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Old 08-08-2008, 11:36 PM   #1
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Water pump failure??

So it figures, I had a second car (a Honda Fit) and JUST sold it which would have me driving my Boxster when I couldn't ride my motorcycle... The DAY after I sell my other car, the Boxster develops a problem.

Here's how it went down:

I drove to work today, and everything seemed fine. Top up, AC on, no issues. Operating temperature was at the usual level.

After work, I drive to a local IMAX theater downtown (2 miles or so from work) to check out a movie with coworkers. After that, I leave to go to a bier garten with said coworkers. Here is where it started:

Upon starting the engine and putting the top down at the theater, I hear something rattling. Sounds like a coke can, or something loose in the muffler. I drive the couple blocks to the bier garten, and the sound goes away. I look under the car and in both rear wheel wells, nothing out of place. A couple drips on the pavement. Doesn't smell like coolant (dabbed a finger in it).

Anyway... I start the drive home.. ~ 24 miles from where I was, mostly highway. I get about 12 miles into the drive, and the engine temperature is a little high. I have the top down and it's not too hot outside. I turn on the AC to get the fans going, and the temperature drops a little, but not much. Hit a red light, and the guy stopped next to me says I'm losing water or something. I start seeing smoke/steam. Pull to side of road and shut off engine. I can see a trail of coolant on the road. Crap. I'm about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from a gas station, so I start it up and start driving. Coolant light starts blinking, then my alternator (battery) light comes on. Crap!


SO... I'm thinking the water pump failed, then the belt failed.

Right now the car is at the aforementioned gas station (insurance roadside assistance called out a truck, but the towing company called and said their truck is fubar at the moment. ) I'm planning on having the car towed to my house so I can get it up on stands and check it out.

Any feedback? Sounds like a water pump failure? If it's the water pump and the belt, it doesn't look like it will hurt the wallet too much ($311 for the pump from Pelican... $35 for the belt).

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http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

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Old 08-09-2008, 12:38 AM   #2
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Definitely sounds like a water pump. Mine went at the worst possible place...100 miles from anything that resembles civilization, the temp never went up but the light was flashing and coolant was pissing out of the bottom of the car like crazy. I had to drive it to the nearest gas station, grab 2 jugs of water and stop every 5 miles to keep it somewhat full. By the time I made it home, it sounded like an 82' Corolla! The impeller was completely blown apart and the shaft was knocking around.

Most of you would say...ARE YOU FRIGGIN NUTS DRIVING IT LIKE THAT???

Short answer...Yes. I was as careful as can be and took my time. It was either that or spend the night in the middle of the Everglades with the gators, panthers snakes, and bears.

Luckily, I changed the pump and there was no other damage to the car, runs like a champ again!

I paid $300 for the pump at a local dealership because Suncoast was closed for the holiday weekend. A word of advice...Get yours at Suncoast (www.e-partssales.com), the pump and gasket is $200 from them (Genuine Porsche).

Be prepared for one pain in the ass job though, take out the seats and remove the belly pan, it makes the job much easier. You'll probably be calling your car every 4 letter name in the book before the day is through, but it will be worth it in the end considering you saved $800 worth of labor at the dealership. Good Luck!
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:57 AM   #3
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As far as driving the car without the pump operating, despite having coolant in the system (by adding it as the level keeps dropping), you do not have circulation, and this is still certainly not good for the motor.

Patrick
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
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So Releese, it wasn't TOO difficult to swap the pump?

I'm kinda figuring it won't be that difficult, but yeah, getting around in that engine bay might be a PITA.
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http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #5
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Well, I wouldnt say it was easy. I used to be a mechanic at a Ford dealership, and I still had a tough time with it. Main reason is accessability. You're working from within a small access hole. You will need a good array of 1/4" drive accessories to get it done. The basic concept is easy (remove the belt, take out about (8) 10mm bolts, then put it back together. Problem is getting to the bolts. If you have a couple lengths of extensions, swivels and a ratcheting 10mm wrench, you should be fine. I found that it's easier to get to the lower bolts from underneath the car.
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:59 AM   #6
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yeah, it seems like accessing it will be the biggest challenge. Replacing a water pump should be uber easy otherwise. I have a good socket set, but might need to get some of the swiveling extensions. Sounds like those can be a life saver!

I've worked in a few tight spaces on a few cars, and generally have the tenacity to get a job done, but I did put a call into a local shop to see what they would charge for labor.

Thanks for the link to the part... I had my buddy check Pelican, and he says they want $311 for it. I'll also get a belt, since I think mine failed. If not, it's a good 'while you're in there' item. I'm close to 60k miles, so it may be time for it anyway.
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1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:26 AM   #7
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If it is the pump.

http://www.986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16490&page=2&pp=20&highlight=impeller

Went to a cooling tech session at an independent shop last year and Bob the owner said he sees a lot of these at around 60,000 miles.

Marvin who also has an independent shop has replaced 2 this week.

As far as buying a replacement that is the same as what just failed. Why? Crappy oem pump as far as I'm concerned. I have a 1988 Toyota truck with 156,000 miles with the original pump. Porsche also sells a crappy plastic coolant tank made by Geiger. I say go aftermarket. $110 on ebay or your local parts place like Kragen.

Marvin has a press. Last week I asked him to press off the pulley to see who makes the pump. As soon as the press started pressing on the shaft the pump broke. I want to see behind the pulley to determine who makes the pump.

Last edited by Tool Pants; 08-09-2008 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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Broke on the press.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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Made in France, apparently by SEM but I could not find this company if SEM means the company. I may have Marvin try to get the pulley off another pump.
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:49 AM   #10
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It's DEFINITELY the water pump:



I appreciate you posting, TP. Got any suggestions on a better more durable pump? I want to get the part ordered today so I can get it in this week. For now, I'm borrowing a buddy's Saab 9-3, so it's no rush. Figure I might as well also flush the system and get some fresh coolant in, as well as do an oil change.

Thanks for the input. It really doesn't look very tough at all to remove the pump unit.
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1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:59 AM   #11
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Found this on ebay:

Water pump and seal

Looks like a winner? says it has a heavy duty metal impeller. Is that different than OEM?
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2001 Boxster - Grey on Grey
1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:24 PM   #12
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The Aftermath

Got the pump off... the darn seal sliced me up while trying to get it off! Looks like it extended under a couple parts that are not the water pump. Guess that's how they got it to stay in place?

Looks like the impeller broke into at least three pieces, and the vanes were ground to pulp. Everything on the inside end of the shaft was no longer attached to the shaft. What a mess!



Gotta order the part, and get a belt. Might also get an oil filter and the kit I need to do that job as well. Pick up oil and coolant locally.

What fun. I was not planning on wrenching today!!
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2001 Boxster - Grey on Grey
1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:46 PM   #13
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Plastic impeller? WTF? The plastic would have to be something special because I could just see the pressure those blades are under, bending and warping until the whole assembly comes apart (as in the photos below). I'm all for saving weight and making power, but doing it and sacrificing internal engine components and reliability?

I read the burping procedure when refilling the coolant after a complete draining. What a pain in the ass! If I remember right you fill what you can and start it revving to a certain RPM then shut down allowing the engine to cool and repeat about 100 times! Unbelievable!
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:08 AM   #14
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The use of a plastic impeller is discussed in the link. Other car companies also use a plastic impeller.

There is a 996 guy on Rennlist, Robbin Sun, who replaced the pump with the one sold by Porsche, and the replacement leaked. He replaced it again with another Porsche pump, leaked again. Don't remember if Robbin ever figured out what the problem was.

This guy on rennlist says Napa sells a rebuilt pump that is a rebuilt Porsche pump, if you want to go that route. I have not seen it in person to verify if has a Porsche part number cast on it.

http://forums.rennlist.com/rennforums/showthread.php?t=390540&highlight=pump

I say go aftermarket. Now if some company would just come up with a plastic coolant tank that does not split. Porsche is on the 8th generation tank.

I talked to Marvin 2 days ago because a local owner had his Boxster in Marvin's shop for a pump replacement. Marvin said on another Boxster he had replaced the plastic tank 2 months earlier. And the customer was back because the tank split. So much for quality Porsche parts.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:02 PM   #15
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Install done - she's FIXED!

SHE IS ALIVE!

I finished putting in the belt and pump a little while ago, and did the operation to get the engine to temperature. Only took one gallon of coolant and 1.5 gallons of distilled water.

The op temp is hovering a little higher than it was before, but it's stable and running well.

While I was in there, I also changed the oil and filter. Had to use some Mobil 1 10W40 High Mileage crap since I can't find the 0W40 stuff anywhere. It should be fine, IMHO.

I think it also resolved a little vibration I was feeling at about 3kRPM in the past.... although I need to drive it around a bit more to tell. Could have been a very early symptom of the water pump bearings going south...

All in all, a pretty easy operation. If you have any modicum of wrench turning ability, you can replace a water pump in your Boxster.

(perhaps changing it should be part of the 60k service?!)
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1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #16
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What pump did you put in?
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:40 PM   #17
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The one I linked above.

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1969 911T Targa - 'Stinky'

http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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