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Old 05-17-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
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Fan clutch

Hi guys,
My Rv was running hot this past weekend an really acting weird as far as temps go before that. Radiator and heads had been replaced before I bought it. I had replaced the thermostat a few weeks ago. On this trip I stopped by my dad's shop because of it running hot and he said it was probably the fan clutch because it didn't appear to be pulling enough air when revved up. He didn't have one in stock but arranged for me to pick one up at another NAPA store on the way. We limped along from town to town stopping to let her cool down as needed. As long as I drove around 50mph it wouldn't overheat. We finally picked up the part and arrived at the campground. I replaced the fan clutch the next morning. On the drive home on Monday the temperature stayed perfect running 60 - 65 with the a/c flat out.

Just wanted to pass this along to any who may have temperature troubles that the fan clutch does a very important job an not to overlook it when troubleshooting overheating problems.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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Yup, the fan clutch can really cause problems. Difficult to diagnose unless you can hear it engage and watch to see what temp it engages at. Fairly easy to replace, but does require dexterity and mechanical skills.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:06 PM   #3
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A suggestion to all who have cooling systems with fan clutch installed...

CHECK THEM!

It is a very simple process, whenever the hood is open for maintenance such as the oil change, simply take your finger and touch one of the blades and do 2 things.

Try to push it "sideways", push in the same direction as the shaft, so front mounted push forward/backward, side mounted push left/right to the vehicle.

ANY movement here is a fail.

Next push in the rotational direction, is should rotate smothly and with some friction, if it turns freely like a house fan, or you feel roughness it is a fail.

Takes 10 seconds of your time.

Easy to repair in the driveway, some time and a part, pain and possible blown parts on the highway.

If the first test fails the bearings are so worn the fan will wobble on the end of the shaft, considering the distance from the plane of the fan blade to the shaft bearing, and that the bearing is in a small place along with the stress placed by the belts, the fan bearings are under considerable stress and within normal design, but having the fan wobble at the distance from the small bearing area it causes the bearing to fail a lot faster than expected, and it is a gradual wear until it just gives out and fails, belts may cause shaft to wobble more allowing fan blade to touch radiator, not good, plus engine overheat possibilities.

The second test with rotation also checks the bearings, but in addition it checks the fluid coupling and the clutch, if it turns too easily then it will likely free spin when it should be better connected to the shaft.

Yes the engine is cold and the fan should free spin, but there is resistance to turning, you will know it is good or bad depending on the feel.

You also could repeat when hot, but hot parts are a pain, and the fan will have cooled enough to release by the time you test it.

Another tell tale is if the engine runns hotter when driving slow, highway speeds push the air through the radiator, slow driving needs more fan help.

You can tell by listening on a hot day, have engine at idle with AC on max and the engine will get hot and the fan activate, but the simple touch test if done on occasion usually indicates when the fan is starting to fail.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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Just a word about your tests. In my case the spin test was good. I didn't check for looseness though. But mine ran hot at highway speeds when air should be flowing smoothly and you would think the fan wouldn't be needed but isnt it true that the fan clutch works off of temperature as well as speed. In my case with a/c condenser and transmission cooler in front of the radiator adding that extra heat without the fan pulling in enough air was causing the overheating. Turning the a/c off helped but slowing down helped even more. I think my fan clutch was turning the fan sometimes at slower speeds but not at higher speeds when I needed more air. Dunno
I think an electric fan might be better.

I very much agree that this is a crucial thing to check. Also took me about 30 minutes to replace on my rv but it is a class c. Would take a bit longer on class A though. Still a worthy change for an older rig.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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With a loaded vehicle such as a MH the higher speed is a much higher engine output, so the engine needs the higher amount of air flow from the fan.

The clutch is designed to release the fan so to speak when the air flowing across it is cool enough, and this air is from the radiator, so engine heat controls it.

Under normal conditions for a normal auto the road speed provides enough air, but the high drag of a MH combined with the high weight places the engine in the place where it is outputting most of the hp.

You clutch was slipping, or not fully engaging, and this sometime can be determined when cold.

Check the feel of the new fan to old one, there should be a difference.

It also could be a failed clutch which may not be felt.

Electric fans would be a help as they can be switched on earlier and provide a good air supply with less power drain from the engine if the battery is suitable to reserve the extra energy. Some will argu the extra load on the alternator, but the battery can store surplus energy like that of a hybird auto...now the fun starts...
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