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 Post subject: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 2:08 pm 
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Location: Austin TX
This faithful Vernco fan has been in my family more than 40 years. It's ugly but I saw a restoration of this model on the net and was impressed, thinking I might do the same. Two speeds, sturdy metal blades. Last night it gave up the ghost, stopped running, fan blade stopped spinning freely. I can't spin it even one turn. Has to be the bearings, probably heat built up and blew the internal thermal fuse. I've taken motors apart and fixed those before, but I'm not willing to replace bearings that are not meant to be replaced.

Can anyone tell by looking at the motor if the bearings might be easily replaceable or what I might be involved?


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Last edited by Macrohenry on Aug Thu 04, 2022 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Look at this fan and tell me if it's worth fixing the mo
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 2:27 pm 
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Location: Alameda,CA
You've got nuttin to lose: Oil the living snot out of it and see if you can free it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Look at this fan and tell me if it's worth fixing the mo
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 2:30 pm 
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Location: Peekskill, NY 10566
The motor has spherical bronze bearings, self-aligning in spherical housings. The bearing are surrounded by felt which should have oil in it.
There are small oil ports for each side of the motor, sort of like a V-shaped dimpled hole. My approach to these is to oil via hypodermic
needle (blunt) into those ports with mobil one engine oil, 0W30 weight. No more than 10cc or so per felt, if they're real dry.

If you lube both sides, and it still is sluggish, try rapping on the end bells with a wood hammer handle to shock the bearings back
into alignment.

(edit) On my fan motor the oil ports are on the perimeter of the circle defined by the rivets holding the bearing in place. If no oil port
you'll need to dismantle to lube it. In that case you MUST shock it to re-align the bearings.


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 Post subject: Re: Look at this fan and tell me if it's worth fixing the mo
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 2:33 pm 
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Got the motor out. I can see one port for each bearing. There are plastic tubes that have fallen out of position, so I can see this was indeed meant to be oiled. I'll let you know if I can free it.


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 Post subject: Re: Look at this fan and tell me if it's worth fixing the mo
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 2:55 pm 
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I understand being in the family for 40 years. I had one that was outside most of the time. I took it apart and started to clean and paint it. Then, I just tossed it into the bin because the paint and of course hours of time were more than it cost for a new one.

Yes, I like to fix stuff. But this time it made it to the bin.

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 3:10 pm 
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Well that was quick. I oiled the bearings like Jim said but with turbine oil. Now it's running.


Hmmm, motor is thermally protected, but it didn't blow an internal fuse. I like that.

Don, in this case I don't need a nice looking fan, although I may fix it up later. For now I'm using the fan to cool my garage by bringing in cooler night and morning air and pushing the cooler air into the well vented attic, which also prepares the attic for the hot day. Without the fan, garage is 90-95 degrees. Night air is 82, so I'm hoping to get the garage at least down to 85. Fan failed the first night I used it. Now I can try again.

Thanks for the effective help!


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 3:15 pm 
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Understood! In my case, it wasn't an expensive fan in the first place. I too was in the family for a long time. I used it on the back porch to have airflow for my kitties who live out there.

Hope it keeps going for you.

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 3:26 pm 
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Since clearly its bearings went dry I would be very liberal with oiling it to make sure the felts are saturated and that it can really work itself into the bearing surfaces. Old fans generally like to be oiled every season, more if its used constantly.


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 3:40 pm 
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Like a lot of us, I have a house full of motors and over the years many have seized up and some outright fail. My industrial experience with similar motors that use sintered bronze bearings is that the lubricant dries as well as reacts with the bearing metals forming the thick varnish like material. However, it is not enough to just oil the bearing once the pours of the bushing have become clogged with this gum like material. The varnish/gum has to be dissolved out of the bushing and from the wicking as much as possible then re-lube. I have also discovered certain new manufacture motors are now lubricated with a synthetic lube that doesn't form a varnish/gum deposit. Armed with that info I cleaned out a 20y.o vertical fan motor that had stalled with the gum residue. I am used a 0-5 synthetic motor oil. As a trial, I simply wiped out the bushing with lacquer thinner and did not clean the wick. It has been working now for some 6 months 8 hours every night.

There is a WIKI on bronze bearings that is helpful.

Chas

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Last edited by Chas on Aug Thu 04, 2022 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 4:00 pm 
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Here's the fan I used when the subject fan was not functioning. It's about 20 years younger, plastic blade, and motor doesn't appear to have lubrication ports. Blade spins much more freely than the one I just lubed. Is this motor designed to have permanent lubrication and to be throwaway when lube fails?


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 9:34 pm 
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Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Can Tri-Flow spray lubricant be used on motor fan bearings? I have attempted to use it on two fans, a bathroom ceiling exhaust fan that was starting to gum-up and an adjustable free-standing fan that was also starting to gum-up and in which the bearings had begun to make noise. The motor bearings in neither of these fans had lubrication ports.

I did the best that I could by using the detachable straw that came with the can of lubricant to direct the Tri-Flow at the shaft so that the low-viscosity lubricant would slowly make its way into the bearings. The bathroom fan worked well for about 18 months and then had to be re-lubricated. On the free-standing fan, I had to "soak" the bearings twice in order to keep the friction down and make the noise stop.

Although I've found that the low-viscosity of Tri-Flow makes it work "like magic" for some other applications, such as bolts that won't turn due to being exposed to moisture, I have a hunch that the Tri-Flow is not a good long term solution. I wonder if I would be better off cleaning the bearings with WD-40 or some similar product and then using a low viscosity oil of some kind.


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 10:36 pm 
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On fans without oil ports (most modern "lifetime oiled" bearings) I've been successful drilling a small hose into the bearing cover, so that I can re-oil the bearing wicks with a needle injector. I have a 10yo Lakewood box fan that was getting noisy and running slower that I was able to re-oil this way. I injected some turbine oil into the bearings wicks and it's been running for years now actually better than from the factory. Seems the factory may even be skimpy when it comes to lubing the wicks, since they probably want you to buy a new fan in a few years.

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Thu 04, 2022 11:41 pm 
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Glad this worked out. Non-gumming synthetic bearing oil: mobil one 0W30 or thereabouts.


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Fri 05, 2022 1:50 am 
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In my experience by the time it has seized, even cleaning the shaft and reoiling the bushing doesn't seem to last very well.

I've head of people soaking the bushings in acetone or something like that to clear out the coke or whatever, but never tried that.

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Sat 06, 2022 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 23, 2012 6:04 pm
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Location: Indianapolis, IN 46241
I fixed the bathroom fan at my old house, and the repair lasted. The fan was still running when I sold the place 2 months ago. Basically, I pulled the stuck motor out of the fan housing, then took the motor apart. I chucked the rotor into a drill, and used 400 grit sandpaper, then 600 grit sandpaper to clean the rusted rotor shaft (on both ends). I then flushed out the bushings with brake cleaner, and re-lubed them with 30 weight (I know, probably too high of a viscosity) motor oil. When I sold the house, it was just starting to have a little fan bearing noise...and the repair was made about 7-8 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Sun 07, 2022 12:17 pm 
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ehscott1473 wrote:
I fixed the bathroom fan at my old house...and the repair was made about 7-8 years ago.

Kinda makes you feel good, doesn't it? Glad that you had success. I hate to throw stuff into the bin but it is getting easier as I move into the 70s and I am not talking "1970s"!

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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Mon 08, 2022 4:36 pm 
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Joined: May Mon 25, 2020 6:37 pm
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Location: Greater Boston, MA
I need to do a similar repair to the blower fan in my dining room air conditioner. It's one of those through-the-wall units getting to the 70s. It still works but has a good bearing roar going.


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Wed 10, 2022 1:35 am 
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Joined: Feb Sun 17, 2008 10:36 pm
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Location: Dayton, Ohio
A few years ago, I bought from Lowes 4 large fans (Chinese), to circulate the air in my basement to help my dehumidifier in its work.

Right off, I lubed all motors with Mobil-1. 0w-20. All are still running but, one developed a little rattle noise. The bearing had developed a little rattle. The local surplus store, (now closed) :( Had a motor that was better made and would fit and had three speeds.

The reason the other motor bearings developing slop, I think, was the fan blades didn't have the same pitch, giving unequal load to the bearings and may have been (weight wise) unbalanced.

Oil regularly, balance the blades as best as you can and adjust the blades for uniform pitch, to get the best life out of Chinese bearings.

Charlie


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 Post subject: Re: SOLVED: Tell me if it's worth fixing the fan motor
PostPosted: Aug Wed 10, 2022 6:07 am 
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For porous bronze bearings that can be removed, I've had good luck heating them up until the old oil bubbles out, then drop them in turbine oil. This saturates the metal with fresh oil.


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