July 7

2000 BMW 323i, Water Pump



Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik from Pawlik Automotive. We’re talking cars this morning. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a BMW 2000 323i that had a water pump problem. What was going on with this BMW?

Bernie: Well the vehicle, the owner was driving the vehicle and pulled into a job site and it was making a horrendous racket and they wisely decided to shut it off and have the vehicle towed to our shop to be repaired.

Mark: And you found?

Bernie: We found the water pump severely worn, I mean the sound coming from the engine was just horrendous and the water pump bearing was completely fried, was fried like broken apart causing the belt to flop around, the pulleys, the fan was way out of place and tapping things. So there was a lot of noises going on, a lot of racket. We’ll just get right into sharing a little video of the bearing because it’s really interesting to look at. So here is the water pump bearing.

Mark: That’s just not good.

Bernie: Yeah, it’s just insanely worn.

Mark: Basically that should not have any play in it whatsoever.

Bernie: That should not have any play, yeah no that should, I could grab that bearing, that flange and move it and there should be absolutely no movement at all whatsoever.

Mark: So what sort of other issues would be caused by the water pump failure like that?

Bernie: Well, there’s a lot of things that can happen and interestedly enough there was really no pre warning, although I suspect if the owner had listened a little more, there was probably some growling bearing noise coming from the engine but I mean, a lot of things could happen like when a water pump fails the engine can overheat. That’s a very typical issue, also old coolant loss is another common issue and surprisingly the coolant level was full in this car which was good because the engine never overheated and that’s a good thing. But usually when a bearing fails like that there’s a seal inside and the seal will leak of course, because things are just moving and an angle that they’re not supposed to. I think something with the design of this water pump, it’s very, it’s got a very long housing and bearings at each end and I think somehow the way the seal is situated just allows it to not leak. But again there was a real surprise because with a bearing that loose at least 99% of the time, the coolant just gushes out all over the ground. So fortunately in the case of this vehicle, that wasn’t, the water pump was the main thing that was bad.

Mark: So you replaced the water pump, any other parts need to be replaced?

Bernie: Well there was a few other things. So fortunately the fan itself wasn’t damaged even though it was whacking against the fan shroud and I guess in some cases to if this thing could of worn worse, it could of have just wrecked the radiator too because they often sit very close, the fan and radiator can sit close to each other but there’s no damage in that area. So what other items did need to be replaced, so when we took it apart, the fan clutch which is basically a mechanism that allow the fan to slip and improve, it makes the engine efficiency and fuel economy, but that piece was worn just from age so we replaced that, also the belts obviously got replaced. They were showing signs of cracking, and the tensioners and the pulleys were starting to wear so we replaced those too. So a few preventative items to prevent other failures down the road, but that was it.

Mark: So how are BMW’s for reliability? I have mixed experience, mixed results with them.

Bernie: They’re actually, these cars are actually I find are pretty reliable. They’re a little simpler, these older, like a 2000 BMW, it’s a little simpler of a car than some of the newer ones with direct fuel injection. They seem to have less problems. I mean, there’s a lot of plastic pieces that wear out but this car is 20 years old. We do regular service on it and it doesn’t really come in for a whole lot that more than you’d expect on a car that’s this age. So pretty good reliable car and a nice driving vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service in Vancouver for your BMW 3-Series, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re busy you’ve got to book ahead or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. We have almost 5 years of videos on there, hundreds and hundreds of them for you to peruse through, tons of information. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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