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My 1986 pontiac firebird has been overheating. I replaced the radiator, fan switch sensor, and the fan still won't kick on when it reaches high temperatures. The fuse is not blown and the fan works. I tested it by connecting it to the battery directly. Could it be the relay? If so where is it located?

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
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How about thermostat,air look.

Posted on May 06, 2013


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: Radiator fan not working


I am assuming that you are referring to the radiator fan. You need to verify that the fan motor is receiving 12V when it is supposed to be kicking in (engine hot) with a DVM (voltmeter) in its actual location. Having done this and likewise verifying that the ground is properly attached/connected, then your problem would be with the "clutch". Radiator fan clutch differs from aircon compressor clutch which is electrical and the transmission clutch which is mechanical. Most radiator auxiliary fans (not directly coupled) uses "silica oil". This oil has an inverse property, that is when hot it gets thicker and thus the rotation of the motor is transferred to the blades. There would be a filling hole adequately plug in or near the front of the fan assembly.

If your concern is not corrected by the addition of silica oil or if you can not measure 12V on the fan connector itself when it is supposed to kick in, then chances are your problem is electrically related. Some fan motor switching systems are coupled to the aircon switching.

Hope this be of initial help/idea. Pls post back how things turned up or should you need additional information.

Good luck and kind regards.

Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on May 29, 2008

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SOURCE: 89 buick lesabre electric cooling fans

You are off to a good start by testing the fans. Get a repair manual from your nearest autoparts store. I find them invaluable. Most temperature sensors can be tested with an Ohm meter. Or short the two wires together to trigger fans. If it has only one wire then ground it to the frame/body (negative side of battery). If none of that works (with ignition on / car off) then relay is bad. Also turning on the A/C should make the fans come on. Car does not have to be running, key in on position. This would eliminate bad relays or not.

Posted on Mar 04, 2010

  • 193 Answers

SOURCE: Radiator fan not working

Hi. Check the bottom of the radiator or on the side, as you also have a temperature-sending switch. The switch must reach a certain temperature before sending a signal on to the fan relay.

The switch just screws into the radiator.

If you would like to contact me again about this or other problems, feel free to do so.
ASE Master Technician

Posted on Nov 26, 2008

  • 21 Answers

SOURCE: Radiator fan will not kick on in a 07 pt cruiser.

If you are in a hot climate and use the AC year round like I do, it is possible that the fan motor itself is worn out. My 2003 had this occur and it progressed to idling problems before it was resolved.

The motor has carbon brushes inside it which do wear out with use. The brushes are staggered (I dis-assembled mine as a post-mortem). At idle, both brushes are in use. At highway speed only one brush is in use. Directly attaching the battery gave it normal voltage - but much more current than normal. That is why it worked.

My solution is to replace the fan motor with a BRAND NEW one. A salvage part would work, but you run the risk of not knowing how worn its brushes are. New fans are available w/o the shroud and fan blade at many parts stores. Mine took a week on special order and cost around $150 for one with a lifetime warranty. Pretty straightforward to swap out - just make sure the wiring connector is correct before you disassemble the shroud. The replacement motor had the wiring located slightly different, but I was able to easily drill the plastic shroud and re-route the path of the wires.

Posted on Jul 07, 2009

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