Toyota V-6 Waterpump Surprise

by Chris Glidden
(Tulsa, Ok)

Timing belt kit

Timing belt kit

I am a German Auto tech in Tulsa,OK. I was renting shop space from a used car wholesaler, when I ran upon an Oddity with a V-6 Toyota pickup. I am not a Toyota Tech, nor do I claim to be anything other than a genius. The truck was having a heater issue.

The wholesaler had owned the truck for about 2 years and sold it to his best friend, now of course months later the heater doesn't work! So I was asked to look at the truck and give my professional opinion, I did, and here it is.

The symptoms were plainly, the heater did not get hot! The temp ran normal, there was a slight difference when you changed the temp, but luke warm at best. I felt the heater hoses, and the one going into the heater core was hot, but the one coming out not so much. So practical experience dictated I check coolant levels, blow through the heater core etc. No success.

I looked at the owner and the previous owner, the car wholesaler with 30 years experience, and I said "my diagnosis is the water pump is slipping on the timing belt." Well, the wholesaler said that was preposterous, and laughed, but I feeling it in my gut that I was right, promised the repair would solve the problem or it was free!

Needless to say the owner relinquished the vehicle to my abilities, and when I took off the timing cover, the timing belt was slightly oily, and since the back of the timing belt is what propels the water pump, it was slipping, not fully, but just enough to circulate the coolant and maintain engine temp, by the time it was reaching the heater core, it was acting like a secondary radiator, and cooling off the coolant instead of heating up the car!

I replaced the water pump, camshaft seals, main seal, and timing belt, reassembled the timing cover,tested, and surprise! Toasty warm interior! Needless to say I should have bet money on my gut instinct!

Note from Webmaster: This story was motivational for me as a mechanic but also got me thinking about the water pump and timing belt maintenance operations. I wrote a story for the car repair blogs about the importance of finding out if a timing belt kit is available for your automobile. These kits come with all the components mentioned above and when purchased as a kit can save money and time.

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Sep 11, 2010
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Ford Taurus water pump
by: Chris Glidden

Since that Toyota, I have also had a similar problem with a Ford Taurus, Except it was fine until I performed a radiator flush, Then whamo! Instant overheating! I had a gut instinct on that one too,I put my money where my mouth was on that one too! Took the water pump out, and the impeller blades were rotted off! It looked like a Chinese throwing star! Problem solved! Customer Paid! Win win!

Sep 10, 2010
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Toyota v6 waterpumps
by: Anonymous

Great story Chris and thanks for sharing it! I will file this one away in my memory banks for future diagnosis. If you ran into the slipping Toyota water pump I am sure others might as well.

As a general auto mechanic I know what you mean about a gut feeling, but you took it to the next level! To put your money where your mouth is and to promise if it's not fixed it is free, Well My hats off to you!

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