Ah, the joys of owning a car: the open road, the wind in your hair, and the tick-tick-tick of your engine overheating. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today we’re talking about the dangers of a warped aluminum water pump pulley on your automotive fan. Don’t let this wonky part ruin your ride. Read on for more information.
Don’t Let a Wonky Water Pump Pulley Ruin Your Day
Let’s start with the basics. Your car’s water pump is responsible for keeping the engine cool by circulating coolant through the engine and radiator. The water pump is usually driven by a pulley attached to the engine’s crankshaft, which in turn is driven by a belt. The water pulley helps to keep the belt in place and running smoothly.
If the water pulley becomes warped or was manufactured that way, it can cause a number of problems. First, it can cause the belt to slip or even come off completely, which can leave you stranded on the side of the road. Second, a warped pulley can put extra strain on your engine, leading to premature wear and tear. Finally, in my case, if the pulley is out of whack enough to cause the fan to come in contact with another part of the car and disintegrate while you’re driving, it can cause damage to your radiator and other nearby components.
This happened to me TWICE before I figured out what the culprit was. At first I blamed the fan clutch and replaced it. I chose poorly. The pulley wasn’t noticeably warped but apparently bad enough at speed to cause this type of catastrophic fan failure.
Why a Warped Aluminum Pulley Could Be a Disaster
So why might your water pulley become warped in the first place? The most common culprit is heat. Over time, the constant exposure to high temperatures can cause aluminum parts to warp or deform. Other factors that can contribute to a warped pulley include exposure to chemicals such as coolant or oil, as well as improper installation or maintenance. In my case, it came from the factory that way so it was a lesson quality control, or the lack thereof. The BMW OEM part is plastic so I thought I’d get an aftermarket aluminum part since aluminum is better than plastic, at least that was my thought. Needless to say I went back to the OEM part.
A warped aluminum water pulley may seem like a minor issue, but it can have major consequences if left unchecked. By keeping an eye out for signs of wear and tear, and taking action as soon as you notice a problem, you can help to keep your engine running smoothly and avoid the hassles and expense of a breakdown. So go ahead and give your car a little TLC – it deserves it, just don’t try to “upgrade” and choose the wrong part like I did.