Fan Change

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The driver-side fan on the Miata died. Somehow, over time, the fan assembly warped to allow the blade to get stuck against the housing, and the fan blade ended up unsalvageable. The metal hub of the fan separated from the plastic fan blade, the plastic part of the blade fell off, and the motor drove the metal part to eat the plastic part of fan. I discovered this on Sunday evening - I have no idea how long it had been that way, as the car never indicated that it was running warm.

A search online showed Rock Auto having a replacement fan assembly for $168. I figured that I could fit a universal 14 inch fan in the space with a little work, and that size started at about $75 delivered to the door. An aftermarket fan wouldn't be stock, but the aluminum racing radiator, dented frame rails, and 260,000 miles on the odometer pretty much keep the car from being a potential collector's car, anyway. I had used a Permacool 16 inch fan on a previous car that had previously tended to come real close to overheating, and that, with a bigger radiator, kept the car real cool. So being a bit paranoid about overheating in traffic, I opted to go for the aftermarket fan, and ordered a Proform 67014 fan with an advertised flow of 1650cfm.

I still had to drive to work, and went to work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with no fan on the driver side. I figured that at highway speeds, the fan wouldn't be needed, and if things got bad at idle, I would turn on the A/C and hope that fan helped. Luckily, the temperature indicator never went past straight up on those days. The larger-than-stock aluminum radiator probably helped, or perhaps the water temperature gauge works similar to the oil pressure gauge.

The fan arrived on Wednesday, and I installed it when I got home from work. It took me more than two hours due to measuring mistakes and the resulting repeated work. (Note: Don't use the warped fan housing as a guide to figure spacing to drill holes.)

I drove to work Thursday, and didn't notice anything different. Driving home, the fan came on two or three times for a couple of minutes total during a 50+ mile drive in traffic. When it came on, it was noticeable - the whole car vibrated. Traffic Friday was worse, and it came on quite a few times in 183 traffic/parking, but didn't stay on more than a couple of minutes unless I had the air conditioning on. The vibration was a bit annoying.

Today, (Saturday,) I went to Home Depot and bought a LOT of rubber washers to isolate the fan from the radiator. (Now that I know what to do, and the metal has been cut and drilled, removing and installing the fan takes just a few minutes.) That made a LOT of difference, but the vibration is still noticeable when sitting still. The fan blade isn't easily removable, so I couldn't balance the blade. The Perma Cool fan I had in a previous car had an easily removeable blade, and didn't have the vibration problem. There is a big cost difference between the Proform 67014 and Permacool 19124, however, even though they look enough alike that it wouldn't surprise me if they were made by the same manufacturer.

I don't know if this would be a good idea with a stock radiator, but for me, with the aluminum radiator, this fan change works well. The airflow in the "mouth" is significant with the air conditioning running and both fans on, and the air conditioning seems to be more effective when stopped than before.

Pictures are at:

I wouldn't recommend this change to someone who is worried about resale value of their car, unless they retain the old fan. My install is completely and easily reversible, but as is, I'm sure it doesn't increase the resale value of the car.

Hope this helps someone.
Tags: cooling, fan Add / Edit Tags


  1. POS Racing's Avatar
    I'm thinking the vibration isn't normal have you contacted the supplier to see if maybe you got a bad unit?

    Nice write up!
  2. jsulen's Avatar
    Just to replace it dude.. Isuzu parts nowadays are not that expensive but it will still depend on the quality and brand of the parts.
    Updated 03-11-2011 at 08:20 PM by jsulen