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68 XR7. 302 4V.
Drained coolant. Was totally muddy in color. Subsequent loud gravel noise coming from front of engine when coolant was replaced. Removed/replaced alternator (it was bad). Gravel noise persists. No coolant leaking from water pump. No play in water pump shaft. Is there any other way to troubleshoot the water pump while on the car to see if it is bad?
I'm thinking that I will need to replace it; if so, is a re-built water pump as good as a new one?
 

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start by removeing the water pump pulley then spin water pump shaft by hand it should feel smooth and with little resistance to spin.
the water pump shaft should not coast to a stop. (a little is fine but should stop quickly)
if you feel any thing other than smooth or hear rummble/roar then the bearing is going.
there should be next to nothing for side to side movement as well as in and out movement.

while the pully is off look under the shaft houseing there should be a hole there.
look at that hole if it has any green around it the seal is going bad.

the hardest thing to check is the impeller blade, you will need to remove the pump in order to inspect that part.
they will and do rust out but the seals and bearings are usually the first to go.
if mud came out and you are have overheating problems a rusted out impeller might be a problem.

i had a car that made a gravely noise from the pulleys and belts.
it was from junk in between the pulley and it's mounting plate. that causes the pully to move just enough.

hope that helps.
 

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Most pumps are rebuilds anyway - all they do is clean 'em up and replace the bearings and impeller blade. Not much to them really. If you doubt it, might as well replace it. $15 piece of mind....beats broken down any day.
 

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The first thing to do is to remove all of the belts, and then replace them one at a time to see where the noise is coming from.
 
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