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2003 Thunderbird's electric fan is very noisy

My electric fan is very noisy and it didn’t used to be, and my car is running very hot. Is there any relationship between the two?

A bearing has failed in the fan and it isn’t spinning as fast as it should. Assuming this is the fan behind the radiator, this explains the trouble as it isn’t pulling enough air through the radiator.

Running the engine very hot can quickly lead to major damage.

The defective fan may be the problem, but there may be other problems also, such as a clogged radiator.


Yes, there’s a relationship and it needs to be fixed PDQ. Otherwise, you run the risk of overheating and damaging or even destroying the engine.

The fan motor is 13 years old if it’s never been replaced previously so it’s had a good long life.

Sometimes the electric fan runs only occasionally, or mostly when the AC is running, and you don’t really hear it much, but when the cooling system is not working right the fan runs a lot and you become aware of it. It could easily be that the fan is doing what it should, but the cooling system is not right. You should get it checked out, and be sure that the radiator cap is OK. A 13 year old cap can look OK but fail to hold pressure and you will end up with overheating, boiling, and coolant loss.

I have an '04 T’bird and so far no similar problem with mine. If the fan is noisy it might or might not be moving air properly. If the car is running hot at idle, that is a sign of an inefficient fan. If the car is NOT running hot when you are driving on the open road at cruising speed (ie. 50 mph) that also indicates the fan is inefficient.

I just popped the hood on my bird and there is so much plastic shrouding around the fan(s) I couldn’t see exactly what is there. Most cars have 2 and sometimes 3 fans. One always goes on as soon as you turn on the AC, the other(s) are controlled by the temperature of the engine coolant.

Has the car been in a front end accident? If so, the plastic housing for the fan could be missing or damaged and that will affect the efficiency of the fan(s).

I suggest you head to a Ford dealer to have this checked out.

Never been hit or in accident and it only has one fan and the radiator cap is OK, holds pressure.

Check with a local auto parts store. I replaced a noisy fan motor on a couple of vehicles and just bought the motor. If your fan assembly is in good shape…just replace the motor. It was a piece of cake to remove and replace. This procedure will save you money.

you never told us when the car would overheat. If it overheats while driving a steady 50-60 mph, then I doubt the fan is the only problem. If it only overheats while idling or stop-go traffic, then it could be only the fan.

In any case, get the fan fixed before you damage the engine.


Imagine if you bought a house box fan and ran it outside where it got hit with bugs and dirt for 13 years in a 500 degree environment. The fan seems like it’s toast, replace it and drive happy! Rocketman

The fan may not be as cheap a fix as one would normally find on most cars as this model of Thunderbird does not use a normal fan.

I’m pretty sure this year model uses a hydraulic fan much like the early Lincoln LS models. This fan could easily run 4-500 dollars for the part alone; maybe more. Once you find one.

To recycle a phrase; stupid, pointless engineering… :slight_smile:

If it were my car it would be getting a workaround to an all electric fan.

Does your engine run hot even going down the freeway or expressway? Or is it only showing up hot in slow speed stop and go driving and idling?

only the 2002 used a hydraulic fan, the rest use an electric fan, $600* from ford $240 from Rock Auto ( A dorman)

Well, it’s fixed now, just replaced the thermostat and it’s fine, temperature gauge stays it the middle like it always did before. Also replaced the fan as it was very noisy and I figured it would go eventually anyway. Now when the AC is on and it is warmed up, I can hear the fan, but it’s not noisy like before.

I have a 2002 Thunderbird that was overheating and had a coolant leak. The leak was repaired and my car is running hot and the fan is running fast. My guy that worked on it said all was fine as long as the gage stays on warm. I feel as though something is still wrong. Any suggests on what I should do or what could be wrong?

A feeling is not data. Does the gauge in the car go past the mid-point? Why do you “feel” as though it is running hot?

I drove the car approx. 20 miles and it didn’t go past the mid point on the gage; however the engine is overly hot and the fan is so loud I can hear it when driving. This hasn’t happened since the car overheated and I took it in to be fixed.

Then it isn’t running hot. Additionally, if the radiator cap isn’t spitting a little coolant out it isn’t overheating. engine are hot, as a rule. The fan is doing its job keeping the car cool. The “noisy” part, however may be the problem, not overheating. This car uses a hydraulic motor to turn the fan. If that part is failing, that may be why you are hearing it. Just to warn you, that part is expensive. $400 just for the part.