Step one is to pull the radiator...
Step one is to pull the radiator out so you can easily reach the water pump. Photo by Bobby Clark
Our 362ci open motor can put out upwards of 600 hp which means we need a pump with an equal amount of muscle, but we don't have to go break the bank to do it. We settled on Edelbrock's Victor-Pro Circle Track Water Pump (Part #8819) for several reasons. This pump is an upgraded version of the #8816 water pump. Specially designed for the needs of circle track and endurance racing engines, it features an improved right-side outlet passage. This computer-designed outlet passage, as well as the one-way internal passage, flows more coolant at a higher velocity than a stock pump, even at lower rpm. The inlet diameter of 1.84 inch is big enough to feed enough water to keep our motor cool under green and caution (reason #1).
The 8819 features a billet aluminum impeller with a revised impeller entry, as well as a larger design that produces greater pressure and volume. Like the internal passages, great flow and more pressure will yield better cooling under race conditions (reason #2).
With the radiator gone, it's...
With the radiator gone, it's easy to see the four bolts that hold the pump to the block. Photo by Bobby Clark
This particular pump also has a black anodized finish and 0.100 inch thicker rear cover for greater durability (reason #3). We liked the fact that the 8819 comes with auxiliary water fittings at 90 degrees to the block and a beefy 3/4 inch pilot shaft. The shaft with its integral ball/roller bearing will withstand higher tortional loads at high rpm's while the fittings will allow us to fabricate a custom plumbing system at a later date. Available with AN or NPT auxiliary fittings, we opted for the AN-10 in keeping with the other fittings on the car.
Everything on the 8819 is upgraded for racing applications which is important, especially since the car gets bounced around a lot on the unforgiving dirt tracks around Florida. The hub is machined from billet steel for strength and black-oxide coated for corrosion resistance and durability.
Remove the fan, remove the...
Remove the fan, remove the bolts and then off comes the pump. Photo by Bobby Clark
One of the most important features of this pump is also probably the least costly. Instead of a standard gasket this pump has an O-ring which provides a far superior seal. Again, this is especially important to me since we race on dirt. To maximize the seal your pump should really have an O-ring instead of a gasket.
Here's something else to look at when choosing your water pump, it should provide the maximum amount of cooling with equal distribution to both sides of the engine block, preferably within a 1 percent variance between sides. By eliminating hot spots and providing even cooling throughout, the engine will produce optimum power from every cylinder without detonation and pre-ignition.
Four old bolts off, four new...
Four old bolts off, four new bolts on and the finished product is ready for a test session. Photo by Bobby Clark
So now that we've figured out which water pump to use and have seen the important attributes of why we chose the 8819, it's time to get our hands dirty. Installing a water pump is actually a relatively simple task, definitely not as complex as getting a 2002 Dirt Late Model chassis to turn on asphalt.
We start by removing the radiator and shroud followed by the fan and the pulleys. With everything out of the way, the only thing left to do is remove the four bolts holding the pump to the block. When installing the new pump, it's a good idea to put in all new hoses and, potentially, a new radiator depending, of course, on your budget and the age of your current one. We already have our new C&R radiator in the car so the only thing in addition to the new pump was to upgrade the hoses. We put our ultra-lightweight BLP pulley system back on along with the four-blade fan. Next up is a test session where we'll run a bunch of laps in preparation for our next dirt race. We'll let you know how it goes.
A water-pump dyno? That was something new to us, so we had to check it out. Designed and built by Edelbrock, this special water pump dynamometer is set up to test water pumps in a "real world" setting that simulates the conditions of an actual engine. The "coolant" in the dyno is pre-heated to reflect the actual temperature of the coolant in a running engine. The sensors collect flow numbers, temperature and pressure data as well as how much horsepower is required to turn the water pump. This gives Edelbrock the complete picture about the efficiency of the water pump design. Once the information is collected, engineers can use Edelbrock's QwikData data acquisition system to create graphs, charts and view the information in a number of ways. The data is used to develop water pumps that will exceed the additional cooling system demands of a high performance engine.