Thursday, February 2, 2012

Explorer Engine Swap - Installing the timing cover and water pump

At this point you have followed me through the process of taking the explorer engine apart and we have changed the cam and valve springs.  A new timing chain has been installed, and all gasket surfaces have been cleaned.

Now it's time to start installing the things that make this look like an engine again.

In the previous article you should have cleaned all of the gasket surfaces on the timing cover.  If you have not done that, now would be the perfect time to do so.

Before you put this cover back on though, you will want to change the front engine seal.  This seal is pressed in the cover pretty well.  To remove it, we will basically have to destroy it.  It won't pop out very easily.  I recommend using an old screwdriver and a hammer to drive the outside of the seal toward the middle.  This will ease the tension around the outside of the seal and allow you to pop it out.  This process may take a bit, but has to be done regardless.

At this point you will need to clean where the new seal will go so that it seats properly and doesn't leak.  Be careful not to damage the aluminum.

Once you are ready to put the new seal in, make sure you have the cover secured so that you can hit it and not have the other side pop up.  This is key so that you can use enough force to get the seal in place.  Once you have the cover secured, you will use your rubber mallet and hit the seal until it is seated all the way in.  Make sure when you hit the seal you don't wedge it in there.  This can bend your seal and cause a leak.  Obviously it may not go in absolutely straight at first, just make sure that you don't over do the amount you hit on one side of the seal.

It is really important to use a rubber mallet to do this.  The reason being that a metal hammer head will damage the seal.

When you attempt to put this on, rub a little fresh oil around the seal to make sure it slides on safely.

You will want to coat both the engine block and the cover with black gasket sealer.  This is a common area that will leak if you don't.  Be pretty liberal with the sealer.  When both sides are coated, place the gasket on the cover (there will be two doll pins that will help hold it in place) and place it against the block using caution that you slip it over the crank shaft without damaging the new front seal.

Take the bolts that hold this on and start installing them ensuring that the bolts that hold on the water pump are not used at this time.  Snug the bolts down to keep the cover in place.

Next you will want to take your water pump (which should have come with a new gasket) and install it on the cover.  We will be torquing down the water pump prior to torquing down the cover.

Again to prepare this, you will want to liberally use the black gasket sealer and place it on the outside of the timing cover and also on the back side of the water pump.

Place the water pump up to the timing cover and start installing your bolts.  snug all the bolts in place prior to torquing them.  This will help with the gasket sealer drying so you don't end up with air pockets resulting in leaks.

Go thru all the bolts on the water pump and torque them to specification.  I recommend starting in the middle and working your way around the outside alternating sides of the water pump to reduce any type of binding that could cause you to crack your water pump.

Once the water pump is torqued down, finish torquing the timing cover.  Again start with the middle most bolts and work your way around the outside.

Something to remember is that you want to make sure you put the bolts in the right locations.  This is very important for when you are adding your power steering and alternator brackets so they are bolted in the right location.  It is not necessarily the same location as how they came out of the Explorer.

This is a rather quick article for today.  Good luck!  In the next article we will go over the reinstallation of your rocker arms, push rods, and lifters.


  1. Did you you reuse the explorer timing cover? I was under the impression you had to use the mustang one?

    1. I did reuse the explorer one. It was the same as my 95.

  2. Thanks, This blog will be a great help once I get going on my swap

    1. I am happy to help anytime. Feel free to stop in and ask any questions that you want. I will do my best to answer them for you. And as always, feel free to share my blog to others. :)