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How to tell if your outboard water pump is bad – know water pump failure signs

A vehicle’s maintenance is a must for its longevity and good driving experience. Be it cars or boats; one needs to ensure that all the components of the vehicles are in proper form and shape. As any damage to any one of the components can lead to the breakdown of your vehicle completely. One such important part of a boat is an outboard water pump. For boats and other vehicles, this water pump helps maintain the flow of coolant from the radiator to the engine so that there is no overheating and the optimum temperature is maintained to run the boat smoothly.

However, like any other part of your vehicle, the outboard water pump can show some signs of wear & tear, leading to several problems. As a water pump is an integral part of the boat, one needs to be aware of the signs of a bad water pump. This can help you fix it before it leads to engine problems or any other issues in the boat. And so, to help you recognize the symptoms of a bad outboard water pump, we have listed all such signs below.

How to tell if your outboard water pump is bad

How to tell if your outboard water pump is bad

Coolant Leakage

This sign is one of the common signs that you can come across if your outboard water pump has gone bad. As an outboard water pump has several seals and gaskets that prevent coolant leakage, a leakage can be an alarm for the boat drivers to check on their water pumps. If you see any leakage at the front center, check for the color of the fluid. Generally, the coolant which leaks is red or green color. So if you spot such leakage, it is better to rush to your trusted mechanic to fix your outboard water pump.

Overheating of engine

As mentioned above, one of the primary functions of a water pump is to maintain the flow of coolant around the engine to regulate the temperature for its operation. So if you notice overheating of your engine or rising temperature of the engine while driving the boat, it could be due to a bad water pump. Make sure to repair or replace your outboard water pump immediately if you notice overheating, as it can lead to additional damage to the engine.

Loud whining noise

You might come across a strange and loud whining noise that comes from the front of your outboard motor. This sound can be due to a faulty outboard water pump. If the noise keeps increasing every time you accelerate, it is better to call a mechanic to inspect your vehicle. Any such noise or sound is an indication of some internal problem or faulty components. 

Generally, this loud sound is due to the water pump pulley, which loosens over time and causes a whining sound. The high-pitched sound can also be due to loose water pump pulley bearings, so make sure to check with your mechanic and get it fixed at the earliest.

Slow leakage and rusting of the pump

Sometimes the coolant leakage would be gradual and slow, making it even more challenging to spot the early signs of a bad water pump. This slow leakage can, however, be detected by checking for the fluid puddle under your engine. If you spot leakage frequently at the same spot, then it is better to get your pump repaired or replaced. Such leakage can cause rusting on the pump and leads to low levels of coolant in the vehicle. Low coolant levels are not desirable as it will affect the functioning of the engine directly. 

Steam around your vehicle’s alternator

One cannot ignore this sign, and thus we recommend calling the mechanic ASAP if you spot steam coming out of the alternator. Steam coming out of the motor indicates the overheated engine, leading to completely damaging your vehicle’s engine. Stop driving your vehicle as soon as you spot steam coming out of your engine to save it from crashing down completely. 

Concluding Remarks

It becomes relatively easy to spot the faulty outboard water pump or any other problem with your engine if you know all the signs for the same. All the above-stated signs should not be avoided as it may lead to more damage to the engine and other components as well. It is better to repair or replace the outboard water pump if it is not functioning properly as it is vital for the engine’s smooth operation. Also, it is quite common for the water pumps to go bad due to wear & tear heating, and other such issues. Keep an eye on all such symptoms and fix your bad  outboard water pump before it leads to more damage. 

Tracie Kaneshiro

Hi there! I am Tracie Kaneshiro from Ohio. Having spent most of my life in boats with my dad, I picked up many useful tips from him about their maintenance and care. Through this blog, I am sharing my expertise with all my fellow boat enthusiasts. I hope you benefit from my posts. Thank you for stopping by!

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