The Importance of Water Pump Efficiency and its Effects
Making sure your vehicle is cooled is vital to it running efficiently and reliably. The water or cooling pump is central to this and its design can have a massive effect on the engine and associated ancillaries; including power, potential service intervals and fuel economy. So, a well-designed water pump is essential for the car manufacturer and customer. So how to get it right? PIF spoke to Colwyn based Mark Water Pumps to find out more.
How does the water pump work?
The water pump is usually driven off the crankshaft pulley and aids in dissipating heat by forcing liquid through the engine block, radiator and hoses. This is achieved by the impeller blades creating a centrifugal force which causes the liquid to travel outwards and draws coolant back in from the radiator. The coolant which has left the water pump then travels through the whole engine, absorbing heat and then reaches the radiator causing the heat to dissipate to the outside air.
Mark Water Pumps manufactures over a quarter of a million pumps and over 800 different part ranges per year; Plant Manager David Lewis explains the design and function of the engines water pump:
"We design and manufacture our water pumps for OE, OES and aftermarket customers and we use the same materials, castings, pulleys, bearings and impellers in much of the aftermarket products as we do for the OE and OES versions. There are sometimes small differences because price is a factor, but there's evidence to support that many aftermarket manufacturers produce pumps with flow rates below 40% of the OE part which simply isn't acceptable to us. The Water Pump acts as the heart of the engine, pumping much-needed liquid through to the engine to help it run efficiently and reliably; the flow rate is vitally important so as to maximize this. Again, the initial design is the key factor to a strong water pump."
"All of our prototype water pumps are rigorously tested to ensure that the finished product is of premium quality. Testing comprises of two stages. The first being a prolonged endurance test in one of our water pump endurance rigs, this can be programmed for various life cycle testing, and the second compares flow rates and pressures in one of our water pump flow rigs. We believe that the amount of time and cost that goes into designing, testing and manufacturing a water pump correctly is thoroughly worth it for our customers and the end user".
The effects of a poorly designed water pump
Mr. Lewis continues: "With Winter setting in the usual thinking is how to keep a car warm, not, how to keep it cold, but even in cold weather the combustion engine generates a great amount of heat which needs to be regulated by the cars water pump and cooling system.
A poorly designed water pump can cause overheating of the engine. This can be caused by such factors as incorrect tolerances and poor materials. For example, a poorly designed impeller can cause the sudden formation and collapse of low-pressure bubbles within the liquid. This is known as cavitation and can effectively cause the water to boil at temperatures below 100 degrees c."
Having an inadequate water pump in your vehicle can also lead to premature wear causing coolant to leak which if unnoticed, particularly on a long journey, can potentially allow the engine to overheat. In the worst cases, this can cause engine damage such as cracked cylinder heads, burnt pistons or pushed head gaskets - all of which can be costly to repair.
Specifying a water pump from a longstanding manufacturer such as Mark Water Pumps ensures reliability and efficiency of the vehicle's engine. With a history of water pump design, testing and manufacturing; and providing pumps for such prestige marks as Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Aston Martin - peace of mind for manufacturers and end users alike can be assured.
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