FAN CLUTCH: TYPES, WORKING AND SYMPTOMS & EFFECTS OF A BAD OR FAILING CLUTCH
Fan clutch is a component of the cooling system that controls the operation of an engine cooling fan. It transfers energy from the engine belt to the fan, allowing it to turn at a certain speed and thereby cooling the engine. A properly-functioning fan clutch is crucial to engine reliability, as it works to maintain a safe temperature range.
TYPES OF FAN CLUTCH AND THEIR WORKING PRINCIPLE
Depending on the vehicle’s design, there are three types of fan clutch as listed below:
- A thermal fan clutch reacts to temperature of the air rushing over it from the radiator. As the radiator heats up, the air passing through it also gets heated which heats up a small bi-metallic coil in the face of the fan clutch. This releases an internal valve. The valve then releases a heavy silicone fluid, which locks the fan blades to the fan pulley.
- A torque-limiting fan clutch typically reacts to engine speed. When there is high flow of heavy silicon fluid from the centrifugal valve opening, fan blades are locked to the fan pulley. The fan clutch is fully engaged when the engine speed is low or idle and it gradually disengages as engine speed increases. Depending on the choice of your deployment, it may freewheel above 2,500 to 3,000 rpm.
- An electronic fan clutch is not modulated directly by temperature or speed whereas all other features are similar to thermal and torque types of fan clutch. In this type, various sensors are used to direct when to engage the fan clutch, such as at low vehicle speed, idle engine, air conditioner engagement, or above a definite engine threshold temperature.
SYMPTOMS OF A BAD OR FAILING FAN CLUTCH
As we have seen that fan clutch is a vital component of the cooling system, we need to understand the symptoms of a bad or failing fan clutch in order to prevent the risk of potential damages to the engine.
- Engine Overheating
Overheating engine is the most common symptom of a bad or failing fan clutch. The operation of the cooling fans is controlled by the fan clutch. These cooling fans will disable/not work at maximum efficiency as the bad clutch will not engage properly. This result in overheating which may lead to serious issues if not timely attended. Most people don’t understand that this is a clutch issue even if they recognize that the engine is overheating, and attempt to fix by adding water/coolant to the radiator.
- Excessive loud fan noise
A bad or failing fan clutch usually gets stuck in the operating position, this causes the fan clutch to fully engage even if it’s not desired for it to be engaged. A loud noise is thus produced from the engine when the fan is blown at full speed. As a result it may also cause bearing & radiator damage if the blades flex excessively or even disintegrate the plastic fan.
- Loose and Wobbling Fan
Engine fan becomes loose and wobble due to bad or failing fan clutch. This wobbling sound of the fan may sometimes be heard while you are driving, especially high speeds. You can easily check this by running the engine while your vehicle is in park or neutral and opening the hood to see if the fan is wobbling while it spins. Also, oil coming out from the clutch hub may be due to loose engine fan.
- Inefficient performance
A bad or faulty fan clutch will cause excessive drag on the engine which leads to a reduction in power and fuel efficiency of the vehicle. This happens as the faulty clutch causes the fan to become permanently engaged.
WILL A BAD CLUTCH FAN AFFECT YOUR AIR CONDITIONING?
Absolutely, a bad clutch fan 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. Thus, when the fan becomes defective, it creates various complications in the air conditioning unit. This causes lukewarm air, burning smell, overheating when idle.
REPAIRING THE FAN CLUTCH
A failing fan clutch could leave you stranded with expensive repair bills, so make sure you seek professional help once you realize that you have a bad or failing fan clutch.
Diesel Components Inc. provides comprehensive range of products and services for your fan clutch from various brands such as Bendix, Horton, Kysor, BorgWarner, Eaton, Schwitzer, and Spectrum from Kit Masters, including many that are either obsolete or hard to find.
Our professional team has over decades of expertise in providing services of fan clutch. We look forward to assist you with the best services and products.