell of coolant when the engine was hot and the undeniable coolant dribbles on my driveway. Coolant level was also low in the degas tank. Lastly an inspection of the area near the water pump weep hole showed an obvious stream of coolant leaking right after driving when the system was under pressure.
    • Get the special tools: the cam shaft holders to keep the cams from rotating and especially the Torx Plus bit. These are different than regular torx. You’ll need the TP-55 size for the cam phaser bolts. All were cheap and available online. I can share links to the products i chose if anyone is interested. I did not find need to use the locating pins as noted in the FSM.
    • Honestly for me the worst parts of the job were: 1) reaching and disconnecting all the harness clips from the firewall side valve cover without destroying the clips; 2) maneuvering the front cover back into position without bumping something and messing up the bead of sealant; and 3) the absolutely obscene torque sequence and quantity of bolts involved in snugging down the front cover. If you’ve seen the procedure you know what I mean.
    • Practice maneuvering the front cover back into position as many times as you need to get comfortable with your process before applying the sealant and going at it for real
    • The crank bolt did not want to budge initially but after a couple mins of heat from a propane torch it came off easily
    • The smallest 3 jaw puller in the set from HF worked just fine to remove the crank pulley
    • Use a paint pen and mark the bolts as you torque them to final spec. You really don’t want to lose track and have to check them all again especially if you spread the job over a couple of days.
    • As indicated in the FSM, I did have to raise and lower the engine slightly to install/remove some of the front cover bolts that were obscured by the frame rail.
    • Finally, when tightening the crank bolt or phaser bolts, the camshafts will want to spin. This kept causing the cam holder tool to lift out of position and in one case it popped clean off the camshaft. Doh! To address this, I found that a deep socket (craftsman 9/16” in my case) fit perfectly in the vct solenoid bore and could be used with a wooden shim to wedge the camshaft holder in place. I’ll try to post or attach a pic below.
    I hope this is helpful to someone!

    0E231050-9484-4322-AFF9-CBBF96C9CF12.jpeg
     
    Last edited: January 7, 2019
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  3. Sixonemale

    Sixonemale Active Member

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    Great write up for those who want to do this repair, but not a job I would attempt. My question is how many miles did you have on your 2013 when the water pump began to fail? TIA
     
  4. mkennedy100

    mkennedy100 New Member

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    Hi Sixonemale! I had approximately 141500 miles on the odometer when I noticed the problem. It seemed to go from a-okay to a very pronounced leak quite quickly. That said, it is my wife’s daily driver and it had been awhile since I had inspected or driven it. It is possible the leak was present to a lesser extent for some time. You’ll notice I mention in another post that both catalytic converters have also gone belly-up. I suppose, if the engine was burning coolant due to the WP leak, that could have been a contributing factor to the cat failures. However I saw no sign of coolant in the oil nor any chocolate milk or milkshake sludge/residue in the engine when I did the water pump replacement. Seems to be mixed feedback on the internet as to whether it is unusual or not for a catcon to tire out by 140k miles. Never had any codes related to misfires or other DTCs for that matter. Anyhoo, back to the water pump, the WP weep hole is hidden behind the alternator and ac compressor and is really hard to see directly. I needed one of those little inspection mirrors and a flashlight to finally get a visual on it. By then the coolant was already dripping down the side of the block and off the bottom of the engine. A very small leak might evaporate before producing any drips or puddles to observe.
     
  5. Sixonemale

    Sixonemale Active Member

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    Thanks for the response. Being it was your wife's daily driver, I'm assuming it was not driven in a very aggressive manner, etc. Lastly, how often did you change or flush the coolant? At 100,000 miles per the maintenance manual or did you change it more often. TIA
     
  6. mkennedy100

    mkennedy100 New Member

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    Did the coolant flush at roughly 100k miles as recommended.
     
  7. runningonfords

    runningonfords New Member

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    I think this pic is the most specific, helpful tidbit of info I've seen on this forum yet. Nice stuff. How did you deal with water/coolant incursion into the oil pan when removing the pump? Towels and then heat gun, and then flush? Did you replace everything possible on this job? I've seen that cam phasers, chains, 2nd chains, tensioners, guides, H balancer?, handtool picks, vct solenoids, et cetera. can/should all be acquired for replacement cause its days of work to get in there and back. What brand of parts or kit did you use and what is the complete list of things to get to do this job? I've seen theres a Mehle timing kit on rockauto, but it maybe wasn't the whole set of replacement parts for the complete job. When I cross this bridge I'd like to do it with Ford parts, but its been seemingly tough to figure out where to get the whole kit and kaboodle without dealing with the dude at the parts desk that's like "oh, you want THAT part? well, that's just a reference number so..." . Any info helps and is appreciated! Many thanks.
     

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