How to clean interior blower fan?


#1

Hey everyone, I have a 2003 Mini Cooper, and I’m having issues with the cabin blower fan. When it is cold outside, the fan works, but when it is hot outside, the fan doesn’t work. It turns out, if I reach into the cabin airbox and give it a boost, it will start spinning again.

My guess is that the grease is old and junked up in there, and so when it is hot, it gets sticky and seizes up the motor. The main problem is on this year, the interior blower motor is only removable by taking the dash off and it is a big pain in the butt.

I want to ask if there are any recommended sprays or cleaners I can use on it without having to remove the dash. From the cabin filter airbox I can reach right into the fan’s axle.

Thank you


#2

AerioSX
Yow! I looked up labor to replace that motor… 6.7 hours!
It’s just 3 screws off, 3 screws on, on most of my cars.

Before I did that I think I’d shoot a little WD-40 in there or some spray electronics cleaner (I see they sell it at Wal-Mart, in automotive, now).
CSA


#3

If you have to take the whole dash apart to get at it, I doubt whether you’d be able to get access to the bearings at all with a spray but might as well try. I suspect the bushings are all caked up and dry or else the brushes and commutator need restoring. Any way to cut an access hole to get at it to replace it?


#4

I’m guessing there’s an electrical connection problem and you bonking it when you reach into the airbox makes the wires touch again. That’s a pretty powerful motor in there - a little crusty grease isn’t going to keep it from spinning the fan. It might make some unhappy noises, but it’ll still spin.

Oftentimes electrical connections will exhibit problems in hot weather that they won’t show in cold weather because heat makes metal expand, which can curl wire/busted solder away from its contact point.


#5

There is no lubrication for the blower motor.

They’re cheap motors with simple bushings.

These bushings wear out over time where the blower motor has hard time starting. Sometimes hitting the blower motor with the handle of a screwdriver will get it spinning.

My experience has shown that once a blower motor starts acting up, it requires replacement.

Tester


#6

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone, I will try and report back. Just didn’t want to go and spray without knowing if there are any side effects. I will note that it doesn’t spin very freely like other blower fans I’ve installed.

And yes, this is a crappy design, the newer Minis have the blower fan right under the dash easy to replace.


#7

Unfortunately, its encased in a huge hvac shell behind the dash.


#8

Grease would get thinner and less resistant in the heat, not the opposite.

I think a dashboard dissection is in your future.


#9

I had a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis for my son and the ONLY way to change the fan motor was to take off the right front wheel and . . . cut a hole through the fender well ( or remove the fender well as I did ). They even sold a repair plate to cover that hole when you were done.


#10

Ask the dealer’s parts window guy if he can give you an “exploded view drawing” of the blower fan installation. Or perhaps even the manufacturer’s procedure for removal and replacement. I would not bother removing it and not putting a new (aftermarket if possible) one in. Like Tester, my experience is that once a fan motor starts acting up, it needs replacement. My guess would be the armature and brushes worn, but whatever it is you won’t be able to fix it by spraying lubricant in. By the way, WD40 is solvent-based, and I would not recommend ever using a solvent in a system full of plastics.

With the procedure in hand, some basic tools, and a set of nylon “interior pry levers” (under $10) you might dedicate a Saturday to changing it. I’d advise you to have a set of various tips including torx, allens, etc. in your tools. I once ran into torx holding a blower in and was awfully glad I had them.


#11

You forgot the Sawzall. You really got all those in your tool box?


#12

Um… if you think you need a sawzall you’d be better paying someone to do the job!! :smile:
Seriously, I know you’re kidding. At least I HOPE you’re kidding!

yeah, I do. I have sets of “tips” of every type that fit a driver that goes into my ratchet or other driver. I also have a significant sized set of “security” drivers. The attached shows a small “set”, but my sets are much more extensive. Most I rarely use, some never, but the sets are inexpensive and lifesaving to have on hand when you need them.


#13

Yeah I’ve got some but I should have the posidriv for cabinet hinges but just have never wanted to add another one to the collection for the money. I’m very careful using the phillips though on a pozi.


#14

I had to clean the connections to the resistors but that was on a 76 Impala. Yours are probably way different.