Wobbling fan

I have noticed a clunking sound every now and again while driving. It seems to be the works and low and idle speeds. After looking at the serpentine belt while the engine is on the fan seems to wobble a little and then go back in sync. Sometime it even stalls. Not sure what the best action is, drive to a shop or don't drive it at all?
My car has an automatic transmission.
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help. I suggest, with the engine off, to try and move the fan up and down to see if there is any looseness in the water pump or in the fan clutch. If the fan wobbles from a loose fan clutch, then I recommend removing and replacing the fan clutch. If the water pump has bearing play, then replace the water pump and fan clutch. Hope this helps and best of luck. Please feel free to re-contact again if the issue still occurs, although I’m sure this is the case.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Check for any broken fins, extra noises, debris, or other obvious signs of damage. If the fans appear to be okay, and do not look out of balance or restricted, turn your attention to the engine. Most engine related vibrations are caused by a misfire, or an issue with the combustion.
If the fan clutch seizes, it remains engaged all the time, cooling off the engine too much. Excess fan noise at high speed is caused by the same problem, a seized fan clutch. This can cause bearing damage, radiator damage if the blades flex too far, or even shatter a plastic fan.
To confirm the diagnosis, start with this simple test: Spin the fan as hard as you can on an engine that has not been started that day. If the fan rotates more than five times, you can bet the clutch is bad. You should feel some resistance and the fan may spin up to three times, depending on the ambient temperature.
Examine the hanger ball and be sure it is firmly seated in its groove. Tighten the downrod support screws. Replace the canopy cover and firmly tighten the screws. Turn on the fan and see if the wobble has stabilized.
You should not drive or run the vehicle if the cooling fan is not moving or the engine may overheat and cause severe damage. Have the cooling fan and fan clutch checked to make sure it is working properly.
Under correct operation when the engine is cold, the fan will spin but not very hard. As it warms up, the fan will kick in to keep the engine cool. If it gets really warm, you should hear the fan roar loudly to bring the engine temperature back down.
I have also seen fan clutches start to break up inside and actually cause knocking noises that sound like a loose timing chain tensioner or rattling valve train. If you hear similar noises in your engine be sure and check out the condition of your fan clutch.
A locked-in fan clutch can experience increased vibrations that will pass on to the radiator fan and other parts of the engine, with the bearing no longer running at the the differential speeds that it should.
Well if the clutch is doing its job the fan will free spin enough to keep the fan speed down. It may also have a resonant frequency that at certain RPM it vibrates more than other speeds.
Absolutely, a bad one can damage your air conditioning system, as it acts as a heat exchanger for the air conditioning unit. The engine fan keeps the condenser cool which helps to keep the convertible`s AC system running smoothly.
Snugged up is Good Enough. For “The Jesus Nut” to the Threaded outer portion of the Water Pump… Snugged Tight is Fine.
If your ceiling fan wobbles, it`s usually due to one of two reasons. Either it`s not securely attached to the ceiling or the blades are unbalanced.
Wobbling will not cause the fan to fall, and there have been no such reports. Wobbling can, however, cause light fixture covers or shades to loosen and potentially fall. These items should be securely attached, with all screws tightly set in place.
Using a Penny to Balance a Ceiling Fan

While a packaged kit tends to take out the trouble, you can still opt save a couple of bucks and try the penny method. Using painters` or masking tape, firmly attach a penny to the top of a blade, close to the center, and then check the fan`s functioning.

Overheated engine: If the fan clutch is stuck in the “off” position, the engine will overheat. Heater not effective: If the fan clutch gets stuck on in cold weather, the engine will take a long time to get to its normal operating temperature.
At what temperatures do fan clutches engage? Answer: Most fan clutches engage at about 170°F air temperature (about 180-190°F engine temperature). They reduce the temperature about 20°F before disengaging.
If there is no clutch, the fan would be difficult to turn because you would have to turn the fan and the pulley, which are turned by a belt. If the fan is turning freely with no clutch, then there is a problem with either the belt being loose or the pulley will need adjustments.
A dried out or sticky pin is one of the most common reasons for blades to stop spinning. If they spin easily and there`s no resistance, try turning your fan on and see if the pin spins. If it doesn`t, the problem isn`t the pin and there is probably a short in the motor.
A proper water pump replacement should include a new fan clutch as the two are connected to the same shaft and work together to move the air and cooling fluid. Replacing one without the other can damage the new part and cause repeat work or engine trouble.
How long will a noisy clutch release bearing last? If your clutch is making unusual noises when you push the pedal down you should take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. A noisy clutch release bearing might last a hundred more miles, or it might not, but that isn`t a risk you should be willing to take.
Causes of clutch noise

Whistling or whining from the clutch can be caused e.g. by the release bearing running off-center, an off-center input shaft, or a defective pilot bearing. On the other hand, rattling noises may be due to load alterations if clutch disks are furnished with preliminary dampers.

If you hear a high-pitched squeaking as you press the pedal then you know that you have a problem with your clutch. This sort of noise is usually associated with problems with the clutch release or throw-out bearings.
A clutch that vibrates uncontrollably, sometimes known as “clutch judder”, when the clutch is initially engaged can be a clear sign that your clutch is failing. In a lot of cases, it could simply be that fluid has leaked into the gears, usually oil, causing them to lose grip. However, this is not always the case.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Car will overheat if I don’t have the fan on. When fan is off it doesn’t come on to release heat from engine. So the fan is always on.
ANSWER : Check the wiring to the coolant temperature sensor and see if there is power to the sensor switch. If there is no power, then check the cooling fan relay and see if its clicking on. If there is no clicking motion, then remove the relay and check for power to the relay. If there is power to the relay, then the cooling fan relay needs replaced. If there is no power to the relay, then check the fuse. If the fuse is burned, replace the fuse. If the fuse is good, then check power from the fuse to the main circuit on the fuse box. If there is no power, then the fuse box needs replaced. If the fan comes on with the air conditioning system switch turned on, that is because the switch overrides the cooling switch to make the condenser cool down to make the air conditioning system work properly.

If you need further assistance with your cooling fans not coming on when the engine gets hot, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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1992 Honda Accord cooling fans not operating properly.
ANSWER : Hi there. Your issue is the ECT sensor B is not closing the loop when engaged. There is power to the sensor A from the computer, but the sensor B is not connecting when the vehicle is running hot or when the air conditioning is on. I recommend replacing the ECT sensor B, which is the on and off switch for the cooling fans. On the relay, terminals 2 and 4 are the direct circuit for the cooling fan, terminal 1 is the ground, and terminal 3 is for the circuit to the air conditioning system. Check the wiring between the fuse box and the terminal 3 for resistance and see if there is 0.5 ohms or less. If the meter reads OL, then there is a break in the wires and it would need fixed or replaced. If there is 0.5 ohms of resistance or less, then check the A/C switch and the ignition switch as they could be the source of disconnection. If you need further assistance with your cooling fans not working, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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When replacing my fan clutch should I change my cooling fan to a flex-a-light and get a new flex-a-light clutch?
ANSWER : Hi there. It is best to always put on the OEM parts that are required for the vehicle. However, you can get a flex-a-light clutch fan for your vehicle as long as it will bolt up to your water pump pulley and clear the radiator and shroud. I recommend having a clutch design fan for your vehicle and not a fan that spins with the engine all the time. Those fans will cause the engine to overheat on highways and in town especially in hot weather. If you need further assistance with your cooling fan, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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Why wont the fan start? Smoking near fan, cooling fan new but wont start. engine overheats.
ANSWER : Hey there. As you alluded, this is a sign of a bad cooling fan relay switch. The cooling fan relay switch comes on when the temperature reaches a certain level to help cool down the radiator. When this is faulty, this will cause the fans to work intermittently or sometimes not at all. This will also obviously cause the car to overheat as well. This part should be located behind the passenger side headlight in a black box with several wires going to a single connector. If you would like to have this taken care of for you, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your home or office to inspect the overheating problem and perform any needed repairs.

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Front A/C fan not blowing, but front seat cooling and rear A/C fans are working.
ANSWER : What you are describing sounds like a failure of the blower motor that circulates air in the HVAC system, however, there are certain faults that could occur in the electric circuit that powers the blower motor. If power is reaching the blower motor when the blower switch is in the on position and the blower motor is not functioning as intended then the blower motor is condemned and replaced. On the other hand, if there is no power, then the blower switch and the plug connection on the back of the switch, as well as the rest of the circuit should be inspected. If the circuit includes a blower motor resistor block, of course the resistor block has to be checked for continuity (i.e., specified resistance in ohms) at each position. If equipped with a relay in the circuit, that is easy to test and if the relay works consistently as commanded, you can assume there is no fault there. If you want these diagnostic steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a non functioning blower motor diagnostic/replacement and the responding mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic.

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My cooling fan won’t turn on when I turn the ac on. Relays and fuses are good, tested the fan with the battery and it came on??
ANSWER : Hi there. In general, a situation like this occurs when either the thermostat housing or temperature sensor is not relaying the information to the fan motor to activate. However, it’s also possible that there is some electrical short within the cooling system relay’s that is causing the fan motor to not activate when it should. I think the best way to determine the precise source of this problem is to have a professional mechanic come to your location to complete an onsite inspection so they can test all systems to help isolate the root problem and recommend the right repairs.

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fan wiring is wrong
ANSWER : There are aftermarket electric fan controllers that enable the fan to be turned on by a temperature sensor or by a switch inside the cabin. This is a much safer alternative than to tap into the vehicles ignition wiring. The kits use a power source with circuit protection so there aren’t any hot wires or sparks to worry about. If the fan draws too much current through a small gauge wire, it may cause a fire. If you need help having this checked, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the electrical issue and let you know what needs repair.

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Some a/c fans aren’t blowing air
ANSWER : It sounds like your mode door actuator may have failed. The mode door actuator is responsible for controlling the mode door. The mode door is a door inside your dash that will open and close to certain points to guide or block air flow to or from different air vents in your dash. When the mode door actuator fails, it keeps the mode door in the position that it failed in. This would mean that your actuator failed in the defrost position. Many times, a vehicle’s mode door will default to defrost when the engine is turned off. I would recommend having your AC inspected by a certified professional to determine if this part has actually failed.

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