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Old 08-25-2018, 02:27 PM   #1
gm7
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Default Intermittent Blower Motor...

Question to '08-09 Vue owners...

Anybody have a problem with intermittent Blower Motor on their HVAC?

I did a while back and purchased a new Resistor which is a circuit with heat sink that processes the digital signal to regulate blower speed. These on aging vehicles are known to commonly fail on many different car makes and models. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to resolve the issue and I noticed when pressing on related wire harness connectors, this would recreate the intermittent blower speed issue.

So I went on the web to read about 'wire harness issues'...and so meticulously cleaned the connectors between the resistor and motor and it seems to be working for now.

Wildcard is the blower motor itself. Blower motors sometimes burn a winding which creates the same erratic condition I have had. Hate to replace the motor without fixing the issue.

Has anybody here had problems with the HVAC control module aka the knob on the dash that isn't sending the right signal (pulse) to the resistor and motor?

Thanks for any shared experience.

Last edited by gm7; 08-25-2018 at 02:34 PM..

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Old 08-25-2018, 03:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

This just my thoughts about dc motors. As you know, dc motors use spring loaded brushes pressing onto the commutator/rotor to make an electric field opposing magnets surrounding the rotor. The magnetic field and brushes placed in key positions allows the motor to run. The same design is used in starters, radiator fans and wiper motors. All use brushes that wear down. For whatever reason, hearsay continues to spread about burning out a winding. I have never seen evidence of burned out windings in dc motors. The fact remains that all dc motors wear out their brushes and commutators. Hearsay about starter windings burning out is just that, hearsay. To understand the difference between hearsay and fact is to disassemble a car starter when its worn out, disassemble a blower motor when its worn out. I can say this because I have disassembled a rear wiper motor - not being used regularly, it stopped until I disassembled it only to find nothing wrong. As soon as I reassembled it, it ran flawlessly. The majority of dc motors like starters and hvac motors wear out their brushes. I rebuilt one starter for a minivan - the brushes were fine but one of the contactors burned out. Finding a similar material from industrial fuse panels and some creativity, I made a new contactor to restore this starter. It had 140k miles on it and was in near perfect condition to last another 140k miles. This type of advanced repair isn't for the average diyer unless some skills are used. I replaced worn out brushes on one alternator years ago. I'm just another diyer, never worked as a mechanic in any repair shop.

Blower motors either wear out from normal wear and tear or external wiring cooks/burns out to give the appearance of motor failure. There are many instances in other forums where members find either the power or ground wire discolored as indications of current overloading. In these instances, discolored wiring are due to loose terminal connections, not wiring or current overloads. Wring is always gauged for more current than the fuse limit. Fuse and terminals are usually the weak links in wiring. I would examine blower wiring and look for discoloration then trace wiring as far as possible to see where connections terminate and examine connections. Even the black wire ground can burn if its found loosely connected to a chassis stud or follows other wiring.

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Old 08-26-2018, 05:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

Thank you fdryer for your insightful words.
What you write makes a lot of sense. Because there is so little on the web available about this issue specific to the Vue, I did a search on the sister car the Equinox which is basically the same car as you know with different sheet metal.

I found this video which related to terminals 'being loose' as you state. Btw, this is a bit different than the '08-'09 Vue, from an '09 Chevy Trailblazer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3ILfCuv6ao

For late model Vue...same as for 2011 Chevy Equinox...same exact set up under the instrument panel on passenger side as late model Vue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXeYFWhEiS4


And, in agreement with your blower motor brushes assessment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymZcxS740yg


Perhaps proof positive that motor 'brushes' is my particular core issue, stated in the video above if the blower doesn't run or 'it doesn't run at the proper speed' this suggests perhaps a brushes issue which is due to lack of current continuity aka high resistance to the armature of the motor that incomplete/worn brush contact provides or rather in my case, may not be providing adequately.

Based upon above, if this issue happens again which it may even after cleaning the connectors, I will likely change the blower motor.

When I removed the Resister a couple of days ago to troubleshoot the intermittent blower motor, I recall last time that it 'seemed' to be related to a loose terminal on the connector. So what I did this time was remove the wire harness pigtail and careful examine and 'cleaned' the terminals which as you know can lightly oxidize with age. There was no blatant discoloration. Then I took the male spade terminals on the Resistor and bent them slightly for more lateral preload to the connector female terminals when pushing the connectors back together...basically replicating what the guy in the video did only without the pull tie. Btw, the connectors to the resistor and blower motor are quite robust with solid engagement.

So far its working. The kicker is...the speed of the motor doesn't always seem to be as aggressive as it is at other times. If there is continuity which is now established, then this 'could' be due to the HVAC controller I suppose and why I asked about it...or the motor losing its efficiency either due to a brush or winding issue as discussed above But...sometimes the motor steps up and seems to operate at full speed and at Max setting, it blows like a new car, real hard versus other times, it blows pretty good on Max, but not real hard if that makes sense. This based upon the video..this variation in the motor not racing at Max position maybe a brush issue in the motor.

Good news is...the blower motors for these cars don't cost an arm and a leg. Super hot where I live in FL right now and need my blower motor and AC blows cold fortunately which would be a bigger issue if it didn't. So trying to figure out if I should bite the bullet and order a $50 blower motor. I am leaning toward ordering one.

There is no discoloration on any of the terminals of the wire harness.

Thanks again for your wisdom fdryer. Your contributions to this forum are always appreciated and valuable and you may have indeed I.D'ed the root cause...blower motor brushes being worn likely.

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Old 08-26-2018, 11:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

There's was a member here posting an unusual ac problem some years ago. Cooling was fine at speed but lackluster in stop and go traffic. Worried about an expensive repair, some discussions revealed one of two radiator fans failed. Once replaced, ac cooling was fine in local traffic. The Vue is in Texas heat with heavy ac use. Premature wear on cooling fans.

Here in NYC, one of my two radiator cooling fans decided not to run at medium speed. An inline resistor opened, causing loss of medium speed with hot temps when using ac. A temporary bypass allowed low or full speed use while I waited delivery of a replacement resistor. A new one went in and I have a repaired cooling fan. I took the chance of this repair over replacing the fan - a $5 resistor and soldering over a $50 fan assembly.

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Old 09-08-2018, 09:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

Quick update...

Since, pulling down the resistor from under the left hand side glove compartment under the instrument panel... and removing the wire harness and scraping the terminals...they were not discolored....and lightly bending the male spaded terminals to create greater preload contact to female connector counterparts, my blower motor has worked fine. No intermittent running at inopportune time or checking for moon alignment to see if the blower would work.

So...takeaway is...it isn't always the resistor which I did replace a year ago which didn't fix it, nor is it necessarily the blower motor itself or thankfully the HVAC control module...thank god not a HVAC control panel gremlin.

Rather, its is simple lack of connector circuit continuity. Searching for this issue on line, I found bad continuity as a problem on the sister car Equinox on a youtube video...the smart mechanic figured it out by wiggling the connector. What he did was use a twist tie to put lateral load on the connector to create continuity. Instead I created this preload internal to the connectors by lightly bending the spade connectors laterally which created more pressure between the terminals.

Caution:
if opting for my technique...don't overbend the connector spades because then you won't get the connectors back together.

Hope this helps somebody with the same condition. Sometimes it just takes a bit of finessing with no new parts...rarely but sometimes.

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Old 09-08-2018, 11:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

So, you were given the good fortune and me having to replace the cooling fan as the resistor replacement worked for about a week or so until it burned out. A new Dorman fan was put in to put less burden on the other cooling fan.

Sometimes we win (you without replacing anything) and sometimes we don't (replacing my cooling fan).

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Old 09-08-2018, 03:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Intermittent Blower Motor...

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
So, you were given the good fortune and me having to replace the cooling fan as the resistor replacement worked for about a week or so until it burned out. A new Dorman fan was put in to put less burden on the other cooling fan.

Sometimes we win (you without replacing anything) and sometimes we don't (replacing my cooling fan).
true dat fdryer. Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. There is a basic tenant of wrenching and troubleshooting as you well know. Always try the simple stuff first. Of course, many times isn't the case. I initially bought a $40 resistor and it didn't help. Still had the intermittent conductivity issue.
Will see over the long haul how it works.

Best Regards.

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