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Lubricating the Vanagon heater fan
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject: Lubricating the Vanagon heater fan Reply with quote

Symptom: front heater fan squeaks annoyingly on 1/2 positions. The bearing that most often causes this is sitting right out there unprotected inside the air plenum on the left side of the fan motor.

How: Remove the headlamp grille and the heater intake grill. Then, a simple 3/8" hole drilled into the sheetmetal in the location shown gives a straight shot to the offending squeaky bearing. I used PB Blaster and two nozzle tubes joined with a short piece of tiny flexible plastic tubing. Using an LED headlamp tucked into the vent above, I could see the bearing through the 3/8" hole, and was able to direct the PB into the bearing while the motor was turning. Immediately the squeak was gone. Plugged the hole with an old plastic dust plug from a master cylinder I replaced. Never toss these little things in the trash.

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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. Could we get a little wider shot in the photo to see where you located the hole?
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
Cool. Could we get a little wider shot in the photo to see where you located the hole?


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the caveman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good info because as i was putting it all back together last week, i tugged on the ground wire from the fan to reconnect it . As i pulled gently it all of a sudden gave way to the point that i thought it had come loose off the terminal of the fan. I swore for a minute or two [sun was going down fast ] then got a battery and some wires to make sure it was still connected, in case i had to pull the housing off again. Well it worked, but i have a funny feeling it'll work it's way loose one day- probably the first day we get a big dump of snow. I figured there was a way to get at the fan by drilling a hole somewhere. because i really really don't have the time to take it all out again for one wire.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THANKYOU!!! I have been pondering this fix for awhile
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stormforge
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Outstanding post! That squeak is getting pretty bad...

Thanks!

-Bill
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James 93SLC
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea! I too have a slightly squeaky fan and was dreading the dash removal.

FYI though I would use something other than PB Blaster. While a good penetrating spray, it doesn't have the long lasting lubrication you need. I would use some Tri-Flow or other oil. Not WD-40 either.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James 93SLC wrote:
Great idea! I too have a slightly squeaky fan and was dreading the dash removal.

FYI though I would use something other than PB Blaster. While a good penetrating spray, it doesn't have the long lasting lubrication you need. I would use some Tri-Flow or other oil. Not WD-40 either.


Actually, forgot to mention the PB was followed by Triflow. Wink
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If while you have had the heater motor out in the past and have drilled a hole in the correct location in the fan, you can lube the other bearing in the motor this same way.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, by drilling a hole in the fan hub you can lube up the inner bearing--your not going to get this job done by a hit or miss lube job entering from a hole bored into the front end sheet metal.

If one bearing is galled or dry, the other is in the same shape.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
Yea, by drilling a hole in the fan hub you can lube up the inner bearing--your not going to get this job done by a hit or miss lube job entering from a hole bored into the front end sheet metal.

If one bearing is galled or dry, the other is in the same shape.


I knew you'd chime in with something positive! Rolling Eyes Nowhere did anyone mention this as being a cure for all that ails a Vanagon, but as in this case if the outer bearing is the one squealing it will buy more time, perhaps years, before pulling the dash for motor replacement.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One question--how in the heck did you have any idea where that drill bit exactly was going to bore into the heater box?
The hole into that sheet metal sure didn't give you a straight line into the box directly onto the end of the motor & bearing---

At best this hoakey idea is as just about as good a the Crazy Condelli blasting the WD-40 into the intake vent and hope for the best--and say the motor is as good as new for years.

Yea--right.

You've got a spinning axle shaft with two bearings on it--and the other side on the hub is the load bearing support bearing.

Blindly blasting some sort of miracle in a can into a blind hole is, and say it'll give your electric motor more years of trouble free service is just about as reliable information as a barker selling some snake oil artritis remidy at a state fair.

What--you bought a 400 dollar boroscope to guarantee the exact & propper entry point into the front header panel & heater box case--and then right onto the end of the heater motor?

PTL and Amen --it's a miracle.

It was a pot luck operation and that heater motor spinning as good as new for years after is a hallucination at best.

I can't believe how folks side step the correct way of getting a job done right.

The front heater motor, Stevey Wonder oil job is a perfect example of that.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
One question--how in the heck did you have any idea where that drill bit exactly was going to bore into the heater box?
The hole into that sheet metal sure didn't give you a straight line into the box directly onto the end of the motor & bearing---

At best this hoakey idea is as just about as good a the Crazy Condelli blasting the WD-40 into the intake vent and hope for the best--and say the motor is as good as new for years.

Yea--right.

You've got a spinning axle shaft with two bearings on it--and the other side on the hub is the load bearing support bearing.

Blindly blasting some sort of miracle in a can into a blind hole is, and say it'll give your electric motor more years of trouble free service is just about as reliable information as a barker selling some snake oil artritis remidy at a state fair.

What--you bought a 400 dollar boroscope to guarantee the exact & propper entry point into the front header panel & heater box case--and then right onto the end of the heater motor?

PTL and Amen --it's a miracle.

It was a pot luck operation and that heater motor spinning as good as new for years after is a hallucination at best.

I can't believe how folks side step the correct way of getting a job done right.

The front heater motor, Stevey Wonder oil job is a perfect example of that.
Thanks for reminding me I have a 400$ boroscope (snap on)
well I paid 200 but still it is a good ideal to use it for this.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on terry, give the guy some credit. Not all of us have time to pull the dash or even know how. I have become rather good at it since I have done it 4 times now.

I had mine out of my project a few weeks back and really for the life of me couldn't figure out the best way to lube it from the outside. I was thinking more in terms of drilling a hole to put a rubber tube into so that I could drip oil in there once in a while. I think 10C did something like this.

But I do like this new idea of Karls. I think in order to really know you are hitting the right spot you would need to drill the hole and set it up with the housing out. The other thing is you are drilling through metal and then there is dead air space before you hit the housing and then there is a lot of air space until you are close to the bearing inside the box.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
One question--how in the heck did you have any idea where that drill bit exactly was going to bore into the heater box?
The hole into that sheet metal sure didn't give you a straight line into the box directly onto the end of the motor & bearing---

You've got a spinning axle shaft with two bearings on it--and the other side on the hub is the load bearing support bearing.


Terri, it's hilarious how often you lambast things like this. If you actually read the beginning of this thread maybe you would understand.

I had a complete Vanagon heater box, with motor still installed, in my pile-o-parts. Looking at the air inlet I could see that the end bearing is directly visible in the inlet. The only thing separating said bearing from full view in the van is one layer of sheetmetal, the curved air inlet duct. Using a simple LED headlamp and mirror, I could see the bearing. I then extrapolated where a small hole through the air inlet could be located directly in front. The worst that could have happened is that I drilled a hole for nothing, and there would be a small hole to plug. But placing the light in the inlet again, I could watch as the fan motor turned, and at the same time spray the bearing with lubricant. Nine out of ten motors I've replaced had only a seized bearing on this end. This one had just started to squeal - my success in freeing the bearing and lubricating it in ten minutes of work seems well worth the time. If it starts to squeal again, guess what? The port is there. Rolling Eyes
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stormforge
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say a properly located hole with a nice rubber stopper is actually a great improvement. With the addition of this "maintenance access port" we can lube the bearing all we like without ripping out half the van. Tearing out the dash in a 20 year old vehicle is never a good thing -- extra wear and tear on fasteners, connectors, wiring harnesses, components, etc... is just asking for trouble. "Doing It Right" would really mean replacing half the wiring and electrical components under there... Most of us just want "good", not "right".

Cheers,
-Bill

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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:

I can't believe how folks side step the correct way of getting a job done right.

The front heater motor, Stevey Wonder oil job is a perfect example of that.



Since when is lubing a dry bearing the incorrect way to fix something?
(The required disclaimer to note that of course there are certain critical bearings that should, at the very least, be examined prior to simply adding lube, but the heater motor bearing isn't one of them)
And since when is there only one correct way to fix something?
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:

I had a complete Vanagon heater box, with motor still installed, in my pile-o-parts. Looking at the air inlet I could see that the end bearing is directly visible in the inlet.


Here is a photo so you can get a better idea how easy it is to access from the hole I drilled. Looking through the hole you will be staring straight at this bearing, it is directly behind the curved intake panel where I drilled.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Karl, I'm with you. Ingenuity to make a non critical problem go away is incredibly satisfying.

Sad to see the thread taken over with unnecessary, and what smells to me to be self important verbal masturbation.

It squeeked. Now it doesn't. Good enough for me.

K
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm assuming so, but does this work for older models (say... an '84), too?
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