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Thread: Water leak at/near pump bolt hole? 1956 322 Nailhead

  1. #1
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    Water leak at/near pump bolt hole? 1956 322 Nailhead

    This is my first 50ís Buick, a 56 Special, purchased at an estate sale; car sat for 15+ years. Got her running, but have a coolant leak.

    It seems to be coming from or near the 2 bolt holes at the bottom of the water pump cover - the ones behind the fan pulley that are really hard to get to or even see. I can feel that the 2 bolts are missing from those holes. Dumb question: I assume bolts should be in them??!! These seem to be the smaller bolts; I see other bolts on the pump cover that appear to be larger.

    So... if those bolts should be there, does anyone know correct size? And the easiest way to bolt them on?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

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    The parts book isn't any help. It just says mounting hardware items are standard stock. It looks like the two smallest holes at about 11:00 and 5:00 positions are pilot holes for alignment studs in the timing chain cover. See attached photos of the pump and exploded parts view.

    The fan blade, spacer, and pulley will have be removed to get at the mounting holes. Attached is a shop manual page giving steps for pump removal.

    If some of the other holes are empty, the depth can be determined by probing with a small drill bit or screwdriver. This will give an idea of the maximum bolt length needed. Then sample bolts can be hand-threaded to determine correct thread pitch and length without bottoming out.

    I would say remove another bolt and try it in the open holes, but that's not a good idea. The bolt may snap off due to corrosion. There could be broken-off stubs in the suspect holes. That would require pump removal to replace the broken bolts.
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    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

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    Just remove and replace. Any water pump that old that has been idle and probably dry will not have a long life. At that time you will see missing bolts (if any) and deal with that. Most of the bolts go into a water cavity, so apply thread sealer.

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    Many thanks Todd for the detailed response and 322bnh for replacement suggestion. Can I do a water pump replacement by removing fan blade, spacer, and pulley, all working from above? I don't have the ability to lift car, so all work need to be done under the hood (or what I can get to sliding under car).

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    Yes everything comes out from the top. The only need to work from below is to open the petcock. Attached is the next page from the shop manual on the water pump. The worst that could happen is having to remove the radiator to drill out stubborn broken bolts.
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    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

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    Thanks for the additional info Todd. Iím going to give it a try this weekend.

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    Ok, so it looks like the leak is coming from a rectangular hole on the bottom of front neck of pump - see the pic. What the heck is that hole? Supposed to be there? Missing something? Just wondering if itís an easier/less expensive fix than replacing the pump.
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  8. #8
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    It's a drain hole and belongs there. Should the rotating seal leak just a tiny amount, maybe 2 drops/day, the coolant runs on out without getting into the bearing.

    Yours has been leaking enough to be noticeable, even showing a rust trail. Probably will just get worse. It's time to replace the pump before water ruins the bearing.
    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

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    Thanks. Ordering a pump tonight.

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