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Old 07-03-2011, 09:44 AM   #1
andyf80
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Testing a Bad AC Condenser Fan

Hi guys/gals,
I wanted to tell you what I expereienced and my steps for diagnosing a bad fan. (Radiator or AC Compresser fan).

The symptoms I experienced were:
  • Hotter than normal engine temps
  • AC not functioning as well at idle
  • AC compresser clicking when cycling on/off (clicking stopped when AC was off)
  • AC condenser fan not spinning while engine was hot and AC on

The fan in my mind was immediately suspect, but I had not noticed it until i'd left it at idle for 45min+ while at the carwash. Looking back however, I did notice similar symptoms while sitting in traffic etc.

I wanted to rule out a bad fan before checking fuses/relays/connections etc.

Here's how you verify your fan's operation:
(with your engine OFF)
  1. disconnect electrical connector to the AC Fan
  2. connect a wire from the positive (+) side of the battery to terminal #2 (an in line fuse on your test wire is recommended)
  3. connect a wire from #1 terminal to ground (-)
  4. If the motor fails to run or does not run smoothly - it's faulty



The ground/negative (#1) side of the connector is a black wire & positive
(#2) is a blue wire.

In my case, the fan was at fault.

One question it did bring up was:
I expereienced a clicking sound when the AC Compressor would cycle on/off...

Is there a cut-off switch if the system is running too hot?

Last edited by andyf80; 07-04-2011 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
Wrenchmeister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyf80 View Post

One question it did bring up was:
I expereienced a clicking sound when the AC Compressor would cycle on/off...

Is there a cut-off switch if the system is running too hot?
There is a switch at the high pressure side that cuts-off the compressor when the pressure is too high. (not based on temperature, but works with the temperature as consequence)

which motor did you change? the pan-shaped or the long one?.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
andyf80
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I have not changed it yet - it's on order, but it's the shorter one - ac condensor fan (on the passenger side).

The motor itself goes for $40-50 but I picked up the whole assembly for $60 shipped so decided to go that route.

Thanks for the confirmation Wrench - I figured it was some type of cut-off as it stopped this symptom after I got the car moving and some cool(er) air across the condenser.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:19 PM   #4
fireftr45
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Had exactly the same problem where the fan motor went bad and it caused my AC to cycle on and off on over pressure.

Unfortunately I was pressed for time and took it to an AC guy in Pensacola that replaced the fan to the tune of $240 for the fan and 175 for labor. A week later I found out I could have gotten the fan motor for $63 and done it myself.

I believe a person should benefit from their labor. But there's a special place reserved for all the mechanics who screw people over...

Will ensure I look here on the site before I ever shell out another dime for someone to work on my E.

Erik
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:48 PM   #5
psschmied
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It isn't rocket science to test an electrically-isolated 12VDC motor with a 2 pin plug, but it sure can be aggravating to get to that plug. Actually doing step 1 can be a b*tch.

The key to identifying which of the fans involved isn't functioning, is simply to see if the Element overheats with the AC off. The condenser fan shouldn't be functioning; the radiator fan should be on as soon as the engine warms up.

The two fans are electrically interchangeable, so if you are in a jam and the radiator fan fails you have a spare. Just unplug both, and if the radiator fan plug won't reach, run jumpers over to the condenser fan.

Aside from the thermostatic switch, the other electrical components involved in fans' operation are listed in this thread: http://www.elementownersclub.com/for...270#post922270

Last edited by psschmied; 07-14-2011 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:40 PM   #6
Wrenchmeister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psschmied View Post
It isn't rocket science to test an electrically-isolated 12VDC motor with a 2 pin plug, but it sure can be aggravating to get to that plug. Actually doing step 1 can be a b*tch.

The key to identifying which of the fans involved isn't functioning, is simply to see if the Element overheats with the AC off.

I have a better way... Just get into the Hwy and the clicking will go away and the AC will work great...
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
psschmied
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrenchmeister View Post
I have a better way... Just get into the Hwy and the clicking will go away and the AC will work great...
You've thinking of those creatures in cars, with their heads out the window and tongues flapping in the wind. They don't sweat; panting is how they cool off. They come in all breeds, but when you hear them howling nut-ty things, you can tell that they're Wrench-meisters.

I don't suggest that an overheating car be troubleshot by driving it; idling while parked should work.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:53 AM   #8
preston
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Yes check fan

This is a very common problem with the E AC fan and Engine fan,, A friend/mechanic showed me a trick if your e is running hotter than normal and it seems that one or both fans should be turing on give them a tap with a wrench or hammer on the back of the fan motor(while the engine is running). Both my fans went out and it wasn't until my second fan stopped working that I figured out I had a problem. Initially I though I had an AC problem, but sure enough when my engine started heating up I kept it running tapped the fan and it began to working. I have replaced both my fans and it takes about 45 mins engine fan and 15 for the AC fan, the hardest part is getting the plastic wire clips re connected after the new fan is seated in place. See other posts on fan replacements.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psschmied View Post
I don't suggest that an overheating car be troubleshot by driving it; idling while parked should work.
Of course if your car is overheating.

that might indicate a different problem and a different approach needs to be taken. I wouldn´t take it for a spin either.

( I didn´t really get the dogs comment. was that a joke? )
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:57 AM   #10
E_Causatum
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Agree with other posters. I recently change my honda accord's passenger fan and radiator. Car overheated while parking for 25 min. Only one of my fans was working. I would like to add that both fans turn on and off when you turn your AC on. If you see that one fan is not working with your AC on and the other is working, that is a very good sign that the nonworking fan is broke. You can get one from a slavage shop for $50-70 for the whole fan assembly - will cost around $160 from auto parts store for a new fan assembly and cost more if you buy a genuine honda part. I opted for just replacing the fan motor with a new one fron autozone for $100. If you have to buy the motor, make sure you check brand of the radiator. It can be Valeo or Denzo and the motor they use is totally different. BTW, most overheating issues usually occurs when you're in idling for prolonged period of time. Check for leaks and coolant level too.

Also check your thermostat if it is stuck. I use FailSafe brand thermostat. Even if the thermostat is broke, it keeps the flow of coolant continueously.
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