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I did statistical process quality control for a living for 10 years, and now do cost savings analysis.

I wish we had good data for a decision point for the pump failure rates and MTF (mean time to failure). As a general observation, while most people do a good job in changing engine oil/filters, coolant is a neglected item. It does not help that the coolants today are advertised as "lifetime" or 100k mile changes; that is so far out that most folks just plain forget. Other people are good at following prescribed changes, but again, with the coolant life cycle being so long, it's not really known how the pump failure would relate to the coolant change regime.

For those who do change their coolant preemptively, much sooner than Ford recommends, we'd have to see what kind of correlation would exist between coolant life and pump life. So we have a few groups to consider, and I suspect the data is lacking to make a good determination as to "when" a pump will fail.

Correlation does not equate to causation, but without correlation there can be no causation. If we could find correlation between coolant life and pump life, we'd at least have some track to follow. Sadly, I doubt the data is available to us.


All water pumps fail. The issue with these is that they don't always give the tale-tell weep leak to let us know. If we're lucky, they leak via the weep hole and we get a hint of impending doom. The problem is that they don't always do this; some will leak on the opposite seal and leak into the engine. While oil analysis may pick up on this, it would have to be a slow enough enough that discovery predates doom. That may or may not be true.

The nature of the pump being buried inside the engine is a nod to packaging. Can't have it all, folks. Things take up space, and putting the pump inside saves space for any particular chassis package.


The Achilles heel in an otherwise excellent engine.

I bought my two Taurus cars knowing this going in. I hope to catch the issues prior to catastrophe, and change out preventative. Only time will tell ...
I knew it going in, as well, having an 08 Edge of my estranged wife's. I try to be proactive and monitor for potential problems, since I went ahead and picked up the 08 Taurus. Strangely, our cars were built the same day in two different plants.

But I do love the way the car drives, especially after I had an alignment that corrected serious misalignment problems. When I got it, it wouldn't break 23 mpg in highway driving. After new plugs, alignment, and an air filter change, my last trip netted a nice 29.2, on the same routes for testing. It's a fine road car.
 

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This failure scenario is enough to scare me into considering trading my car in as it approaches the end of the 100K mile certified warranty.

That $1500 for the pump, or $7k+ if it takes out the engine could be better used towards a new car with lower miles. Last thing i really want to do is put $7K of work into a $7K car.
 

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This failure scenario is enough to scare me into considering trading my car in as it approaches the end of the 100K mile certified warranty.

That $1500 for the pump, or $7k+ if it takes out the engine could be better used towards a new car with lower miles. Last thing i really want to do is put $7K of work into a $7K car.
When any vehicle approaches a 50/50 investment to value status, it's very "iffy" to keep it. But that scenario you prescribe is based on the worst case; engine has failed and needs replacement. It may well be worth the $1500 investment into a car worth $7500 (investing 20% of the total estimated value). And then you get another 100k or more from the car.

A car that is otherwise in great shape, that has a lot of life left in it, would be worth a preemptive pump change. $1500 isn't cheap; that's for sure. But can you go out and buy a used car for that same $1500 investment, knowing the history of the vehicle and having otherwise excellent condition? Probably not. $1500 does not buy you much of a car in today's world. So the $1500 investment, while expensive, is probably a better investment in your current car than a new-to-you car. (I am excluding the "sweet deals" like getting a car from your grandfather or BIL who sell you something cheap, or flat out give it to you. Those deals exist, but your relative won't give me a car. I'm talking about reality and not family to keep things in a fair sense of normal costs for all.)

As I said, I just bought two 2018 Taurus cars, brand new. I knew what I was getting into. General maintenance items are normal for any car; tires, brakes, belt(s), hoses, etc. Water pumps are a consumable item. It's just that these 3.5L engines have a very expensive pump replacement cost due to location. However, I can plan for this ...
Let's say the hopeful life before failure is 120k miles or greater. Given that my wife and I each average about 15-17k miles a year in our cars, we can expect to go 7-8 years before we do a preemptive pump change. That means we can save up $200/year/vehicle for the cost. That's not insurmountable by any means. Setting aside just $16/month/car will pay for pump change 8 years from now. And 8 years from now, each car is likely to still be very serviceable and usable. We just came out of a 2005 MGM for her (246k miles) and a 2007 MGM for me (130k miles). Those cars were both still in decent shape, even after 12-14 years of use. (sold both to my son for a cheap price).

Eight years from now, can I go out and get a nice car, with a known maintenance history, for that same $1500 investment? Prob's not. So while the cost of pump replacement is obscene relative to what other car water-pumps may cost, it's still "cheaper to keep 'er". Even in a worst case preemptive scenario (say 20k annual miles and 100k preemptive change), you'd only need to save $25/month set aside. $300/yr will replace that pump every 5 years.

Now, admittedly if you don't catch the failure preemptively, and end up ruining an engine to the point of total degradation and have to replace that engine, then the $7000 replacement engine may warrant putting that money into a different, newer vehicle. Or, if the vehicle is in a general state of very poor condition, such that even $1500 isn't a smart investment, that also would negate the deal.

Also keep in mind that if the pump fails, and you catch the signs of it immediately, the engines don't always need to be replaced. If the coolant pukes into the engine from acute failure, which ends up greatly compromising the lube, as long as you shut down the engine quickly (typically signs of distress like odd noises or oil pressure loss), the damage is minimal and the engine can simply have the pump changed and then the oil flushed a few times, and it's still a viable engine. The people that end up having to replace engines are the ones that drive after the initial symptoms have been displayed, but they ignore the signs (noises, higher temps, MIL, etc) and try to milk out a few more miles, etc. "Honey - I was just driving past the mall, and the engine started making this weird scrawly-screech noise, and the yellow warning light came on, but I had to get the kids to soccer practice so I thought I could make the extra 5 minutes to drop them off before I got home ...". This problem, when it manifests into an acute failed pump seal and leaks internally, typically does not go without warning. It's just that the warning isn't heeded. When it happens, you have to stop and shut off the engine NOW; not 5 minutes from "now". Often, but admittedly not always, the timing chains will be slightly out of sync and the little yellow light will come on the dash (code P0016). Or, the coolant bottle indicates a slight volume loss over a month or two. But people think they can ignore these signs, or delay dealing with them. In any other engine, perhaps so. But not these engines. Those are clues of impending doom; PAY ATTENTION TO THEM. These are signs you're in trouble:
- P0016 code on the MIL (aka CEL, etc)
- coolant volume loss at the bottle not otherwise easily explained
- coolant in the lube (info found in UOAs)
- noises that didn't exist last month or even yesterday


The reality is this ...
Preemptive pump change out = keep the car
Reactive pump replacement = replace the car if you've destroyed the engine

Like I said, only you know if your investment is worthwhile. I cannot tell from my desk what condition your car is in.
 

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I just looked at a 75k mile, 2008 Taurus SEL for $4800 yesterday. Going to be my daughter's first car. Every aspect of the car makes it a buy....until I came across this info. Starting to think I might be better off with a 3.0 Fusion. Too bad though because this Taurus was a pretty rare find for Michigan (it spent it winters in Florida until 2016...verified through CarFax, etc). People who own it now are the second owners and their 21 year old used it for college and now she's moving on to something a bit "cooler" lol Wish I knew the percent chance of these failures happening between 75k-100K miles because it might be worth the gamble.

Also, does the weep hole lead to anywhere that you can see a leak OUTSIDE of the vehicle? It looks to me that the weep hole leads right back into the oil, so the only way to notice is the milky oil look. Not sure what the purpose of a weep hole would be if it only leads back to the oil anyways? Kinda strange.
 

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Well, I just experienced the dreaded water pump failure. 2013 Taurus Limited AWD. Had the coolant flushed at 75K, now has 85K. I dropped off my truck for some maintenance work at the dealer on Friday, as my wife pulled in to pick me up, I smelled antifreeze. I checked reservoir and looked for leaks, couldn't see anything. Wrote it off as being at service center. Later on at home, I was sitting outside and noticed a dark spot under car. Never had leaks or spots in drive before. Got under car and saw front of motor under alternator and pan were wet with the red/orange antifreeze. Then started looking around with light and saw that it is leaking from weep hole. Oil is still clean, no milkiness. Took to dealer first thing Saturday morning, put in a loaner and should have it back in a few days after paying CPO deductible ($100.00)
 

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Where is this weep hole? I don't understand how there is a weep hole visible from the outside of the engine if the entire water pump is inside the engine. The pumps weep hole should drip back into the oil. I don't get how the pump seal can leak outside the engine.

Can anyone explain that?
 

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Ford designed in a channel to allow the pump to leak outward when it fails. It's not like they said "eh, screw em, let it ruin the engine". Sometimes that hole gets plugged, though.
 

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Ok, I watched the video again and it makes more sense this time.....the weep leads to the outside of the block but the weep only shows a gasket seal failure, which is what terbob3 experienced. But there is no way to see a bearing or shaft seal failure since the weep channel isn't tied to the shaft seal/bearing area. The only "way" to preventatively check is to hope the shaft seal/bearing fail is slow and constantly check the condition of the oil and also the coolant level. Otherwise there is no preventative indication of a sudden major shaft seal/bearing fail.

I'm hoping that the weep (gasket seal failure) tends to go first and is an indication that the shaft seal is ready to fail next.
 

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Where is this weep hole? I don't understand how there is a weep hole visible from the outside of the engine if the entire water pump is inside the engine. The pumps weep hole should drip back into the oil. I don't get how the pump seal can leak outside the engine.

Can anyone explain that?
You can see the weep hole just above the alternator from the front of the car. I just talked to my SA and they are also going to replace the chain, tensioners and spark plugs for the cost of parts only. They already have that stuff torn apart anyway. Kudos to my dealer, Classic Ford in Mentor, OH. They have always been fair and honest to me and my family for the past 30 years.
 

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^ Still a piss-poor design! It was on the 'ol Dodge Intrepid and still is today. I thought we were supposed to learn from mistakes/history...
 

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Unfortunately it comes back to Ford being cash poor in the late 2000s. The design spec for the Cyclone mandated that it had to fit anywhere the Duratec 30 had, and that meant they had to save space somewhere.
 
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