A properly functioning water pump is critical to the continued functionality of any engine. If your water pump fails and you continue to drive your vehicle while the engine is hot, you will destroy your engine – no ifs, ands, or butts about it. Your engine relies on your water pump to force coolant through its water jacket. By forcing coolant that has just gone through the radiator into the engine, you also force the heated coolant out of the engine and into your vehicle’s radiator where it is cooled as it travels through the radiator, only to come out, hit the water pump, and go through the cycle again.
Water pumps are a belt driven accessory with two main different configurations. The first configuration type involves the power originally coming from the crank shaft pulley. Some vehicles use a serpentine belt to drive all accessories, including the water pump. If this is the case for your vehicle, your serpentine belt is very important. In addition to driving the water pump, it would also drive the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor. It does this by taking power from the crank shaft pulley which is typically mounted on the front of the engine. You can also take power from the crank shaft pulley indirectly. For example, I have a friend with a 1968 Corvette with a water pump driven by a double pulley that comes of the air conditioning compressor. The main belt spins the air conditioning compressor pulley not only rotates the compressor, but has a secondary groove with the water pump belt in it. That belt in turn rotates the air conditioning compressor.
The second main type of water pump configuration is one in which the timing belt drives the water pump. This is common in Camry engines, Honda engines, or any vehicle with an interference engine (my 1997 Audi A4 has a water pump driven by the timing belt). Here is something you should know. Any time you change a water pump driven by a timing belt, replace the belt. Any time you replace a timing belt that drives a water pump, replace the the water pump.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that both of these are maintenance items. They have to be replaced at some point or your engine won’t work (I have information on maintenance schedules below).
The second reason is that if your belt or pump breaks, the other unit won’t work. If your water pump locks up, it will strip the teeth on the timing belt. If that happens, and you have an interference engine, you’ll be calling Low Mileage Engines looking for a new motor. While we value our customers and want to do a good job for you, we prefer helping folks who have gotten a lot of life out of their original engine and haven’t had a preventable failure!
You should always follow your vehicle’s owners manual for the maintenance schedule. A General rule of thumb for vehicles made in the last 20 years are that if you have a KIA, you should replace the belt and water pump every 40,000 miles. All other vehicles should be considered for a timing belt change at 60,000 miles. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you replace the belt driving the water pump when you replace it, and vice versa.
Age should also be taken into consideration in the maintenance schedule. Personally, if the mileage to justify a change hasn’t been reached but the belt has been in use for five years, I would change it because belts can get dry rot over time. Changing a belt is so cheap compared to what could happen if the belt breaks that it doesn’t make sense to not change it.
You should consider replacing the water pump on any used engine you install, period. As a bolt on accessory, a water pump isn’t warranted and failure could lead to overheating, which voids any warranty. This includes warantees on new engines, used engines, remanufactured engines, reconditioned engines, rebuilt engines, or any other adjective in front of “engines.”
If your water pump has failed and you find yourself needing a replacement engine, please, call the sales staff of Low Mileage Engines at 901-266-9996. We would be more than happy to quote you on the engine you need, explain what makes our warranty the best in the industry, and answer any questions you may have.
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