Dismiss Notice



Register Today It's free! This box will disappear once registered!

mechanical cooling fan vs electric

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by mountaineerbeast, August 3, 2011.

  • Searches ExplorerForum.com
    1. mountaineerbeast

      mountaineerbeast Active Member

      Joined:
      May 31, 2011
      Messages:
      102
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Socorro, NM
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      97 Mountaineer
      I know that mechanical cooling fans rob power from your engine and electric cooling fans are more desirable. I also know that electric cooling fans are better in the city because a mechanical cooling fan runs at the speed of the engine (unless it's a 2 speed fan). With this in mind, i would assume that mechanical fans are better on the highway than electric because of the higher speed.

      Isn't there a higher chance of an electric cooling fan failing (...the new explorers with failing cooling fans) than a mechanical one that's on all the time?

      Has anybody on this forum ever had an emergency electric cooling fan while still keeping the mechanical one?

      What about in the desert? Wouldn't the mechanical fan be better because it's always on?

      So the final question is, which fan is better?

      Also, is there such a thing as too much engine cooling?
       
      Last edited: August 3, 2011
    2. Support EF

      Join the Elite Explorers for $20

      Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.



    3. Lube

      Lube Active Member

      Joined:
      July 29, 2011
      Messages:
      286
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Oklahoma
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      95 XLT
      At hiway speeds, neither fan is better than the other due to the vehicle speed moving the air through the radiator, not the fan. Above about 35 MPH, neither type does anything at all but impede airflow. The power taken to turn a fan pales to insignificance compared to what it takes to run the A/C (about 25 HP) or power steering. You'd never notice it unless you were racing, and maybe not then.

      Not really. Both can and do fail. In the case of the mechanical fan, the clutch can wear out (recommended replacement is every 5 years). The water pump can seize, etc. Electrics can die from motor burnout, or may not come on because the switch and relay controlling it die.

      Doubtful due to cooling requirements and the limited amount of real estate on a radiator to mount things.

      Of far more importance in a hot environment is a clean, well maintained cooling system. Neither type is "preferable" over the other given what you're talking about here.
      Now, with that said there ARE times when an electric fan is desirable. An example - 3rd generation V8 Camaro's and Firebirds had an electric fan with a very high turn on point (260 or so degrees). Absolutely NO space for a mechanical fan, so most folks wired in a switch to manually turn the fan on or off.

      So the final question is, which fan is better?[/QUOTE]
       
    4. rickybobby

      rickybobby Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      June 26, 2010
      Messages:
      1,275
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      48
      City, State:
      Battle Creek, mi
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '97 XLT
      there are several threads where people are gaining fuel economy with an electric fan, but that is the only advantage i see
       
    5. my98nnj

      my98nnj Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      September 27, 2008
      Messages:
      1,636
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Boonton, New Jersey
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 XLT
      The fan that the engineers put in your vehicle is most likely your best bet
      The T-stat takes care of keeping the engine at the correct temperature.
       
    6. BubbaFL

      BubbaFL Active Member

      Joined:
      June 8, 2007
      Messages:
      333
      Likes Received:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      18
      City, State:
      Central Florida
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1986 Corvette
      That depends what you want. The stock mechanical cooling fan does what it was designed to do. It's a simple setup that has proven reliable on countless vehicles.

      An electric fan gives you (potentially) more control, but is by nature a more complex system and has more components that can fail and cause your car to overheat. The advantage is being able to do things like increase airflow at idle, which would make your A/C work better on hot summer days, or being able to turn the fan off completely on the highway or on cold days (saving fuel).
       
    7. waskly

      waskly Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      August 21, 2010
      Messages:
      2,190
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Crooklyn NY!
      yes, you can over cool an engine that it will never be at operating temp.
       
    8. SoNic67

      SoNic67 Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      January 24, 2010
      Messages:
      3,054
      Likes Received:
      12
      Trophy Points:
      48
      City, State:
      Newport News, VA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2001 V8 (Eddie Bauer) AWD
      Mechanical fan is 10 times more reliable than electrical one. Sure, you can "stop" electricity to an electrical fan on highway, but it will still spin due to the airflow thru radiator and will still reduce the total airflow.
      There is a way to install a suplemental radiator with an electric fan to supplement the cooling (under mechanical fan, horizontally). Is it worth the trouble? I don't think so...
       
    9. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      May 26, 2009
      Messages:
      10,554
      Likes Received:
      196
      Trophy Points:
      93
      City, State:
      Greenville, SC
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      00 Sport FI, 03 Ltd V8
      cooling fan drive type opinions

      Many electrically driven cooling fans provide inadequate cooling in warm weather city stop and go driving. The more powerful the electric motor to drive the cooling fan the greater the current draw on the alternator. For any given amount of air flow the efficiency of an electric cooling fan is probably less than a mechanical one because it involves two conversions of energy (mechanical to electrical for the alternator and electrical to mechanical for the cooling fan motor). The main reason for switching to an electrical cooling fan is to gain fuel efficiency by running at the minimum airflow required. This can be achieved by a multi-speed fan or intermittent fan operation or a combination of both.

      The reliability of an electrical cooling fan system is dependent on the quality of components and the capacity of the system. I believe the components on my 1996 Volvo 850 turbo wagon are original and it works fine. The clutch on mechanical systems degrades with age but doesn't usually suddenly fail so it is erroneously assumed to be more reliable than a well designed factory electrical cooling system.

      I don't remember seeing any posts describing one. There isn't much room in front of the radiator for a pusher fan to supplement the mechanical puller fan.

      A factory electrical fan is thermostatically controlled and would also run continuously if needed.

      With the current readily available aftermarket electrical systems:
      Mechanical for off road, desert, towing, city driving in hot weather;
      Electrical for highway driving, cool weather city driving.

      Many Explorers (such as mine) came stock with a single row 1 inch thick radiator. Some came with a double row 2 inch thick radiator. I replaced my single row with a double row. The thermostat is the primary component that controls engine temperature. With a functional thermostat of the correct temperature too much cooling is only a problem in extremely cold weather when even though the thermostat is closed the air moving thru the engine bay cools the engine even though no engine coolant is flowing thru the radiator.
       
    10. num5golden

      num5golden New Member

      Joined:
      February 21, 2012
      Messages:
      22
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Fort Collins, CO
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Ford Explorer Sport XL
      I agree the electrical fan is convenient as far as shutting it off in colder weather. The clutch fan on my 03 shortsport is always drawing a little bit of air through the radiator, so when winter comes it seems like my ex never gets up to full operating temperature and even just the heater steals heat from the engine. I just take a piece of cardboard and tape it over the front of my radiator with 3 evenly spaced slits in it allowing about 15 percent of its natural air flow to it to make sure it stays cool when it needs it
       
    11. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      June 17, 2004
      Messages:
      18,750
      Media:
      5
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      888
      Trophy Points:
      143
      City, State:
      Knoxville, TN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      98 Limited AWD
      With an electric fan it is possible to change the operating temperature with the controller for the fan. You might choose to run a little warmer in Winter, say 180, while 160 during Summer, all with a 160 T-stat.

      The best answer is this, more components usually means less reliability. A very reliable electric fan is tough to put create as an added item. Unless you are committed to doing it right, spending a decent chunk of money, stick with the stock fan. Regards,
       

    Share This Page







    We Support Our Troops!