A vehicle's water pump is the heart of the cooling system. This pump is what keeps the coolant flowing through the radiator, and the engine. The water pump is usually powered by a belt and pulley system which is connected to the crankshaft on the engine. The belt transfers its power to a shaft which leads into the pump, were it rotates an impeller keeping the coolant flowing. A seal is used to keep fluid from leaking out of the pump housing past the spinning shaft. The shaft and impeller spin on a sealed bearing inside the water pump. This bearing on the shaft is one of the pieces on a water pump that can wear out.
The inlet to the pump is located near the center so that fluid returning from the radiator is flung into the impeller as it spins. Once the fluid enters the pump and hits the impeller, centrifugal force is used to push the fluid to the outside wall causing fluid to constantly be drawn from the center where it is entering. The tube that allows the fluid to be sent back into the engine is located on the outside wall of the pump were the fluid is being forced. A gasket is used to seal the water pump to the engine block and prevent the flowing coolant from leaking out where the pump is attached. Signs of a faulty water pump include leaks or unusual noise through the vehicles vents or in the engine compartment. Water pumps are usually made up of a housing which is made of cast iron or cast aluminum.
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