Catastrophic water pump failure

Not open for further replies.
Mine died a slow life on my gmc truck. Started to lead a bit and kept getting worse. Truck was 13 years old and about 70k miles.
Both of the ones I have replaced, one on a '98 Cavalier and another on a '94 Saturn SC2; just leaked. They only time Ive heard of a catastrophic failure was when someone with a mid-90s Suburban and a Vortec 5.7L decided, "OH! The coolant is leaking from those holes (on the water pump.) Ill shove a screw and some JB weld in there to plug it up." The bearings, of course, locked up hardcore and shredded the belt while driving down the 15 in Vegas.
Last edited:
I will leave well enough alone on my water pump. Hopefully if and when it does fail it will leak and make noise so I can take care of it then. I have read they last longer if you keep the coolant changed on schedule, which I have done. It's just something that's hard not to think about, with that many miles on the OE pump. My truck still has its original alternator too. I'll just have to continue to keep a close eye on my gauges and listen to the engine for any odd noises and continue with regular maintenance, same as I do now. I have a tremendous amount of faith in my truck, it has lasted a very long time and if it blew up tomorrow, I got my money's worth out of it and then some. Thanks for the replies here.
Originally Posted By: brentalan
Two years ago my '88 Chevy Caprice started leaking out of the weep hole and there was no catastrophic failure. [censored] GM....original water pump only lasted 20 years :P
I have a 1978 Ford Pinto that has as far as I know,the original pump.I have owned it since 1986 and I have never put a pump on it.Those terrible Fords. On topic,I have never had a pump to do as the OP has said.They usually give you some type of hint that they are going bad.
On my Jeep, the pump went at 105k miles and 12 years. With my mom's old Jeep, I'm not sure of the exact mileages when the pumps went (around 60k and 100k would be my guess), but she bought it new and put 110k miles on it in 10 years before selling it, so they both went pretty early. Her current 99 GC 4.0 has 96k on the original pump. I don't know what the mileage was on the Camry I mentioned. Your pump is probably fine if it's not making noises, spins smoothly with the belt off and isn't leaking. I wouldn't worry about it until it needs it.
I had a catastrophic water pump failure many years ago on a 1984 Ford EXP. The car was about 5-6yrs old with ~70Kmi on it. IIRC, it was a 1.6L OHC 4cyl. The water pump was driven by the timing belt. When it seized with no warning, it sheared all the teeth off the timing belt and stalled the engine. I knew something was up when the engine turned over super fast and the rocker arms weren't rocking! When we pulled (and broke the heck out of) the timing belt cover, a pile of little rubber teeth fell to the ground. Luckily that was a non-interference engine. I guess the moral is anything mechanical can go at any time. Joel
I've only had two water pumps fail. A long time ago I had a '72 Satellite. The blades on the pump rusted away until they were no more than knives slicing through the coolant. The other one was a couple of years ago when the pump on the Z28 died in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I came out to see car-blood running down the parking lot. When started and up to pressure came up it leaked badly. Had to have it towed home. The only catastrophic failure I've had was a timing gear on a 94 F150 I-6. Truck died and I coasted over to the side of the road.
Not open for further replies.