Water Pump went out. Did I screw up my engine? Please Help!!
Hey everyone. I've been driving/rebuilding my '71 El Camino for several years now, but it's been my first vehicle to really work on and trouble shoot. For that reason, I find myself learning about things as they happen (or after they happen). That's been a good educational method for the most part, but now I'm hoping that it didn't cost me a bunch of money. Could y'all give me your advice?
I was driving on I-10 East to Houston yesterday evening and noticed that the engine started running warm. It wasn't shooting up to the top of the gauge, but it was hotter than normal. Suddenly, I started to get a fuel knock, so I pulled over immediately. The engine was hot, but the radiator was cool to the touch. Thinking it was a bad thermostat, I pulled the thermostat out, let the engine cool, topped off the water, and hit the road again. It ran a little cooler than normal, but everything else was normal for the next 30 miles.
Then it started to creep up again. It would get up to 200 and then drop down to 180. Then it got up to 210 and dropped again. Then it got up to 220, and I started looking for an exit (I was east of Luling, and there are only exits every 7 miles or so). When the engine started knocking again, I was freaking out, but I really wanted to get to the approaching rest stop as opposed to sitting on a narrow shoulder for an hour. I coasted into the rest stop (trying to avoid putting load on the engine), but by the time I got there, the gauge was damn near topped out at 250. Shut the engine off immediately, let my electric fans run, and opened the hood. Again, the radiator was cool to the touch, and the reservoir was full. Since it did this with the thermostat removed, I can only assume that the water pump is going out or I've got a clog in the system somewhere. Not wanting to push my luck, I called AAA and had it towed the rest of the way home. I'll hopefully get to work on it this evening if this rain stops.
What I'm worried about now is that I may have done major damage to my engine. It's a GM 350 Fast Burn motor with approximately 50K miles on it, and I haven't had any issues with it up to this point. As I mentioned earlier, all my knowledge up to now has been gained on a purely trial and error basis, so I'm kinda shooting in the dark.
The water pump looks easy enough to install, so I plan on replacing the pump and thermostat and flushing the system this week. While I'm doing that, what else should I look for to make sure I didn't do more damage?
I know I need to check my oil for water (currently running synthetic with 700 miles since the last change). But what other things would y'all recommend that I look at?
Many thanks for your help with this. I really appreciate you guys guiding a newbie along.
EDIT: For clarity on the order of events.
Last edited by fnsteffen; Apr 16th, 12 at 2:58 PM.
Reason: For clarity on the order of events.