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Water Pump Grease / Sleeving

Jan/Feb 2002


I have a report on "Neo Watercraft Grease".  It is sold by Neo Synthetic Oil in Signal Hill, CA. Their consultant recommended this product for use in early Ford water pumps. The grease is white and clings like glue.

John Smith purchased a cartridge and used it in his 1934 water pumps. The description on the cartridge reads "Neo Watercraft Grease is a versatile, waterproof, non-melting grease containing teflon formulated to seal out water and lubricate under the most adverse conditions.  Neo Watercraft Grease with its adhesive qualities and extreme pressure qualities, forms a tough, durable film of lubricant that prevents metal-to-metal contact even under severe shock loads."

John lubricated both water pumps with this grease and ran the engine on a test stand for about an hour under light load condition.  The pumps performed well with no water leaks and no apparent lubrication problems.  However, with more hours on the engine, the left water pump started leaking coolant.

When John took the pump apart, he discovered that the grease was so stiff that it fouled the water pump seal, allowing coolant to leak out of the backside of the pulley.

He removed all of the NeoWatercraft grease, cleaned the seals, and resurfaced the seal surfaces in both water pumps.  The engine is now running with the pumps lubricated with boat trailer bearing grease sold by Citgo, Supergard Marine Plus Grease - High Performance.

Since this change, the engine has been run about one hour, then shut down. So far, there are no signs of water leaks. John is not sure how the Supergard Marine Plus will work longer term, but it seems safe to say that the "Neo Watercraft Grease" is not what we want to use in our early V8 water pumps.

Thank you for sharing this information with us, John.



Many of our blocks came from Ford with thin sleeves installed. These were flanged on the top, with the flange fitting into a counter-bored relief in the deck of the block. When these sleeves are removed, the resulting bore is plus .0825".

Some piston manufacturers, in addition to Ford, offered pistons at this oversize.  Piston rings were available in this oversize also.  This allowed a person to do a reasonably easy "overhaul" in the field. Sometimes literally, I suspect.

My experience reinstalling these thin sleeves is that they usually have wavy, non-cylindrical bores. By contrast, the bores on the outside of the sleeves, at plus .0825", were factory finished nicely and ready to install pistons and rings.

The only difficulty I have had using the bores at plus .0825", is getting the rings to slide into the bore.  They want to catch on the edge of the counter bore for the top flange of the sleeve.  Coaxing with tongue depressors or popsicle sticks usually does the job. 

You can put a chamfer on that edge by hand or with a boring bar. In the case of 21 stud engines, the bottom studs under the cylinders are so close that you will compromise head gasket sealing if you make a large enough chamfer. So back to the popsicle sticks.  Why popsicle sticks?

If you use metal, like screwdrivers, to hold the rings in, when the pistons and rings go down into the bore, the metal will leave scratches across the face of the rings.

Thank you to Dan Krehbiel for some ideas on future columns.  I appreciate your letters and suggesions.

     - Red.

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