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Hello. The check engine light comes on when the vehicle's computer has detected a problem with one of the components in one of the systems. To find out what exactly that check engine light means you have to hook the vehicle up to a computer scanner. Many auto parts stores now offer this scan for free, as do the AAMCO repair shops. After the scan is finished, the scanner will turn out the check engine light. Some vehicles check engine light also turns off if the battery is disconnected for two full minutes. Regards, Joe
While I understand this answer may be overkill, follow this link to an article about the engine cooling system. Look midway down the article for this sentence "More information about 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander Engine Cooling System service and troubleshooting, find here – 32 pages of PDF filetype" Click on the "find here" link which will prompt you to download a file 14_rar. Open it with any decompressing software (Winzip, WinRar) to find 14.pdf. Go to page 14-23 to see a diagram of where water pump is. It will also give you instructions on removing and replacing it. Good luck!
If that is the problem, then the engine is in serious need of weather-proofing. Is the 'check engine' light lit? If so, have the problem code(s) read out with a scanner. That will give you the clues needed to find your problem.
You'll need to know why the service engine light comes on, they can check this by using a OBD II diagnostic tool to find the trouble code stored in the pcm, ask them to run a check on it, or you can take it to a mechanic before you buy it to have them check over the vehicle for any minor or major problems.
I had the same problem. I took my 2003 outlander into the mits. dealership and they told me there was a factory recall for some sort of relay or something for the cooling fan. they fixed it no charge. hope this helps. darryl