Technology is an amazing thing. It allows us to upgrade numerous aspects of our vehicles and make them work better for our applications. The downside is that in doing so, we leave the well-trodden path of factory part numbers or OEM specs. This raises questions when installing a new water pump beyond what the OEM manufacturer designed.
Numerous aftermarket parts suppliers such as Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories have created Frequently Asked Questions pages on their websites to help dispel any fears one may have when upgrading their rides by taking the path less traveled. There are many reasons why questions arise when installing a new water pump. There are “short” or “long” water pumps to choose from depending on the application, but adding the upgrade to a serpentine belt system or changing the materials the pump is made from can add to the confusion. Thankfully, the folks at Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories have listed some of these leading FAQs to help their customers sort out some of the more pressing questions. Here are a few answers from Tuff Stuff’s designated FAQ page on its website. You can always contact the folks at Tuff Stuff to ask a question specific to your build or if it isn’t listed in the FAQs on this page.
Q: I Installed A New Water Pump And My Car Is still Running Hot.
A: While this is more of a statement than a question, it’s something we hear about many times. Typically, engines that have been modified for more horsepower generally run hotter than stock engines. Tuff Stuff’s SuperCool water pumps are designed to provide 30% more flow to counter the additional heat, but that doesn’t help if the flow is restricted through a stuck thermostat, a kinked lower radiator hose, or a radiator with a plugged core.
You also need to ensure your radiator has sufficient airflow to allow heat transfer from the coolant when driving, as well as when idling at a red light. Many times, the temp gauge rises when at a stop light but as soon as the vehicle gets moving again, the temps drop right back down within operating range. This can be an indicator of insufficient airflow. Does the fan draw air from the entire surface of the radiator or just from a small cross-section? Perhaps a fan shroud is needed. Even high-performance engines can be cooled sufficiently if combined with the proper cooling, thermostat, and radiator.
Q: How Do I Know When I Need A Reverse Rotation Water Pump?
A: Of course, you need not worry about the direction of flow if you are ordering a water pump according to your specific application. But if you are upgrading from a “V” belt pulley to serpentine, this can be a concern.
Most serpentine systems require a reverse water pump. You can determine this by how the belt travels around the water pump pulley. If the back of the serpentine belt travels around the water pump pulley this indicates it requires a reverse-flow water pump. If the inside of the belt travels on the water pump pulley, a standard rotation water pump will be fine. Most pulley and bracket manufacturers can tell you what style of water pump you need for their system.
Q: Why Should I Install An Aluminum Water Pump?
A: Some water pumps are available as aluminum rather than cast iron. Deciding which best suits your application comes down to two major factors. Aluminum pumps are much lighter than cast iron and can be polished to a high luster without rusting. Tuff Stuff also offers various coatings on its water pumps so you can get the perfect finish for your application.
Q: How Do I Know If I Have A Long Or Short Water Pump?
A: Making sure the unit fits in the designated space is another of those popular questions when installing a new water pump. As mentioned, GM used different height water pumps, also known as “long” and “short” water pumps on its engines. The industry term for measuring a water pump height is the “hub height”. This is a critical dimension for proper belt alignment and determines where the water pump pulley belt groove(s) fall in relation to your crank, alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning pulley grooves.
Never attempt to press or pull the hub to change its dimension. This may result in an unbalanced fan blade that can explode the pump causing serious injury!
The hub height dimension is typically used to determine if your Chevy water pump is either a “long” or a “short” style. The dimension from the mounting gasket surface to the outside face of the hub (where the pulley is bolted) is the hub height.
Either a long or short water pump may be used on any Chevy V8 (Gen I SB – Gen II BB) engine as long as the correct pulleys are used and the belts are in alignment. The hub height is listed next to each model in Tuff Stuff’s water pump section to help you find the proper water pump for your application.
With Tuff Stuff Performance’s website and just a few clicks, you’ll be able to locate the exact water pump for your application. With so many options, there really is no reason your engine shouldn’t look great and keep its cool during those mid-summer drives.