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Thread: Possible future water pump failure

  1. #1
    Senior Member Citizen's Avatar
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    Possible future water pump failure

    I donít want to replace my water pump unless I have to. Itís not leaking or anything, and the engine seems to run nice and cool (recently had to replace otterstat though). So why the new thread?

    Have you every heard a water pump? If itís working correctly, probably not, as you only hear the engine running. But over time my engine has slowly began to sound like itís running down in a hole (actually, itís hard to describe the sound, it just doesnít sound ďrightĒ). No visible signs of any problem, and again, seems to be cooling just fine. But lately with the odd sound, I suspect the water pump will eventually fail. Iíve been only taking the car out for short, local drives, no parades or distant street meets.

    So the new thread is to ask for opinions. Should I be proactive and replace the water pump just on my hunch? Or should I wait for it to fail? Iíve had water pumps fail before in other cars but NOT overheat the engine and not actually leak coolant until the engine is shut down once home. Iím not saying that is guaranteed, but it could mean I donít get stranded somewhere. And considering the size of the job of replacing the pump (based on what Iíve read), Iím not sure I want to take on the task unless the consensus here is I am definitely looking at a failure in the near future.

    What do you think?

    Keeper of the DeLorean Owners Directory, at

  2. #2
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    Typically what fails on the pump is the seal and it starts to weep - it won't leave you stranded unless you run so low on coolant you overheat. But the bearing could go bad as well and if that is the case it should be replaced sooner than later. I'd first take off the belt and rotate it by hand and see if it turns smoothly or if it is rough indicating the bearing. Do the same with the AC belt, take it off. Run the engine for a few moments with both belts off and see if the sound has disappeared. You won't overheat the engine if you run it for a short duration without the pump turning.

    The change in sound could be a number of things - exhaust gaskets, etc. Best to determine what it is, first, before spending the time, effort and $.
    Last edited by dn010; 12-05-2018 at 09:24 AM.
    -----Dan B.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    My 2005 Malibu developed a funny engine noise and I guessed it was the water pump. I replaced it and that noise went away. I did not replace my water pump when I did my VOD. I don't think the 25 Kmiles justified pump replacement just because I was in there.
    Dave M vin 03572

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Having worked in the automotive field for many years I am a firm believer in not replacing any part unless Iím absolutely sure itís needed. Thatís not to say that preventative maintenance is a bad thing, especially if itís cheap. Plenty of people have replaced what they thought was a bad part, only to realize ( hundreds of dollars and many wasted hours later) that the new part did not solve their problem.

    Chances are that your pump would give you plenty of notice before it just flat out fails. Typically this presents as a leak but it may be noisy as well.

    Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and stop driving if it exceeds what is normal for your car. Purchase a AAA membership for piece of mind.

  5. #5
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    It's crazy how much sound bounces around that engine bay. Why not poke around your engine with a mechanic's stethoscope to track the noise source down? A very long screw driver works too. Start with the water-pump webbing which should immediately confirm your concern with the water pump.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Citizen's Avatar
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    Wow, all good advice in posts 2,3,4 and 5. Thanks!

    I don't have a stethoscope, but I do have and will try the long screwdriver idea. And I'll also try the removing the belt idea. I had not thought of any of those, so I'm glad I posted. I like the idea of not replacing the pump if in fact that's not the cause. It's a lot easier to post and look stupid, then to have replaced my water pump unnecessarily only to find it didn't help and post about it later.

    So thanks again for all the suggestions. I'll report back when I know something more.


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  7. #7
    Delorean Guru
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    Water pumps get noisy because the seal leaks and the bearings get the lubricant washed out of them. Inspect the weep hole on the underside of the neck for evidence of moisture or staining. The water pump can get VERY noisy before it finally fails. Make sure it is the water pump and not the idler bearings or the alternator. If it is the water pump better to replace it when you want to than when you HAVE TO. I vote for being proactive and getting it done sooner rather than latter. A big job because of all of the other things you must do to get to it.
    David Teitelbaum

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