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Thread: The Fan Clutch (clutch fan / fluid coupling) Thread

  1. #41
    Van Enthusiast LightBlueToy's Avatar
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    My fan roars while revving at startup. However, I am not hearing it roar or seeing a change in speed once the van is at normal operating temperature driving around town, immediately stopping and lifting the lid to rev again. New fan clutch in my future?

    My engine recently got hot driving up some grades in 95F heat so I have been trying to work on the cooling system. I have replaced the radiator cap and plan on putting in a new Toyota thermostat with AISIN gasket. I also ordered this electric pusher fan: Spal 30101505 12" Straight Blade Low Profile Fan. I think at first I may just wire in a relay and switch directly to the battery so I can turn the pusher fan on and off from the dash for those more extreme situations. I can also use it to cool the engine bay down a little after turning the engine off. Researching the thermostat fan controllers online it seems like they are pretty hit or miss. They either fail often or people have issues getting them to activate the fan at the right temperatures. The flexalite one that seems the most reliable is over $100 and making my cooling system more robust is already going to be a multiple hundreds of dollars ordeal. Not sure if I should dig into replacing the water pump quite yet. Not quite ready to have the van down while waiting for my radiator to be recored or figuring out using the Griffin Aluminum one VanCo used. I am sure it needs it all though.

  2. #42
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    The clutch fan is not designed to engage at "NORMAL" operating temperatures. Your engine will have to get pretty warm for it to kick in and then it is a varied degree of engagement relative to the air temperature coming off the radiator. According to Haydens website, a thermal fan clutch "Engages at about 170 radiator air temperature, (about 30 lower than coolant temperature)." I believe this would be the temp of the beginning stage of engagement. You likely won't get full engagemnet and roar until 10-20 degrees higher.

  3. #43
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    That makes sense, though I rewatched Tim's video and tried to replicate it with my van and it seems like I am not getting any roar like his. I guess I was assuming (wrongly?) that since my cooling system seems to be on the weak side that revving at a standstill would make the fan roar. I ordered an AISIN clutch to replace mine anyway just in case, no idea how old this one is. Also ordered new Gates upper and lower radiator hoses.
    Last edited by LightBlueToy; 07-28-2017 at 04:39 PM.

  4. #44
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    You can't go wrong with the Aisin fan clutches. Anymore, if/when I get another van with unknown history, considering the importance of this component, I would replace with a new Aisin and consider it preventive maintenance. I'd also replace the thermostat (just because) as I feel it's cheap insurance and makes me feel more secure about getting to where I'm going. BTW, that Aisin fan clutch I installed (earlier this thread) has over 40k trouble free miles on it now and is still working flawlessly.

    Regarding the roar when hot, that will depend upon air temp coming out of the radiator. I'm not sure about actual air temps, but suspect it to be somewhere in the range original claims. Since there is a direct correlation between water temp and air temp, I would expect the fan to be 100% engaged @ around 200 deg F coolant temp. You can either put an aftermarket temp gauge on the van (to monitor) or you can put a meat thermometer in the coolant fill neck. Just remember that you're dealing with potentially dangerous stuff here. Keep your hands out of the belts and fan blades! Also be aware that removing the fill cap can result in scalding injuries. So please take appropriate precautions to protect yourself..........or just don't risk it! Tim

  5. #45
    Van Enthusiast LightBlueToy's Avatar
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Glad to hear that AISIN fan clutch you put in is still going strong. I am excited to tear into replacing mine when it comes in the mail. Perhaps the roar will change after replacement or I need to more accurate temp monitoring like you say to really tell what is going on. I have been meaning to at least get an IR laser thermometer thing. Either way good insurance putting a new one in like you say.

    On the topic of aftermarket temperature gauges I have been doing research on what to install in my van. I will post some things I have come across over in the Cooling system Mods thread so I don't muck this one up too much.
    Last edited by LightBlueToy; 07-30-2017 at 03:22 PM.

  6. #46
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    I just got my van out of the shop after a lot of work to cooling system. Had my radiator sent up to Ability Radiator in Yuba City, CA for high efficiency core rebuild, new filler cap and housing, new head gasket replacement after that was confirmed as failed. Just driving the van from the shop to my place. Definitely did a lot better than before, but not quite cool enough on the temp gauge to make me 100% happy. My overheating problems before were an absolute nightmare. I would be driving 17 minutes to work, climbing up a hill towards the end, and then getting off the exit and almost as soon as I came to a stop light, my temp would creep up pretty quick and if I didn't shut it down right then and there, it would redline. It actually did redline a few times, hence my burned out head gasket. I was loosing way too much coolant through that breach, so the pattern was, temp would creep up, and then when I came to a slow section of road or got caught in traffic, it would just rise to the redline. It was a fast death for my headgasket.

    Now I've got a lot of my ducks in a row on this one. The normal day driving temp in San Diego now is just barely below half (9/20ths I'd say), and when climbing larger hills, it creeks up to a little above half, but not quite a full 2/3. Maybe like 3/5ths. Only difference now from before is once up on top of that hill and turning off the highway and getting caught in traffic, is it makes a recovery back down to just below half. I have definitely seen this needle down to the 1/3 or 2/5ths mark at normal operating temperature in this van's prior life. So although a lot has been fixed and I'm feeling kind of good about that, I've had too many overheating experiences to not be cautious of failing in a different area. I looked up fan clutch and it brought me to this thread. Do you think based on these symptoms, it would be beneficial for me to replace it? I was thinking of getting the Aisin as Tim pointed out after having good luck with it. It may be almost twice the cost of the Hayden, but if it's half the headache, than it's worth it I also plan on attempting to replace the clutch myself. I've never done this before, but I'm pretty mechanically inclined. Is there anything special to know about this particular one, or does anyone have a tutorial on how they did this? Would it be beneficial to look up how to replace fan clutches on various car models, or is there something about this one that makes the directions very specific?

  7. #47
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Personally I don't trust the water temp or oil pressure gauges. IF it were my car, I'd invest in an actually gauge to read coolant temp, then go from there. I realize you have a history w/this van and experience watching the temp needle in different environments but I'd first make sure you know where you are at currently.
    1987 4wd 5spd Cargo van (uncut)-modding in 3,2,1

  8. #48
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Usaviator View Post
    [...] fan clutch [...] Do you think based on these symptoms, it would be beneficial for me to replace it?
    Based on your initial symptoms (before HG replacement), YES.

    But, based on your recent issues, perhaps not. I would still replace it if it's history is unknown (especially if it's possibly original). They're affordable and they do wear out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Usaviator View Post
    I also plan on attempting to replace the clutch myself. I've never done this before, but I'm pretty mechanically inclined. Is there anything special to know about this particular one, or does anyone have a tutorial on how they did this?
    I can personally assure you that it's so easy a girl can figure it out. Removing the passenger side access panel will allow you to remove the fan shroud and see what you are doing (reassuring if you're a noob), but is not necessary. The fan needs to come off the clutch, then the clutch comes off the water pump. The latter can get interesting because sometimes one or more studs come out of the water pump instead of the nut(s) coming off the stud(s), and you likely will have to grip the belt (careful, don't pinch your hand between belt and a pulley) to break the fan clutch nuts free. But it's all easily addressed.

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  9. #49
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    So I lifted up the drivers seat just to get a look at the fan and see what I'm working with here, and I noticed something strange... no fan shroud. Is that a problem? I think it was there before, but now I'm not totally sure if it was there or not or if my mechanic accidentally forgot to put it back on. I understand it could be a problem for sticking your fingers in there, but does it have a purpose to cooling the engine better? Isn't it supposed to hook onto the radiator and direct the air directly through it? Anyways, just wondering your thoughts on this. I'm sure this is a noob question since I'm pretty sure almost every car has a cooling fan shroud, but I never thought as to whether it made a difference in the cooling system or was only there to protect you from sticking your fingers in there.

  10. #50
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Yeah you want that fan shroud in there for sure

  11. #51
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Since our radiators are up behind our floor boards, the shroud is a critical part on our vans. For the radiator to transfer heat it needs to have air flowing through it. Without the shroud air will take the path of least resistance..........& much of it will bypass the radiator. To exasperate the problem, the fan will be getting cooler air and will not kick-in fully. In short, it doesn't matter how good your radiator or fan is if there's no shroud to direct air through the right places. Tim

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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Ahhh, thank you for that. Very good news. I think it was running cool enough I can make it back to the shop. And I called my mechanic and sure enough, he had a shroud lying around he was wondering where it went. Between the new fan clutch coming in and the shroud being put on, I'm fairly certain that this will cover all the bases on my cooling system and this will finally run nice and cool.

  13. #53
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Changed my fan clutch today. PO had an aftermarket one in there. The finned body part of the AISIN is definitely thicker. Makes me feel better about it.
    Last edited by LightBlueToy; 08-06-2017 at 09:37 AM.

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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Usaviator View Post
    , climbing up a hill towards the end, and then getting off the exit and almost as soon as I came to a stop light, my temp would creep up pretty quick
    Sounds like my commute...

    I recommend an external temp gauge, also for the trans.
    I would not of fixed the issues had the PO not installed one.
    I was able to correct them before the HG suffered.

  15. #55
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    There are so many things I could think of doing on this van. It's in pretty great shape really, but of course there is an endless amount of work and upgrades I could put on it, but me and my wife are moving cross country in a couple months, so this van needs to sell in the next month. I will be listing it on here as well as craigslist within a week or so.

  16. #56
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Ran across this write up on Toyota fan clutches. I'm not sure if it's already on the site someplace or if it's even applicable to the 80s van fan clutches, but it seemed worth a read.

    http://neuralfibre.com/paul/4wd/tuni...ous-fan-clutch

  17. #57
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    That was informative thank you. Gets me thinking on whether I would go to the trouble of adding silicon or to the trouble fabricating a shroud for electric fans and wiring them in. Next time my clutch gets weak that is. Funny that there was person in the comments with an overheating 87 toyota van

  18. #58
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    I agree that aftermarket brands might not measure up, but come on, do you really think some guy bumbling around in his garage has learned more than the engineers who designed this clutch? I'm sure his "scientific" calculations as to the exact volume of silicone would far exceed theirs....... . Regarding silicone levels, if you end up with not enough silicone, the fan will slip (won't move enough air). If you end up with too much, it will not disengage. If I had to guess, I'd speculate he has hydraulically locked his clutch. Yes, this would be better than a clutch that doesn't engage, but it would unnecessarily rob power and decrease fuel mileage. IMO opening a working clutch in an attempt to improve is a silly waste of time. I understand these tactics become necessary when things break and parts are NLA, but when you can get a new OEM clutch for ~$90, it just doesn't make sense.

    These OEM clutches last about 150k miles. Considering what they do and the extreme environment they operate in, I say replace with a new OEM unit (Aisin) every 150k miles (or when it malfunctions) and forget about it. Tim

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  24. #59
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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Does anyone have any tips for how to actually remove an old clutch? Mine seems pretty helplessly stuck onto the shaft.

    Been broken down in Wyoming for a couple days with overheating issues.

    *update*
    ... nevermind, obvious answer is a big enough pry bar
    Last edited by Kyle; 09-21-2017 at 10:26 AM.

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    Re: Fan / fluid coupling (fan clutch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    Does anyone have any tips for how to actually remove an old clutch? Mine seems pretty helplessly stuck onto the shaft.

    Been broken down in Wyoming for a couple days with overheating issues.

    *update*
    ... nevermind, obvious answer is a big enough pry bar

    ugh,, sorry to hear about the breakdown,,, hopefully you're sorted and rolling now.

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