National average cost of a Fan Clutch Replacement for popular vehicles:
Avg. cost $124
Avg. cost $656
What is a fan clutch and how does it work?
A fan clutch is a heat-sensitive device that controls the cooling fan on an engine. Most vehicles today rely on an electric cooling fan assembly mounted to the back of the radiator. But older vehicles featured a fan that was mounted to the engine. In between the cooling fan and the engine was a fan clutch that allowed the speed of the fan to match closely with that of the engine.
The goal of a cooling fan clutch is to ensure that the fan only runs when it is needed. An engine should operate within a specific temperature range. The cooling fan, whether on a modern vehicle or older engine, helps to draw air through the radiator and ultimately cool down the engine. When the fan is not needed, a computer module shuts it off (in a modern vehicle) or the fan clutch prevents it from spinning (in an older vehicle).
How can I tell if my fan clutch needs to be replaced?
If your engine runs below or above normal operating temperatures, the fan clutch could be the culprit. That is because the clutch responds to heat from the engine to speed up or slow down as needed. If the clutch is not responding as it should, it will either cause the engine to cool down too much or overheat.
A fan clutch that seizes up will remain engaged. You might hear a loud roar from underneath the hood as the fan picks up excessive speed. Your engine might feel as though it lacks power. When the engine is off, you might notice that the fan will not turn freely. Conversely, a failing fan might not spin at all - or spin very slowly - when the engine is running.
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To replace a fan clutch, a technician must remove the upper fan shroud for access. Depending on the vehicle make and model, other components might also need to be removed or set out of the way. Once access has been gained to the fan and clutch assembly, the technician will need to do the following
Lock or hold the water pump shaft in place with a special service tool
Detach the cooling fan nut from the water pump
Remove the fan and clutch assembly from the vehicle
On a bench, disconnect the fan from the clutch
Bolt the new clutch to the fan and torque to manufacturer’s specifications
Install the fan and clutch onto the water pump output shaft
Not all fan clutches are attached in the same manner. Some also include an electrical connector that must be removed and reattached.
OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK
Do electric cooling fans have clutches?
A modern electric cooling fan does not include a clutch. Electric fans cycle on and off in response to signals sent by the engine control module (ECM). Some older mechanical engine-mounted fans featured a clutch that was controlled electronically by the ECM, but they differed considerably from the electric fan assemblies used in most vehicles today.
Why is an electric fan better than mechanical?
A mechanical fan is driven by the engine. So, the engine bears the mechanical load of the rotating fan. An electric fan assembly is more energy efficient because it does not place a drag on the engine. Instead, the vehicle’s computer tells it when to turn on and off.
At what temperature does a fan clutch engage?
A fan clutch engages at or around 170 degrees Fahrenheit in most cases. When the cooling system no longer requires assistance from the fan, the clutch disengages, usually after a temperature drop of about 20 degrees.
What parts are related to a Fan Clutch Replacement?