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Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. #5345946 02/10/20 09:31 AM
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Fordiesel69 Offline OP
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As many of you know, the FWD / AWD engine config has the water pump internally driven off the timing system. When the pump fails, it spews coolant into the oil and destroys the engine if not caught in time. I am fully versed and have read every article on the causes, failures, fixes, and the political views of using such a design. I'd like to keep this thread strictly on the coolant end of the equation, and any preventative measures / additives.

My questions are as follows:
2013 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan with 175,000 miles, 322 Idle Hours ( and confirmed it was pure highway use for liquor enforcement) Not traffic / criminal enforcement).

1.) At this mileage, what should I do from a coolant standpoint to prolong the life of the water pump?

2.) Would it hurt to simply drain the existing unknown ford specialty orange coolant out, and replace with the same coolant to at least partially restore the additive pack?


99' Crown Vic Police - SAP (P71)
00' Crown Vic Police - SAP (P71)
08' Crown Vics Police - SAP(P71's) (total of 3 garage queens)
13' Taurus Police
14' Fusion S Base
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5345960 02/10/20 09:55 AM
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Chris142 Online Content
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The coolant does not touch any part of the water pump. Other than the impeller. Only when a seal fails does coolant get into the bearings then leak out. There is nothing you can do to prolong the pumps life.


02 Wrangler Napa high milage 10w40
87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am Maveric edge 5w40
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Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5345978 02/10/20 10:14 AM
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ford46guy Offline
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I looked at a lincon MK? with that high mileage, had that engine (or the 3.7). Dealer said it isn't that common but if it happens it happens. According to him and his techs nothing can prevent it. He had the old part from one he just repaired, and it had lots of play in the shaft.
If any coolant came in contact with the bearings that get play that would be a problem in itself.

He said MAYBE a coolant level sensor in the bottle (ironic it don't have one, some cars have sensors for the washer fluid!) but he said said it usually happens catastrophically on the highway and there is nothing you can do. Maybe install a float switch.

If you are that worried maybe PM the part.


95 Tbird V8 240K PP SYNTH ULTRA 5W30
98 MGM 160K M1 HM 5W20
96 Explorer EB V6 159K PP SYNTH HM 5W30
95 Conti 155K MC 5W20
11 GS350 90K PP HM 5W30
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346013 02/10/20 10:53 AM
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Snagglefoot Online Content
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With that many miles, your manual suggests changing every three years with Ford Orange coolant. I suppose the guys above are correct, so I would do a regular weekly check of your coolant jug with the fluid cold. If you see any lowering you might have to act on it. smile


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346042 02/10/20 11:31 AM
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Here is a video from Makuloco for those unfamiliar with the problem. (I'm sure the OP has seen it). One thing interesting is there is a double O ring with a weep channel that is supposed to take the fluid back to the block. I imagine a bitogger can be more aware of things rather than the every day motorist, so maybe watch for the weep. Makuloco mentioned it leads back to the block and exits by the alternator. After he pulls the alternator you can clearly see the weep path machined in the block. Soooo, inspect near the alternator for any signs of a weeping coolant. Yes, I have heard of sudden catastrophic failures of the bearing dumping the coolant into the pan.

smile https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3-NOGZL8ms

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/10/20 11:51 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346054 02/10/20 11:42 AM
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rideahorse Offline
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Its not a coolant issue. Its a thin oil issue. This syn oil does not lube the timing chains like a good 15w-40 HDEO oil will. Chains do not like thin syn oils. When the chains get stretched they put undo stress on the water pump bearings. Vibration and harmonics. Thin syn oil is dry and has no body to it to keep the chains from premature wearing. There is nothing wrong with the design. Just look at Europe and see that they spec a lot thicker oil for the same engines. The EPA is making the car manufacturers do this for the last bit of mileage and sacrificing engine life. My 08 3.5 Edge has 235,000 miles on it and just put the first water pump in it. $ 1,600 at Ford dealership and the timing chains are still good. Its had HDEO 15w-40 conventional oil in it since it was new.

Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346065 02/10/20 11:49 AM
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dbias Offline
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I've been looking and researching for a used car after the Jetta was totaled and ran across a really good deal on a ford Taurus. Looked at the engine problems and couldn't believe the internal water pump setup. That is stupid, stupid, stupid. No way no how will I buy a vehicle with this design.

Last edited by dbias; 02/10/20 11:50 AM.

2011 VW JETTA RIP totaled at 180k 😥
2012 FORD TRANSIT CONNECT Castrol Edge 5W-30
2016 HONDA CIVIC COUPE Casrol Edge 5w-30
2017 AUDI A4 Ravenol 5W-40 RUP
2019 VW Jetta factory fill
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: rideahorse] #5346086 02/10/20 12:17 PM
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dogememe Offline
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Originally Posted by rideahorse
Its not a coolant issue. Its a thin oil issue. This syn oil does not lube the timing chains like a good 15w-40 HDEO oil will. Chains do not like thin syn oils. When the chains get stretched they put undo stress on the water pump bearings. Vibration and harmonics. Thin syn oil is dry and has no body to it to keep the chains from premature wearing. There is nothing wrong with the design. Just look at Europe and see that they spec a lot thicker oil for the same engines. The EPA is making the car manufacturers do this for the last bit of mileage and sacrificing engine life. My 08 3.5 Edge has 235,000 miles on it and just put the first water pump in it. $ 1,600 at Ford dealership and the timing chains are still good. Its had HDEO 15w-40 conventional oil in it since it was new.


Uh... I don't think that's quite how that works. Just because one unit made it to 235K using 15w-40 doesn't mean that is going to prevent the issue in all of these vehicles/engines.

Last edited by dogememe; 02/10/20 12:17 PM.

2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~104K Miles: AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-30, Wix Filter.
2001 Chevy Suburban 5.3 ~292K Miles: Valvoline Maxlife 10W-30, ACDelco Filter.
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346111 02/10/20 12:36 PM
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If you're that concerned you could just replace the water pump at 100k. $1600 for the job on that engine is comparable to the $1500 my wife and I were quoted for timing belt on a Honda Odyssey with a 3.5.

Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: cb_13] #5346150 02/10/20 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by cb_13
If you're that concerned you could just replace the water pump at 100k. $1600 for the job on that engine is comparable to the $1500 my wife and I were quoted for timing belt on a Honda Odyssey with a 3.5.

Right On ! this car is waay overdue for a water pump, timing chain replacement, especially if on xtended OCIs

Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Pelican] #5346165 02/10/20 01:52 PM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by Pelican
Right On ! this car is waay overdue for a water pump, timing chain replacement, especially if on xtended OCIs

So is a chain considered a scheduled replacement part? I've never replaced the chain in my old ECHO, and the water pump I changed at about 280K miles just because I thought nearly 20 years was long enough.


1994 BMW 530i, 252K
1996 Honda Accord, 288K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 434K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346171 02/10/20 01:57 PM
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It's an engineering flaw - not so much with the chain-driven water pump as Nissan, Subaru and GM are also using them. It's how Ford had to package the water pump for the engine to fit in a transverse application and while there is a double-groove gasket and a weep channel to route coolant away from the crankcase it still wasn't enough.

Only thing you can do is a keep a hawk's eye on coolant and oil levels and plan on PM replacing the pump if you're paranoid. It seems like it's doable in some models without dropping the engine.

Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346216 02/10/20 02:26 PM
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It brings us to the question: Just how long should the accessories last? Only 2 % of vehicles are on the road past 200,000 miles. I’ve heard from other sources that it is 4%, so I’ll give folks the benefit of the doubt and call it 5%. So what’s an “early failure” ? Most cars leave their original owner at 6 years or under. That might average out to 120,000 miles. ( alternate data is welcome.)

I wonder what is the average mileage is when that 3.5/3.7 water pump piles up. The OP’s water pump made it to 175,000 miles. It’s too bad it costs so much to repair but we all know the manufacturers do not support the 2nd owner. smile

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/10/20 02:33 PM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: kschachn] #5346224 02/10/20 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by Pelican
Right On ! this car is waay overdue for a water pump, timing chain replacement, especially if on xtended OCIs

So is a chain considered a scheduled replacement part? I've never replaced the chain in my old ECHO, and the water pump I changed at about 280K miles just because I thought nearly 20 years was long enough.


No it is not. A timing chain is considered a lifetime component. I personally have seen the water pumps on these fail anywhere from 120k-300k miles and read reports of ones failing much sooner. My wife has a 13 Edge with the 3.7 and we don't lose any sleep over the issue. It's not that common but it can certainly be catastrophic if not caught soon enough.

Re: Dreaded Ford 3.5L / 3.7L water pump - How to extend the life. [Re: Fordiesel69] #5346234 02/10/20 02:42 PM
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I found a used 2013 Taurus on Auto in Erie, Pa ( the OP’s listed address), for $8,000. I guess you just assume it’s going to need $1800 for a water pump and chain and price your offer accordingly or avoid entirely. laugh

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/10/20 02:48 PM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
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