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Water pump failure leads to dead engine

Should Ford cover part of all of this repair out of loyalty?

  • Yes, a water pump failure at 95k should not destroy an engine

    Votes: 100 87.7%
  • No, and please quit whining about it

    Votes: 14 12.3%

  • Total voters
    114

FISHTAIL

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Car-part.com is a great site to find used parts.
Thanks. The local junk yard can get me a motor no problem, but it's 2300 bucks and has 90k miles. I can get low mileage 2013+ engines for under a grand. If I can figure out what's different, I'd strongly prefer to save the money and get the newer engine. I'm guessing there will be some extra parts to swap over, but I'm fine with that so long as I know what I need to get.
 


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Flying68

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Thanks. The local junk yard can get me a motor no problem, but it's 2300 bucks and has 90k miles. I can get low mileage 2013+ engines for under a grand. If I can figure out what's different, I'd strongly prefer to save the money and get the newer engine. I'm guessing there will be some extra parts to swap over, but I'm fine with that so long as I know what I need to get.
If you can get it for $800 and do it yourself it is worth it. I am not sure what the differences are, the worst thing that could happen would be things don't plug in or work, then you have an $800 engine around to get rid of (probably get your money out of it if you sell it to that yard that is asking $2300). One option would be to see if the yard would swap the 2013 engine for a 2012/2011. I would just replace the water pump and timing chain and guides before putting it in.

As far as the failure modes on the water pump go there are really only two. The 1st kind is the mounting seal failure where the inner seal to the block fails and lets coolant out of the weep hole. This is the most likely failure. The second kind of failure is the sprocket bearing seal failure. That is where the rubber seal protecting the needle bearings from the coolant side fails. This lets coolant into the needle bearings which washes away the lubrication causing premature failure of the bearing. Over enough cycles this failure will make it through all the way and dump coolant into the oil pan without any external signs. You could also have a double mount seal failure but that isn't as likely. I would guess you suffered the 2nd type of failure.

Anyway, if you can get the 2013 engine in and running report back.
 




FISHTAIL

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If you can get it for $800 and do it yourself it is worth it. I am not sure what the differences are, the worst thing that could happen would be things don't plug in or work, then you have an $800 engine around to get rid of (probably get your money out of it if you sell it to that yard that is asking $2300). One option would be to see if the yard would swap the 2013 engine for a 2012/2011. I would just replace the water pump and timing chain and guides before putting it in.

As far as the failure modes on the water pump go there are really only two. The 1st kind is the mounting seal failure where the inner seal to the block fails and lets coolant out of the weep hole. This is the most likely failure. The second kind of failure is the sprocket bearing seal failure. That is where the rubber seal protecting the needle bearings from the coolant side fails. This lets coolant into the needle bearings which washes away the lubrication causing premature failure of the bearing. Over enough cycles this failure will make it through all the way and dump coolant into the oil pan without any external signs. You could also have a double mount seal failure but that isn't as likely. I would guess you suffered the 2nd type of failure.

Anyway, if you can get the 2013 engine in and running report back.
Eh, unlikely. The newer engines aren't 2300 at the local yard, just the 2011/2012 versions. Prices drop to about 8-1200 as soon as you start looking at the newer engines. So they are onto the fact that there is something incompatible about the later setups. I'm not keen on making a 10 hour drive to get an 800 dollar engine I may not be able to use, and not find out until I have the car immobile. I can still move it around right now..engine's knocking hard, but at least I can move which spot it's parked in.

As for the failure, I agree the second seems more likely. Especially because over the last couple of weeks we'd noticed a drop in gas mileage. My wife fills the tank twice a week at least, so the sudden drop in fuel mileage was a concern. I knew something was up, but the car didn't even live long enough for me to have a free day to look at it. It started while I was on travel, and this weekend would have been my first chance to look it over. It didn't make it obviously.

Additionally, I think I read somewhere that the weep hole was part of some pump re-design. If that's true, ours wouldn't have it...we ordered our explorer as soon as the preproduction models hit. Ours was one of the ones held up on delivery because of the tsunami in japan that tied up the rail network for a few weeks. It was one of the only new explorers in our area for a while when we first got it.

Anyway, I haven't even been able to find a rebuild kit for the 3.5 yet. I'd even be willing to do that, plus it would force me to get off my duff and put my 347 in my fox so I could make room to tear the 3.5 down.
 




KayGee

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Is there something preventing some of these engines from being rebuilt? If they still run and just knock, that seems like an ideal candidate for a rebuild. Especially if one is setup to do an engine r&r. No need for a kit, probably just some bearings and such.
 




FISHTAIL

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Is there something preventing some of these engines from being rebuilt? If they still run and just knock, that seems like an ideal candidate for a rebuild. Especially if one is setup to do an engine r&r. No need for a kit, probably just some bearings and such.
Unknown. I suppose I could assemble my own "kit", but that's a pain. I'll have to get all the proper bearings, rings, pistons (I'm assuming it's going to need to be bored since I'm sure it overheated) etc. Given the mileage on ours, I'd also opt to replace the hardware in the heads (bearings, springs, followers, etc), the timing chain and tensioners, etc. I'd hoped to find an existing kit that already came with most of that, but no joy.

I also got some additional information from a junk yard I called today. Apparently the 2013+ engines are listed as having an electrical incompatibility of some kind. I'd have to poke around a newer model, but it sounds like I'd need a new engine harness and ECM at a minimum to go with a newer setup. Not a deal breaker, but depending on what else could have changed (transmissions for instance) it's looking more like I should either get a donor car to pull everything from, or just find a 2011/2012 3.5. Or rebuild.

I'm going to drain the mess out of it tomorrow and put some fresh oil in it just for the hell of it. If nothing else, so it doesnt lock up on me moving it around, but I'll be curious to hear how bad the knock is once it's actually got oil flowing again. As stupid as it sounds, I really don't like the idea of sending the car off to the junkyard as it is. It's been a fanastic car for us over the years and I intend to fix it before we unload it. Wifes out shopping for a TDI right now...as we intend to get her something efficient for her 120-140 mile a day commute. We just happened to get forced into this mess about a year or so sooner than I'd planned.
 




blwnsmoke

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I'm really impressed that you have 222k on it. That is the highest I have seen yet with basic maintenance and wear parts.
 




FISHTAIL

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I'm really impressed that you have 222k on it. That is the highest I have seen yet with basic maintenance and wear parts.
Thanks. I'm really irritated the water pump took it out. I'm confident we could have hit 300k on it easy, truck ran perfectly fine...until it didn't. We replaced the original PTU preemptively at 210k miles or so, mostly out of fear of it leaving my wife on the side of the road should it let go. Alternator was the only thing on it that ever actually broke, everything else was fine. It was mostly brakes, fluid changes and tires. At 200k I did replace the shocks/struts and front LCA's just to improve the ride.

We also towed a camper with it, and took it offroad down at OBX for years. It's been a great car, kinda bummed it went out over a water pump. I've always looked it over every oil change for signs of fluid leaks, and there never was anything. I'd mentioned to my wife a couple months back that we should probably start thinking about replacing that stupid water pump anyway just in case, but it wasn't high on my list. I figured it'd show some kinda sign of trouble before it failed. Noise, weeping fluid...something.
 




Flying68

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I am over 155k mi now, but plan on trading it in on an Aviator GT, Expedition Platinum, or Navigator here in the next several months. I average about 19.5k mi per year so I probably only have to get through another 10k to 15k or so. My biggest issue right now is the steering gear noise, but a catastrophic water pump failure is my biggest fear.
 




FISHTAIL

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I am over 155k mi now, but plan on trading it in on an Aviator GT, Expedition Platinum, or Navigator here in the next several months. I average about 19.5k mi per year so I probably only have to get through another 10k to 15k or so. My biggest issue right now is the steering gear noise, but a catastrophic water pump failure is my biggest fear.
Whats your steering gear doing? Ours never made a peep. I wish I'd been aware of the odds of that pump failing like it did. It's a fair bit of effort to swap it out, but not outside my skill set. I could have easily knocked that out over a weekend...if your comfortable working on cars I'm sure you could handle it. I looked it up after the fact and it doesn't look like a terribly difficult job, just involved.
 




Flying68

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Whats your steering gear doing? Ours never made a peep. I wish I'd been aware of the odds of that pump failing like it did. It's a fair bit of effort to swap it out, but not outside my skill set. I could have easily knocked that out over a weekend...if your comfortable working on cars I'm sure you could handle it. I looked it up after the fact and it doesn't look like a terribly difficult job, just involved.
It makes a clicking or grinding noise like the drive gears from the servo motor to the rack are slipping on the belt (pretty sure it is a belt system) like a tooth or 2 are missing. It doesn't trip codes and only makes noise. It was pretty bad this winter then went away, but is now starting to come back. There is zero play, so I know it isn't tie rods. Had 2 dealers confirm the noise is coming from the EPAS module of the rack. My Lincoln dealer said if it goes out, I can buy the part online and they would install it. That would save several hundred off the cost of the part. I don't think it will fail completely, but it is there.
 




Sixonemale

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Thanks. I'm really irritated the water pump took it out. I'm confident we could have hit 300k on it easy, truck ran perfectly fine...until it didn't. We replaced the original PTU preemptively at 210k miles or so, mostly out of fear of it leaving my wife on the side of the road should it let go. Alternator was the only thing on it that ever actually broke, everything else was fine. It was mostly brakes, fluid changes and tires. At 200k I did replace the shocks/struts and front LCA's just to improve the ride.
I too am impressed that you were able get 222k miles with no water pump issues. Because you said you changed the fluids, how often did you change your coolant? Also, did you drain and fill or flush and fill when you changed it out? TIA
 




FISHTAIL

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I too am impressed that you were able get 222k miles with no water pump issues. Because you said you changed the fluids, how often did you change your coolant? Also, did you drain and fill or flush and fill when you changed it out? TIA
Flush and fill, roughly once every 100k. I also changed the PTU fluid, brake fluid, trans fluid and diff fluids. I am still pretty irritated with myself for not replacing that pump 70k miles or so ago though. It was pretty stupid to think I'd get some warning.
 




Sixonemale

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Flush and fill, roughly once every 100k. I also changed the PTU fluid, brake fluid, trans fluid and diff fluids. I am still pretty irritated with myself for not replacing that pump 70k miles or so ago though. It was pretty stupid to think I'd get some warning.
Kind of interesting that you live in a state with four seasons, therefore, some cold temperatures, but followed the manual on the coolant. Not every Explorer is the same, but this tells me that changing of the coolant more than required, related to its effect on the water pump, may not be all that necessary except for peace of mind or certain driving conditions. I'm in complete agreement with you in regard to changing out the water pump at around 100k to 130k miles as preventative maintenance based on the potentially catastrophic design. Most cars with timing belts require the belt be replaced at around 90k miles or within a certain time period which is usually reason to replace the water pump and pulleys, hence the reason they sell timing belt kits. Also noticed you changed your transmission fluid 50k miles of ahead it be required which makes sense.
 
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FISHTAIL

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Kind of interesting that you live in a state with four seasons, therefore, some cold temperatures, but followed the manual on the coolant. Not every Explorer is the same, but this tells me that changing of the coolant more than required, related to its effect on the water pump, may not be all that necessary except for peace of mind or certain driving conditions. I'm complete agreement with you in regard to changing out the water pump at around 100k to 130k miles as preventative maintenance based on the potentially catastrophic design. Most cars with timing belts require the belt be replaced at around 90k miles or within a certain time period which is usually reason to replace the water pump and pulleys, hence the reason they sell timing belt kits. Also noticed you changed your transmission fluid 50k miles of ahead it be required which makes sense.
4 seasons...kinda. We get a couple weeks at most of nice spring and fall weather, then it's in the mid 90's with 80% humidity, or the 20's. Our weather is weird.

I did try to follow the manual on coolant flush. Trans fluid I changed earlier because we towed a camper with it and took it through many miles of loose sand off road each summer. Trans fluid was always amsoil. Everything else was typically royal purple.

I knew the water pump was chain driven on these, but I wasn't onto the fact that they were taking motors out. I had someone here ask if I was on the original water pump once when I crossed 150k, but they never explained why they were surprised but that and I never looked it up. Obviously I should have.

We picked up a 2013 diesel gate Passat for my wife to commute in yesterday, so I can bide my time to find a good deal on a replacement engine or donor vehicle to fix the explorer. Now I get to spend the afternoon changing all the fluids in that since I have no idea when they were done last.
 




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If you are going to put fresh oil in it, is there a way to prime it before starting? That was something I always did before first start of a new engine. Of course that was my 89 mustang and I'd just pull the TFI plug from the distributor and wire from ignition coil so I could crank it without starting. Not sure best way to do that on a newer Explorer, but might be something to consider.
 




FISHTAIL

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If you are going to put fresh oil in it, is there a way to prime it before starting? That was something I always did before first start of a new engine. Of course that was my 89 mustang and I'd just pull the TFI plug from the distributor and wire from ignition coil so I could crank it without starting. Not sure best way to do that on a newer Explorer, but might be something to consider.
Not that I've seen. I have a 92 mustang, so I know the oil pump trick you speak of well.

In this case, I'm pretty sure the motor is already toast, I just wanted oil in it so I can move it safely until I replace it.
 




boominXplorer

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An accusump is a handy thing to have when building crank driven oil pump engines. I have my own homemade setup I've used for years, it attaches an oil pressure tester with a T fitting.

Also to add I think frequent coolant and oil changes may only help a little to the longevity of the WP. I suspect it is the bearing that starts to wear leaving room for the coolant to leak around the seal to make it fail faster. I feel the poor design (such a small bearing) and angle of the chains with the position of the pump makes it wear out no matter what. I'd definitely consider replacing it between 90k-150k depending on usage. High idle time trucks might even want to consider 60k.
 




03WIExplorerLtd

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Not a 100% guarantee it will fail within 100k, 200k.....
 




Flying68

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The reason 90% (or more) of people won't change a water pump is because it is an engine out job. Yes you can change it without taking out the engine, but it isn't easy and is an all weekend job. Also you have to make sure you are at TDC and have the proper cam locks. Then while your in there change the chain guides and chain. Or you can have a dealer do it for $1700 to $2200. Most people are not going to do that. If you get to 150,000 miles, start looking at trading it, or look at investing $2-5k to keep it going another 150,000 miles.
 


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boominXplorer

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The chain guides on these barely wear as long as they are taking care of. Just did a 13 Taurus recently with 130k and there wasn't a bit of wear on the guides. Put the pump in and put it back together, took about 7 hours total in a fully equipped shop. I'd do any of the cyclone water pumps in a driveway unless it's in an Edge. They can be done from the top but are super super tight. Only takes about 2 hours to drop the subframe in a shop.
 




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