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TR2/3/3A Water pump bearings making noise... time to replace


Jedi Warrior
I've searched the subject and see differing opinions. What's the forums opinion?. Rebuild? Replace with the upgraded 6 vane? Supplier?
While I'm putting in the effort, is there anything else I should be thinking about?

Lou Metelko

Jedi Trainee
The so called upgraded 6 vane water pump is a total waste of good money - no real improvement for the 25 or so percent extra. Any of the big 2 1/2 will get you quality and price. (we all know who the 1/2 is). While you are in the neighborhood, spring for a new bellows thermostat and a new top hose since you will be wringing the neck off the old one.

Lou Metelko
Auburn, Indiana
54 TR2LD


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
I've been happy with the stock pump I got from TRF last year. Previous experiments with a 6 vane from BFE showed no improvement at all, but it turned out that the radiator was bad.

Last I heard, original size bearings were totally NLA. There is a way to machine the housing to accept currently available bearings (along with a new shaft), but that's way more work than I want to exert in the name of originality. It would have been easier to clean up the TRF pump (and add a fake grease zerk), but I didn't bother with that either.

Something to watch for, I've heard that some reproduction pumps have to be ground down to keep the pulley from rubbing. The TRF pump didn't have that problem, tho.
Also, make sure the pulley is a tight fit on the shaft. If it goes on easily, you'll need to either use Loctite to improve the fit or swap components until it goes on tight. Because of the way the pulley sheave is cantilevered over the pump, any play at all will eventually lead to disaster, no matter how tight the nut is.


Jedi Warrior
While you are in the neighborhood, spring for a new bellows thermostat and a new top hose since you will be wringing the neck off the old one.
54 TR2LD

Lou, slap me if I need it, but I assumed I could change out the pump without removing the housing. No?


Freshman Member
By the way, make sure what sounds like WP bearings going out is not actually your belt/pulley making noise. Belt/pulley noise can sound a lot like it's coming from the water pump. Just sayin...


Country flag
When my TR3 water pump started making noises I greased it. There should be a nipple on the pump. That was in 1978 and it still works fine with no noise. You might want to try that before buying a new pump.


When I had problems with the pump on my '76 TR6 some of the replacements on the market were having problems. One of the problems was the shafts breaking because they were brittle due to the hardening process. I contacted some of the major pump companies and they all recommended Harold Bishop for pump replacement parts.

Harold Bishop's HDRK CO, INC. IN Albany, Indiana. (765) 789-4406

I wrote this 3 part article for the later TR6 pump because that is what I have. But you might get some idea of how to rebuild your pump. And Harold is good at sharing his knowledge. I had this on the BCF WIKI site but I don't know what happened to the WIKI.



Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Lou, slap me if I need it, but I assumed I could change out the pump without removing the housing. No?
Not sure what happened to Lou, but for sure you can change the pump without removing the housing, or upper hose, or thermostat. That's not to say that changing the thermostat and hoses is a bad idea, while you have the cooling system drained, but it's not a requirement.

Many will disagree with me, but I've never found a cooling advantage to using the bellows thermostat either. I've tried it, every time I've had cooling troubles, and never been able to tell the difference. Once the cooling problem is fixed (for me, usually either a leaking head gasket or a bad radiator, although this last time it was leaking valves), going back to a modern was pellet thermostat also made no difference. I've even gone as far as totally blocking the bypass (the bellows thermostat only partially blocks it) and drilling a hole through the thermostat (so there is always some water flow but it goes through the radiator instead of the bypass). It slows down warm-up as expected, but still doesn't seem to make any difference to overheating.

Of course, my cooling system isn't totally stock either, so YMMV. The crank hole was one of the first victims, I happily left it out after my radiator guy said it reduced cooling capacity by about 10%. I also removed the mechanical fan and rely on an electrical fan; which never runs except when I'm stopped at a light or just pulling away from one. It's set to come on when the water out of the radiator reaches 190F, which almost exactly matches what I see on the temp gauge (which shows the temperature going into the radiator). So it seems clear that the issue is only lack of airflow, not any lack of coolant flow. And it takes less than a minute for the temperature to drop, which indicates that even at idle, I'm getting pretty good coolant movement through the radiator.

Hottest weather I've driven through was 115F, rush hour in Palm Springs. The driver overheated before the engine did! (We rented an air conditioned room and waited until the sun went down to continue our drive.) I've also done some desert runs at close to 100F and 100 mph. Engine stayed cool during the run, although the temp gauge did go up temporarily after I slowed down.

PS, even the factory went to a non-bellows thermostat later on, and listed the wax pellet thermostat as an approved replacement for earlier cars.


Jedi Warrior
Just an update on the water pump:
I went with the Moss Classic Gold (835-072), we'll see how it does. I removed the pump without removing the housing but it took a crow foot wrench to get the bolt behind the pulley out.
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