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Old 02-18-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default Fix for intermittent blower problem

I have a 2003 Bonneville SSEi with 172,000+ miles. I had been having problems with my blower for about a year in both hot weather with the a/c and in cold weather with the heater. Often times the blower would not come on even though it would show full blast. After hitting some bumps, it would sometimes eventually come on. Eventually that did not work and I would actually have to tap the blower housing to get it to come on. However, it became harder and harder to get the blower to come on even doing this, and this became a greater issue in the winter with no heat.

I had pulled the blower out, before, from underneath the passenger dash at the firewall, and was very familiar with doing so. Simply remove the under dash panel (a couple of screws just below the glove box and unhook a couple of connectors on the panel), unplug the blower motor resistor connector from the blower and remove the 3 screw for the blower. As the blower drops out you have to angle it a bit toward you to get it to come out.

I had done this several times to try and check out what the problem was to no avail. This last time, knowing I did not want to spend $100-$250 on a new blower if I could avoid it, I pulled the blower out once again to inspect it. After I removed the blower, I decided to take the blower motor cap off (two screws) of the blower motor housing to inspect. With the cap off, it was obvious what the problem was. There was a significant amount of debris (primarily carbon dust, an accumulation of years/miles of use) inside the motor housing. The carbon dust had worked its way around the armature brushes so they did not move freely as they should in order to make continuous contact with the armature.

I carefully disassembled the motor by, first, carefully removing/prying the plastic wheel fan from the shaft with a Pickle Fork Wedge tool (or whatever tool you could use to pry carefully with). Then I was able to slide the motor out from the housing for cleaning. I carefully removed the two rubber spacers from the motor and any other rubber pieces before cleaning and also removed the brush holders (rigging) from the motor. Then, with an Electric Contact Cleaner spray (important to use appropriate cleaner) and an air hose I had the entire motor, motor housing, and brush holders cleaned out. I simply sprayed the cleaner throughout the motor and the entire housing and then blew them out with the airhouse which subsequently cleaned out and dried the motor housing. I also did this with the brush holders until all the carbon dust and debris was removed from around the brushes so they would move freely. I was also able to VERY LIGHTLY (important, so that ultimately no lubricant would get on the contacts or wire coil) apply some Penetrating Lubricant (or 3-in-1 oil and NOT any type of grease) to the bushings and the felt pads around the bushings where the shaft inserts at the top and bottom of the motor housing to keep them well lubricated for several more years. I then carefully resassembled the motor, inserting the motor back into the motor housing, reinserting the rubber spacers and then reinstalling the brush holders while carefully pushing the brushes back into their appropriate place on either side of the armature using a small screwdriver (or exacto knife would work). The brushes now move freely as they should and make good contact with the armature. I carefully reinserted the plastic wheel fan (which I gave a good scrubbing while it was off) back on the shaft and put the blower motor cap back on. I then reinstalled the blower back in the car. This entire process took easily less than an hour.

The blower now works like brand new and I am out literally no $$'*. I am really glad I decided to take this step before shelling out money for a new blower. I hope this helps anyone else who is experiencing a similar issue and can save you some money as well.

hakster
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2003 Bonneville SSEi
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your experience Hakster, I'm sure it will help someone down the line. Free fixes are always the best.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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I had the same problem last fall. I fixed it by unplugging the blower motor and cleaning up the contacts real good. Been working fine sense.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:18 PM   #4
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I also had unplugged the blower motor and cleaned the contacts, and although that helped for a little while (a couple days at a time), eventually the blower would stop working again. Now I have virtually no issues and it'* been several weeks. There really was a lot of debris in the motor housing which apparently had built up around the brushes causing them to stick. I shouldn't have any problems with that for quite a while again, hopefully another 150,000+ miles.
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:54 PM   #5
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It really depends on how worn the brushes are. There comes a point when they are simply gone and the motor needs to be replaced.
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