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How to Fix a Ticking Blower

How to Fix a Ticking Blower

Ralph Allen

I finally fixed my blower assembly eliminating that merciless ticking when the climate control is on. On the way to work this morning, I realized I had forgotten how wonderfully quiet these cars can be without the blower noise. Thanks to all who helped with their suggestions. As per request, here's the how to,( or at least the way I did it, a novice)


This is a 20 step guide for removing the blower fan to fix the ticking sound,clean and/or replace the fan motor or another related component. Car is an 86 S3, US spec. The S3 is equipped with two of these units. They are located behind the dash, on the left and right hand sides. This procedure concerns the RH PASSENGER side unit. Much of this is applicable to the driver's side, with the addition of differences such as the steering column and bulb failure unit. Additions, corrections welcome.

  1. Remove the RH side console trim pad under the fascia. Remove the two screws on the plastic vent. The pad is held in place by clips on the front; push forward toward the engine and lift the panel out.
  2. Remove the black plastic trim piece on the side of the fascia facing the door. One screw.
  3. Remove the black underscuttle trim pad, under the glove box. Three screws.
  4. Remove the glove box door.
  5. Remove the glove box liner. The liner is held in by screws around the its opening. Ease the box liner downward and out the bottom of the dash. Disconnect the glove box light lead as you do this. TIP: There is a small black electrical component/cannister under the dash; removing this cannister from its pincher clip and moving it aside makes a world of difference in ease of withdrawing the liner.
  6. Remove the big shiny metal bracket holding the fuse box and other components. This bracket is held in place by three 7/16 inch nuts. Once you've removed these nuts, swing the bracket and wire harness toward you just to get it out of the way. (I secured it with a tie down to the fascia glove box frame).
  7. You've now exposed the blower fan unit. It is the big black metal unit with the three mounting posts from which you removed the metal bracket in step 7. Disconnect the pliable rubber ductwork where it joins the two openings in the console side.
  8. The blower unit is held in place at two points. One is a 7/16" bolt head on the left, easily visible and removable as you sit there in the seat. On the right of the unit is the other one, a 7/16" nut on a threaded mounting post. This nut is a bitch to see, in fact impossible, unless you lie on your back on the door sill with the back of your head on the car floor and squinting up there. It is recessed up there 4-5 inches. To get this nut off, I used a socket wrench, with an extender, and a 7/16" socket. The socket should be DEEP to accommodate the long mounting post. (You also probably need a light to see what you're doing).
  9. Next, disconnect the vaccum tube. The vaccum tube is a blue plastic tube connected to the actuator. The actuator is connected to the blower assembly on the lower right; it's the size of a thick hamburger patty, in unpainted metal. To separate, just pull the rubber joiner at the actuator.
  10. Now you're ready to begin lowering the blower unit down. IMPORTANT: To withdraw the blower assembly, the fresh air flap on the top of the unit must be in its CLOSED position. Trouble is, you can't see the position of this top flap. Don't worry. The flap is similiar to the ventilation flap on the bottom of the blower assembly, which you can see and easily feel. Is it open or closed? When the bottom flap is CLOSED, the top one, which you can't see,is OPEN. And vice versa. If the bottom flap is closed, as it was when I was doing this, you must therefore open it. I did so with my fingers and just held it open as I rocked and worked the blower assembly downward. At this point, you're sitting on the seat, hands and arms under the dash, lowering the blower unit down onto your feet in the footwell. The unit is not heavy, just awkward. If you're still having difficulty lowering the blower unit down, and the top flap IS CLOSED, you haven't cleared the unit sufficiently from its mounting post on the right.
  11. Disconnect the two temperature sensor leads from the left side of the unit. I marked which lead was affixed to the upper terminal and which was affixed to the lower with a piece of masking tape.
  12. Disconnect the electrical leads coming from the battery.
  13. Now, with the blower assembly removed from your car and on the workbench, remove the three small screws holding the housing together. You have to open one of the flaps to access one of the screws. Just stick a screwdriver in there, as you hold the flap open.
  14. Separate the housing. Now you have to disconnect the two leads inside on the motor. I took note of where each lead was connected.
  15. Remove the three bolts that hold the bracket and fan motor to the flange. The motor and squirrel cage now lift out.
  16. Remove the squirrel cage from the motor axle with a hex wrench. My axle had rusted to the squirrel cage and I had to hammer it out using WD-40.
  17. Motor Cleaning: I squirted contact cleaner/degreaser through the perforations on each side of the motor housing and used compressed air, all about three occasions. I let the motor dry thoroughly overnight each time. Manually spinning the axle made me think I had eliminated (hooray) the ticking sound, but when I hooked everything up, the noise was, oh damn, still there. The merry ticking, in my case, was only evident when the fan motor was running at high, constant speed. Next step was to disassemble the motor itself and check the brushes. The motor casing is disassembled by removing the two long throughbolts and unscrewing the two halves of the casing. But, sumabitch, no matter what I did, I could not unscrew the motor; my vice wasn't big enough to get a purchase on it.
  18. Motor Replacement: NO MORE MISTER NICE GUY. Hell with it. I purchased a new fan motor from Vicarage Jaguar for $90.( Tony Parkinson, the CEO there, read about my plight on jag-lovers and sent me a fan motor a day and half later; the motor arrived from Florida. Vicarge sells NEW fan motors independent of the ventilation/flap mechanism/ housing. (I understand the entire blower fan assembly can cost about $700 if you buy the whole thing as a unit.)
  19. IMPORTANT: If you install a new fan motor as I did, run current to it before assembly and installation to be sure the motor axle revolves in the correct direction. It should revolve CLOCKWISE. If it doesn't, reverse the leads, and begin the refit.
  20. Reassembly is the reverse order. But first take the opportunity to clean the ventilation mechanism/housing and linkage of dust and gook,making sure everything is in good working order; and clean the ductwork. Again, the top flap must be closed to refit, and allow a little extra time getting that difficult mounting nut on the right back on the threads.

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