How to Rebuild a Water Pump
Okay, we are fully aware that you can buy a new or rebuilt water pump (for around $40) that fits your Mustang, Camaro, Impala, Galaxie or other popular car from the 1950s through the 1970s. On the other hand, if you happen to own a less common car you might find that such a relatively simple component costs a lot of money.
That's just what happened when a friend of ours needed to buy a water pump to fit his 1960 Maserati 3500 GT. Only 2000 of these cars were made in their 7 years of production, so the price, he was told, would be $600, plus his old pump to be used as a core. No new pumps are available, so the "cheap" price was for a rebuilt one. Wow! To put this in perspective, that means our friend would have to earn approximately $900 to net the necessary money to pay for a rebuilt pump. There had to be a better way, he thought, so he brought the pump to the Second Chance Garage for a consultation.
We looked the pump over and realized it was designed to be rebuilt. Before taking it apart, however, we researched the Hollander Exchange Manual in hopes of finding other machinery that might have used this particular pump. Unfortunately, no records were kept for Maserati, so the choice was made to take the pump apart and obtain the inner components from a generic source.
Now, water pumps are water pumps. No matter what they look like, they all work the same way. A central, pulley-driven shaft turns an impeller inside the housing, pumping water in and out. The shaft is suspended in two ball bearings (inner and outer) and there are seals at each end to keep water and dirt out.
Taking It Apart
Disassembly was straightforward, but seriously tedious. After removing the nut holding the pulley to the main shaft all it took to slide it off was gentle pressure on the screw drive of a gear puller.
To press out the shaft we had to remove the backing plate, and things got complicated at this point. The screws had been glyptol'd (the forerunner of Loc Tite) and only one yielded to various combinations of screwdriver blades. Even our trick of driving out the screws by hitting the outside of the slot with a cold chisel failed to work. It only destroyed the slots. Therefore, the decision was made to drill out the remaining screws.