View Full Version : Cooling fan motor bad?

09-11-07, 02:14 AM
Hello all, my first post, but I have done quite a bit of searching on the forum and I think I narrowed my problem down.

My mom owns a 1996 Sedan De ville, it has about 82,000 miles and has been running great. Recently, there has been a hot plastic, or hot electrical type smell under the hood when the car was shut down. It hasn't been running hot, no engine lights or anything. A couple of days ago, a loud clicking and almost belt squealing type sound could be heard when the engine was started, it would stop after about a minute.

Today the sound was much louder, and the service engine soon light came on. I checked the trouble codes on the dash, and the only one it came up with was "PC1660 - Cooling Fan Control Circuits".

If a cooling fan motor is failing, would there be a hot smell and noise, possibly from the bearings? Could the cooling fan control circuit trouble code be caused by the fan not starting when it should? And lastly, how difficult is it to replace a cooling fan motor? I would appreciate any input I can get before I tear too far into this.

09-11-07, 11:13 AM
A couple of days ago, a loud clicking and almost belt squealing type sound could be heard when the engine was started, it would stop after about a minute.
Was the A/C on when you started the car? The fans will not be on when you start unless the A/C is on. Without A/C they do not come on till the engine reaches 224 degrees. Almost sounds like a loose belt or a bearing.

09-11-07, 02:05 PM
The climate control was set to auto, so it is possible the A/C came on when it was started. I'll turn the climate control completely off and have listen later this afternoon.

09-11-07, 08:47 PM
The cooling fans are easy to replace. Actually what you'll probably get is the central motor only. The fan blades last almost forever. They unbolt from around the permiter of the radiator and you simply remove the motor from blades and replace it.

I can't remember whuch one is the primary, but it is the larger of the two. That one should come on as soon as the climate control is set to anything besides off or ecomomy in this weather. If it sounds screwed up, then shut it off and get a new fan motor. The secondary fan will not come on until the engine starts going over target range. You can get to this point just sitting in traffic for 30 seconds. If you have a temo gague watch it. If it drifts upward in stopped traffic, then the secondary fan is probably not working. You can also check this in your driveway.

There are no drive belts associated with Northstar engine cooling fans.

09-11-07, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the responses, I was able to look at it again this afternoon, and I made sure the climate control was clear off. The cooling fans were not spinning, but the sound was still present. It had evolved into a loud squeal, and appeared to be coming from somewhere in the serpentine belt area.

I don't have the tools, time or the room to do a lot of troubleshooting, so I took the car down to a local shop that I trust. Apparently, the squeal is from the compressor bearing, they also found some metal shavings in the area, so I had them look further into it. The burning smell is caused by a oil seeping out of a leaky valve cover. I'm not sure if the cooling fan error code is related to all of this, or if it is a whole new and exciting problem.

Hopefully this won't end up costing a couple of thousand dollars, my Mom just bought the car a couple of months ago and can't really afford that kind of bill.

09-11-07, 09:49 PM
Wait a minute. If the A/C was off, then it is the clutch bearing, not the compressor. The clutch can be serviced separately, without removing or discharging the compressor.