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How can you tell if your waterpump is going bad?

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Old 07-27-2001, 12:19 PM   #1
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Before I start throwing parts at my car I figured I would ask a few questions. First, how can you diagnois if your waterpump is going bad? It's not making any noise but the car has been running hotter lately and right now I'm having a problem that someone has suggested that might be caused by the waterpump and I can't tell if it's the problem. What are some ways to diagnois it? Also is there a regular maintenance interval for the opti-spark? The car has 65K miles on it and if I have to take off the waterpump then while I'm in there.....?

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Old 07-27-2001, 01:16 PM   #2
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I am not 100% sure but i hope i can at least steer you in the right direction. If your driving and the car just runs up to overheating it is a good chance it is the pump. If it looks good but then you stop in traffic and it overheats it is the fan. I have seen the thermostat stick so i can be wrong. I can (knock on wood) say that i never had a pump go bad on me before. It was always the fan or the thermostat.

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Old 07-27-2001, 01:30 PM   #3
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Look at the weep hole. Coolant here is the first sign of trouble. A lot of times it starts off slow so the drips never make it to the ground.

Do you smell coolant?
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Old 07-27-2001, 02:48 PM   #4
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Before you think it is the water pump check the following:

Is the thermostat working properly.
Is it stuck or open.
Is there enough coolant in the system.
Is the radiator cap all of the way on, does it need to be replaced.
Is the radiator blocked by debris.
Look at it from the front of the car, you may have sucked in a plastic bag, newspaper, etc.
Are the fans working correctly.
Does the fan belt need replacement.
Does the system need a flush.
Is the car low on oil.

Water pumps go in two different ways; the bearing goes or the impeller goes. When the bearing goes coolant drips out of the weep hole located on the bottom of the pump, just behind the pully. You usually see or smell coolant. The impeller goes, very rarely. You can tell if it is working properly when the car is at operating temperature, with the radiator cap off, coolant is moving through the system.

To check the fans, turn on the a/c, does the fan come on? If yes the fan is ok. If not a relay is possibly bad.

The way you described the situation, it sounds like the radiator is blocked by something sucked in.

Water pumps can go at 50k or 150k miles. If you are into preventitive maintainance, you might want to consider pulling the radiator (see the Tech Post for instructions) and change the pump along with the hoses. Changing the pump is alot easier when the radiator is out. While doing this you can flush the system, change the thermostat as well. The entire job if you do it yourself would cost no more than 100.00 to 125.00 depending on the price of the water pump.
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Old 07-27-2001, 04:21 PM   #5
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When my water pump went out, the car would become hard to steer. The coolant leaking ran onto the belt, and the coolant would cause to slip and I would lose power steering when turning. Thats always a good sign that your pump is going out
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Old 07-27-2001, 04:32 PM   #6
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In addition to all the other symptoms mentioned the water pump will start making noise. By this point is should be pretty obvious what the problem is.

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Old 07-27-2001, 05:12 PM   #7
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Looks like it has been covered very well. Good Luck, Thumper.

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Old 07-27-2001, 08:02 PM   #8
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Probably not the pump if you dont hear it growling,you can take a stick & put it to your ear & touch various parts & listen for bearing noises.
Also no one addressed the cost & or maintenance issue of an opti spark,I dont have one but going by what Ive read I think there is no maintenance & the cost is about a grand.Dont get it wet ever,including while changing the water pump.

[This message has been edited by nobodyunknown (edited 07-27-2001).]
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Old 07-27-2001, 08:57 PM   #9
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You can usually tell if it's going bad if it stays out all night with dodgy characters, stays on the couch all day, can't keep a job, and generally has bloodshot eyes

Best of luck, let me know if I should send my water pump over for an intervention

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Old 07-27-2001, 10:50 PM   #10
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Thumper, I knew mine was going by seeing the spray of coolant under the hood. Mackey had the same spray on his hood.

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