Truck Stuff Part 2

Mon, Jan 23, 2023 4-minute read

Okay, so it wasn’t the water pump. I know I said it “definitely is the water pump” in my last post, but I was wrong. So very wrong.

It’s kind of embarassing but I’m going to document it here becuase I’m not afraid of failures and maybe my goof up will teach someone something that they need to know.

I ended up replacing the water pump as I mentioned I was going to do. It went mostly well, but something went wrong that I’ll get into in a moment. After replacing it and getting everything all back together …

The. Squeal. Came. Back.

I was so frustrated and sad when that happened. Not even remotely happy, and totally confused as to what it could be. It sounded like a bunch of marbles rolling around inside my engine and I was almost convinced that something had gone horribly wrong in my engine. Head gasket? Spun bearing? Low oil? I went over everything in my head that could even possibly be causing this sound. I chatted with my dad a bit to work through some ideas. I decided to run the truck again with no belt on the drive. It ran, and it ran well. No sounds at all. Ran it for about five minutes and everything was just fine.

I decided that it was either the harmonic balancer or something else. I kind of threw out the harmonic balancer early because it should be making a sound even if the belt wasn’t on. Then it occurred to me. The belt. It’s been tight. Can a belt that’s too tight cause harmonic balancer failure sounds? Everything I looked up would suggest that a loose belt would cause squeal. And I was certain that the tensioner had applied tension to the belt. If it was too tight, wouldn’t the tensioner have not pulled on it?

After all that, I decided to experiment. I went to Advance Auto Parts and got a couple belts. One that was an inch bigger than my current, and one that was an inch and a half bigger.

I got home, put the belt on, then started the truck. No squeal. No knock. Nothing. I let it run for a few minutes. It was running perfectly. I drove around the neighborhood and let it get to temp. Still no sound. It was the belt the whole time. Just the belt. All those parts. All that time. All that money. All I needed was a $25 belt.

The Bad News

After all that I do have some bad news. I was replacing the water pump and snapped off a bolt in the engine block. That’s not good. I was torquing everything down and BOOM. It snapped right off. So there is a broken bolt in the engine block and I’m riding around with a mostly torqued water pump. That might not be a bad thing, but we’ll only know as time goes by. I do have a leak but I think I’ve traced that back to the hoses rather than the housing on the thermostat or the pump itself. Apparently hoses are finicky when it comes to the thermostat housing on these Ford trucks.

I’m planning to replace the timing cover and timing set later this year. So right now, I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that I can get a handle on the leak and it didn’t stem from the broken bolt in my engine block. Every other water pump bolt is torqued down, so I think I might have gotten lucky. I’m going to adjust the clamps on my hoses and see if I can figure out where the leak is coming from. If it’s from the broken bolt, I’ll need to repair the timing cover. Maybe just take it off, clean it, put a new seal in and put it back on. I know how to get the bolt out and rethread the hole, so I know I can get it down.

Once again, this has been a learning experience and I’m coming out of it more knowledgable than I went in. I’m not tired of it yet!