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Condenser fan only comes on if I hit it - new fan or something else?

496 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  choochmalooch
2009 Element

So I noticed the condenser fan on the passenger side wasn't spinning when I recently replaced the coolant.
Checked the fuses for both fans and replaced the condenser fan fuse but still nothing.
however if I tap on the center of the fan (with a long wrench in my case) while the car is running and AC on, the fan will kick on and start spinning... Until the cooling fan stops. When Cooling fan stops, so does the condenser fan (which i think is normal).

Once the cooling fan comes back on, the condenser fan may start up along with the cooling fan for 1 or 2 cycles, but then it goes back to just the cooling fan coming on without the condenser fan...until I hit it with a wrench again and the cycle repeats.

Is there a clear culprit here? Been reading up on all of the tests for relays, sensors, etc, but I know very little about electrical stuff. So based on my symptoms I figured I'd share and some kind soul might know right away what the problem definitely is. I can likely swap out and replace whatever needs it, but as for electrical testing of various components I'm in the dark.

Thanks for any advice!
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When my fan died it would still work but only very slowly. Why risk having your engine overheat? I would replace the fan. I ordered it on Amazon and did it myself in an hour.
I would use a homemade test light made out of a headlight bulb right at the connector. It would prove that your wiring can provide power, ground, and current needed. Thus, you diagnose the fan motor is bad by exclusion.
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When my fan died it would still work but only very slowly. Why risk having your engine overheat? I would replace the fan. I ordered it on Amazon and did it myself in an hour.
If I knew the fan was broken sure. But could it be something else in the circuit? Does hitting it to turn on show that the power is there and it is indeed a broken fan motor?
Hitting it and it works pretty much shows the motor it worn out. Like an old house fan that only works if you spin the blade with you hand to get it going. If it was a relay or wiring hitting the motor would do nothing.
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Probably the motor. You could try to disassemble but may end Ip breaking it while trying.

Def make sure there is power first before you tap it. If the power is there, the tapping may be closing an open circuit by a few thousandths of an inch. It doesn’t make sense that the motor would start sometimes but not others unless the small motor commutator bearings are sticky.
I think I paid $50 for the fan on Amazon, had it delivered in 2 days, replaced it in 1 day.
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Hitting it and it works pretty much shows the motor it worn out. Like an old house fan that only works if you spin the blade with you hand to get it going. If it was a relay or wiring hitting the motor would do nothing.
Exactly what I wanted to confirm. Thank you!
Sounds like a dying fan or a loose wire issue.
You have worn the brushes on the fan so far, they are barely making contact until you jar the motor. replace the fan.
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Hi,
Geez, come on guys, a neat little VOM Meter at HF is like $7!

They actually work pretty good!

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2009 Element So I noticed the condenser fan on the passenger side wasn't spinning when I recently replaced the coolant. Checked the fuses for both fans and replaced the condenser fan fuse but still nothing. however if I tap on the center of the fan (with a long wrench in my case) while the car is running and AC on, the fan will kick on and start spinning... Until the cooling fan stops. When Cooling fan stops, so does the condenser fan (which i think is normal). Once the cooling fan comes back on, the condenser fan may start up along with the cooling fan for 1 or 2 cycles, but then it goes back to just the cooling fan coming on without the condenser fan...until I hit it with a wrench again and the cycle repeats. Is there a clear culprit here? Been reading up on all of the tests for relays, sensors, etc, but I know very little about electrical stuff. So based on my symptoms I figured I'd share and some kind soul might know right away what the problem definitely is. I can likely swap out and replace whatever needs it, but as for electrical testing of various components I'm in the dark. Thanks for any advice!
Check4 consistent power @the condenser fan's connector when triggered by the A/C. Look4 signs of overheating of the connector on both sides (distortion, melted plastics, weird smell, etc.) If all these pass, &likely they will, it's probably the fan motor. The final step is2 create a bypass 4the fan directly 2a 12V source. This bypasses the relay &all circuitry that services the condenser fan. Don't b surprised if it starts up right away& slowly grinds 2a halt or it doesn't start unless u bump it. That is indicative of worn or spent motor brushes. Replace the fan assembly &test 4normal operation.
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Hi,
This situation is where a Power Probe shines but...

They are not cheap, but...

Does not take to many successful jobs, to pay for a BUNCH of tools, in saved Labor charges!!!
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Hi,
This situation is where a Power Probe shines but...

They are not cheap, but...

Does not take to many successful jobs, to pay for a BUNCH of tools, in saved Labor charges!!!
I am a fan of the power probe also. It’s a convenient combo tool of a LED test light and jumper wires. I think it is a good alternative to a higher amp test light when the fan motor is the #1 suspect.

Test for power BEEP.
Test for ground BOOP.
Directly power the fan BAAAAAPH.

All done. For the amount of time they can save, I think it’s worth the $100. There are also clones of the product out there for much cheaper if thats your preference.
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Replacement fans are cheap and take minutes to change out.
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