Water Pump with Timing Belt - old wives tale ?

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This applies specifically to Honda timing belt replacement but can be discussed for other makes/models. So is there really, truely, any merit to the belief of replacing the water pump alongwith when replacing the timing belt ? Does the condition of the water pump really call for replacing it ? Does it really stand a chance of failure any higher than other such parts ? Also, is the water pump replacement officially listed in its service procedure by the manufacturer(honda) for replacing the timing belt ? or is it just a brainchild of the service shops ? There are SO MANY other parts that are buried and hidden in the car. What if any one of those fail ? What about the oil pump ? fuel pump ? psf pump ? (those are just a few random examples, I am sure one can come up with more). Why doesn't the "its a good idea to replace them just to be safe than sorry" or "since you are in there anyway" apply to those parts as well ? Why arn't they supposedly not as liable to fail as much as the water pump ? Why isn't valve adjustment part of the timing belt even though you have the valve cover off anyway ? you see what I mean ? So is it just an old wives tale that got handed down from one generation to the other, or a sly money making ploy by the shops ? or is there any substance to this(which I have yet to see) ?
 
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You have to disassemble the same parts to get to the water pump, that you do for the timing belt, so if the pump fails, you'll pay labor twice. I'd do the pump every other t-belt change.
 
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The point is that it's right there when they are doing the timing belt. When I had my wife's 3.2TL timing belt done, the dealership offered to change the water pump for the cost of the pump...no extra labor. On the other hand, if and when the pump fails, you've got the labor cost and inconvenience of another trip to the dealer. Preventing that had some value to me, so I had it done. On the other hand, that water pump could last to the second timing belt change (in Canada, it's every 60k miles). It's just a calculated gamble.
 
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Below is my real life experience on this issue with a 2001 Chrysler Neon 2.0 SOHC engine: The mileage rolled around last fall to the point where the timing belt job needed to be done. I did some research on it and found many suggestions to replace other parts while "in there" with the water pump being one of them. The following parts were replaced on mine at the same time as the timing belt: -Timing belt -hydraulic tensioner & idler pully -cam & crank seals -water pump -upper torque strut -PS/AC belt tensioner It was a case of "while you are in there might as well replace..." so I did. I did not want to go the labour costs twice to have the other items replaced... and even if I was DIY I would have still replaced everything. Now, for the water pump. My old water pump was definitely rotating very roughly compared to the new one. As well, the water pump showed signs of coolant seepage. The volume of coolant escaping must have been very small as I never really noticed a drop in coolant level prior.
 
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A water pump failure could lead to a timing belt failure, a very bad thing indeed for an interference type engine. You should do a valve check when doing the timing belt. A water pump is a maintenance item in my book. Whether you do it every timing belt change or every other one is up for grabs. The factory service manual for my '02 Accord doesn't group anything together, including your example of the timing belt & water pump. It shows how to R&R the timing belt. It also shows, in a different section, how to R&R the water pump. I believe the official stance from AHC is to replace the water pump when it starts to weep. This is very similar to when to replace coolant hoses. There is typically not a set time or mileage interval.
 
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Plus, if it was me and I had to take that belt back off to replace the water pump I'm not putting the same belt back on....
 
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 Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
You have to disassemble the same parts to get to the water pump, that you do for the timing belt, so if the pump fails, you'll pay labor twice. I'd do the pump every other t-belt change.
I meant that for shorter T-belt intervals; ~ 60,000 miles. I know many late model cars call for 100,000 mile intervals, so if the water pump is really covered up by all the timing belt parts, or it's driven by the T-belt, then it really should be replaced when the belt is.
 
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The odds your water pump will last to 210,000 miles aren't great. I'd say 3 in 4 will make it while not leaking and still pumping enough not to have overheating problems. Depends a lot on the series of engine, though. This used to be a big problem with Hondas, the water pump losing flow and causing overheating resulting in warped heads/bad head gaskets. And replacing them is a complete pain, basically requiring all the work over again. Jim's experience isn't alone. Most shops will change the pump and the tensioner for the cost of the parts. They're basically saying "Hey, this is a good idea and we'll do it for free" but consumers such as yourself still will accuse them of scamming. Scamming what, I don't know. It's a good idea, since the cost is low and you're right there. You're right, there are a lot of other parts to fail. So if your engine overheats and needs to be rebuilt, I would recommend you have them throw a new oil pump in while they're in there. EDIT: My rant was based on the US standard 105,000 mile. At 60,000 miles I probably would only do it every other time.
 
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Kestas

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Because of the labor overlap, I recommend doing both for the people that have to pay to have it done. The DIYers can better afford to take the chance on leaving the water pump alone.
 

youdontwannaknow

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 Originally Posted By: benjamming
A water pump failure could lead to a timing belt failure, a very bad thing indeed for an interference type engine.
best argument so far. thanks. point well taken. the next obvious question would then be -
 Originally Posted By: bepperb
The odds your water pump will last to 210,000 miles aren't great.
ok, but as compared to what other part ? the transmission ? the distributor ? need some perspective here. Is the water pump relatively that vulnerable ?
 
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For another 40$ for a OEM pump why wouldnt you replace it? also a good idea to replace the tensioner, cam and crank seals. Basically button it up and your good to go for another 100K miles
 

youdontwannaknow

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VNTS, sorry but you are not getting the point. Its not about $40 (and I believe its quite a bit more than $40 for the honda).
 
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Probably 120 for the Honda water pump. Things likely to go wrong on a typical Honda Civic before 200,000 miles are the exhaust, the water pump, the clutch or it's master cylinder, and my pet peeve the trunk/fuel door release cable. It's not that the water pumps wildly fail. But you're already there and it's a relatively inexpensive part that will need eventual replacement. Mathmatically, let's say it's 500 without the pump and 600 with. And 500 to replace the pump later. You're saving 100 bucks, but there's a 1 in 5 chance you'll have to pay 500. Mathmatically that's a fair bet... But the cost of the water pump doesn't represent the entire cost of your time to do this, or the potiential for a more expensive fix if your engine overheats or snaps the new belt/jumps a tooth when the wp locks up, or the price of an unexpected expense, or the emotional cost of banging your head into the wall for not doing it right the first time.
 
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 Originally Posted By: youdontwannaknow
VNTS, sorry but you are not getting the point. Its not about $40 (and I believe its quite a bit more than $40 for the honda).
yes I am getting the point, I would not go thru all the hastle doing it myself without replacing those. I have done many timing belts on my older SOHC cars and replace the tensioner for an extra 45$ along with the accesory belts(dont need to do water pump since it can be removed without touching the timing belt on mopar 2.5 and will last twice as long as the timing belt) and on the new DOHC cars, such as my PT I had the water pump, cam seals, crank seal, tensioner, accesory belts etc done(note it was nice having extended warranty pay for it:)) because my pal is a tech at the local store and he says your a fool not too. They just charge for the extra parts and addition time. Even if it was out of pocket I would do them all. The extra cost on labor is minimal and if you dont, you may get bit. BTW, a new mopar water pump was 45$. Timing belt interval is 110K on a 2.4 PT so you probably are not going to make it to the third belt counting the original, although I know a friend with an SRT4 who got 230K out of his original belt and water pump before the belt stretched and triggered a fault code, he then changed the belt but he risked it. But then again I dont own a Honda so maybe Honda rips you on the price of the pump but somehow I would pony up since I would not want to pay the labor to pull it all apart twice. You weigh the risk of paying twice for the labor and hastle of a breakdown or a little extra when you replace the timing belt, your call. Interval based maintenance is smart, I am responsible for large power transformers for a Utility, we dont skimp on anything so I am conditioned to go the extra mile to increase reliabilty.
 
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From my limited experience, I rarely see original water pumps last longer than 150,000 miles. If I was replacing the timing belt every 60k, then I would replace the water pump and the associated tensioners at every timing belt replacement. But on newer Hondas with the 105k interval, I would be performing a complete timing belt job (including pump) every time.
 
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ydwk, Bottom line is that it is not a scam by the dealers (won't say that very often). It is also not an old wives' tale. So, replace the pump & seals. BTW, which vehicle spurred this question? Will you be DIY?
 

youdontwannaknow

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 Originally Posted By: VNTS
You weigh the risk....
yes, and in weighing this risk the missing parameter was the probability of failure of the part. I was looking for something like - "I have never come across an original water pump fail before", or "they'd fail right after the timing belt replacement". Seems like The Critic has mentioned something to that effect. Besides that, I am not opposed to proactive or extra maintenance. On the contrary, I do just that. I change fluids and typical maintenance parts(plugs, pcv, distributor cap/rotor,...) at a much conservative interval than recommended by the manufacturer. but only after being objectively convinced that its well worth it for the reliability of the car or for a better driving experience. The same reason why I don't religiously change the oil at 3k, but at 5k or 6k. benjamming, this is for the accord but the mdx will be subject to the same exercise in over a year or so. No, I am not quite inclined to diy this one.
 
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Also depends on the engine design too. On an interference engine, a water pump fail could trigger a timing belt fail and then a bent valve or hole in the piston or block. Not something to mess around with. For an non-interference engine, you can afford to risk it with a tow truck when the belt snap.
 
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This can not ever be considered an old wives tale. If someone keeps the car, it will generally be a long term benefit to change the WP at the same time as the T Belt. If you are fixing it and selling it, forget the pump. Hard up for cash? Take a chance and leave it in.
 
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