How to Fix a Struck A/C Blower Motor Wheel
Also known as the squirrel cage or the hamster wheel for its distinct appearance, the A/C blower motor is a wheel-shaped device attached to the end of the A/C blower motor that circulates air around the system. The A/C blower wheel rarely causes any problems, age as well as inadequate maintenance can cause the wheel to become stuck. And once it sticks, the blower wheel might cause imbalance issues or even prevent the motor from spinning.
In this guide, we'll show you how to fix a stuck A/C blower motor wheel.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Socket wrench
- Vise grip
- A pair of pry bars or flat screwdrivers
Step 1: Switch off the engine and disconnect the negative battery terminal.
Step 2: Remove the mounting bolts around the blower motor and detach the entire motor assembly. The bolts' location varies from one vehicle to another, although in most instances it is on the engine compartment on the passenger's side of the firewall or underneath the dashboard.
Step 3: Unplug the wiring harness connected to the blower motor. The harness typically has tabs on the side which you can press on to release the wires from the blower.
Step 4: Remove the bolts around the base of the motor with the socket wrench then pull the motor out and away from its housing.
Step 5: With the blower motor down on a flat surface, pull out the retaining clip of the blower motor wheel from the shaft using a vise grip. If the retainer cli is also stuck, snap the teeth of the grip onto lip of the clip and bend it in any direction in order to dislodge it. Take note that this will likely damage the retainer clip, so make sure that you have a replacement on hand.
Step 6: Try and pull the wheel out from the shaft with your hands. Press the top and bottom edges of the wheel with your thumb and index finger and pull towards you, taking care not to press on the blades on the sides of the wheel. If the wheel doesn't come off, stop pulling and move on to the next step.
Step 7: Take a pair of short pry bars or two long flat screwdrivers and place them underneath the wheel. Once they are in place, rock the bars or the screwdrivers back and forth. This rocking motion should make the wheel move up the shaft in increments. Continue moving the bars or screwdrivers until the wheel is loose enough to be removed by hand.
Step 8: Clean and inspect the wheel. Remove any dirt or gunk on the surface using a soft brush and some soapy water. Use the pipe cleaner to remove any debris in the hole. Also, check for cracks; if the wheel shows signs of damage, it may not longer be structurally sound enough to handle the high RPM of the blower motor and must be replaced.
Step 9: Reposition the blower motor wheel onto the shaft. Make sure that the flat side on the hole of the wheel is aligned with the one on the shaft. Once it is properly aligned, push the wheel firmly into place and lock it with the retainer clip.
Step 10: Reattach the blower motor and the wheel back into its housing. Reconnect the wiring harness to the motor.
Step 11: Return the motor into its housing and the housing into its mounting points.