The Fan, Of Which I Am Not A Fan

In the middle of a record-breaking heat wave, I’m going to go without AC in my car.  Not by choice, mind you.  This situation is the result of a series of issues, not unlike tumbling down a hillside.

The first issue, quite ironically, was that my car didn’t have any heat.  Initially, it didn’t have heat for an extended period, then it had none at all.  You would think this wouldn’t be a problem in the middle of summer here, but it actually is.  My complaint was that in the morning, when it is cool and foggy, you need to use the defroster to clear your windshield.  Without heat, I was just blowing pure AC at the glass, which made it fog up – on the outside.  So I would have to run my wipers for about 20 minutes until I got some heat to balance out the temps.  And also, during that time, I am freezing my ass off.

I know that this symptom can be caused by a failed thermostat, which prevents the warm coolant from getting to the heater core inside the car.  So I went to the shop and requested to get the thermostat changed.  It was much more expensive than I expected – $400 – but I agreed to it.  While they had everything disassembled, they said the coolant had sediment in it which probably caused the failure and they recommended a coolant flush.  Fine, now it’s $500.  Whatever.

The next day, I had heat.  Things were back to normal.  On the drive home that day, I suddenly had heat when I shouldn’t have.  My AC turned warm and my engine temperature gauge started climbing.  I followed the standard procedure for engine overheating, which was to roll down the windows, crank the heat and fan to max and roast in the convection oven until the engine cools down.  At the time, I thought it was a fluke because I was stuck in traffic and it was a ridiculously hot day.  But the next day was just as hot and the car overheated again at a stop light.

I called the shop and asked if they could have a look at it, since this wasn’t happening until they did their service.  They agreed, but when I showed up, they were too busy to see me that day.  So I went home and determined to troubleshoot it myself.  My first thought was that they left the cooling fan harness unplugged, because I hadn’t heard the cooling fan run since the service.

I took the car apart and was somewhat disappointed to see the cooling fan plugged in.  But the fan still wasn’t turning.  I moved the fan blades and found out why.  There was a large, desiccated flog jammed in between the blades, preventing it from turning.  After extricating the frog carcass and changing out the fuse which had blown from the motor being blocked for an extended period, I thought I was golden. 

The next day, I was sitting in the car, talking on the phone for about half an hour, and the AC went warm again, the temperature gauge climbed again, and this time, there was a piercing smell of burning plastic.  Things have gone from bad to worse.  Over the weekend, I pulled everything back apart and found the fan blades had detached from the motor shaft.  I assume the burning smell was the shaft spinning freely against the plastic and melting it like a Dremel.

Ok, I now have to replace the fan assembly.  A quick search online suggests that this is a $700 service at the dealership.  But, but, I can buy a new fan assembly for only $150, and the install is just unbolting about four things and dealing with a few clips.  I made a quick purchase from EBay for the new fan and my heart sank when I got the order confirmation email that said delivery would be in about two weeks.  That’s a long, long wait in Internet time.

And now I wait.  And I have to keep alert in the car to make sure it’s not overheating.  And I have to drive with the windows down, like it’s the 1950’s and AC isn’t standard equipment.  It’s so retro.


  1. Not A Fan – You Thought I Was Capable | Anachostic - pingback on June 14, 2019 at 8:19 am

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