Driving with faulty water pump

  • I'm going to look at an AZ-3 at the weekend. The guy says the car is running but the water pump needs replacing. I was in work so couldn't get into too much detail.

    Anyway, to get the car home its a 2.5-3 hour drive - if I top the fluids up before taking off do you reckon it would be okay?


  • Uh-Oh! if the water pump is leaking, it could be a case of topping up once, or every mile! I have seen water pouring out of water pumps before…

    it is especially important to have the pump working and sealed, as the temp sensor on the dash measures water temp. If the level drops below the sender in the engine, it can overheat and seize without showing high temperature on the dash...

    I'd be very very careful about it. It would be much better to tow it on an A frame or a truck... if you can get one.

    Good luck either way!!!

    btw whereabouts is it?

  • I might chance driving it, and if it gives in I'll call a guy to lift it.

    It's in Cork, Ireland.

  • You need to know whats wrong with the pump.

    If the bearings have collapsed, it will not be drivable.

    If its leaking bad, bear in mind the water will be going all over your cambelt which isn't good.

    If its a very slight leak it might be ok to drive a short distance but your talking about a long way. Just make sure it never gets low on water or you will fuck the head gaskets at the least and probably warp the heads (if the previous owner hasn't already).

    Or as said above, take an A frame with you if you know someone who has one and got access to a towbar.

    Or take a waterpump (old spare one will do if you have one), a tube of high temp scillicone gasket and lots of bottles of water with you, go really early and swap out the waterpump on the side of the road then drive it back.

    Its only a couple hour job if your handy.

    I have done it without removing the cambelt too, its tight doing it like that but it can definately be done without removing the cambelt.


    Bear in mind that if the waterpump has gone there is a good chance the engine has overheated, which means a good chanch that the heads have gone!!!

    When you go to view it look for all the signs that the head is gone, see rough guide below:


    Step 1 check for oil and water mixing

    • Look under the oil filler cap, is there any gunk under there (light brown, creamy colour)?
    • Look in the coolant expansion tank, any brown deposits in there? has it changed colour? any irridesant colours / oil floating on top?
    • Check your water level to see if it has gone down.

    Step 2 check for air from compressions in the sump (if rings are worn air will be forced past them on compression and end up in the sump)

    • Simply pull out the oil dipstick and with the car running look to see if there is any smoke coming out of it.

    Step 3 check for air in the water

    • turn on can and let it run for 10 mins, is it running at a higher temp than normal?
    • Is there any constant air bubbles in the expansion tank? If so how many?

  • Cheers for the advice!

  • yes defo check the bearings havent gone as the cambelt might go on the journey home, it maybe just the seal has gone so get a huge tank of water to take and just take it easy, I have driven a V6 with a waterpump gone before and just needed topping up once in 1 hour so they vary a lot

  • I spoke to the guy today. He said the pump is just a bit leaky, but the car is running well (of course he'd say that) and it actually has an NCT (MOT) til the end of the year!

  • Yeah he would, lol. Like the other guys have said just prepare for the worst… Which is a lot of water and trying to take it careful, you should be able to make it back. But also ask for a test drive, take it around the block and that may give you some indication of how bad the leak is.


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