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MG MG Y Type - Water pump removal

A great day out in the Y on the Regency Run to Brighton yesterday, marred only slightly by the fact that getting back to London needed about 10 litres of water. After 36 years of ownership, I need to overhaul or replace the water pump.... not a bad record, really.

Two questions for your collective wisdom:
- can the pump be removed from the engine block without moving the radiator, or does the rad need to move forward first? (If so there's a risk I may do some other jobs at the same time).
- is it worth attempting to overhaul the pump seal (the bearings are of course fine) or simply exchange the whole assembly? I have seen from a thread on the TD/TF pages that though the work is do-able it can be very tricky to set up and seal the bearings properly once the spindle has been stripped down.

Incidentally, I notice that in my copy of Blower's bible there appears to be no mention of cooling systems - unless there's a supplement I'm missing!

Tim Griggs


No you will have to remove: Headlamps,wing brakets, headlamp bar, grille, radiator, engine steady bar and fan blade.

If you shear off the studs and/or bolts helicoils will remedy the reinstallation but the kits are not cheap. It is easy to do though and easy to fix - you can sense the experiece there!

Usual rule applies - if it aint broke - dont fix it so check for wear, and if it isnt there put it back and dont mess. Again, from experience, it is often a waste of time to replace something you dont need too.

The Workshop manaul is actually very helpful on water pump rebuild I found. Pack it liberally with grease on reassembly and on refit a couple of strokes of the grease gun will replace any that has been displaced.

When refitting the engine steady bar consult the note in Technical Hints and Tips/Technical Advice.

Paul Barrow

PS While the radiator is out, have it flow tested and cleaned.
Paul Barrow


I have replaced my water pump twice without dismantling the radiator, headlamp bar etc.,etc. I made the mistake of fitting a modern replacement but believe that most of these come without a grease nipple and are supposedly 'sealed for life'. I found their longevity to be very dubious. I purchased a good second hand original unit, with grease nipple and fitted that instead.

Regarding the procedure for removal, it really depends how much clearance you've got between the fan blades and the rad itself. The small bolts that hold the fan blades in place are 4.8 cm. long and if you've got that much clearance you should be able to remove and replace the water pump with no problem. Once the blades are removed, you've got room to take the pump off. If you've not got that much space, I would undo the radiator stays at the rad. end and lower them out of the way. Remove the top hose and you should be able to get enough clearance by gently pulling the radiator forwards. Certainly worth a try as removing everything else is a pain.

One word of caution when refitting is to be careful when replacing the pully. As you probably know, it's held in place on the spindle by a key. It's easy to assume that the key is correctly in place when pushing the pulley home.If the key has slipped upwards out of its groove, any force applied to drive the pulley home will result in the casting of the pulley breaking. I know, I've been there

J.L. Murray

Thanks Jack and Paul - good to have both suggestions! My motivation here is to avoid too much dismantling over the summer as I'd planned to do a bigger strip down next winter - core plugs, oil seals, exhaust manifold flange, unleaded head, clean up and detail the underbonnet area, you know the drill.

Incidentally, as my car is a late YA, is it likely to have the "later" pump design, or did that come in with the SC2 engine?
Tim Griggs

Jack mentions the "sealed for life" water pump with no grease nipple.
My inclination would be to tap a thread and fit one in an ideal world. Maybe there is a snag I haven't thought of.
Has anyone done this?
Ted Gardner

Jack's got more nimbler fingers that I!!

Good Luck and report back and let us know how you get on.

Paul Barrow

Hi Tim,

If you were in the situation where you had to take the radiator off for any other reason, then in an ideal world that is the easiest way to get at the water pump.

However it can be done with the rad' in situ. I've changed two pumps this way after I was caught out by failure of some very poor remanufactured pumps about 3 years ago.

The bolts that hold the fan blade onto the pulley need careful handling. They are prone to seize on the few threads that sometimes protrude at the back of the flange and will easily sheer. Suggest you soak with penetrating oil for 24 hours and then gently remove. If you need to replace any of the bolts, they are an odd size. They have a thread of M5 x .75 but the head is 1/4 whit(3/16 BSF).
The rest, as they say, is easy. Remember that if you want to replace any of the other studs or bolts they are all metric fine threads on the engine, I think?
Keith D Herkes

Not a Y type, but I have removed the waer pump from a TD without removing the radiator. It is not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done. One suggestion if you try - put some duct tape over your knuckles. It is better than sacrificing them to the radiator. Good luck - Dave
David DuBois

On the subject of the bolts holding the fan blade in place, when you get them out look at them - if they have been subject to the turning force of the engine over the years they will be worn - save yourself time and just order some new ones and throw them away when the new ones arrive. If ordering from Moss/other non-NTG source you want the longer TD bolts.

I have just finished remounting my fan blade and three of the four bolts sheared on reuse, but fortunately I was able to get the boss off again each time and extract the stump with mole grips. Clearly I had the radiator out!

Paul Barrow

Speaking of the boss on the pully; should it come of easily? I wasn't able to shift it when I had my pump off (radiator out). I did not try very hard because the pump was fine and I feared damaging it.
Willem van der Veer

Should and will are two different statements!

It should come off reasonably easily ... but it probably wont!

I clamped my water pump in soft jaws by the impellor with the body of the pump resting on the top of the soft jaws. I then worked around the boss tapping gently but firmly with a lead shot dead blow hammer until the minutest of gaps began to appear and then I was able to slide a small screwdriver flat blade in to lever it up.

On reassembly I put a smear of grease around the rusted surfaces where it had bound so that it was easy to rotate the boss independently of the impellor so that I could line up the holes of the fan bldes and the bolts and the impellor head.

FYI on ordering new bolts - you need the longer TD type bolts not the sort TC ones.

Paul Barrow

Late bulletin: got the pump out with no need to move the radiator at all - phew! The grease on the fan blade bolts all those years ago paid off, the four pump mounting bolts moved easily... this should be harder somehow.

Thanks for all the help, anyway: look forward to getting the car mobile again!
Tim Griggs

To protect your hands, a small bit of cardboard, 1/4 plywood/paneling, or even the heavy duty vinyl shelf covering goes a long way and does no harm. Just put it up against the core and it does not reduce the working space by an apreciable amount.

This thread was discussed between 15/05/2006 and 10/06/2006

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