1998 Honda Accord 6-Cyl

I drove for about 4 hours in the city during heavy traffic at close to 95F temps. My AC is very good on this vehicle, but suddenly it started fading. On my way back home, after 4 hrs, I noticed the overheating gauge go to the top and started to smell something burning. I stop, park, and see the plastic that holds the motor of one of the fans on the radiator melting! It started melting the casing that its holding it and the even the wings of the fans, once the casing of the motor touched them, started melting. I look online and it seems to be the condenser/cooling fan that the AC uses. I then wondered what would happen if I just do not turn on the AC… I waited until the temp gauge went down, scontinued on my trip, and decided not to turn on the AC . Bingo! It worked! I got home without a problem and the car did not overheat. I think I can find out how to replace the cooling fan/condenser, but I wonder if there is something that may have cause the engine of the fan to burn and start melting its casing. What should I troubleshoot for before or after changing the condenser/cooling fan? Thank you!

It’s called heat!

The 20-year-old plastic condenser fan couldn’t handle the heat.


I have had the vehicle for about 6 years and no issues with overheating nor the AC, even during very hot days or long drives from DC to NYC during heavy traffic… so, do you think that replacing the condenser will fix the issue? Nothing else to troubleshoot for after I replaced the condenser (of course, I’ll leave the car running with the AC on for about 30 mins and test things prior to start driving after replacing the condenser)?

Make sure the condenser fan turns on when the AC is on. Beyond that the problem could be any number of things, like the fan turns ok, but doesn’t turn fast enough due to its bearing having worn out w/use. Or the cooling system just isn’t working properly for some reason. Have you tried spinning the fan by hand to determine if it spins freely and without any weird noises from the bearings? For safet make sure the fan can’t suddenly turn on while you are doing this, by disconnecting the battery etc.

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The fan motor failed, got very hot and melted the shroud. You will need to replace the motor, blade and shroud. You can buy the complete assembly for a very reasonable price from Rock Auto.

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I removed the condenser. Even when it overheated and the shroud was melting, I remember not turning the AC and I drove home fine, it didn’t overheat again (I guess the thermostat checks for the temperature of what’s under the hood, not the engine itself - the condenser works when the AC is on and it is not related to the engine, correct? - the only thing that was super hot when car overheated was the small engine of the fan, which was melting all plastics around it) So, I guess I can drive the car without the condenser/AC, correct?

You didn’t have to remove the condenser, just replace the fan assembly. Do you plan to never use A/C again?

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My apologies, I meant to say that I removed the entire fan (there are 2… I removed the one that had the entire shroud melted as well as its blades!!) The other fan is crucial, I believe :slight_smile: and has no issues.

You should replace the fan you removed. It is essential for keeping the engine from over heating under certain conditions. You are risking engine failure if you allow your engine to potentially over heat.

One fan comes on whenever the AC is turned on. If the Engine Coolant Temperature ECT reaches the set point, BOTH fans are commanded on, with or without AC. Since the fan for the AC runs the most, it makes since that it would be the first to wear out. Sounds like the bearing seized.

I replaced fan, very easy to do it. I connected it and the only problem now is that when I put the AC on, the temp gauge goes up to about 75-80%, at which point I turn the AC off and it goes back to about 50% In any case, I have not yet seen the new fan turn on where it used to turn on in the past when car was idle. What could it be?

Either you installed a bad fan or you did not get the connector installed correctly or you broke a wire when you installed it.

Start your journey with a good volt-ohm meter. Check for ground first, no ground, no fan! then get the engine warm, turn AC on, wait until the temp gauge hits that 70% and see if the fan is getting 12 volts. If you see 12 volts, and you have ground, the fan is bad. No 12v, replace the fan relay. Most time this will get it running. If not, dig into signals to the relay.

Yeah I would look at and replace the radiator fan relay as Mustangman said . They dont seem to be too expensive . It could have fried if the fan seized .

The fuse may have blown when the fan motor seized.


Here is a good page to test all this , pretty informative. A really good site for the DIY .

Thank you all! The 20A fuse was blown. It must have blown when the fan motor seized.


Nevada nailed it. Good job, sir.

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Quite honestly, I think it was a toss up… most of what I read/viewed on YouTube indicated a bad relay (@vipergg ) and I also thought it would be a bad fan (I was about to buy another fan) and also tested wires with a voltmeter (@Mustangman) I checked fuses, relays (I really had no clue how to test these) and they all seemed good… but suddenly, I saw another fuse that looked funny, it was the 20A, I replaced it and bingo! (@Nevada_545) A number of things could go wrong and you all helped me find it. Thanks again!