Ever heard of a water pump wearing out...without leaking?

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Old 02-11-07, 12:35 PM
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Ever heard of a water pump wearing out...without leaking?

I put this question to a couple auto part stores and they told me they have never had a calling for replacement water pumps for my car, because it simply 'wore out'. My car is a 91 Dodge Spirit with 231,000 miles on it.

I had them show me a new one out of the box and the blades are pressed on the shaft and the blades are steel.

Are there cases where the blade becomes a little loose on the shaft?, or, where the blades have literally shrunk in size from churning through dirty coolant over the years?

(It has been below zero at night and about 0-6 above for highs of the day and I'm freezing! I have had to run a 250 watt heat lamp in my car off my 400 watt ac/dc inverter!)

My engine is running on the hotter side (needle now goes to 3/4 on the gauge and beyond a little, now. (It comes down, some, at idle) Very little heat comes out of the heater. It BLOWS just fine. Just only puts out about 60-70 degres in 10 below temps, and about 70-80 in about 10-20 above outside temps. It has gotten to about 105 at the blower register when it is about 30 outside. I have a probe thermometer in my panel vent at all times to monitor this.

I am not sure if I have a coolant circulation issue or if it is an air baffle problem. When I go with the slide control over to high heat, it feels like I am opening up the baffle, and it comes to a stop slightly before the lever bottoms out, as one would think it should if it is hooked up okay.

I have done this work:

I have disconnected the upper radiator hose at the thermostat and disconnected the lower radiator hose at the water pump. Then I poured coolant as fast as I could in the upper hose and watched it run out the lower hose as fast as I poured it in...so it appeared. Then I disconnected the heater hose that goes IN to the core, and connected a hose to it (temporarily for the test) and ran this hose back to the radiator so I would keep the water circulating and not lose expensive coolant. When I ran the engine, the coolant flowed out the hose into the radiator, completely filling the inside of the hose as it came out (in other words, NOT just a trickle came out.) UNFORTUNATELY...this one test I did not perform: I SHOULD have had someone help me and race the engine to see if the water velocity/volume increased with speed. I ALSO blew through the heater hose that comes from the thermostat, back towards the thermostat and there did not seem to be that much resistance once I blew the water back into the radiator and heard it bubble there. Then, I disconnected and blew through the outlet hose of the heater core and it too allowed me to blow through it and likewise bubbled in the radiator, easily. Then I tried to blow through the heater core itself and I was able to do so, but there was SOME resistanmce. But without being able to compare to another new heater core, I have no way of knowing if there should be some resistance when trying to blow through it. I have also hooked up my heater hoses to the heater core in reverse, in hopes of back flushing the core, but this does no good. By feeling the two heater core hoses with the engine running, the hoses feel pretty hot.

In lieu of all I have said, I have wondered if there is the posibility the water pump just is not moving the water fast enough because it is loose or wore out (blades reduced in size). Note that the belt does not slip, and there is no coolant leak or squeal. Oh...if I drive around town in second gear, to make the water pump spin faster, the increased engine speed gains me about 10 degrees on the blower heat ouput. But this alone coud be attributed to lots of gains and one can't conclude it's the water pump or the radiator being partially clogged, or the heater core also being partially clogged, or the baffle letting in a little too much fresh cold air, as the speed would over come lots of these things. But I am wasting lots of gas driving around in 2nd and woith the resistance on the engine from drawing the heat lamp watts, which locks up the alternator more.

A backyard mechanic told me he doubts it is the water pump and tjinks it is all because of my radiator. That even though I saw coolant run out as fast as I poured it in, that perhaps at higher engine speds, the radiator no longer would flow properly.

Any sugestions as what I can do next in my testing, that will not cost me anything (much) in determining what is plugged, open, or wore out?

Oh. I get air coming out my CLOSED vent-heating-cooling blower vent system when going down the highway. Could this be a big part of my problem?...like a warped plastic baffle, or leaves or pine needles? letting in too much outside air?: Or, do they design most cars so that the manufacturer doesn't get sued if lots of people are in the car and get overcome by carbon dioxide or monoxide, so they introduce lots of outside fresh air into the cabin that cannot be stopped?

Oh. Also my collant level is up good, so that is not it. Also, I doubt my head gasket is blown because it was replaced about 2 years ago and I do NOT smell that sugary sweet obnoxious smell out the tailpipe, nor am I losing coollant other than some due to upper radiator crimp leak.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 01:02 PM
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When did you last replace the thermostat? Sounds like it is sticking shut - overheating the engine but not allowing full circulation thru the system. When you replace it, if there is a screw or bolt on top of the thermostat housing, open it while filling until coolant comes out. Then close the screw or bolt. That gets any air lock out of the system.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 01:17 PM
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I knew the moment I DID replace the thermostat that that was not the problem, as when I removed it, the engine was still hot and the thermostat was wide open. Sorry I forgot to say that I changed it. And the nerw one made no difference whatsoever. And yes, the old one was installed the right direction, along with the new one I installed: Spring inward.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 01:42 PM
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Wow, the dead have arisen. It's been a long time daveboy.


without reading the entire post ( I forgot how verbose you can be),

yes, a water pump can do most the things you have suggested. I have seen an impeller come loose from the shaft and I have seen the impeller eroded, not neccessarily to the point of a great loss of flow but I haven't worked on too many engines with 200k+ miles on them either.

concerning the reduced heat output of the heater. understand that any heat source will only change the temp a certain amount. Since the ambient temp is so low, all the interior of the car, with the heat ducts and such, will absorb the heat and reduce the temp you measure, at least until they are thouroughly heated but understand that the heat loss in a car is so great that you may never have the same temp as in a warm ambient temp situation.

You thought about the fresh air intake lacking a total seal would add to this, if it is a problem. Even if it is sealed, realize how thin the material is and how poor the insulating value of it is. In other words, your heater must continually try to heat that door all the while the heat is being constantly and quickly transferred to the outside air. That would be a great heat loss in itself.

Concerning the temp gauge. Several things here. First, temp guages are notoriouosly inaccurate. Next, if you had a radiator problem (blockage) the temp would be high, not low due to its' inability to transfer heat to the ambient air. Since your t-stat is new, I would accept (for the momnet) it's working ok. Understand your engine is metal and therefor a pretty good conductor of heat. The air is extremely cold therefore all the air around your engine is sapping away heat. Running the engine faster produces more heat and since the thermal efficiency of the metal stays the same, it can only transfer a limited amount of heat so more heat is retained within your engine.

If the water pump is worn, you may experience the inside heat situation and you may experience the higher than normal temps in the engine. If I were to do anything, I would strongly consider replacing the water pump but unless things are beyond intended parameters, I would wait for warmer temps and see how things go. Cars do not typically act "normal" in extremely cold weather and could simply be the cause of your concerns. As long as temps remain within normal parameters and you are not experiencing unbearable results, I would wait for a warmer day.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
Wow, the dead have arisen. It's been a long time daveboy.


without reading the entire post ( I forgot how verbose you can be),

yes, a water pump can do most the things you have suggested. I have seen an impeller come loose from the shaft and I have seen the impeller eroded, not neccessarily to the point of a great loss of flow but I haven't worked on too many engines with 200k+ miles on them either.

concerning the reduced heat output of the heater. understand that any heat source will only change the temp a certain amount. Since the ambient temp is so low, all the interior of the car, with the heat ducts and such, will absorb the heat and reduce the temp you measure, at least until they are thouroughly heated but understand that the heat loss in a car is so great that you may never have the same temp as in a warm ambient temp situation.

You thought about the fresh air intake lacking a total seal would add to this, if it is a problem. Even if it is sealed, realize how thin the material is and how poor the insulating value of it is. In other words, your heater must continually try to heat that door all the while the heat is being constantly and quickly transferred to the outside air. That would be a great heat loss in itself.

Concerning the temp gauge. Several things here. First, temp guages are notoriouosly inaccurate. Next, if you had a radiator problem (blockage) the temp would be high, not low due to its' inability to transfer heat to the ambient air. Since your t-stat is new, I would accept (for the momnet) it's working ok. Understand your engine is metal and therefor a pretty good conductor of heat. The air is extremely cold therefore all the air around your engine is sapping away heat. Running the engine faster produces more heat and since the thermal efficiency of the metal stays the same, it can only transfer a limited amount of heat so more heat is retained within your engine.

If the water pump is worn, you may experience the inside heat situation and you may experience the higher than normal temps in the engine. If I were to do anything, I would strongly consider replacing the water pump but unless things are beyond intended parameters, I would wait for warmer temps and see how things go. Cars do not typically act "normal" in extremely cold weather and could simply be the cause of your concerns. As long as temps remain within normal parameters and you are not experiencing unbearable results, I would wait for a warmer day.
Thanx for your in-depth response. Yes...it has been a while. 6 months?

First off, the engine DOES say it runs hot. Now weather it truly is that hot is another question. Usually oil pressure will fall when the engine gets dangerously hot, and mine is not.

Regarding the baffling and the ambient temperature differential issue...yes, often people complain their cars do not heat as well in the winter. They had no idea they would feel colder when they really NEEDED the heat, because in warmer weather the heater seemed to work fine. Well, MY heater never was quite up to snuff. If I got 115 at the panel vent in the warm months, this was doing good. It should actually be hotter than this in the warm months.

My presumption that the baffling might be introducing cold air (unwanted) is based on the very reasoning you give and the principles apply to furnace systems as well. Cold air flowing through the exchanger (core) is going to cool the exchanger. That is why you can only get so much "rise" in temperature. And based on this, I thought MAYBE that my car is not supposed to be letting in all this outside air past the core and hence keeps the output temp low. But if cabin air recirculated only, the 10 below inside cabin air would soon become 10. Then the 10 degree air passing back through the core would raise it to 20 inside the cabin. Then 20 degree air going back through the core would make it 40, 60, 80, 100, 110, ?
 
  #6  
Old 02-11-07, 02:12 PM
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You are looking for an inexpensive check on something that could be causing the problem.
I will take a stab in the dark.
Could be air in the upper heater hose.
You said that when you had it running, that both hoses were warm.
Thats good.
Turn the heater on full and feel the difference in temperature of both hoses.
Should be a noticable difference (Dont burn yourself)
 
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Old 02-11-07, 03:08 PM
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There is somewhat of a difference. But that is normal , especially if the blower is on. If the blower is not on, the temperature should be nearly the same.

Regarding the trapped air: I actually reinvented the wheel and added inline to the heater hose to the core, a vertical 3/4 inch pipe where I add coolant and wait for it to rise in the radiator, to make sure the air is not in there. And it makes no difference to the temp at my panel register whether I have more coolant in there or not.
 
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Old 02-12-07, 07:11 AM
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Have you had your radiator tested for flow? I know you said you took it out and tried, but have you had it done professionally?
 
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Old 02-12-07, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for the response. Remember that I only said I poured water in the upper radiator hose and it ran out the lower hose as fast as I poured it in? But perhaps that test alone does not prove enough.

I am hoping someone here can tell me a doityourself way of flow testing the radiator. That is why we are all here; to save money. If I took it to the shop, I'd have more in the car than it is worth. I recently spent $600 on a new in-tank electric fuel pump, gas filter, regulator and ...hmmm...I forget..one other thing. Anyway......
 
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