Friday, July 16, 2004

Radiator fan cluch

My truck has been running hot for a few months, but the weather has been fairly cool. Until this week that is. Driving home from Joy's parent's place on Wednesday I ran into some traffic and the neddle on the temperature gauge jumped up near the redline. I pulled over, added some water, and it just got worse. So I drove back to Orange.

When Jim came home, he took a look. He didn't see any obvious leaks in the radiator, so he had me start it up while he held onto the radiator fan. It didn't seem like a good idea, but the fan applied almost no resistance. He even spun it backwards a few times.

It turns out the fan has a thermal activated cluch, so that it spins faster as the engine warms up. On older cars the radiator fan is directly coupled to the engine, which is wasteful and loud. On the other hand, that's one less moving part.

As long as I kept moving, the air naturally flowed through the radiator. It helped to turn on the vent and the AC, since that pulled through more air too. But when I got stuck in traffic, the radiator was worthless without the fan.

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