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Old 08-15-2010, 06:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
GGR
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Water pump leaking: what do I risk driving like that?

Dear all,

yesterday the water pump on my 3.5 M116 engine started leaking quite badly. it seams to come from a hole at the bottom of the water pump housing. By looking at the schemes on the Workshop manual it looks like the sliding ring seal behind the propeller has failed.

I have a spare water pump but I have no clue whether it is better than the one I have in place now and I don't want to do all the work of replacing the pump only to discover it is also faulty.

I'm still to decide if I order a gasket kit and renew them on my spare water pump before fitting it or if I order a new water pump. But this will take some days anyway.

My problem is this is the only car I have and I had planned a 800 miles round trip early next week and the thing won't be repaired by then. So far it takes two hours of driving before the temp needle starts going up and I need to refill the radiator. When the engine is stopped it does not leak, unless I take the radiator cap out and then it starts dripping from the water pump. I would like to tempt the trip anyway by stopping and refilling from time to time.

My question are:

- can it get worse than that?

- do I risk some water pump complete failure such as bearings seizing etc?

- will a stop leak of any sort help at least reduce the leak?

- anybody drove a car with a similar problem?

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2010, 07:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's a kind of risky but you know already that you are loosing coolant ,so the worst is you get stranded,if it get too hot you need to shut the engine of before it overheats.
For sure I would put a stop leak in ,it swells up the seals so it can't get worst.
I once took a cab in Thailand he had no radiator cap so he filled every 50 Miles water in,as long as there is water in the radiator you can drive 1000 of miles.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGR View Post
- can it get worse than that?

- do I risk some water pump complete failure such as bearings seizing etc?

- will a stop leak of any sort help at least reduce the leak?

- anybody drove a car with a similar problem?

Thanks!
I had a '91 Ford Probe GT - gorgeous car, ran like a bat out of hell. I ran it out of water (and never noticed the temp creeping up) before every warning light in the car lit up and the enging died. An engine and $1900 later, I was able to get it back on the road.

A water pump job isn't terribly tough to do, and you can probably find the pump at the local Napa Autoparts store.

Yes - your pump can get worse. The hole allows coolant out as an indicator of bad seals
Yes - stop leak will mitigate the leakage, but you still might get stranded

I'd think hard about taking it on a long trip...
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I realized I had a problem by hearing a hissing sound while driving down the road. I looked at the temp gage and it was pegged to the maximum. That's an awful sight. I pulled over, popped the hood up and steam was coming out of the rad overflow at a very high pressure. Hoses were also under very high pressure. I immediatly thought I had blown a head gasket. Checked the oil, normal color, looked into the rocker arm cover throught the oil filler, no mayonnaise there either. I waited the engine to cool a bit then started it again with no problem and drove up to the next fuel station. There I added one gallon and a half of water. I started the engine and there was no pressure in the circuit, no bubbles coming out. So I went on driving and temp stayed OK for about two hours before rising again. I stopped again and this is when I notoced the leak.

Since then I've poored a leakstop I got at Autozone. I drove 50 miles and the level did not go down, and it's not leaking anymore. I wonder how long it's going to last. I may tempt the trip, but I will take my spare water pump with me. I'm going to fit a 5.0 M117 soon in that car so I don't want to start spending money on that engine now. Hopefully the sealant will last up to the swap.

Last edited by GGR; 08-16-2010 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Gael,

Water pumps are very inexpensive, you're not going to get away with an 800 mile trip without replacing it.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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- can it get worse than that? Yes

- do I risk some water pump complete failure such as bearings seizing etc?yes

- will a stop leak of any sort help at least reduce the leak?yes but increase pressure, not a good idea

- anybody drove a car with a similar problem?I fix em and yes I have seen so many engines destroyed this way.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm with Alabbasi and Eric - you're tempting fate and running a high risk of getting stuck somewhere, or worse, a siezed engine. If you have a replacement pump, replace it before your trip. It's a weekend afternoon job ...
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