Yikes, $1000???????? I believe that I would shop around a few different places and get different quotes. $1000 just seems too high. I called yesterday morning and got a quote for $270...but I had my own parts, which places don't normally like to use, but I know the shop owner. Price your parts from Autozone or some place like that and double the price, that is about what they will charge you for parts (generally). For that year and engine, the pump was around $60 and the timing belt was around $30 or so. They say to always replace the timing belt when replacing the pump...while its already off.
The truth of it is, I would have done the job, but I am living at my in-laws at the moment and did not want to tie up his garage.
It does really hack me off though, when a shop tells you they don't even have the right tools for something like a water pump. It doesn't take any specialty tools that I am aware of. On the same 97 stratus, my exhaust manifold was cracked. Took it to a shop I trusted. They told me it was hours and hours of work and a lot of time just looking around, trying to figure out what tool to use that would best work. That got me mad! I replaced it and a power steering hose on my gravel driveway...it took ME hours and hours, but I didn't have a lift and had far less tools than a shop had.
There is a guy on you tube that has several 3 to 5 minutes videos, showing how to replace a water pump and timing belt...he shows pretty much everything and he is showing how to do it on a +/- 97 Stratus. I can send you the link if you want to DIY. As said, I would have attempted it, but I wasn't about to tie up my father-in-laws garage or do it outside in the snow.
Also, I am pretty sure mine is the pump...I heard it squealing the other day and after two days of that, it started "peeing" from the water pump area. I am sure if its not, the shop will call and let me know.
Last edited by thaddy1978; 11-16-2010 at 11:12 AM.