As part of lockdown maintenance, Rob Wilson has been checking out his engine cooling fan (a SPAL fan of course) to make sure it is in tip top condition for when his Fiesta R2 can hit the gravel again.
SPAL UK’s MD Matthew Morris advises what to look out for.
One simple manual test you can carry out is to turn the fan blades with your fingers to check the movement is smooth and there is no friction.
If you can feel there is some resistance that comes and goes, it means there is an internal issue with the motor.
Another check is to visually assess the blades are intact without any chips or cracks. Any damage, no matter how small, will knock the motor shaft out of balance and put extra wear on the bearings.
Keeping an eye out for damaged blades is particularly important with agricultural vehicles such as hedgecutters which do their trimming at a tremendous rate. If a rogue piece of branch lodges in the fan or blower and jams the mechanism, a replacement unit will be required.
Balance is critical with any revolving mechanism much like a washing machine at the start of the cycle where the ball of wet washing sits to one side of the drum, it is not until the load is evenly distributed that the drum can spin smoothly without that clunking sound.
Likewise, a fan with a nicked blade will still work, but if there is some drag at initial start-up, this will drastically reduce the life of the motor. Ultimately a fan turning off kilter will not be doing its cooling job out on the track, your engine will overheat and the race will be over.
One final check is an aural one to listen out for the tell-tale noise of a stone caught in the fan shroud that could cause a blade to catch on it. As the blade is constructed of plastic, a small nick in its surface can quickly turn into a bigger one.
Keep safe, keep well and keep those fan blades turning.