Electric Water Pumps For Bracket Racing 101

Bracket racing is all about consistency — if you can’t run the number when it counts, you’ll be in the buyback line or loading up to go home on a regular basis. Temperature plays a big role in how consistent an engine will run, so you want a good electric water pump to maintain an optimal engine temperature. Don Meziere from Meziere Enterprises shares his knowledge with us about on choosing the right electric water pump for bracket racing.

A mechanical water pump might save you some money, but it’s costing you in the performance and convenience departments. An electric water pump allows you to run one less accessory belt — while this might not seem like a big deal, it removes one more thing that could fail on your engine, and it’s one less spare part you have to account for. The electric water pump will also make it easier for you to plumb your engine’s cooling system, since it will work in many different configurations.

An electric water pump is going to free up horsepower and allow you to have precice control over your engine's temprature when the car isn't running.

Meziere points out two big advantages to using an electric water pump in bracket racing: the ability to control how hot your engine runs when you need to, and the additional horsepower it saves.

“The electric water pump is going to provide you with flexible heat manipulation. Often, a racer will want the ability to warm up or cool down the engine based on racing conditions. An electric pump gives you control over the heat situation to better prepare for the next run. An electric water pump is also going to save you valuable horsepower. A mechanical pump demands more and more horsepower as the engine RPM climbs. We have seen mechanical pumps suck up as much as 15 horsepower at elevated RPM from an engine. Most racers would rather apply that energy to the rear tires.”

You have some options on where an electric water pump can be mounted, and this is something you absolutely don’t have with a mechanical water pump. Racecars can have a lot going on in the engine compartment, so having the ability to remote-mount the water pump will give you more choices on where other things can be routed. This includes the fuel system, turbos, blower, and other items that take up real estate under the hood of your racecar.

Remote-mounted electric water pumps are perfect for racers that don’t have a lot of space around the front of their engine.

Racers who install an electric water pump have expanded means to cool their engine, but some might not realize there are ways to get even more out of this cooling system upgrade. One of the easiest ways to maximize what you get out of your electric water pump is to use the right hoses for the cooling system.

“You want to make sure you’ve selected hoses that are the right size for the task of cooling your engine,” Meziere says. “If you have a vehicle where the powertrain is out in the open, you can probably rely on smaller hoses because the entire engine and transmission can shed heat easily. However, if your race vehicle is driven to the lanes and back from the pass under its own power, or the engine is in an enclosed space, you may want to upsize those lines and get more fluid moving to combat the additional heat.”

The pump can’t do its job properly if there’s air in your cooling system, so you need to make sure you’re using an optimal cooling system design. This means you want a cooling system that’s not a hassle to fill and can have the air removed from it easily. While this may seem simple, many racers put cooling system design low on their to-do list and it leads to frustration and poor cooling characteristics.

Two more important points that Meziere wants to drive home on the subject of getting the most out of your electric water pump are the parts you’re using with the pump and how often you run the pump itself.

“You want to make sure you’ve selected quality components to work alongside the pump. All radiators are not the same — there are some that cool much better than others. As with every component on your racecar, if you want to be successful, do the research up front to make sure you get the best parts. One of the hardest things on water pump seals is for them to sit without running for a very long time. We worry more about a pump that has been sitting on the shelf for years than one that’s been raced every month for the last 10 years. So make sure you’re running that pump and don’t let it sit around too long,” Meziere says.

It doesn't matter what style of electric water pump you select, you need to make sure your radiator is good enough to cool your engine down.

So you’ve decided to buy an electric water pump for your bracket car — what features should you look for in a pump? This question can be answered based on your engine and how you plan on racing. There is no one-size-fits-all pump, and you should examine the options out there to make sure you get the right product for your application.

“You need a pump that will have an adequate amount of flow for your engine and design the system with the right size hoses. Realize that centrifugal pumps do not have the ability to ‘pull’ liquid very well. In a closed system the low-pressure side will really suffer with small lines so if there is an option, definitely choose a larger size hose at least for the low-pressure side. You also need to look at the duty cycle of the seal, the brush life of the pump’s motor,  the wiring used, and make sure the pump has high-quality bearings,” Meziere states.

Any engine used in bracket racing can benefit from the addition of an electric water pump.

There are some pitfalls that you should be aware of when purchasing an electric water pump for a bracket racing application. Meziere has plenty of experience helping racers, and these are the common mistakes he sees people make when purchasing an electric water pump.

“You need to consider the whole system carefully. That means looking at where space is available and how it will be filled, how much capacity it will have, how the plumbing will be routed, and how large the lines will be. Have a good plan up-front and buy the pump that fits the bill. You also want to protect the pump against race engine harmonics. Engine-mounted pumps tend to wear out faster due to the harmonics of the engine when they’re directly bolted to it. We rarely see those same issues with remotely-mounted pumps,” Meziere explains.

The WP333 we're using for Project Number Cruncher is very durable and can flow plenty of coolant.

Project Number Cruncher Firebird is our current purpose-built bracket racing machine. Since we planned on racing this car a lot, it was important to have a stout water pump in case we go rounds on raceday. We worked with Meziere Enterprises to find the right pump for our LSX-based engine and they suggested the WP333 unit.

“The WP333 uses a 1-3/4-inch lower connection that allows the impeller to move a large amount of coolant. The heavy-duty motor that this pump uses has 3,000 hours of expected brush life. The electrical motor windings have been treated to resist failure due to engine harmonics, and the seal has a robust 10,000-hour life expectancy,” Meziere says.

As you can see, this is a very strong electric water pump that should have no problem keeping our engine cool.

An electric water pump is a solid investment for any bracket racer that wants to win. The consistency you’ll gain thanks to the dependable engine temperatures the pump will provide is worth it.

You can follow our build of Project Number Cruncher right here on Dragzine.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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