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Old 04-18-2014, 10:58 AM   #1
porcupinepuffer
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2006 Focus intermittent blower problem

So I'm borrowing this guys Focus while he's on vacation. He had pointed out some issues with his blower. I've racked up hours of driving on this car without experiencing any blower issues until yesterday.
Up until then, I only used 1, or 2 settings and never noticed a problem. (perhaps the fan wasn't high enough for me to notice it may have been cutting out)
It was cold and I had it on the high setting of 4 and this is where the issue presented itself. The blower was running for several minutes and just suddenly died down in a nice calm manner, then several minutes later it came back on, and so forth. I can't imagine for a moment it's an issue with the resistor pack. I'm looking between the blower itself, the wiring connection, and the switch itself.
I'm going to try some further testing, but I know with the way my luck is, the second I get it to act up, it'll just work correctly when I try probing it in perverted places.
I have intermediate to advanced knowledge of diagnosing electrical gremlins, any help, or insight would be appreciated as I'm not completely familiar with this car and its current issue... All other searches always popped up as the typical "only works on the high setting", resistor pack obviously dead, etc...


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Old 04-18-2014, 12:56 PM   #2
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You might have dry bearings that are dragging when they get warm. When they cool off, the blower will speed up again. Pull the blower and use a few drops of motor oil on the bearings.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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So I noticed I heard a gentle squeal yesterday when I tried it again. I then yanked it out (easiest blower removal I've ever done on any car). It seemed like it spun ok, but I did try lubing both ends of the bearings. Let it sit for several hours and moved it around to let the oil penetrate where it could. In the end, it felt like it still spun the same...
I put her back in the car and tried it out on high, she fired right up on high, within less than 10 seconds I could hear it started to slow its ass down, I could then smell the burning stench of the tell-tale burning electric motor smell. It dropped down to a very low rpm and was jerking in weird movements... I'm about 99% the blower is toast. I could wait about 5 minutes until the armature cools enough and she'll fire back up on high again, but then it will die back down and smell burnt. I will be replacing the blower. If I don't follow up, that means the blower was the problem. Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:54 AM   #4
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Yup, windings are bad...new blower time. Be careful running it as it might take out the blower resistor.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:47 PM   #5
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Alright. Here's a final follow-up that may help others. I went and got an awesome, amazing USED blower from a scrap yard.

Upon looking at the old one on my bench, I decided to hook it up to an auxillary power source in my garage. Fan fired right up and then started its slow, gradual rpm decline at 30 seconds in... So I know it's the motor and not anything related to wiring, resistors, etc...

I then realized I could yank the motor out from the base it sits in. It's sort of wedged into the base by 3 rubber grommets on the sides of the motor housing. I originally thought it was fabricated as part of it with no way to get a closer view.

Once I got it out, I could see the brushes at the rear bearing. I noticed the slip ring assembly was worn down like crazy. I also noticed both brushes were worn right down to practically nothing. Infact, the brush on the red wire was the brush that was worn the most with it actually touching down to the plastic housing that holds the brush. I have concluded that this is where the problem lies. So for anyone else, you can gently yank the motor out, and take a good look at how much life is left on your brushes. Careful care needs to be used in separating the motor from the base so you don't accidentally damage your fan blades. Once out, you can actually pull out on the brush assembly and really get a good look at them. No tools required!
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:06 PM   #6
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Awesome that you found out EXACTLY what was wrong with the motor. That makes me wonder if brushes can be purchased for these blowers. I've never heard of one that needed brushes before yours, but I bet they can be matched up to some generic brushes from a hardware store.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:49 AM   #7
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Unlike many brushes on alternators, generators, and other motors, these brushes are solidly mounted to their corresponding bracket and soldered against a funny spiral wire on it and everything. I've never seen a brush assembly like it before. I think it would be very difficult to try and fabricate a new set into it. I could see mounting another set from another motor on it since the bracket just moves back and easily lifts out of its holder and would only require some good soldering. But then again, it seems the slip ring on the rotor gets so beat to crap, you're better off to toss the whole thing... But I know what you mean, I've done some brush changes for $2 on alternators that gave them another 200k miles. A good $198 in savings!
What really beats up the slip ring is the fact that it's not a smooth circle like a traditional slip ring, it's sectional parts like a pie that the brushes really eat up from the constant on/off contact with the brushes.
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