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Radiator Cooling Fans

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Radiator Cooling Fans

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What is an A/C and radiator cooling fan and where are they located?

Both your vehicle’s radiator and air conditioning system need fans to cool them more efficiently, and both work in similar ways.

The A/C condenser fan, also known as the A/C cooling fan, provides additional air flow to help cool the A/C condenser, allowing your A/C system to do its job. Air conditioning condenser fans are secondary electric cooling fans that are normally activated when the air conditioning is turned on, and, in some applications, it may be thermostatically controlled. These fans, also known as auxiliary cooling fans, can be located in various areas depending on the vehicle. While some cars and trucks have fans mounted to the A/C condenser itself, other vehicles may have an A/C condenser fan mounted right next to the main radiator cooling fan, either in front or behind the radiator.

The radiator cooling fan, also known as an engine cooling fan, is a key component of the engine’s cooling system. They can be located either in front of the radiator to push air through its core or behind the radiator to pull air. Most front-wheel drive cars and even a lot of late rear-wheel drive cars use an electric radiator fan to assist in cooling the radiator (another key component of your engine’s cooling system), and in turn cool the engine to prevent it from overheating. Basically, coolant from the radiator is pumped through the engine via the water pump, and the warm coolant then exits back into the radiator. The radiator fan cools down the warm coolant by passing cool air through the radiator. Cooled coolant is then pumped back into the engine, and the process repeats itself.

There are basically two types of radiator fans: manual and electric. Manual radiator fans are mechanically driven and are attached to the car’s engine, meaning that once you turn your car on and the engine starts running, the radiator fan starts turning as well. Then there are electric radiator fans that include an electric motor and have essentially replaced manual radiator fans in today’s automobiles. Electric radiator fans are controlled by a thermostat and are set to move only at certain temperatures, making them much more efficient when it comes to cooling your engine. Regardless of type, a radiator fan assembly consists of a mounting shroud and fan blade, with the only difference being that an electric radiator fan assembly will also include an electric motor.

Air conditioner condenser fan and radiator fan assemblies consist of an electric motor, several blades (the exact number varies depending on the application), and a shroud. The fan shroud is a plastic funnel-shaped piece that surrounds the fan and helps cool the radiator and A/C condenser more effectively. It also keeps warm air from recirculating through the radiator. The radiator fan shroud mounts to the radiator and is secured to it by bolts. Fan shroud designs vary from one model to another, as some can be made of piece while others can be made of an upper and a lower piece. In many cases, the fan shroud is also what holds the radiator fan in place. For most modern cars, the fan and shroud are integrated together into one assembly (rather than being two separate parts) and are not sold separately. Trucks and large SUVs are a different story, however.

How do I know my A/C condenser fan or radiator cooling fan needs to be replaced?

Just like electric radiator fans, A/C cooling fans are exposed to extreme heat on a regular basis. Over time, the A/C condenser fan motor can burn out. Oftentimes the bearings inside the fan motor will wear, causing the fan blade to wobble, and potentially causing it to make contact with and damage the shroud, condenser, or radiator. Fan blades may also break, causing a lack of sufficient air flow being supplied to the condenser. Broken fan blades can also damage other parts of your A/C system. There are various components involved with the A/C's operation, so just because the inside of your vehicle is getting little to no cool air does not mean that the problem lies with the A/C Condenser.

A damaged fan shroud will hamper the efficient flow of cool air through the radiator. This can result in overheating the engine. Since driving at speed pushes some air through the radiator, a damaged fan shroud is most likely to cause overheating at low speeds, and a damaged radiator fan can cause overheating all speeds, especially when the vehicle is not moving. Also, if the shroud is damaged, the radiator could also get damaged by the fan being lose and moving out of position. In this case, a small problem that could be solved with a simple fix could become more costly if left unfixed.

Can I replace the A/C condenser fan or radiator cooling fan myself?

Replacing the A/C condenser fan and radiator cooling is doable for the inexperienced do-it-yourselfer, depending on the model. You are most likely going to need a screwdriver, hose clamps, a pair of pliers, and a socket and ratchet, but some repairs might require a Torx driver and jack stands.

First off, as with any electrical job, it is recommended to disconnect the battery prior to further work if it’s an electric fan. Depending on the model, for the radiator fan we recommend that you drain the coolant beforehand if you have coolant lines or radiator hoses to disconnect. You might have to remove the air intake to reach the radiator fan. Once that's been completed, disconnect any radiator hoses attached to the fan by sliding back the hose clamps and pulling the hoses off. Clip the ends with locking pliers to prevent any coolant from leaking out. Then unbolt the fan with a socket and ratchet and slide it up and out of the car. To reinstall, simply insert it into place and retighten the bolts. Push in any lines you disconnected and reinstall any air intake parts you might have removed. After the repair, we recommend that you replace any coolant you might have lost during the process.

For the A/C condenser fan, the repair will consist of disconnecting the fan wiring harness, possibly disconnecting the coolant lines or reservoir, and removing the bolts from the fan. In simple applications the fan will need to be disconnected, loosened, and removed. The degree of difficulty in accessing the fan can vary from vehicle to vehicle, so we recommend consulting a guide specific to your car to gain a better understanding of what the process is going to be like. From there, you should have a good idea of whether or not you think you'll be capable of doing the job.

Need a radiator fan replacement?

Is a broken air conditioner condenser fan in your car or truck leaving you hot, sticky and miserable? Well, why sweat in discomfort when you don’t have to? At 1A Auto, you will find a large selection of aftermarket A/C condenser fan assemblies for many makes and models, at great prices. Our A/C cooling fan assemblies are built to the highest quality control standards in the industry. They feature a new, not rebuilt, A/C condenser fan motor, geometrically designed blades for the optimal circulation you need, and a shroud designed to ensure structural integrity and endurance for maximum performance. The direct bolt on design (including proper plug) ensures an easy installation that other fan assemblies can't promise! If you are in need of a replacement A/C cooling fan for your car, truck, SUV or van, then you have certainly come to the right place.

A working radiator fan assembly is extremely important to the proper operation of your vehicle’s cooling system. Without it, the radiator would not be provided with the air that it needs to keep the coolant that it uses for the engine cool. 1A Auto has a large selection of aftermarket electric radiator fans for many makes and models, at great prices. Our aftermarket electric radiator cooling fans are built to the highest quality control standards – see for yourself!

1A Auto Radiator Fan Features:

  • Includes a new, not rebuilt, electric radiator fan motor
  • Geometrically designed blades for optimal circulation and precise balancing
  • All radiator cooling fan shroud units feature direct bolt on design for easy installation (includes proper plug).
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