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Old 08-19-2016, 11:09 PM   #1
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Radiator Fan Clutch Woes

We have a 1978 24' Argosy MH. The radiator fan clutch started to weep fluid last year and we replaced it. The first new clutch never functioned (disengaged) properly. It would disengage occasionally but not consistently; sometimes it would disengage for a few minutes before or after reaching operating temperature; sometimes not engage after a several-hour road trip. We replaced this fan clutch with a new one and had worse problems: it disengaged once or twice after installation then remained engaged for a 1500 mile trip. That fan clutch was replaced and again it occasionally disengages but usually it stays engaged. It’s not the thermostat. It is 195° thermostat and is opening at the proper temperature.

The fan clutch is a Hayden 2797 severe duty and we have purchased them at both O'Reilly's and Napa Auto Parts stores.

Has anyone had similar problems with a fan clutch, either Hayden or other manufacturer? Changing these is not an easy task (and having to wear headsets because of the horrible noise isn't a fun option either). We’d like to be done with it so any input that will help us get this resolved will be most welcome.
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Old 08-20-2016, 05:37 AM   #2
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1984 27' Airstream 270
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I believe the Hayden 2797 should be good for the Argosy, it is a good part number for my 84 Excella. When I had my 77 Argosys I would put a new fan clutch and heavy duty water pump in and the only time I had problems was if the radiators started to clog and it would throw a lot of heat to the clutch sensor, causing it to kick in more frequently. I am starting to get that with the 84 but it has also been hotter than usual and I am towing 2000 pounds of trailer.
Even at that, the fan clutch only kicks in about 25% of the time. I am also running 2 electric radiator fans for stop & go driving.

I would check to be sure your cooling system is 100%
When I bought one fan clutch, they had the reverse rotation version in the box. That will not work at all.
You can also adjust the engagement temperature, but that could make things worse.
Here is the Hayden info http://www.haydenauto.com/upload/Hay...gn%20Types.pdf
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Old 08-20-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
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Yep I went through a similar story trying to get a fan clutch that would not stay on so much, this in a later 345 classic. Ended up with a A C Daleco unit.

But realized the issue was the high running temp was reaching/ staying in the range the fan was set to run at.

Once I got the radiator recored, new water pump, hoses etc. this brought the running temp down by about 15 degrees. Now running in a temp range that is below the kick in temp for the clutch most of the time.

Still do have the fan kick a little on when climbing big mountains, not so much in traffic as extra electric fans deal with that situation.
Now when the temps do get to a higher level and the fan engages, it brings the temps back down quickly.

Let me share the temps I was seeing. Before the overhaul , the normal engine temps showed at 200/ 205. Occasionally reaching 210
One of the replacement fans that I put in just before a west coast trip stayed on it seemed most of the time on that summer trip. Drove me crazy with the noise.

Now it runs 185/190. When doing hard climbing it does start to climb and now above 195+. The Engine fan engages and brings it quickly back down to a comfortable range.

Check out your current engine running temps, they may be in the range at which the fan is meant to be working.

Good luck with it. I would share that solving this high temp issue feels like a engine life extender to me. As well as making using the coach much more comfortable.

Cheers Richard
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:27 PM   #4
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1979 24' Airstream Excella 24
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I had a similar problem, years ago, with a Ford truck. When the parts guy asked it I wanted the standard fan clutch or the heavy duty I naturally said give me the heavy duty part. Wrong answer!! It seemed like it never disengaged and the roar of the fan drove me crazy. After a couple weeks I took it back and bought another heavy duty part from another supplier. It was even worse. Finally got a hold of a parts guy that was familiar with the problem and he sold me a non heavy duty part and it worked beautifully. By the time it was all said and done, I was really good at swapping out fan clutches on a 351 Winsor.
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:28 PM   #5
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Temperature doesn't appear to be the issue - fan clutch sticks even when below temp that it is supposed to kick on/off at. Often won't freewheel when testing it either. But will do some extra checking on operating temps.

WayneG. - The reverse direction option is something to follow up on. And thanks for the Hayden link.

tevake - where were you able to find an AC Delco brand? Haven't been able to track one down.

Gregsch - we have been getting the heavy duty version (don't recall at this time what the leaky one - that previously worked - was). Definitely something to look into. And as you said, we are getting really good at swapping them out - me buried in the wheel-well working from the bottom while husband is working from engine compartment up top. Would prefer to have the next fan clutch be the last one.

Thanks to all for the input - if anyone else wants to weigh in please do.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:43 AM   #6
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Here's the correct fan clutch for your Argosy from Rockauto.

Several forum members have bought this same fan clutch and have had no issues in operation.

Brad
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:26 AM   #7
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While you are inspecting the fan clutch don't forget to give the fan blade assy a good going over. Bent blades, any damage to the fan might not be helping matters.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:10 PM   #8
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Thanks again for the additional replies. We have checked the fan blades - that was something we checked early on and they appear to be fine. Brad - thank you for the link to the fan clutch that others have used. It's interesting that now that this thread is 'up' I see below additional threads on same/similar topic from 2002, 2007/2008, 2012. I did do a search for threads related to fan clutches prior to starting my post so I wouldn't be re-creating the wheel, but came up empty. Well, not exactly empty but the list was so long and threads were irrelevant, everything from "airstream sightings" to "television signal loss while using ipad" - and I did try to limit the searches to categories. Anyway, thanks to all for the leads and help.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle View Post
Thanks again for the additional replies. We have checked the fan blades - that was something we checked early on and they appear to be fine. Brad - thank you for the link to the fan clutch that others have used. It's interesting that now that this thread is 'up' I see below additional threads on same/similar topic from 2002, 2007/2008, 2012. I did do a search for threads related to fan clutches prior to starting my post so I wouldn't be re-creating the wheel, but came up empty. Well, not exactly empty but the list was so long and threads were irrelevant, everything from "airstream sightings" to "television signal loss while using ipad" - and I did try to limit the searches to categories. Anyway, thanks to all for the leads and help.
When ever I'm searching for something on Airforums I use the following search using google:

acdelco fan clutch site:airforums.com

You'll get all the hits you want doing it that way. The Airforums search feature isn't really all that great.

Brad
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:17 PM   #10
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1977 20' Argosy 20
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Belle,
I noticed that you mentioned changing the fan clutch from the wheel well as well as another person up above. The first time that I changed a fan clutch in 1979 on my 77 Argosy, that is the way that I did it. Then I found out about removing the dog house cover in front of the hinged portion of the dog house. I just recently had to change out a one year old fan clutch and I did it all from the top. The old and new clutch was the Hayden 2797 (sold under a number of other brand names - but made by Hayden in the USA). I'm not sure who makes the Delco clutch but maybe Hayden also. I will never change that clutch from the wheel well again - too hard!
Gregg
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:45 PM   #11
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Hi Gregg: Getting to the fan clutch from the top (dog house) isn't an option for us. Either it was in the first 'remodel' or it never was that way, we have no way to access from the top.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:50 PM   #12
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I finally have an update on our fan clutch issue(s). The narrative that follows touches on some of the comments and suggestions above (i.e. heavy duty versus severe duty fan clutches and also the fact that Hayden makes most if not all of them. My husband put together the following summarizing what we have learned about fan clutches (FC) and would like to share:

Manufacturers:
All Airstream / Argosy FC that I have come across are made by Hayden Manufacturing in Texas. This includes Hayden, Four Seasons, Murray and probably GM. Every one is the same FC in identical boxes with different labels. O’Reillys (Murray), Napa (Hayden), CarQuest (Four Seasons) are all the same. I have purchased a FC at each of these stores and they are identical down to the castings and ID numbers inked onto the housing. I have not held a current production GM FC (and at +$200.00 it’s not likely that I will) but based on a picture of the GM FC, it too is made by Hayden. I have spoken to the Hayden representative and he stated that Hayden does make all these ‘brands’ including GM. If someone opines on the “chain store’ fan clutch being a China-made inferior product, that is not my experience. Look at the pictures on line and you will see all the same FC.

Application:
This is where it gets interesting. First some background: Over the course of 14 months, I changed out 4 FC ‘s because they never de-clutched. That is a 3-4 hour job and pain in the rear. By my fourth R&R I was pretty sure there was a major manufacturing defect. I called Hayden to get whatever information that I could. After a long conversation with the factory rep, he forwarded my problem to the factory engineer for some input.

Here is what I learned:
There are two FCs for the AS and Argosy (with 454 engine). One FC is a heavy duty (2747) the other is a severe duty (2797). Turns out there are also two different fan blade assemblies: heavy duty and severe duty. The problem? The FC is likely to not work properly on the wrong fan blade. I had erroneously installed a Severe duty FC (many years ago) and had replaced with another severe duty last year (and three more times making the same wrong-part mistake each time). While the severe duty would occasionally work a little bit, it generally did not de-clutch. This option of two different FC and fan blades was told to us by Hayden.

Apparently, Airstream (and a few other MH manufactures) did specify a ‘lighter’ FC assembly (the heavy duty 2747) from GM. I don’t know if it was done on some, many, or all of the MH chassis. I would guess that many times mechanics (be that paid professional or us DIY) figured that a beefier “severe-duty “ FC was better so we inadvertently created a problem while trying to make an improvement.

Which fan is which:
A heavy duty fan has six blades and a severe duty has five blades. Hayden sent me pictures of a severe duty fan. I don’t know the aerodynamic engineering in five vs. six blades but my on-going FC failures had the beginnings of an explanation. I checked my fan blade and had six blades. On further inspection of the fan I found an “H” stamped in the fan hub. The “H” could stand for “Heavy” or not but it was something. Using advise from Hayden, I installed a heavy duty FC to match my heavy duty fan blade.

Results: For the first time in 6,000 miles, our FC does declutch. The catch is that the fan only declutches at about 1800-2000 rpm. This is somewhat annoying at city speeds but it is a far better situation than the FC always being engaged. The FC does engage properly when the engine temperature gets up to 205/210°.

If you are having FC problems: count the blades and see if you have a heavy duty or severe duty fan. Then check and see if you have the correct fan clutch.

Severe duty FC picture
http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/ODN0/2797.oap?ck=Search_2797_-1_3552&keyword=2797

Heavy Duty FC picture
http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/ODN0/2747.oap?ck=Search_2747_-1_3552&keyword=2747


Latest:
So after finally getting a reasonably functioning fan clutch, on the way home from our last trip we discovered that the water pump appears to be leaking (believed to be original with 83,000 miles). So maybe it’s the opportunity to install an electric radiator fan and part ways with the fan clutch.

We hope our experience and information gained may be of use to someone else.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:50 AM   #13
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1984 27' Airstream 270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle View Post
So maybe it’s the opportunity to install an electric radiator fan and part ways with the fan clutch.
Great info but I would not pull the OEM fan. My electric fan can not handle the full heat load.

My fan is a Flex A Lite 119 and it is 16" square so it only covers part of the radiator. The previous owner had 2 smaller fans installed but they failed. For my setup the electric fan only helps in city and low engine RPMs, but at low RPM,s the amperage from the fan may start draining the battery. There may be better electric fans for P30 chassis out there, but it gets expensive experimenting.

I changed my fan clutch in 2013 to a AC Delco 15-4949 which is suppose to be the equivalent of the Hayden 2797
In 2014 I put in a Stewart 11113 high performance water pump to see if I would get better flow. I did not see any improvement.

If you are changing the water pump and your radiator bolts are not rusted, try and work on it from the front like this:
With the grill and radiator out of the way it is much easier to get to the front of the engine. While it is out you can have the radiator checked and serviced if needed. I left the AC heat exchanger attached and just lifted it up out of the way. Also you can see my fan has 7 blades in the photo below.
Also check to be sure your fan shroud is intact. I found that someone left 2 bolts out of mine and sometimes the fan would hit the shroud.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:23 AM   #14
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Just a couple of comments. Lately I believe several forum members have been buying the AC Delco 4949 (mine and Peanut's are actually 154949) fan clutch. I haven't installed mine so I'll have to compare it to the ones in Belle's links. I do know the AC Delco is over twice the price of the O'Reilly brand clutches.

As far as fan blades go I've only seen 7 blade fans on the Classics, however Peanut has a 6 bladed fan and I'm betting it came that way from the factory. When I got my 74 Argosy it didn't have the original motor and no fan or fan clutch came with it either. I will be installing the 7 bladed fan I salvaged from the 86 345 and will be using the AC Delco 154949 clutch.

Wayne, if you look closer at the picture of your fan you'll see that your fan has 7 blades

I can definitely see why there is so much confusion about fan clutches. If Airstream/GM used 5, 6 and 7 bladed fans and the fan clutches are designed to be used with specific fans that could make things real interesting when trying to source replacement parts.

Now I'm wondering about Peanut's new AC Delco 154949 fan clutch with the 6 bladed fan. I think I have a spare 7 bladed fan that might need to be swapped with Peanut's 6 bladed fan.

Belle, as far as not being able to access the front of your engine from the doghouse, as originally constructed the doghouse can have the top section removed when servicing the engine. However if you or some PO has remodeled the doghouse opening that feature or option may be no longer available. Can you post pictures of your doghouse arrangement?


Brad
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