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Many water pumps

I have a 1998 contour and after about five years the impeller in the water pump gave out. I had a very good mechanic replace the water pump and in less than a year the replacement pump leaked through the seals. In a short time the mechanic has put in two more pumps and has told me he won’t do any more. He also told me to get a lower pressure cap for the system. It calls for #16 to#18 of pressure and there isn’t any cap made with lower pressure. I have since replaced the pressure cap. Does Ford have a problem with the 2.5 engine 1998 contour?

His other mechanic has said when he worked at the dealership they had to replace the water pumps all the time because of the impellers. My problem is the seals on the replacement pumps keep going out. I have since went to another place and have replaced the pump again but it just weeks old and I’m tried of this mess. I brought the car new and I like it but this water pump stuff is getting old. The engine I have I believe is a German engine and fills up the engine compartment.

Where are the pumps coming from? If you keep having problems with ‘aftermarket’ pump from Pep boys, Autozone, or even NAPA, consider getting a new one from the Ford parts counter at the dealer. I had to replace an afetrmarket water pump once on my truck when the seals failed just after the warranty ran out. I bought a Factory pump from Toyota, and didn’t have an issue again.

I went to the Ford dealership and was told that the only water pumps they had for replacement were rebuilt. Which disappointed me at leased my mechanic was buying new pumps. It’s possible because of the age of my car the dealer doesn’t carry new ones. My car only has about 80,000 miles on it, as I don’t drive that many miles a year. Thanks for the reply. I still remember one mechanic saying that “those Fords go through a lot of water pumps”. I think Toyota makes a better product than ford did at that time.

Way back in the 1960s I was advised to get an original equipment water pump from a car dealer as rebuilts were not as good. Perhaps things have not changed since then but I would hope so.

Can you determine the brand or brands of rebuilts that failed repeatedly and then try another brand? What about contacting the rebuilder to discuss the matter with them? They might like to work with you to improve their product. A sample of a failed pump would be good to learn from. Questions might come up would regard the coolant that you are using. Is it fresh and clean without an abrasive contaminating material? Sometimes you gotta work a little harder to get what you want, a good water pump.

The car is 13 years old and around 10 years is the cut-off point for factory OEM parts. They become obsolete.

Just my opinion, but I do not believe you’re getting a rash of bad pumps; not this many of them. Some possibilities to consider may be:
Since you state the impeller gave out on the original was the cooling system thoroughly flushed at that time? Just wondering if shrapnel in the system is behind this problem.

Another possibility could be the belt tensioner. The tensioner is supposed to keep the belt tension set automatically but a failing belt tensioner can bind in a position where it may be exerting too much force, via the belt, on the pump pulley.

Yet another is this. Is it known for a 100% fact that the seals on the pump are what is leaking and it’s not the gasket that mates the pump to the engine? I ask because with age comes corrosion and the mating surface can become badly pitted. It may not leak at first but with a bit of use the coolant may start dripping. This was a pretty common problem on the small block Fords (289, 302, 351, etc.)

Just off the cuff I would have to think that someone is overlooking something rather than faulty pumps en masse.

Again thanks for the comments. The remarks from the mechanic were the belt is tensioned automatically once it’s in place. The pumps were purchased at NAPA and the brand was changed the third time. The mechanic said the fluid was very clean and that is when he wanted a lower pressure cap. This last time I went to a new shop and was told after the job was done that yes the seals were leaking. I also had him check the water for hyro carbons to rule out a head gasket or some other way the system could get pressurized. The pump isn’t easy to get at, that is why I have the shop do the work. Th engine is really nice but the water pumps are killing me.

True, the belt is tensioned automatically; IF the tensioner is working properly. The coolant may appear to be clean but that doesn’t mean that debris (which settles down low when the engine is not running) is not present.

To illustrate the coolant angle of this, my oldest son has a 96 Camaro. When the original water pump went I determined this was likely due to sludged up Dex Cool coolant. Replaced the pump, flushed the cooling system, and a year later the pump went again.
Repeated the process and less than a year later it went out again.

At that point I flushed the system out, replaced the Dex Cool with green coolant and changed the water pump yet again. These pump failures all happened around the 65 to 95k miles mark. Since the last pump replacement there hasn’t been a problem at all in the last 7 or 8 years and the car currently has over 250k miles on it.

Without car in hand I’m afraid I can’t tell you for sure what is causing these multiple faiures. Now and then one does get a defective part or a part that fails prematurely.
When it happens a second time the red flags go up and a 3rd time is just about beyond belief that the parts themselves are at fault. What is being missed here I just do not know.

The previous poster brought up the point that coolant chemistry (using the wrong coolant type) can cause problems. Check out this article on coolant types and make sure you are using the correct coolant type: