Early 1980s FWD engine fans....Did they stay on?


#1

The year was 1988. Bill and Ted were having an excellent adventure and so were their neighbors over in the 'burbs. Rick Astley proclaimed he was never going to give us up, and Axl Rose was telling us of a mythical paradise city in a way that only he could.

Your old pal Rick had a mullet and it was a HOT summer. I seem to remember it getting up to 105 degrees here. Well that didn’t stop me and my delinquent friends from spending the summer cruising around in my old cars and theirs as well.

A friend had a very early 80s Horizon/omni. I seemed to remember when it was shut off the engine cooling fan would continue to run if it was called for even after the engine was shut off and the key was removed. Since it was so hot that summer of '88 this was a frequent occurrence.

I seem to remember walking by cars in the heat of the summer that were just parked and you would sometimes hear the electric cooling fan bellowing away, even though the engine was off and presumably the key was removed.

It seems by the mid 80s model years on FWDs the engine cooling fan was only powered with the key on if it was called for.

Am I remembering this correctly? If so I assume that it was a liability to have the fan running with the key out and thats why they quit this practice?

If this is not true, its possible it was on his car because it was all jerry rigged anyway.


#2

Yes, it happened. Some cars were designed to run the fan so they would not heat soak and refuse to re-start if the driver was just making a short stop. Why would they do that? Crammed FWD engine bays, carburetors and vapor lock, maybe?

Why did they quit that? Not sure, maybe with fuel injection cars don’t vapor lock anymore. Engine bays have gotten more crammed but engines are more efficient and don’t create so much waste heat.


#3

I don’t know if they ever quit that, the 2003 Chrysler Town and Country did that and so did my 2004 PT Cruiser. Both cars had stickers on the fan shrouds- warning -cooling fan can start up anytime the engine is warm.


#4

My dad’s early 2000s Volvo V70 AWD fan also continues to run after it’s been shut off to help dissipate heat (usually only runs for about 5 min top)


#5

My 70’s VW Rabbit’s radiator fan would continue to run for 30 seconds to a minute after the key was turned off & removed from the ignition, especially in hot weather. My 90’s Corolla’s fan requires the key to be in the “on” position. The Rabbit had mechanical fuel injection and the Corolla electronic, so maybe that’s part of the reason for the change.


#6

In 1993 I almost bought a new Mazda 929. The salesman, who knew me well, let me take it home for the weekend. Yeah, I know, that’s unusual, but it’s true.
Anyway, it had a solar powered fan that would turn on when the car was parked to create airflow through the passenger cabin when the temp got too high. I’ve never seen one before or since. Loved the car. The wife didn’t. She nixed the deal.


#7

I had a '84 Rampage, yes it did that. Must not have been enough, Chrysler recalled them and changed the fuel pump to electric.