View Full Version : water pump seal

02-12-2010, 03:03 PM
I have 6 water pumps; 2 with grease zerts, 2 (no zerts) but with slots in the bottom/access to the circlip, 1 completely rusted together and 1 with a broken pulley stuck on a bent shaft.

I also have one new water pump seal from... the only one of the big three that sells a seal by itself.

All the bearings seem good, some of the shafts, and some seal surfaces look better than others. Of the 4 taken apart, no 2 seals are alike, nor are any of the seals anything like the new one. All the shaft sizes are the same, but one has the threaded portion at the end (pulley retainer) much larger than the others.

I know I could have purchased a complete new water pump for under $100, but I got a seal for about $13. One end of the seal is smooth/flat, and the other end is concave. Which end goes on the shaft first? That is, does the flat side run against the housing, or the concave side? The seal is a 2 piece device so the insides will remain stationary against the housing, while the outsides rotate with the impeller.

I called the seller, but they don't have technical support and suggested I ask 'whoever is helping me with this'. If you're reading this, I'd appreciate your guess/rationale.


02-12-2010, 03:13 PM
Paging Randall...

02-12-2010, 04:24 PM
I looked at my shop manual. The exploded picture of the water pump is suggestive that the squarer side presses into the recess on the rear of the impeller.

02-12-2010, 04:33 PM
Here's the drawing Moses is referring to (which can also be found in the Spare Parts Catalogue). I think he is correct, but I'd have to check a pump at home tonight to be certain. Strangely enough, I've only ever had one pump fail, and that was over 20 years ago.

02-12-2010, 05:37 PM
That picture looks the same as in my Haynes, Bently and Triumph Service manuals. The seal as pictured doesn't look much like the new one -but something like some of the ones in the old pumps.

The seals in all my units are so far deteriorated that I can't tell if they were originally a single piece of rubber or not. My guess is they were, and the seal rotated against the sealing surface of the housing. The new seal is, I think, designed to not require a rotational seal against the housing.

I find this a bit confusing: The bearings (#12) are held in place by a machined surface at the inside of the housing, a spacer (#13) between the bearings, and a retaining clip (#14) at the outer end of the housing. The shaft is kept from coming too far forward by the circlip (#11) against the inner bearing. The pulley tightens against the outer bearing, holding the impeller shaft in position. The washer (#10) sets the gap between the impeller and the housing. I don't know what (#9) the spinner is for.

Because of the spring force of the new seal (outer donut), I think the flat side goes towards the housing and the other end goes into the impeller. I think that would also be the 'squarer' side (or larger end) going into the impeller.

02-12-2010, 06:36 PM
There is a flat phenolic or ceramic (or maybe even carbon) on one end of the seal that rides on a flat surface of the housing which is spun by the impeller. The seal assembly with this phenolic rotates with the impeller. The flat surface of the spinning phenolic mates with the stationary housing...If there are grooves or wear makes on the housing, the seal will not mate properly and will leak. The housing sealing surface must be perfectly flat. If not, it will have to be machined.

02-12-2010, 06:56 PM
Well, perhaps I have a different type seal. Both ends are soft rubber (I can fold them over with a finger and they bounce back). If I slip the seal on my finger, I can rotate the outer portion easily, and the inner portion remains motionless on my finger. There is a white part that may be phenolic or ceramic that is just inside the flat rubber portion and can be seen in the picture.

Einstein once said 'everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler'. I'm not trying to overcomplicate this...

02-12-2010, 07:12 PM
IMO, you've got the wrong seal. The original was definitely one piece and sealed against the housing as Art described.

My book describes #9 as a "seal, bearing", so I would guess it's a secondary seal/slinger, intended to throw any water that comes through the main seal out against the housing and keep it away from the bearing.

02-12-2010, 07:22 PM
That white part...does it stay stationary when you stick your finger in there and then rotate the outer section?? If so, you may have a form of unitized seal. That may replace the older type that required mating on the housing. For it to work, that inner section would have to be snug on the shaft and seal on the housing, rather then ride on it. But the housing would still have to be reasonably flat.

BTW, in another time in space, I used to rebuild water pumps for a living. :laugh:

02-12-2010, 07:45 PM
Yes, it stays stationary. I haven't pressed it the whole way down the shaft, because it is very snug on the shaft (implying that unitized seal). The sealing portions of several of the housings look very good. Some not so. Both the ones with zerks are not very good -but it seems the seals fail, not the bearings, with or without added grease. It may not be the 'right' seal even though any of the pumps are as 'right' as the other. I'm going to try it and if it works, it'll be as right as I need it to be. Unfortunately it will be a long time before the engine and body are together enough to test any water pump leakage.

Thanks for the input.

02-12-2010, 08:02 PM
even though any of the pumps are as 'right' as the other. The ones without grease zerks, and the one with the oversize threads on the shaft, are almost certainly aftermarket replacements. That doesn't make them 'wrong' of course, but might mean they take different internal repair parts, for example.

02-13-2010, 11:48 AM
Check the water pump 3-part article in the Wiki. The best source for parts and help is in the article.

02-13-2010, 12:31 PM

Thats a great article. I need to understand how to use the wiki. I've looked there but really haven't got started.

I think the TR6 and TR3 pumps are a little different. Your press is impressive, I just used my bench vise and a small hammer to take apart my pumps (several are completly trash anyway). Also, I didn't measure any of the impeller clearances before taking them apart, but could see with my eye that they were different. I find it challenging to understand what components I have and how they've been modified through the 50+ years of service. I find it interesting to see the different failure modes. Of the 6 pumps I have, none are the same, though it is evident the seals failed. I'm much more driven by cost than either originality or performance -and I lean towards (eventual) functionality. I'm happy to take the best parts from 6 pumps to get one to work. I've gathered parts from at least 100 cars to put 1 back together -and spent more than I could have purchased a nice, complete, functional TR3.

Thanks for the invite, I'll look again at the wiki project.

02-13-2010, 01:10 PM
Give Harold a call, he is a great guy. He knows more about pumps than anyone else I have talked to. And he can supply you with what you need for your rebuilds.

Btw, you will be surprised how little new quality parts cost.
I know the your pumps are a little different than the 6 pumps but I would guess it won't be more than $10 or $12 for good quality parts to rebuild them yourself.

02-13-2010, 01:38 PM

Had me curious as I recalled and old waterpump rebuilt kit box in my spares boxes that came along with my TR3A's.

Dug it out to look at the seals. Here are a couple of photos....have no idea how old it is but the seals are still pliable and the bearings are still in great shape having been packed in grease paper all these years.








M. Pied Lourd

02-13-2010, 01:59 PM
That is a great article in the WIKI on rebuilding the TR6 water pump. Tom used a unitized cartridge seal, and the pump itself has an integral shaft/bearing assembly. All of this is different then the TR3 pump. The seal in the TR6 pump presses into the housing, whereas the seal in the TR3 is housed in the the impeller. Also, the TR3 pump has separate shaft and bearings. The bearings for the TR3 pump are common ball bearings. Probably 6202's. There should be numbers on, or you can just measure the dimensions and look them up. Most ball bearings are sized in metric, but if they are inch bearings, those are readily available also. McMaster has both types.

Tom, I see you bought parts from Harold Bishop from HdrK Co. I used to buy stuff from him back in the '70s & '80s when I was rebuilding pumps, and he does know his stuff. The water pump rebuilding industry has pretty much died, but it's nice to see he's still going after all these years. He's most likely selling to niche rebuilders.

BTW, the H in HdrK was for Harold, and the drK was for Donald R. Kelley his partner. I don't think Don is with him anymore.

02-13-2010, 02:24 PM
This forum is amazing. Any part or information is obtainable!

All you need for that kit is to find a housing without damage to the sealing collar. -Or one that has enough remaining meat to be resurfaced using churchill tool number 6300.

Thanks again. Perhaps I'll call Harold, but I'm thinking the seal I have will work.

02-13-2010, 03:11 PM
-Or one that has enough remaining meat to be resurfaced using churchill tool number 6300.

Actually, the TR3 pump casting is small enough to chuck into a lathe to resurface. Grip it on the inner bearing surface and have at it. If I had a mess of these to do, I'd machine a 5C expanding collet for my lathe to fit the pump and knock them off.

02-13-2010, 05:44 PM
The bearings for the TR3 pump are common ball bearings.
Ball bearings, yes. Common, no. We've gone through this before (on a pre-BCF forum) and the original ball bearings are a strange British size that was obsolete even then (kind of like the BA fasteners).

Unfortunately my PC with all the Triumph info is down at the moment, so I don't have the details handy. But several people tried in various ways to find a supplier of bearings that would fit, with no luck. As I recall, the only workable idea was to put a sleeve in the housing, for a smaller od bearing.

02-14-2010, 02:53 AM
Would it help if I got the bearing maker/number of the ones that I have?

Would it be possible to cross reference them?

M. Pied Lourd

02-14-2010, 12:34 PM
Thanks M., but not for me. I've got a few useable sets and think I'm good to go. It will be a while before I get to pressure test it. I sometimes remind myself that this is a hobby, not a production line. I'm enjoying it and learning a few things along the way.