CX9 preventative water pump replacement at 105k


2011 Mazda CX9
I'm posting this in hopes that it helps someone who is on the fence about proactively changing their water pump on their CX9. I have a 2011 CX9 GT with a 105k miles. I purchased this vehicle new and have always done the maintenance. Oil changes at 5k and had the dealer flush the radiator at 97k. Shortly after I had it flushed, I started reading about all of the horror stories of water pumps going out unexpectedly on CX9's with far fewer miles than mine. In addition to this, you should know that my wife is in the wedding cake business and we deliver cakes weekly with some deliveries over a hundred miles away. Uber is not an option if the water pump went out on us while we were in the middle of a delivery. Our reputation would be severely diminished if we couldn't make a single delivery. With all of this on my mind I decided to bite the bullet and have the water pump replaced. After looking at the following Youtube videos below, I decided I couldn't do this myself.

I shopped around at 1 independent Mazda mechanic and 3 Mazda dealers. The independent could do it but not in the near future. Two of the dealers never returned my call so I went with the third (Jim Ellis Mazda of Atlanta). The quote I got over the phone for just the water pump and timing chain was 3k. When I arrived I decided to do everything else that made sense with a vehicle over 100k miles.

The mechanic left all of the parts in a box for me after he was finished.

--All belts and hoses I should have just done the main radiator hoses. He ended up doing all of the hoses and most looked fine except for the two large ones which had bulges.
--Water pump (More on that below)
--Oil pump. One of the videos recommended it since you have easy access to it once you have access to the water pump.
--New thermostat and new radiator. I didn't ask for a new radiator, but when the mechanic was taking the hose off, it broke the plastic housing, so they replaced the radiator for free.
--Transmission flush. I had it flushed at 56k and decided to do one more flush with this service. All future transmission services will just be drain and fills since I know the risks in flushing the transmission.

One of the Youtube videos shows changing the water pump without pulling the engine, but everyone I talked to said why bother, it was easier to pull the engine. It took them about 5 days to do the job, which was fine since I had a backup car. The total cost was $4500, which is a lot but far less than if the water pump torpedoed the engine. I plan on keeping this car for the another 100k. The cost is far less than another comparable mid sized SUV which is close to 40k. I know they put there senior person on the job so I am confident it was done right. The service person told me they had done a bunch of water pump replacements in the past, for what it's worth.

I'm attaching pictures of the water pump. It doesn't look too bad and certainly has not leaked in between the gaskets. There are a couple of rough places on the corner gaskets that look sketchy. When I spin the impeller, it spins fine with no looseness but had a bit of drag on it like the bearings where starting to wear.

If you are in this position of a vehicle over 100k, you probably would be fine going to 120k, but I wouldn't push it much further.

Good luck in your decision.

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2021 CX-9 Sig
2021 CX-5 GT
I would do it. Our old Toyota's all required a belt change at 100K and the shops always strongly recommended the water pump change at the same time. Total cost at dealer was close to $3000.
2008 Mazda CX-9 Touring FWD . 2014 CX-5 GT FWD
No disrespect intended, but I'm shocked after reading your post and seeing that you paid $4500 to a stealer for the work. Good for you that it's done, but wow they sure saw you coming! I'm hopeful that anyone reading this realizes that you just paid what many would consider one of the highest prices possible for the job described.

FYI, An engine replacement job would actually be less than what you paid as there are lots of engines available for 1500-2000 and pulling/installing is not an extra $2500. Then again, stealers probably would charge more.

Perhaps the "help" intended by your post is to incent people to DIY. Of course, having done the DIY and posted the guide I am clearly biased in that direction. (spin)

2007 Mazda CX-9 Touring
The timing chain should have only been parts since they have to remove that anyway. I guess the extra was for the radiator, hoses, thermostat and the belts and trans flush. They also probably didn't remove the engine becuase all of that would have been a lot easier and cheaper.


2011 Mazda CX9
I agree that I paid too much and knew that going into it. I got 4 quotes from 2 independents and 2 dealers and they all said engine removal and 3k for the water pump only. I expected the job to be $3800 with all of the additional stuff I ordered and was surprised that it went to $4300 myself. I feel like I overpaid by about $700. I too was expecting more of a discount on the extra stuff since they already had easy access to the components. The thing that really seemed to jack up the price was the cost of all the hoses. When I told them to replace 'all the hoses and belts' I didn't realize there were so many hoses. The box they gave me back with the parts had a bunch of small hoses that didn't look very worn. When I looked at the invoice with the cost of each of those hoses I cringed.

One of the reasons I finally decided to take it to the dealer instead of the independent Mazda repair place was that they pointed out to me that if there is ever a recall, I can get compensated for the replacement a lot easier if it was done by a dealership.

I can't say lesson learned because I fully expected this. After watching the multi-part johncanfixanything Youtube video on the replacement, I decided that this job would be too much for me (and I'm very mechanically inclined) to do and I believe that most DIY'ers wouldn't be able to do this.
2008 Mazda CX-9 Touring FWD . 2014 CX-5 GT FWD
...I believe that most DIY'ers wouldn't be able to do this.

When I did this job in my garage (without a guide) it was the first time I had ever disassembled that much of an engine, so this job is far from out of reach for most DIY'ers. It requires no special tools or knowledge.

BTW, the "John Can Fix Anything" video made it look harder than it was, replaced way more than you need (with some aftermarket parts) and he failed to mention a few things. Maybe he should have read a guide from this forum, LOL.

As far as all the baloney about recall support (or specious warranties) that dealers like to spout to justify charging double, that is nonsense best ignored. If Mazda (or Ford) had been williing to issue a recall on this engine for the water pump issue, it would have happened years ago prior to so many more engines having been built. As it is, the OEMs just continued to build more units for 10 years rolling the corporate dice that the issue would not be widespread enough to bite them - it has not so far.

In both our cases, should a recall or class action settlement occur, Mazda would likely deny any claim saying we did this on our own and the pump was not faulty upon removal and inspection. I've had at least one experience with this type of shell game from an automaker in the past (Acura) where they refused to compensate me since the failure didn't happen because I replaced a faulty suspension component before it failed.

Given that there are lawsuits pending about the 3.7 engine and water pump it's anyone's guess if compensation will ever be available. In the meantime we have some peace of mind that the vast majority of naive 3.7 Mazda and Ford owners do not.
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2013 Mazda CX9 GT , 1999 Miata
Just experienced the water pump fail last week. 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 92k miles. Wife was driving & I wasn*t with her. Tried to diagnose over phone and then tried to coach her into limping it home before I knew what failure was. She made about 10 miles before couldn*t keep the engine running. When I got to the car and heard the engine - potentially rod knock - shut it down and had it towed home. Coolant mixed in oil plus drained about 10 qts from oil pan twice more drained from oil pan. Only got about half as much coolant out as should have when drained. Coolant is black also so may have overheated and popped a head gasket while trying to get car home. In any case I have car prepped to pull the engine. Also found a lot of oily coolant in valley between the heads. The coolant pipe from back of water pump was very loose.

I have a lead on a low mileage engine from a 2015. Does anyone know what the differences are between the *A* and *V*, California vs Federal CX9 versions? Also has anyone tried swapping in a 3.7l from a Ford or Lincoln application into a Mazda CX-9?

Thank you,
- Wade
2008 Mazda CX-9 Touring FWD . 2014 CX-5 GT FWD
Just experienced the water pump fail last week....

I have a lead on a low mileage engine from a 2015. Does anyone know what the differences are between the *A* and *V*, California vs Federal CX9 versions? Also has anyone tried swapping in a 3.7l from a Ford or Lincoln application into a Mazda CX-9?

So sorry to hear this.

I will let others chime in on the potential differences between engines though I don't think there are any material ones. The emissions package should be external combined with system programming.

I am not aware of anyone using a Ford but also can't see why it wouldn't work assuming one used the undamaged ignition system from the original Mazda.

I recommend you start a new thread to get the attention of experts and others who've been through this experience already.

Best of luck and keep us posted.
2013 Mazda CX9 GT , 1999 Miata
little update on my '13 CX9 engine. I bought a low mile (46k) 2012 CX9 engine with *V* vin this week. About halfway thru swap. Never found any info regarding Lincoln and Ford 3.7L duratech engine interchange. Used Lincoln and Ford 3.7L engines (with same VVT system) look to be $800 to $1000 cheaper than the CX9 salvage. I paid $1900 for the 46k mile 2012 engine. If you are shopping engines, I'm pretty sure there is no difference between Mazda "A" vs "V" VIN. the Mazda engine compartment emissions info label says "no adjustments". will provide more update when I get the car back up and running.

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