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Can you HEAR your low speed radiator fan?
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Can you HEAR your low speed radiator fan? Reply with quote

I've never heard my low speed fan come on but occasionally the super loud high speed fan will kick on (AC equiped van). Is the low speed fan quiet enough that you don't hear it or is there a chance my low speed doesn't work and the high speed takes up the slack when needed on steep climbs during the summer months?
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BlackChart
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my syncro I can hear both high (NO doubt when high is active!) and low speeds...

Low usually kick in when I've been playing offroad and park the van for a break...
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can faintly hear my low-speed fan if I'm sitting at a stoplight or something. It's easy enough to test if yours is working - just pull the plug off the temp sensor on the radiator. There should be 3 contacts in there - jumper 2 of them together and see if the fan kicks on. Repeat for the other 2 possible combinations...one should do low speed, another high speed (and the third won't do anything).
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can hear the low speed fan in both vans. Of course, I usually have my window open and it only comes on when stopped and idling.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I'm beginning to suspect I have a problem. I only EVER hear the high speed fan and I never turn on the AC (bc it don't work). Time for some sluething.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, this is interesting. I have the wrong switch plugged into my radiator. It only has 2 connections to which a red/white wire and a red/blue wire are attached. The third wire (red/black) has the female connector snipped off. Connecting the snipped wire to the red/white one operates the slow speed fan.

Just last weekend I was browsing through the maintenance reciepts that came with my van. I remember noticing that the 1st owner (I'm the 3rd) had a thermo switch replaced while on vacation back in the mid-late 90s. I don't think there were any other details to that repair. Apparently the van has been running with only the high speed jet engine fan for the past 15 or so years.

Could it be that the repair shop simply didn't have the right switch in stock when the vacationing owner broke down? And if I was to reinstall the correct switch everything would be fine? Or is it likely that this was a work around to some other problem that will rear its ugly head once I swap switches? My AC doesn't work (no response at all to turning the AC switch) - could that be related somehow??
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, if you replace the plug (3 prongs plug) it will work correctly with 2 speeds. I suggest that you replace the radiator switch too for safety measure, make sure that you order the correct temp. (use a mirror to look at base of the switch)

at one time mine works only on high speed, it took a while to figure it's the rad. switch.


Last edited by 0to60in6min on Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some switches for small VWs only had 2 wires since they were one speed switches. The clipped wire is for low speed.

You need the correct 2 speed temp switch and that wire fixed.

NOTE: the wiring diagrams in the Bentley and Mitchell diagrams all show the wrong colors for 2 of the 3 wires to the switch on 86-91 models with A/C. The connections are shown right just not the colors.

Anyone caring to fix that in their Bentley look at pages 97.141 and 97.145.
The 3 wires to the "rad cool fan thermoswitches" are really:
pin 1 - red/blue (correct)
pin 2 - red/black (not red/white)
pin 3 - red/white (not black)

also "rad cool fan resistor" shows a wire from H3 down to the resistor and this wire should be black (not red/black)

2 more nitpicks;
the brown ground wire down from H1 is only .5 thick, (not the 2.5mm shown)
the brown ground down from the "rad fan relay 3rd stage" connects over to the brown from H1 and shares that ground point (not alone down to its own ground point)

Mark




SCM wrote:
Oh, this is interesting. I have the wrong switch plugged into my radiator. It only has 2 connections to which a red/white wire and a red/blue wire are attached. The third wire (red/black) has the female connector snipped off. Connecting the snipped wire to the red/white one operates the slow speed fan..........................
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To describe the function of the radiator fan in a late model vanagon with Factory air.

The radiator fan is actually a 3 speed fan with factory air. When the AC is turned on, the radiator fan should come on too. It is on low. Low only works with the AC. When the AC high pressure reaches a certain point, the Radiator fan switches to medium. These are independent of the radiator fan temp switch.

The engine cooling with the AC off, when the engine/radiator reaches a temp say around 190F or so, the radiator fan comes on at the medium speed. In the event that is not enough cooling or fails to turn on, Then the High speed fan switch circuit turns the radiator fan on high. If for some reason the radiator fan does turn on high, it will turn off the AC compressor.

So there you have it. Hope that is of some help.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When my fan comes on it's a moaning howl that scared us so much the first time we pulled over to check it out. But it seems to go on and off just fine, so we've accepted it as a "feature".

I had no idea the radiater fan had multiple speeds- maybe mine is faulty or maybe it doesn't get that hot- my a/c is dead anyway.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Royb wrote:
When my fan comes on it's a moaning howl that scared us so much the first time we pulled over to check it out. But it seems to go on and off just fine, so we've accepted it as a "feature".

I had no idea the radiater fan had multiple speeds- maybe mine is faulty or maybe it doesn't get that hot- my a/c is dead anyway.


This is exactly how mine "works" right now. I new that my fan was supposed to run at 3 different speeds, and that the AC influenced that somehow but I was assuming that the slower speeds were so quite that I couldn't hear them. Not so. You may want to check your fan switch for some idea of what's going on - you may have the same deal going on as I do (and maybe that's related to why our AC doesn't work or had been disabled).

I think I'm going to live with it until my next coolant replacement and will then put the correct switch in (I confirmed from the work reciept that it has been running this way since 1997). It sure will be nice to not get scared out of my seat everytime it kicks on.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a heavy duty ceramic resistor that gives you the three different speeds. I missed it when I pulled the later model radiator fan and shroud from the junkyard. I think it is mounted near the L/S headlight bucket. I ended up using a new one from the Euro Van. I don't have factory air, but copied the factory air wiring setup for the radiator fan with the exception of the cutting off the AC compressor when the radiator is on high as a result of too much temp. The vanagons with Factory Air also had a larger watted fan vs the ones without factory air. Same shroud though.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject: Radiator fan noise and effectiveness Reply with quote

This is related to the post "Can you HEAR your low speed radiator fan?" I have an 84 westy camper and the a/c has been removed. The a/c fan switch on the left side of the dash still seems to operate something (i.e. it makes noise).

On a recent trip, the temp held steady just above the red light, until I went into slow traffic or idled for 5 min (or so). Then, it climbed to ca. 80% of the gauge and a highly audible fan came on, but only briefly. After that, it went off and the temp climbed until the red light flashed.

The van has a new thermostat and a new temperature sensor (for the gauge).

Q1... what needs to be replaced or adjusted?
Q2... can the a/c fan, by any chance, serve as a "back-up" or "safety"? That is, if I run it, will it serve to cool the radiator anyhow? This question may be due to my misinterpreting other posts.

tks
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: Radiator fan noise and effectiveness Reply with quote

chman wrote:


Q1... what needs to be replaced or adjusted?
Q2... can the a/c fan, by any chance, serve as a "back-up" or "safety"? That is, if I run it, will it serve to cool the radiator anyhow? This question may be due to my misinterpreting other posts.

tks


1: It sounds as if your low-speed fan may not be working, and only the high-speed setting is coming on when the temp gets high enough. Do the check I mentioned above to confirm. If this is the case, it could be a bad connection somewhere, likely at the big green ceramic resistor behind the LF headlight. (Or that resistor itself is falling apart, as they tend to do - this is one of those things that's always good to grab at a junkyard if you spot one).

2. The A/C switch just operates the same radiator fan - if your low speed isn't working but the A/C indeed turns the fan on, I guess you could use that as a short-term safety mechanism. But better to fix the root issue of the fan not operating correctly.

edit: I missed the part where your high-speed fan turned back off and then the temp kept climbing. You may have an intermittent connection somewhere (or maybe blew a fuse or something when the high speed kicked in). Still recommend doing the above checks to track it down...


Last edited by shenan-agon on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chman, When the cooling system is working properly, it should be "automatic" at maintaining the engine temperature. The high speed fan was designed as a backup if the low speed circuit failed. On a properly working system, the radiator fan will rarely come on and when it does, it won't run very long. Usually after a long hwy run and sitting at a light after getting off the hwy.

As far as adding a switch. There could be situations where an on off switch might come in handy. Say moving up a long steep hill slowly in a low gear reving the tar out of the engine. That would be up to you, but you would want to wire it in properly. Old radiators tend to clog up over time and disipate less heat than they should. If you are unsure of the age of your radiator, a replacement with a new rad fan switch might be a good place to start and give you that peace of mind.
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject: Overheating and fan noise Reply with quote

I have resolution to the problem which was... 1984 vanagon camper, 1.9L... fan seemed to come on high then go off, engine continued to heat and red light started flashing.

The fan switch was checked and it works right. The fan itself works right. The problem is that the radiator is partially blocked so that some parts of it are very hot and some parts are cool. The resolution will be to replace the radiator and the fan switch (while I am at it). I have chosen to go with the low temp switch on the premise that if it fails, I will have a few more minutes (or seconds) to get off the road. If there are other opinions that I need to know of, please do reply.

Thanks for all the help.
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Low speed rad fan doesn't seem to be working on my 86 doka either. Here's the weird thing: I have the three wire plug - but no resistor behind the headlight assembly. The wiring looks to be clean and unmolested back there...Did VW ever mount that in a different location from the factory?
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big resistor was fitted to models that also got the larger rad fan motor. Many 86+ still had the small fan motor. The smaller motor creates the 2 speeds internal to the motor instead of with an external resistor. The small motor has a wiring pigtail built into the motor, 3 pins, hi, lo, gnd. The big motor has 2 threaded stud for wires to attach to, power and gnd.

Mark

comet42 wrote:
Low speed rad fan doesn't seem to be working on my 86 doka either. Here's the weird thing: I have the three wire plug - but no resistor behind the headlight assembly. The wiring looks to be clean and unmolested back there...Did VW ever mount that in a different location from the factory?
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread has been helpful to me in understanding our late 86 with factory A/C.

Especially helpful was the pointer to the relevant wiring diagram, which I had missed in my Bentley.

It also prompts a question about our hacked out A/C wiring, but I will start a different thread for it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the problem I have:
While the vehicle is in motion, engine runs normal temps. At idle, sitting still, temp creeps up until eventually max, red light blinks. I hear no fan.
I pulled the plug off of the fan switch at front of radiator and jumpered the connectors. I get two good combinations that work as described in above posts, so I know fan works - but it is not 'engaging' automatically it seems. When I turn on the A/C, the fan DOES come on. So - is it the resistor behind the headlight, or could it be the fan switch in the radiator? Is there a way to test either of those ? Didn't see ANY mention of how to test in Bently - only that they were there.
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