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Old 10-02-2013, 06:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,363
Coolant tank/water pump replacement

I have several questions regarding the coolant tank/water pump replacement. Iíve done quite a bit of searching, so I thought I would combine my thoughts in one post and obtain some feedback from folks who have some experience with this.

My car is a 2000 base that I bought used about 7 years ago. Unless the car has a major mechanical problem or an accident, I intend to keep it for another 4-7 years. The original owner kept meticulous records on the car, so Iím confident that I have the full service history. I know the coolant tank, water pump and coolant are original.

I drive it about 8000 miles a year, and it has about 84,000 miles on it. Iím planning to start using it on long trips, and while I normally donít fix things that arenít broken I think the fact that the coolant tanks are a weak link seems to be widely accepted. I donít want to be stranded 1000 miles from home at the mercy of an unfamiliar repair shop.

Question 1: Is it prudent for me to replace the tank in the next year or so?
Question 2: Should I replace the water pump at the same time?

Question 3: Should I reuse the coolant? I noticed that Pedro Flush Coolant System stated that his coolant still looked good after 190,000 miles and the Porsche coolant is expensive.
Question 3a: Is there a less expensive alternative to Porsche coolant that wonít cause a problem in the system?

There are several good DIY tutorials on replacing cooling system. In addition to the one posted above, here are the ones I found:
Replace Coolant Reservoir
Replace Water Pump
Pelican Technical Article: Boxster Coolant Tank Replacement - 986 / 987
Pelican Technical Article: Boxster Water Pump & Boxster Thermostat Replacement - 986 / 987
Pelican Technical Article: Boxster Coolant Replacement / Boxster Coolant Flush - 986 / 987
Question 4: Does anyone know of a better tutorial or have a preference for one technique or another?

I donít like to get under a car on jack stands. I have a set of Rhino ramps that I use to work under the car. This leads to:
Question 5: Can I do this job without going under the car or by putting it up on ramps?

It looks like I have all the tools I need except for the job except for:
(1) Cable operated spring clamp pliers Cable-operated Hose Clamp Pliers: Clamping Convenience with Sears and
(2) a pump to purge the cooling system Airlift
Question 6: Is it worthwhile to buy a purge tool? I hate to buy a fairly expensive tool for a one-time use, but I did see some posts from folks who overheated due to an airlock, so it seems inexpensive in that context.
Question 6a: Would it be fairly easy to re-sell the purge tool after Iím finished with it?

Question 7: It looks like the coolant tank can be a difficult job. Iíve replaced my spark plugs and brake pads, installed a top and frame from a 2004, and replaced my gauge cluster. Iíve also done coolant system work on non-Porsches. Does this project seem like it is within my skill level?

Question 8: Iím planning to do this job in the spring. Is there anyone in the Richmond, VA area who would like to participate in this project and take care of their Boxster at the same time?

Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions.
2000 Arctic Silver/Black, Hard Top, On Board Computer
PNP Rear Speakers, HAES 6-channel amp, Avic Z140BH,
Painted Bumperettes, 2004 (OEM) Top and Frame
Homelink transmitter integrated in dash with Targa switch
Carrera Gauge Cluster with silver gauge faces, heated seats, litronics, painted console
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:37 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Miami florida
Posts: 1,589
I would replace the WP right away. Most consider it a maintenance item that should be replaced every 5 years or so before it fails, because when it fails, the plastic impeller usually disintegrates and the plastic pieces can clog the water passages in the head and lead to a cracked head. While you are at it, change the motor mount. Its inexpensive, almost always fails at your mileage and disconnecting the coolant hoses makes changing the mount a breeze and lowering the engine slightly while replacing the mount makes replacing the WP a breeze.

Don't reuse the coolant, and don't over-think it too much, just get the Porsche stuff, its expensive, but you are not going to be changing it anytime soon.

As far as bleeding the coolant of air, the Pelican method has worked fine for me on 3 occasions. after you have bled the system, go to a multi level parking lot and stop for few seconds while going DOWN a steep ramp and rev the motor a bit to get any air trapped in the rads out.

I would wait until the overflow tank fails before replacing it. Just pull up the carpet in the trunk and see if there is any coolant leaking. If its dry, wait. Its a pain in the butt to replace. I still have scars on my hands from replacing mine.
Current car

2000 Boxster 2.7l red/black

Previous cars

1973 Opel Manta
1969(?) Fiat 850 Convertible
1979 Lancia Beta Coupe
1981 Alfa Romeo GTV 6
1985 Alfa Romeo Graduate
1985 Porsche 944
1989 Porsche 944
1981 Triumph TR7
1989 (?) Alfa Romeo Milano
1993 Saab 9000

Last edited by san rensho; 10-02-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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