Nissan USA
SR20DE Water Pump


For about three months, my car had been mysteriously loosing coolant. The reservoir level would remain full for a few days, then suddenly drop one or two inches in a single day. I soon discovered the leak was coming from the vicinity of the water pump, so I embarked on one of the longest, most frustrating maintenance jobs I have performed in many years. I hope my experience will provide some assistance when you are eventually challenged by the same task. Is the effort worth saving $250 in labor? You be the judge.

Purchase the following part:

Water Pump 21010-53J01

Also buy the following:

Permatex Super Grey RTV Silicone Gasket Maker This is a step above the Permatex Super Blue recommended by Nissan.
Loctite PST Thread Sealant Much better and easier to use than Teflon tape

This procedure requires about 4-6 hours and can be performed alone. It was done on a 1992 Sentra SE-R, and likely applies to all North American versions of the SR20DE produced since the 1991 model year. If in doubt, check with your dealer and the factory service manual.

Tools and supplies: anti-freeze; distilled water; power steering fluid; jackstands; hydraulic floor jack; scissor jack; wood panel (mine was about a foot square); wrenches in 10mm, 12mm, and 14mm sizes (two 10mm wrenches is suggested); ratchets in 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" drives; drive converters; sockets in 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, and 15mm sizes (standard and deep well for added reach); extensions in various sizes; torque wrench (good luck on making it fit); small and large Phillips screwdrivers; hammer or mini-sledge; wood stick (a 2" piece of broom handle); large pliers; needle-nose pliers; flexible scraper; siphon or vacuum pump; two large drain pans; funnel; brake cleaner or equivalent non-residual solvent; kitchen plastic wrap; empty plastic jug; flashlight

View the photos before beginning!

Siesta time! Go eat lunch and drink your favorite beverage.

At this point, I stopped until the next day. The gasket maker dries in one hour, but fully cures in 24 hours. You may also want to wait until the next day if you're concerned about obtaining a good seal, especially if assembly was done in cold weather.

The following section outlines quick refill methods for both the cooling and power steering systems. Optimum results in the cooling system are allegedly achieved by strictly following the factory service manual, but the method here has given me excellent results. The method here for replacing power steering fluid is similar to that in the service manual, but you may opt for a vacuum pump method found on

Rick's SE-Rious Procedures

Original material is the creation of Rick Zotz, 1999, 1998, 1997, and has been contributed to