No matter how many times I take on an automobile repair task, there's usually something new to learn. Most recent repair job was water pump replacement after the old pickup started overheating for no discernible reason. A clue was there. Intermittent loss of coolant.
But no matter how many times I checked under the engine there was no sign of dripping coolant. First repairs included thermostat and radiator cap replacement, as well as coolant system flush all helped but only temporarily. Starting the engine after the final coolant flush cycle but before draining the system to pour in fresh new antifreeze/coolant, something made a belt squeal like a stuck pig for about one second. Something had briefly seized up.
A couple of hours of work the following morning revealed the culprit. A leaking water pump. But it wasn't leaking through the gasket as expected. It was leaking from both weep holes. Oil had leaked from the top weep hole and coolant from the bottom one, indicating the pump's bearing and shaft seals had failed.
Until pulling the water pump off of the engine and examining it I had never seen or even heard of something called a weep hole. A little bit of searching on the world wide web led to a couple of discussions and a video about them. Unfortunately they are located in dark recesses behind belts and fan blades in this particular case, a sign of impending trouble easily missed.
But there was the evidence clearly visible after the pump had been removed and brought out into the light of day for a close look. The new pump will be installed tomorrow morning and in a couple of days a new radiator will arrive via ground shipment for installation as well, just in case the old one is also leaking in some small, hidden recess. Along with new hoses, belts and antifreeze/coolant, this repair job will most likely stop the engine from overheating.
It has been an interesting repair task and it sent my thoughts cycling through another repair job underway these days. A repair of humanity's health as a lethal virus continues spreading through our too-dense populations around the planet. A repair for a difficult to find and not so easily remedied ailment the weep holes of our society were giving clear warning of. But we've discovered and inspected the indicators of pandemic now for more than a year while biomechanics worked away at a stop-gap solution delivered in the form of vaccines of various efficacy and risk. The water pump repair is straightforward without variation in any way and will end soon. The health repair for humanity is now facing rapidly emerging variants of the virus, one or more of which very likely are going to sidestep vaccines even as we are foolishly convinced the repair job is coming to completion.
But alas, it's a rare politician that is also a good mechanic and they have repeatedly flubbed this repair through delayed action and premature restarts. And our too-dense populations are willfully revving up engines even as they overheat to levels threatening irreversible damage.
We've been ignoring our weep holes too long, and the repair job for humanity may never end now.