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Old 07-06-2018, 06:48 PM   #1
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default L300 dual cooling fan problem.

With 15 years of ownership and several major repairs including new struts, bushings, caliper, several rotors/brake pads, and ac repairs, I wondered about a slight lack of cooling while stopped at lights but fine when at speed so I turned my attention to both cooling fans. Dual cooling fans, one pusher in front of the left side condenser coil and one puller behind the right side of the radiator has three speeds. Both fans run in low speed when ac is on but I noticed the pusher fan wasn't running at medium speed while the puller fan was. The fans are powered by the fan control module next to the battery. After researching wiring diagrams, description of operation and measuring resistances to compare both fans, I pulled the pusher fan and fcm. I determined the medium speed resistor was blown to explain lack of medium fan speed. Low and (presumed) high speed fans are not affected. Each fan has three wires. I decided to bypass the resistor by cutting leads to the resistor and soldering the ends together. I think (from using the wire strippers) wires are 10 gauge. I had to pull the wire going to the three wire connector to bridge the gap and used the existing insulator shields to cover the soldered wires. My thinking says when medium speed is needed, the bypass simply runs the fan at high speed. Laying the fan on the front allowed an initial ac test to ensure low speed works. Ambient temps weren't high enough to observe for medium fan speed even when I went for a drive to heat up everything under the hood - both fans remained in low speed mode. Colder air is felt in local streets but that may be my imagination, wishing the wiring bypass is allowing forced airflow to cool off both sides of the condenser coils. And if anyone is wondering, My last ac repair was two years ago with zero loss of refrigerant - the last leak was due to faulty mating of new and old fittings where corrosion prevented sealing. Once corrected, ac has been near perfect with the one exception in local traffic. I will be patient when warmer temps returns, forcing cooling fans to ramp up to medium and high speeds before I can verify the pusher fan is working at high speed. I removed the resistor to see if I can locate a replacement or buy a replacement fan. Below are pics for the pusher fan (rear view, forgot to get a front view pic) and fan control module. When examining the fcm, large bus conductors are used to eliminate burning circuit lines not designed to handle several amps powering the two fans. Nothing appeared discolored, burned, cooked, wilted so I'm guessing the fcm is ok.
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File Type: jpg 20180705_125300-1.jpg (154.3 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 20180705_115528-1.jpg (135.9 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg 20180705_115607-1.jpg (116.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 20180705_115700-1.jpg (147.4 KB, 11 views)

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Old 07-07-2018, 01:07 PM   #2
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

So, fdryer, for an electronics challenged dumby like me, where is the resistor mentioned in your post located? Your thread post starter is very interesting in spite of my dumbyness!

(An aside: I feel really fortunate that apart from one instance of having to have the A/C system in my LS1 refilled due to a loose hose at the compressor, there has not been any other service performed on it. The system has been unbelieveably reliable. Today, I took the wife's MDX to the shop for the second time in three months as the A/C is blowing warm air again...oh no! Last time it was determined that the schrader valves were leaking. We'll see what has happened this time after a diagnosis has been performed.)

(A second aside: yesterday, the high temp in my home town was 115 degrees F with humidity in the single digits...yeehaw!!! Todays forecast is 105 degrees F with humidity around 20%.
)

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296,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 07-07-2018, 03:15 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

My bad as I did have intentions to edit the fan image - looking at the back end as shown, at approximately 5:30 o'clock position is a long aluminum metal heat sink next to three wires coming out the bottom of the motor. One wire is black, goes to the top of the aluminum resistor, comes out the bottom of it and joins the other two wires to the rest of the harness. From late night searching on the 'net, I found an image of a Dorman replacement pusher fan revealing its resistor, a 0.2 ohm 50 watt piece on the back of the fan. They're mounted onto radial webbing supports between the central motor mount and outer fan housing. I made resistance measurements to the puller fan (without removing it from the radiator) thru the three pin connector and found the resistor measuring 0.2 ohm. My guess is the fans are similar in diameter, have different housings and presume they use the same resistor. I located replacement resistors, initially starting with Newark/digikey electronics then discovered............. eBay and Amazon selling them with better pricing. I haven't decided yet to order one until I make one more test - I need to power the wire from the resistor bypass to ground to see if the fan will run. A flurry of activity left me assuming the fan can only be tested when its plugged into its harness on the car as one wire is ground. It didn't occur to me to jumper two wires to the fan while it was out to test medium (resistor) and high speed. Medium speed without a resistor should, in theory, run at high speed. I'm going to try running two jumper wires (battery voltage to the black wire, and unidentified color wire is ground, using the pinouts from wiring diagrams and connector drawings) and see if the fan runs. I can also connect to the red wire for high speed fan. As it is, if testing works then I'll order a resistor, $5+free shipping. If medium speed fails to run then I'll have to order a new Dorman fan for around $60. AC DELCO original is around $242..... The pusher fan is mounted on top using two clips to slide into with two bottom screws to hold the fan assembly onto the condenser coil, about a 5-10 minute procedure to remove it.

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Old 07-07-2018, 07:29 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

A balmy 75F midday temperature with low humidity and I went to work attempting to power the pusher fan (CF2) from the battery. Success. Pin-A is brown, ground, pin-b is black with the in line resistor for medium speed, pin-C is red for power. I disconnected the three pin plug to CF2 and carefully clipped two wires to the battery. The other ends are twisted bare wires. Supplying 12v to pin-C and ground to pin-A results in high speed fan operation. Since pin-b has the inline resistor to reduce current for medium speed - bypassing the resistor and powering this pin resulted in the same high speed operation. Verifying the black wire allows fan operation regardless of a blown resistor or not allows me to go ahead and buy a replacement resistor for the blown one. A simple solder and heat shrink repair.

With assurances that low, medium speed is temporarily high speed (bypassed resistor) and high speed fan operation, I used ac on some local errands without issues. I won't have to worry about introducing a different problem with this temporary bypass on medium speed. I can rest until the resistor is delivered in a week or so. Replacement resistor shown below.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:43 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

Following up on this repair, the resistor came in the mail, removed the fan, desoldered the bypass, soldered in the new resistor, tested medium speed with direct connections to battery, and reinstalled fan assembly in front of the condenser coil. Went for a local drive to treat myself to 7-11 coffee (no StarBucks for me) and checked for medium fan speed in the car and while parked. The direct power test before putting the fan back on the car resulted in the resistor heating up and considered normal. The resistor is mounted so its exposed to forced airflow to help cool it. When I parked after picking up coffee and left ac running I can hear fan noise(s), lifted the hood and placed my ears close to each fan to ensure both were running. They were and in moderate temps (84F) fans switched to medium speed. Medium speed cooling fans can be heard with radio off but one has to listen for it. Its background noise without being annoying. For now and hopefully permanent unless the fan wears out altogether, this repair is less costly than buying a new one for $65+shipping. $5 resistor, soldering, shrink tubing and time.
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File Type: jpg fan resistor.jpg (111.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg fan resistors.jpg (129.8 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg new resistor in place.jpg (153.2 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg fan front view.jpg (118.3 KB, 10 views)

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Old 08-05-2018, 12:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

Been trying to find a cooling fan wiring diagram for my 2004 L4 L300 and stumbled across your very informative post. Might u be able to share this schematic if u have it? Neither of my fans are working at any speed, both fuses are good but I know my "pusher" fan is locked up. Noticed that a little different from your pics, the resistor on both my fans does not wire directly to the fan. It loops around back into the harness where I assume it ties into the red "power" wire going to the fan. In any case, I'm wondering why the "puller" fan isn't coming on at all. It does work when direct wiring to the batt. It receives a power signal when temp gets slightly more than halfway on the gauge, but there's no ground. Would the inoperative condition of the pusher affect this? The old girl has 330k on her but I'm just not ready to put her out to pasture yet.
Thanks for your help!

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Old 08-05-2018, 01:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

'04 L4 L300? Is this a 4 or 6 cyl engine? Below is the cooling fan circuit for all(?) L300's. I used this diagram to diagnose mine. You can disconnect each cooling fan and run wires directly to the battery as I did to confirm the resistor/medium speed was faulty on my pusher fan (cooling fan 2). I had an old pair of charging wires with medium size alligator clips to connect to the battery and bare wires on the other ends. All I did was carefully connect the bare ends to terminals A/ground and C/cooling fan motor supply/battery/red to have high speed fan. Terminals A and B should power medium speed thru the resistor. Check to be sure the pusher fan blades can rotate and nothing is lodged to prevent fan blades from turning.

Dual Fans are controlled by the ecm thru the fan control module. Low speed fans are electrically wired in series. Medium speed is battery power fed to each fan thru terminal B in each connector. Terminal A is ground. High speed fan is battery power fed to terminal C of each fan. Fan speeds are determined by the ecm whether for the cooling system or ac use.

If ac works, turning on ac should turn on both fans initially at low speed. You'll barely hear them and will have to make a visual check to see fan blades moving.
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Old 08-29-2018, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

Ahem!? A month hasn't passed and............my resistor replacement failed. Kaput, broke, burned out. I went on an errand yesterday and sat in a parking lot with a view of one of NYC's many bridges when I checked on cooling fan #2, the resistor replacement to have medium speed. The fan wasn't moving and the 30 amp fuse wasn't blown. I went home and parked it in my garage to work on it the next day with a cold engine in hot weather. Checking resistance showed an open again on the same medium speed wire to the resistor and ground wire. Best guesstimate is the medium speed wiring has a short as it wouldn't run when I applied 12v directly. I removed the fan assembly and mistakenly assumed another bypass by soldering around the resistor would make medium speed run at high speed. Not. Assumptions can be terrible. I went out for a drive expecting to see and hear low speed and high speed but saw zero fan blade movement as cooling fan #1 was screaming - it was doing double duty while the idiot assumed bypassing wiring as before. I found a shady parking lot to get out of the sun to make more measurements when I discovered my error. I moved the ground wire to the wrong spot. Reviewing the wiring diagram on my tablet, I finally configured wiring (temporarily) so high speed cooling would turn on as needed to run in tandem with cf#1. I verified wiring when I turned on engine and ac to see and hear cf#2 run. I went for another drive in local rush hour traffic (all stop and go as there is no such thing as rush hour traffic in NYC. With windows up and radio off, I can hear cf#2 (in front of condenser coil) cycling on and off, more on than off in today's 97F/high humidity temps. Fans cycling is in keeping with the automatic fan speed selection according to ac pressures sensed from the pressure sensor mounted on the ac high pressure line. Inside temps stabilized as it has before and after repairs two years ago, lowest vent temps @42F. Maybe 45F in stopped traffic. My experiment to prolong this fan failed. ---> me.

Both cooling fans run with ac at low, medium or high speed.

I ordered a Dorman replacement, $67 with shipping and 5% discount from rockauto. I'll follow up after I install the new one...........

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Old 09-01-2018, 08:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: L300 dual cooling fan problem.

Dorman cooling fan arrived this morning, installed this afternoon in 77F/low humidity. Comparing to stock - Dorman seems to have smaller gauge wires (outside insulation diameter is smaller than the original fan), same size motor(?), same number of blades, exact replacement. After practicing several times removing and replacing cf#2, it took less than 1/2 an hour with front grille removal to see and hold the fan up. guide the top assembly into the two clips while bolting the bottom two machine screws. Initial comparison seemed to show Dorman having shorter wiring. It was about two inches short. I released the wiring harness clips on the car to move it closer to the shortened Dorman harness. Started engine, turned on ac and waited a short delay before ac turned on. As expected, low speed fans turned on as I looked (grille removed) for the new fan running as well as listened/felt the rear fan. Went out for a drive to treat myself to a coffee and snack while tooling around in local traffic. No more hearing the old fan cycling (temporarily in high speed)
on and off like it did the previous day in hot temps. I didn't hear medium fans turning on and presume the cooler temps didn't require medium or high speed fans until hot temps return. I will presume this is the last time I visit this repair, ensure the new fan runs in hot temps. If I don't return with an update in the next month or so as hot weather comes and goes, this should be my last reply.

The new fan has markings for the resistor, similar to one I used - 50 watt 0.3 (mine was 0.2) ohm aluminum bodied part.

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