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Thread: What does a bad water pump sound like?

  1. #1
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    What does a bad water pump sound like?

    Kind of a stupid question, and I know they don't always make noise when they go bad, but I've got a somewhat intermittent "metal on metal" grinding noise that I think is coming from the water pump, and my "low coolant" light turns on and off several times over the course of a 10-minute drive to work. The grinding noise actually either goes away or at least gets quieter randomly. Sometimes I'll start the engine and it won't be making noise at all and sometimes I'll start it and it's annoyingly loud.

    The car doesn't overheat or anything. It gets a little hot in the summer but it's done that for years. Is it possible that the water pump itself is okay even if the bearing has gone out? Of course I want to fix it, but we're getting into motorcycle weather so I could probably push it off for a little while since I won't be driving the car much.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Luminatorz34's Avatar
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    Re: What does a bad water pump sound like?

    yup, water pump going bad makes a grinding noise...in theory when a water pump goes bad, all it really is is the bearing goes out of them...some go worse than others. do you notice a little puddle of coolant or anything under the car when you park it at all? and have you actually checked to coolant when the light flashes low coolant on and off?
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  3. #3
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    Re: What does a bad water pump sound like?

    Yeah the coolant level is good. There are no puddles of coolant under the car, but after I drive to work (about 10 miles) I can usually faintly smell coolant so I think there is a very small leak somewhere in there. Sometimes it's hard to tell when you're in a crowded parking lot if the coolant smell is coming from your car or not.

    Cool. I've changed out the water pump in a cavalier before so I'll get that done sometime. I figured that's what it was but didn't get around to checking it until today since the car still runs just fine and doesn't overheat. I'd say a water pump lasting 145,000 miles isn't too bad.

  4. #4
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    Re: What does a bad water pump sound like?

    Does the car start to run hot when it idles, then when you accelerate it cools down? That's usually the sign of a failing water-pump.

    If you think the sound is coming from the water-pump get a long screwdriver and put the tip of it on the water pump and put your ear on the handle. While the car is running you will surely be able to tell if it's coming from there.

  5. #5
    Admin Drifte's Avatar
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    Re: What does a bad water pump sound like?

    ^handy mans stethoscope.

    Im guessing you still have stock timing chains as well? How does your heat work? Well? ODes it smell like pancakes and syrup when using the heat? (sign of heater core)

    if you have the ol' sohc quad 4 dont screw around to much with high temperatures. May be time for the 100k service...45k miles over due no less.

    Or sell it already! I think your folks have an extra car you would enjoy...if they would sell.


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