It sounds like the electronic controls have put the fan into "breeze mode". The fan turns slowly then is supposed to surge back to high. Some people love this feature for some reason... Disable breeze mode via your remote (its the button with the stacked ~'s).
A bad motor wouldn't rotate at all. The only other problem might be the motor's running capacitor. If you can start the fan in either direction (give it a hand spin in the opposite direction of rotation) you have a bad capacitor...and you can find a replacement anywhere (Radio Shack).
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Here is my problem. MY Lasko 4820 Model, is having issues with starting up. Example I turned it on and the rotation stand that moves the tower works. But the fan motor or something realetted is not moving. The fan itself won't move on setting 3, 2, or 1. I don't use the ionizer (I have a smoke detector that picks ionized things and smoke) in my room. I've looked at similar issues or the same and a is different in some way or issue. I've never taken it apart, and one more thing I don't have any solutions because I bought it atva Thrift Store for $29.99 and dident know if someone broke it possibly in the past. No remote either. It has 5 buttons. Middle: Power. Top right: Ion. Botten right: Fan speed/setting (3, 2, 1) Top left: Timer (1hr, 2 hr, 4 hr.) Bottem left: Rotation for whole tower. Please Post anything that may help. Please do NOT respond with "Thats you're fault for buying it at a cheap junk sore" and something related to Criticizing me for getting it at a place that has used items. I know that, just give anything that Will help this issue.
The rotation gears have gotten clogged up, take it apart and put some grease or oil in the rotation parts/gears and work it in until it spins freely. Will work like a charge afterward. I had to do it once myself already.
Model E20739: The entire back comes off to expose the fan blades after removing two screws. Just unplug the unit. On the back of the unit near the top is a recess that acts as a carrying handle. In that area you will see two large silver-colored screws. Remove these, grasp the back of the unit and push down on it as you pull it away from the body of the fan. You may have to wiggle it around a little to free it.