Water Pump Failure Symptoms? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Water Pump Failure Symptoms?

Well I'm thinking that the water pump in my 71 Spider has failed. As I'm not all that mechanically experienced I'd like to get some help on confirming my amateur-wrench diagnosis.

As background, I've been working for about a year on wakening her; she was a 5-year sleeping beauty. Of relevance to this question, she has a rebuilt radiator, new thermostat, new fan, new hoses. Since getting all those, she's been running a nice constant 185 degrees.

Noticed the other day while driving that she'd jumped to 210 degrees. Since I was only few miles from home, I drove her back and then (when she'd cooled a bit) put about 1/2 gallon of distilled water in the radiator.

Nothing leaked out as I put the water in. Next day, drove the car a few miles to a coffee shop, and parked where I could see the car. No obvious leaks when I parked; but after 5 minutes or so, I noticed that she started a small stream of water... which then stopped. I figured that this might be because I don't have a genuine (big enough) overflow bottle and that the overflow had overflowed. After getting home, I topped up the radiator again. Didn't require as much this time.

Today, when I started the car, I noticed a thumping, like the engine moving on its mounts.... something it doesn't usually do.. and it has new Paul Spruell mounts so that's not it. Drove a half mile or so, and noticed a rattling noise, like a loose exhaust... except that all the mounts, front to rear are new. Stopped and popped the hood. Cap was tight, hoses weren't leaking. However the fan wobbles very slightly when I tug on the new fanblade. Oil is bright not milky.

Some water dripping on the sump; a few drops on the shroud.. No visible leaks running. Since I'm close to home, back we go. In the garage, after the car cools a little (she'd never gotten up on temp) I refilled the radiator about 16 oz or so. No immediate leaks were visible. I left, in my other car, and came back about 45 minutes later. There was a puddle of water on the floor of the garage.... Again it seems like the overflow overflowed.

But.... do these symptoms seem like a bad pump? Is there a better or definitive test? Could it be something else? If so, what?

I've read the recent thread on water pumps and the FAQ on replacing one. It seems like any of the usual suppliers' pumps work fine so availabilty and price seem to be the deciding factor on who to order from.

Thanks gentlemen

71 Spider
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 07:50 PM
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If the water under the car comes from the front of the engine, then it does sound like a failed pump. It's leaking from the pump shaft seal either thru a weep hole or out by the shaft itself.

Jon '74 GTV RIP Tifosi
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokki View Post
the fan wobbles very slightly when I tug on the new fanblade.
You seem to have two things going on: coolant leakage and overheating.

When waterpumps fail, the symptom is a leak, not overheating (unless you allow most of the coolant to leak out). Feeling the fan wobble is a good way to test of the pump's bearings & seal. When the bearings wear out, the shaft can wobble, and that wobble takes out the seal.

You need to pull the radiator to conveniently change the pump. You might consider having your radiator serviced by a radiator shop while it is out - it could be partially blocked by deposits, which might be the cause for the overheating.

Jay Mackro
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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I think that the overheating was because of the leak - i.e. the coolant got low because of the leak and cause the temp to go up - as long as the radiator is out for the pump replacement, it only makes sense to have it tested.

Now, off to buy a new pump.

Thanks

71 Spider
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 08:51 AM
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off to buy a new pump.
Don't forget a big box of bandaids.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 04:56 PM
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Get a new thermostat, and gasket just in case. Another while it's apart suggestion.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 05:54 PM
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While the front pulley is off, inspect and or replace the front crankshaft seal.

I would inspect the shaft on the pulley to see if there is any scoring and if there is, sleeve it.

I just love the "while its apart or while your at it" list.

Good luck.

Vin

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
However the fan wobbles very slightly when I tug on the new fanblade
Check the bolts that hold the fan on. Make the belt is tight (see #1 below) To check the water pump, loosen the fan belt, then grab the fan in the center where it attaches to the pulley. Try to wiggle it. Your looking for play in the shaft that the pulley attaches to. If the bearing and seal is going the pulley will move. There is a weep hole on the bottom this is where in, my experience, they will leak when the seal is bad. (photo) They also make whining/groaning noise before they break.
From your description I have to agree with Jay. I think you have an overheating problem caused by something other than the water pump. They usually leak like hell ,or seize right up before your car will over heat. Here's a few things that I would check before I replaced the water pump.
1) Make sure the fan belt is in good condition, and tight. Mine was running hot on an outing last year because the fan belt was loose. Easy fix.
2)Check the thermostat. It's on top of the intake at the radiator hose. Take it out. I think yours has a housing with 2 bolts. Pay attention to how it came out, so you don't put it back in backwards. You'll see that it's closed. Put it in near boiling water for a minute or 2, then take it out with a pair of pliers, and see if it's open. If it's still closed, you need a thermostat.
Just my 2 cents. I'm kinda like the way you want your fan belt, tight. I hate replacing good parts. You may also save a few band aids.
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