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Old 07-30-2016, 01:09 PM   #1
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Screwdriver dropped in cooling fan

I doubt I'm the first person to ever do this, but I did a quick search and I didn't see any posts asking for advice after driving with a screwdriver jammed somewhere it shouldn't be...

I am guessing I drove about 15 miles with a screwdriver jammed in my cooling fan. I probably need to disassemble it to know if there is any damage to the fan, but I'm wondering what damage i might have caused overall. I loaded a new tune Friday night and then went out for a test drive. I was laying on the pedal pretty hard, WOT in all gears a couple of times, a few freeway miles and average city driving/stop and go. The coolant temp spike quickly at 216, which was a first. My car rarely gets up to 212 and it wasn't a very hot night (maybe 80). It was erratic and fluctuated with my speed, but I didn't notice any other problems until after I found the tool and removed it. Now I'm hearing what sound like belt and pulley noises at parking lot speed. I know I have a small power steering leak, but the reservoir is full, so it's not from the leak. Can anyone tell me what kind of damage I might have done? It would be helpful to know the probability (low/med/hi) of specific types of damage and any recommendations (wait and see/DIY/mechanic) to go with it.

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Old 07-30-2016, 03:15 PM   #2
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Fan/fan motor could be damaged now from getting power while locked up by your screwdriver. It was definitely trying to turn at the time (or should have been).

I'd check for noise from that first, most likely issue unless you get the noise all the time now. Start it up with A/C & defrost off, so no fan operating, then turn A/C on and see if your noises occur when the fans turn on.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:50 PM   #3
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You probably burned out motor. Try what sailor said.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:55 AM   #4
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If the fan plastic is old enough the radiator may be junk now. Once any piece comes off fan, if it gets trapped (usually does) in shroud then rest of fan still trying to turn hits it to knock loose more and more and bigger pieces of it. You'll hear it unless radio cranked up. Get a piece stuck and it can migrate across the shroud then to tear up BOTH blades and scrap then. The radiator damage can be pretty bad as well.

Your 'belt and pulley noises' are probably broken pieces moving around in shroud doing more damage. You may be walking pretty quick.

Once the fans get old the plastic gets quite fragile and cracks easy as spit, I now look at the blades in close inspection fairly often after having a pair frag out without anything going through fan. The remaining blade was cracked all over the place. I barely was able to save the rad too.
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:19 AM   #5
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I pulled DTC 1381 - camshaft over over advanced (I'm pretty sure that's the code and description, or at least close to it). The fan showed no signs of damage. I recall the smell of something electronic burning at the time, but it passed quickly. I rarely use my A/C, even when it's over 100. It has, or had a leak. It works great, but makes some unhealthy sounding noise, drains a lot of low end power and raises the coolant temp by 8-10 degrees; same story before and after the screwdriver). I found a NTSB complaint from the car's original owner a couple months ago. a pulley apparently came loose and took out the compressor and PS pump. Hands down, that corner is the dirtiest in my engine bay, making me wonder if they were both rebuilt, or replaced with pulled parts. I haven't noticed the noises when it's not under load, and it seems like it's only present when the car is warm and at low speed. I'll have to investigate everything tomorrow (later today). I'll report back whatever I find. Thanks for the help.
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:57 AM   #6
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You got cam timing issues with that code, or VCT is messed up.
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