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My brother's GXP needed a new water pump recently, and it got me thinking about my own Solstice.

In looking thru the receipts handed down to me by the previous owner, I found that my 2006 2.4 NA (I am the 5th caretaker of this particular car) had had it's water pump replaced (by the local Chevy dealer) in 2013 at about 40,000 miles.

In searching the forum for water-pump-related posts, I found lots of discussion on the issue. I think it is safe to say that premature water pump failure (and 40 K strikes me as very premature) on the Solstice is known to be a fairly common complaint.

I have three questions (sorry if I missed the answers in my search): 1) Have there been any improvements made to replacement pumps, so that a new GM pump (or perhaps even some other brand) might be expected to outlast the original factory part? 2) What part of the pump typically fails--seal, bearings, something else? And 3) Does anyone here have a reasonably informed guess as to why the the water pump on a typical modern FWD car rarely gets replaced (except as a precaution when the timing belt is changed--and that at usually over 80K miles), while the Solstice seems to suffer pump failure much sooner?
 

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The accelerated failure is speculated to be partly caused by the longitudinal installation causing some sort of heat issues, which could be supported by the higher apparent failure rate in the LNF engines.

The replacement pumps are thought to last longer, but i think the dataset is too small to totally support that.

i think that a lot of the problem is caused by the long annual storage times typical of the Kappas. No other cars with Ecotec engines are subjected to the same use cycles. My LE5 with 106k miles and my LNF with 89k miles are driven regularly, never stored for extended periods, and both have the original water pumps.
 

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Another unknown is how well owners follow the recommended maintenance schedule, and how that may affect the failure rate of Ecotec water pumps as it relates to vehicles being kept in storage for months at a time.

Owners manual PGg 345 - At 150,000 Miles (240 000 km)
❑ Drain, flush, and refill cooling system (or every 60 months since last service, whichever occurs first).

Owners manual Pg 257 - Engine Coolant
The cooling system in your vehicle is filled with DEX-COOL® engine coolant. This coolant is designed to remain in your vehicle for five years or 150,000 miles (240 000 km), whichever occurs first, if you add only DEX-COOL® extended life coolant.
 

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I couldn't agree more: the time the car sits is a factor. I start mine (just like my original one, when it was brand new) every 7-10 days in storage. I let the temp come up briefly, I move the car forward and backward a few yards multiple times. I do a function test on easy things: directionals, horn, wipers, windows radio. I let it cool with the hood open and while it cools I take a few minutes with a flashlight and look over under and around. I have cardboard under the car to catch any drips and also to show me where it might be leaking. I have an electronic anti-pest device plugged in and aimed under the car. Easy peasy lemon squeezy stuff. Takes about 15 minutes.
 

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I have three questions (sorry if I missed the answers in my search): 1) Have there been any improvements made to replacement pumps, so that a new GM pump (or perhaps even some other brand) might be expected to outlast the original factory part? 2) What part of the pump typically fails--seal, bearings, something else? And 3) Does anyone here have a reasonably informed guess as to why the the water pump on a typical modern FWD car rarely gets replaced (except as a precaution when the timing belt is changed--and that at usually over 80K miles), while the Solstice seems to suffer pump failure much sooner?
1. As stated, there have been improvements. We are now on at least the 6th supersession of the original part number. Which leads us into 2
2. The original pump was pressed together in what appeared to be about 7 or 8 different pressings, now, if it was in fact pressed together, I'm not certain. But if you look at an OE pump off of the car, you can see there were approx. 7 or 8 different sized pieces that look like they were all seperate at one point. The areas that appeared to be pressed is where it seemed to always fail.
3. This, as stated above has been discussed multiple times. If you do a search, "what technically causes a waterpump to fail" is a good read. For the record, when my pump at 54k failed, my car had never been in storage. My coolant was approximately 6 years old. It was a daily driver. So, if you ask me, and many others that use theirs as a daily driver that have had it fail, it kind of blows the being stored theory out the window.

On FWD the WP has air circulation...be it from air moving around from the air dam, or the excess from the fan, there is movement. We have no movement of air. We have a 1000-1500 degree turbo above (seeing that the WP failure is more prevailent on the turbo models) and a 800-1200 degree cat behind it, this causes a lot of heat for the WP. If you noticed on the third? iteration of the LNF, the LTG, the waterpump was kept on the same side, but IMSMC, the cat and turbo were moved to the driver's side on the Camaro and ATS. I know on the ATS forum, they have not reported the number of failures that we have had...

It is also known that people that have flushed their coolant every 2 or 3 years have not had as big an issue as those that waited 5 or 6 years. Another theory was that the coolant produces microscopic balls as it ages and when it cools, the balls get bigger. When its hot, they "melt". That's why most issues happen after the car has sat for several hours.

Hope this helps. This is my perspective and like I said, read this: What Technically causes a waterpump to fail
 
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Thanks so much! I somehow missed that thread, which indeed answers all my questions. Thanks again! And...time for me to change the coolant!
 

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I like the discussion. However as a sample of two, we have two 2.0 cars that are run frequently, one daily one weekly and the daily driver had the pump fail.
 

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I can certainly understand the viewpoints,and the frustrations. Small sample sizes and such do make for a difficult comparison, much less diagnosis. Especially in equipment that may or may not have been in our own direct control forall of the use of that equipment. And especially in a car, were incorrect procedure may not immediately cause trouble.

Here's an anecdote. My company used to make a sensor system to a particular design. We had premature failures for a selection of customers. Those failures were not common, as in most of the sensor packages worked as designed for the projected lifespan, and some for much longer, but too high a percentage were failing early.

The design issue was too tight a tolerance in an area that didn't directly affect the sensor itself, but the track the sensor registered on could get in misalignment in that area. Why only these few customers? Turns out it was a slight bit of corrosion. Similar to how verdigris can displace a brass grommet in leather. The customers that saw high infant mortality were operating fairly often in high humidity coupled with very similar temperatures relative to that humidity.

So the design flaw was brought to light by the way the equipment was used by this small percentage of users. The other users never saw this flaw as they never were in that 'range' of environments. Yes, design problem. Our fault 100%. But the catalyst to discovery was how it was used, and accounted for some customers saying it was junk and others calling it old reliable.
 

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if I had a turbo on mine I would for sure have a heat shield to keep the heat offf the stuff that dont like heat.I do not thing air circulation has anything to do with it at all.they are not air cooled like my porsche is...and it dont have a water pump..execpt for the windshield. I think it's more likely to be the storage issues.
 

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The accelerated failure is speculated to be partly caused by the longitudinal installation causing some sort of heat issues, which could be supported by the higher apparent failure rate in the LNF engines.

The replacement pumps are thought to last longer, but i think the dataset is too small to totally support that.

i think that a lot of the problem is caused by the long annual storage times typical of the Kappas. No other cars with Ecotec engines are subjected to the same use cycles. My LE5 with 106k miles and my LNF with 89k miles are driven regularly, never stored for extended periods, and both have the original water pumps.
I personally feel heat is a significant contributor. Specifically heat soak after shut down. To alleviate this I have created a heat shield for the water pump.
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I personally feel heat is a significant contributor. Specifically heat soak after shut down. To alleviate this I have created a heat shield for the water pump.

EXCELLENT idea even no matter the cause
 
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