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Thread: Water Pump Pulley

  1. #1
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    Water Pump Pulley

    I've recently noticed the pump pulley has some play, maybe due to bearing wear ? It do not have horizontal or vertical play but when I grasp the tip of one of the fan blade and move the pulley front and backwards it has about 1/16 to 1/8th inch of play. Is that normal? Can I drive the car a few more miles without worrying the whole fan assembly may become unattached from the water pump? Today is Wed and I have appointment for replacement on Mon (5 days away). I won't be driving at a freeway speed. What is your professional(mechanical) opinion?

    Larry

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan View Post
    I've recently noticed the pump pulley has some play, maybe due to bearing wear ? It do not have horizontal or vertical play but when I grasp the tip of one of the fan blade and move the pulley front and backwards it has about 1/16 to 1/8th inch of play. Is that normal? Can I drive the car a few more miles without worrying the whole fan assembly may become unattached from the water pump? Today is Wed and I have appointment for replacement on Mon (5 days away). I won't be driving at a freeway speed. What is your professional(mechanical) opinion?

    Larry
    The shaft (on the water pump; onto which the pulley attaches) may have a little play but I'm surprised you could move the pulley at all by hand with the belts in place/tightened up.

    If I recall correctly, a slight amount of forward/backward play is normal; it's wobble that's worrisome. If you haven't got that - and the pump's not making noises or dripping (there's a weep hole built in that will let coolant seep out when the pump starts to fail) and the car's not overheating, probably all's ok.

    I would, however, check/adjust the fan belt tension. It sounds like yours might be a little loose!

  3. #3
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Yikes.. I would be Very concerned with any free play with a water pump. Yes , you can still move the fan blades even with the belts tight, if the pump has any slack. I don't care how well balanced the fan blades are, they could set up a sharp vibration that could destroy your pump, fan blades, and radiator. I have seen it happen more than once during my 45+ years in the field. It even happened on one of my rigs. I'm glad to see that you are getting it fixed soon. Have a good one...

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM View Post
    Yikes.. I would be Very concerned with any free play with a water pump. Yes , you can still move the fan blades even with the belts tight, if the pump has any slack. I don't care how well balanced the fan blades are, they could set up a sharp vibration that could destroy your pump, fan blades, and radiator. I have seen it happen more than once during my 45+ years in the field. It even happened on one of my rigs. I'm glad to see that you are getting it fixed soon. Have a good one...
    I think he meant play on the pulley/shaft - not the fan blades - which I agree would be bad news!

    The fan blades are fixed in place and not supposed to move at all. (The hub on which the fan is mounted can move, though, especially if it has a thermostatic clutch).

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    Water Pump

    Thanks all, for your personal input regarding the pump pulley.I'd rather err on the side of caution----and over-all safety----, and I already have made an appointment for Monday to replace the water pump, and while they're at it, to replace all the drive belts (might as well) while all the components--radiator/hoses, alternator, etc. are removed or loosened, to work on the pump.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan View Post
    Thanks all, for your personal input regarding the pump pulley.I'd rather err on the side of caution----and over-all safety----, and I already have made an appointment for Monday to replace the water pump, and while they're at it, to replace all the drive belts (might as well) while all the components--radiator/hoses, alternator, etc. are removed or loosened, to work on the pump.
    Can't hurt!

    Ask them to change out the thermostat, too, while they're at it. It's a $10 part - and much easier to replace (mess-wise) with the coolant drained.... which they have to do as part of pulling the pump, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Can't hurt!

    Ask them to change out the thermostat, too, while they're at it. It's a $10 part - and much easier to replace (mess-wise) with the coolant drained.... which they have to do as part of pulling the pump, etc.
    -------------------------------------------
    The pump and drive belts were replaced over 14 years ago so I decided to replace them now as the belts are constructed in part with rubber material, and as far as rubber is concerned, they can become brittle with age (like the tires, remember ?)and you never know when they will break.

    Larry

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    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I think he meant play on the pulley/shaft - not the fan blades - which I agree would be bad news!

    The fan blades are fixed in place and not supposed to move at all. (The hub on which the fan is mounted can move, though, especially if it has a thermostatic clutch).

    If you think about it, the fan blades ARE attached to the Water Pump hub/pully assembly. So therefore, when you push forth and back on the blades, they will flex some. But I think he was talking about movement within the pump itself. and if there is any play in the pump, it could cause damage down the road. The only way to check for bad pump, that has been used for years, is to try to move the blades to check for slop in the pump. Bad bearings will sound like a howl and can cause a viberation which at times, can be felt when the engine is running. And of course, if the pump is leaking, as you mentioned, you can tell by drips on the floor, or the coolant running out from the weap hole. Some movement can be attained with the thermostatic hub, but very, very little. If there is to much movement, it can cause an ocillation or wobble with the fan blades and cause the blades to come in contact with the fan shroud. If the wobble becomes to great, then it can destroy the water pump, fan shroud, and in some cases, break the water pump shaft and take out the radiator, Belts and do a bunch of other stuff. Of course, when in doubt, take to someone that you can trust, and have it checked out.

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