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So, is my FAN the problem!?

 
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Old 22 May 2010, 10:18 pm
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Default So, is my FAN the problem!?

2002 Limited Edition PT Cruiser. I wasn't in the car when this occured, but the driver said that it suddenly made a hideous grinding noise while on the freeway. It was a very hot day, and the A/C was on. However, the car still had power and was drivable. After pulling over and letting the car cool, she continued on her way without turning on the A/C. Seems to be fine now, but she's also only driving short distances each day, without using the A/C.

I opened the hood to check and make sure the radiator fan was working. Upon initially starting the car, the fan DOES NOT spin at all. While idling with the A/C ON, the fan DOES NOT turn on. Fuses and relays appear to be working. I checked them. I manually spun the fan, so it's not seized. Is this the problem!? Is it time to replace the fan? If the fan isn't working, why doesn't the car overheat while stationary? Thanks for the help. I need to fix this before the weather really heats up.
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Old 22 May 2010, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

I'm pretty sure the fan should be on if the AC is on, and if you sit and idle the PT it should go on at a certain temperature. The non turbo has two speeds. You don't say if the car was actually overheating or she stopped because of a noise. When I'm driving and come to a light I usually hear the fan kick on.
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Old 22 May 2010, 11:56 pm
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

She definitely stopped because of the noise alone, but the car may have also been overheating. I'm not sure if that noise relates at all to the fact that the fan does not seem to be working at all. I just need to make sure that replacing the fan is actually necessary. Thanks
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Old 23 May 2010, 06:03 am
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

As DINO mentioned, the fan should come on when the A/C is turned on and the compressor is engaged. As long as the vehicle is moving everything will continue to be fine as there's enough air flowing through the radiator and condenser in fact the computer turns the fan off completely above 35mph.

I'm not sure about the "hideous grinding noise", possibly the compressor burning up? Was there still cold air after the noise?

If your willing to get dirty, from under the car, disconnect the electrical connection to the fan (harness with red clip in the picture) and apply a ground wire to the center of the connection and a hot wire to either of the other connections. The fan should spin on low or high depending on where you attached the hot wire.

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Old 23 May 2010, 11:45 am
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

Great, thanks for the info! I'll go ahead and check the fan manually and I'll let you know what I find. Also, during this whole time I was letting the car idle in park, the temp gauge never shot up beyond normal. It should have, right? Do I have a faulty thermostat, too?

Last edited by kcpope; 23 May 2010 at 11:48 am.
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Old 23 May 2010, 12:05 pm
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

Yes, it should have once the coolant temperature reached a particular range. If the thermostat was stuck open and you started from dead cold, it would take awhile for the temperature to rise enough for the fan to come on. Then if the fan didn't come on, the temp would continue to rise and you'd see the guage start raising above half way (where it should stay) and go all the way to HOT.
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Old 23 May 2010, 02:30 pm
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

Kc, my fan was not working, and the temp gauge never shot above the halfway mark. I was astounded. It should have. My A/C also didn't cool while at idle, but worked fine while the car was on the road. The dealer replaced the fan, and all is well now.

Concerning the temp. gauge not rising, I can only assume that when my wife is driving in town (we don't have all that much traffic in Redding, CA) she doesn't really stop at stop lights long enough for the temp gauge to rise above its normal range. And when she takes off, of course, the air passing through the radiator cools the engine and A/C just fine. And it wasn't all that hot, yet, during this time. Summer is coming late here this year.

As for the noise, I wonder if it was your A/C evacuating freon and oil to relieve the high pressure in the A/C. My wife described this as a "fart noise". But that noise occurred at idle, when the lack of cooling (due to the fan not spinning) could not cool the A/C gas properly.

Good luck,

Tim
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Old 24 May 2010, 01:39 am
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

Tim, thanks for posting. That's good to know. I'm down here in San Luis Obispo, and the temperature hasn't been much above 70 for the past few months. When I get a chance, I'm going to manually check and make sure the fan is dead by hooking it up directly to a 12V source. Just out of curiousity, how much did your dealer charge to replace the fan? Thanks
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Old 24 May 2010, 10:59 am
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

Kc, the dealer charged me $1000.00 to replace the fan and fix a hose on the A/C compressor, as well as, put some freon and compressor oil in the compressor, due to the excessive pressure caused by the busted fan not cooling the A/C's "high pressure" side when the A/C was turned on, and the subsequent rupture of the compressor hose. I think the fan alone was close to $400.00--parts and labor.

From what I've read here in the forum, your fan may have two speeds. So a 12v test may show the fan working at low speed, but not high speed. This may not apply to you and your year. If you do the fan yourself, ask the dealer where you're getting your fan if it's one or two speeds. Don't get an aftermarket fan. It may not have the two-speeds .... if you require that.

Does your engine act like it wants to die with the A/C on--at idle; but then runs fine when you're out on the road? This was my problem. Also the A/C at idle didn't blow cold air.

Also, even if the fan turns, it may not be turning fast enough--or if it doesn't turn at all, it may be a sensor or something else. That's also why I opted to let the dealer do the work.

From my research, it seems that crummy fans are usually the culprit.

You might also want to use a mirror to see if the fan is turning, because it's hard to get a proper view in there.

Let me know what happened.

Tim
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Old 24 May 2010, 11:28 am
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Default Re: So, is my FAN the problem!?

kc, I forgot to mention that if the fan has been the culprit, after replacing it, be sure to check under your A/C compressor and its hoses for any compressor oil leaks. Hopefully, you won't find any. The A/C work on my 2003 PT caused the repair bill to shoot up way beyond the cost of the ran repair.

Tim
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