Why is my clutch roaring?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1973 Oldsmobile 98 Regency. I recently had a new fan clutch installed. But the new fan clutch makes a loud roaring noise which is very annoying. What can be done to stop it?

RAY: Well, Constance, I think you may have had your OLD fan clutch RE-installed. Roaring is the sound fan clutches make when they're worn out.

TOM: But before you march back to your mechanic and accuse him of being a crook, try giving him a graceful way out.

RAY: Right. Suggest that he might simply be stupid. The fan clutch may be fine. But when he reinstalled the fan itself, he may have put it back on with the blades facing the wrong way. This is actually quite easy to do.

TOM: Do I detect that my brother is speaking from personal experience?

RAY: Can I take the fifth? Anyway, if the fan is on backwards, it would have to work against the wind when the car is moving. That could easily make a the roaring noise you describe.

TOM: You can check for this yourself, Constance. Stand in front of the car while the engine's running (leaving the hood closed and the transmission in "park" for safety). If you can feel air blowing out at you through the grill, then the fan is on backwards.

RAY: If you don't feel a breeze, the fan is installed correctly, and you probably just got a faulty fan clutch. Bring the car back, and I'm sure your mechanic will be glad to put in another one.

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