Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Installing A Fan Clutch

When replacing a mechanical fan clutch, there are some common mistakes that even the pros can make. In this blog, we look into some of the installation errors to help you avoid them and avoid causing any potential damage to your vehicle.

What Can Go Wrong With An Incorrectly Installed Fan Clutch?

A fan clutch controls your cooling fan. It causes the fan to rotate when the engine has reached a certain temperature. If you install it incorrectly, the fan won’t work as it should. The signs below can indicate that your fan clutch has been installed incorrectly:

  • Engine overheating – if the fan never engages, the engine will get too hot
  • Increased fuel consumption and poor performance – this occurs if the fan is constantly on
  • Inefficient cabin heating and cooling – the fan will interfere with your A/C and heater if it isn’t working correctly

Excessive noise from under the hood and a general lack of responsiveness may mean that your fan is always on. If the fan isn’t engaging, the engine will get hot in stop-start driving, which can lead to overheating. Both situations are bad for your car.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Image Credit: ChevroletForum

1. Forgetting To Reinstall, Or Omitting The Fan Shroud

The fan shroud is a large plastic cover that houses the fan. Its function is to cause the suction the fan creates to be directed through the radiator. And it protects your fingers and engine components from the spinning fan blades.

  • Fan shrouds can get brittle from heat, and break or crack when you remove them
  • They are bulky, and often seem to be in the way under the hood. 

For these reasons, many people are tempted to omit reinstalling the fan shroud. But the fan won’t work well at all. Not much air will be pulled through the radiator, which can lead to overheating. And an unshrouded fan is a major safety hazard if you need to work under the hood while the engine is running.

2. Not Tightening The Clutch Properly

On most designs, the clutch is secured to the center of the fan by three to four large bolts. If you don’t tighten them sufficiently, they will work loose over time. Make sure the thread surfaces are clean of any dirt and debris.

  • If the fan starts to shift or move, it can break its blades on the fan shroud. This can damage the fan or shroud, which can then lead to overheating.  

3. Overtightening The Bolts For The Clutch

Getting too enthusiastic when tightening the bolts holding the clutch is also a bad idea. If they are overtightened, they can snap or damage the thread. Removing the clutch will be far tougher if this happens, and you may need to get a whole new fan and clutch assembly.

  • Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how much you should torque the fan clutch. And always use the proper tools to hold the fan clutch in place. 

4. Don’t Forget About The Cooling System

On some vehicles, you may need to loosen or remove the radiator to get the fan out. Make sure to refill the cooling system once everything is back in place.

Remember: Whether it’s your first time replacing the fan clutch on your car or you are a seasoned pro, put all the parts you remove in one place and keep track of the steps you took to take the fan out. This will make it far simpler to put it all back together again.

GMB Has The Right Fan Clutch For Your Vehicle

GMB is an industry-leading manufacturer of OEM and aftermarket automotive products. Every GMB product – including our fan clutches – meets or exceeds OEM specifications.

We have locations on both the East and West coasts of the US. There are dozens of GMB part retailers and wholesalers. So, ordering your replacement fan clutch needn’t be a hassle. Contact our team today.


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