Dodge Water Pump: Troubleshooting Tips
Just as the human body needs nourishment, the vehicle's powerhouse also relies on essential fluids to keep it going. Aside from oil and fuel, the engine also needs coolant to prevent it from overheating. As the heart pumps blood that flows through the veins, the water pump also circulates coolant between the engine and the radiator. The heart of the cooling system, however, may also fail, and when it does, the engine can be in deep trouble. The temperature may rise easily as it runs, leading to engine damage. There are signs or symptoms telling you that you have an ailing water pump. Before it completely fails and affects the whole system, you have to find out whether your Dodge water pump needs to be repaired, serviced, or replaced. Here are some tips for diagnosis and troubleshooting:
There's coolant leak under the timing belt cover.
If the system frequently runs low on coolant, you have to search for a leak. If the leak is spotted underneath the timing belt cover, it's likely that it has something to do with the water pump. The gasket that helps seal the coolant may be broken, causing the fluid to leak out. The gasket may crack or break because of heat damage. If the leak is behind or under the timing belt cover, near the water pump, you should check the pump to see if it has a blown gasket or the component needs to be replaced altogether.
There's play in the pulley and some groaning or grinding from this area.
If the cooling system isn't running as efficiently as it should, one of the things to look into is the water pump, especially if coolant flow seems slow or the one causing the problem. Aside from the seal, you'd also want to check the pulley as you inspect the pump. Turn off the engine before you check the pulley. Move the pulley for the pump. If there's play in this pulley, it could mean that the bearing is on its way out. The worn-out bearing may later on fail, and when it does, the water pump won't be able to turn. This can cause overheating problems. Another sign of water pump trouble is the groaning and grinding from the pulley while the engine is on.
There are noticeable fluctuations in the temperature gauge.
The temperature gauge is the one telling you how hot the engine is while running. Normally, it should stay around the middle, between cold and hot when the vehicle is running. However, if you start to notice fluctuations in this gauge, you should check the cooling system before the engine starts to overheat. The problem may lie with a faulty water pump. If the pump functions erratically, this probably needs to be replaced, although it would be best to rule out other possible causes as well.
Common reasons for water pump failure
Water pump failure can usually be blamed on a leaking shaft seal and a broken impeller inside. The pump may malfunction due to internal failure caused by corrosion on the blades. The impeller may also come loose on the shaft after some time or the shaft itself may wear out. The seal on the water pump shaft may break due to rust, sediment and other contaminants from the coolant. The constant load of the shaft and bearings from the belt and the fan can also lead to their eventual wear and tear. When the seal breaks, coolant will leak past the bearing.