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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 10-17-2012, 03:05 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Clutch fan delete (2-speed aux fan vehicles only)

[ Hi Everyone, I need to do some electrical checks on the aux fan system to test current draw under normal and fan-delete situations and compare variance between the two. The aux fan circuit gets hot when it runs and I'm not yet certain if that's tolerable over the long term... Until I update this, I advise against deleting the clutch fan alone, without replacing it with an electric fan. That being said, the E46 runs on a single electric aux fan for both the engine and the a/c system at all temperature and load settings, so running a car with just one fan is obviously possible. Please watch this space. ]


Hi Padre,

Here's the thread on the fan clutch delete steps.

1. Check the aux fan's 2 fuses in your fuse box. Make sure both are working.
2. Remove the aux fan-coolant temperature sensor's electrical plug.
3. Key2 the car and jump the sockets in accordance with the Bentley manual's instructions there. Some useful instructions can be found here http://www.bmw4life.com/auxFanR.htm
4. Once you've confirmed that your aux fan is working properly, you can proceed to delete the fan clutch. Without the fan clutch, the aux fan will be the one cooling the car while it is not moving. It will automatically come at a low speed for temperature A (can't remember) and at a higher speed at temperature B (can't remember what the temp is either).
4.2 If the aux fan does not work as advertised, stop here, fix it, check the fix, and then proceed further.
5. Remove the fan shroud's clips.
6. Remove the fan clutch...use a #32 wrench. Please search these forums for more detailed instructions on this.
7. Keep the fan and shroud in your trunk.
8. Start the engine with the a/c switched off. Drive the car for 10-15 minutes to get it nice and hot. Then come back and let it idle for 30 minutes.
9. Watch the temp gauge. If its fine, or slightly hotter than it usually is and stays that way, and if the aux fan comes on automatically (might not), then you're fine.
10. For good measure, make sure your radiator's fins are clean and free of dirt/debris.
11. Make sure there is sufficient coolant in your radiator. Best to add another can of concentrate.

Drive with the fan clutch and #32 wrench in in your trunk for 2 weeks (I've stopped doing that), for an emergency fix if necessary. It shouldn't be...even if the temp goes up, you merely need to get moving again, or switch on the a/c (the aux fan automatically comes on when you switch on the a/c) and the temp should be under control. For additional emergency measures, dial up the cabin heat to maximum (not possible with the a/c on obviously). Or stop the car.

Those measures won't be necessary but its good to be prepared with a response should the temp begin to climb.

If possible, try to get stuck in a 30 minute jam to see how the car behaves. If you know traffic conditions around where you live, you might be able to predict this.

The engine bay will generally feel hotter whenever you open the bonnet....although this could purely be in your head. Either way, no matter. Engines are hot, that's normal.

After two weeks with no trouble, garage the fan clutch permanantly.

rgds,
Roberto

p.s. The aux fan's resistor ought to be changed to the more modern solid-state version. The old resistor needs to be changed anyway after 15 years. Its not easy to do this. However, if you have not done this, please do this within 3 months of deleting your fan clutch. The resistor must not get busted and screw with your car, when we already know that its a risk.
p.s. If you wish, you can later add an electric fan where the clutch fan used to be. It too will have a temp sensor with two settings, so will only come on when it gets hot.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-17-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2012, 03:42 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quite frequently, the aux fan will not come on even if the engine has been running and at idle for a long time. Do not panic. This is normal. Just water moving across the radiator without any wind movement due to fans is sufficient to cause a drop in temperature. I have measured the temperature at various parts of the radiator while the engine is running without the clutch fan. I used a laser temp gun. There is basically a drop of between 5-10 degrees from the left of the radiator to the right. The temperature drop is the highest from the top of the radiator, and the drop in temp changes as you go down the radiator. This is due to fact that different parts of the radiator are exposed to oncoming air through the nose differently.

However, don't worry, this is normal, and will not screw anything up, and its designed that way.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:43 AM
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I'm pretty sure people are not doing that anymore due to a fire hazard?
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 1995i540 View Post
I'm pretty sure people are not doing that anymore due to a fire hazard?
what fire hazard? substantiate
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2012, 08:57 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Yesterday, I got a friend to park his ride with his tailpipe aimed directly at my car's nose, about 15 inches away, and he revved his engine at 1.5k for 10 minutes while i kept mine at idle. No movement on the temp needle.

Though I will indeed find a way to get myself into a traffic jam for a real world test, I pretty much have total confidence in this modification.

Once again, I emphasise the following :

1. Use extra coolant concentrate in your radiator. A nice touch.
2. Double check that your aux fan functions properly at BOTH of its speed settings, and double check its fuses. Have extra fuses for the fan standing by.
3. Change the aux fan's resistor to a new, modern, sturdy, solid-state resistor (around $30), if you have not already done so. This should make your aux fan pretty much bulletproof. The original resistor could go at any time now due to its age.
4. Make sure your radiator is in good shape and would not impede the flow of coolant across it from left to right. Physically look at the fins with the fan and shroud out, to see if there is any obvious damage. Sometimes a simple visual inspection helps bigtime. Another thing that you could do is to flush it, catch and look at some of the water that comes out of the upper radiator hose. If it contains rust flakes, keep flushing until there are no more rust flakes or they are very minimal. (Some rust flakes would be inevitable).

All of the above that I've listed here are stuff that you would have already done if you're keen on keeping your E34 in good shape and especially if its your daily driver. So, you should only need to proceed with the fan delete and monitor the temperature for the next 2 weeks on your end to confirm that everything is in perfect shape.

I would like to acknowledge Ethirty Andy's contribution. I learned about the clutch fan delete idea from him during an online discussion here. Until that, I thought that the clutch fan's delete MUST be accompanied by the installation of a new electric fan. Not necessary, in practice, just delete the fan.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
1. Use extra coolant concentrate in your radiator. A nice touch.
Unless it's cold, water has greater boiling point. Distilled + red line water wetter = cold.
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2012, 10:10 PM
Josh429er Josh429er is offline
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Originally Posted by 1995i540 View Post
Unless it's cold, water has greater boiling point. Distilled + red line water wetter = cold.
I think you ment to say that unless its cold water has better cooling properties.

Part of the reason we have coolant is to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point. But it is also added to lubricant, and lower the possibility of corrosion.

With that being said I like more water in the solution in summer, and less in winter. Do i change it no, it stays more water than anything year round.
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2012, 12:19 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Coolant is added to water to accomplish three things :

1. Raise its boiling point.
2. Reduce its freezing point.
3. Create a sacrificial anti-rust chemical environment.

When the cooling system is pressurised, water's boiling point is increased anyway. But, with coolant, pressurised water's boiling point is raised a little bit further. This is important to reduce flash vapourisation around the cylinder head's coolant passages.

The cooling system pressurises when some coolant vapourises at its unpressurised boiling point and than remains trapped in the system, thus exerting pressure on the rest of the system, thus raising the rest of the systems's pressure and thus raising the rest of the system's boiling point.

Rad caps have a pressure rating (this can be seen on the rad cap). When the pressure in the system exceeds design parameters, the excess vapour forces its way past the valve thingamajig in the rad cap, lowering and thus maintaining the pressure.

There is a coolant system called NPG+. It is more or less pure ethylene glycol or its isomers. Its boiling point is higher than water and does not require pressurisation. It does not vapourise much or at all while the engine is being used. That's why, even after a long drive, the rad cap can be opened easily and NPG+s coolant will not spurt out. This is naturally safer, and of course, exerts less stress on cooling system components thus theoretically extending its service life (that being said, cooling system components are designed with pressure in mind so it should not be a big deal anyway). And because it is has no water in it, there will be no corrosion in the car's system, for any anti-rust chemicals to be required.

I considered switching to this but was put off due to the following reasons :

1. NPG+ is very expensive for the quantities required. You'll first need to purchase a fluid that will evacuate all the water in your existing system, before filling it with NPG+. NPG+ becomes degraded if it comes into contact with water. [ That being said, NPG+ does not degrade over time, and thus does not need to be refreshed every 2 years etc. It is a lifetime coolant, which means you'll actually save money over time. And you might save more money by extending the service life of your radiator etc due to the unpressurised environment, which may be a relevant factor for our older cars, the assumption being that everything that was not recently changed is nearing the end of its service life anyway. ]

2. If you have to do anything to the car that involves a coolant loss such as changing hoses, the water pump, HG changes, top/bottom overhauls etc, you'll need to purchase more expensive NPG+ to replace what was lost. And NPG+ is not exactly sold at the corner autozone.

3. If you switch to NPG+, you lose the sublime pleasure afforded by the experience of flushing the radiator.



rgds,
Roberto
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2012, 05:06 AM
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Just say no to drugs dude !

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  #10  
Old 10-19-2012, 06:25 AM
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Forgive my ignorance here, still a new guy on here. What is the benefit for deleting the fan, a slightly quicker revving engine? I have replaced my aux fan and resistor, and it functions properly, but still don't know that i completely trust the aux fan only.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:28 AM
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Forgive my ignorance here, still a new guy on here. What is the benefit for deleting the fan, a slightly quicker revving engine? I have replaced my aux fan and resistor, and it functions properly, but still don't know that i completely trust the aux fan only.
+1 I agree , funny how other people like to think that deleting the fan would make the car faster ... Your not alone and definitely not ignorant ! , and I'm sure his car isn't a race car for that matter . Automotive comedy , you gotta love it ...

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:33 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by uglyvw View Post
Forgive my ignorance here, still a new guy on here. What is the benefit for deleting the fan, a slightly quicker revving engine? I have replaced my aux fan and resistor, and it functions properly, but still don't know that i completely trust the aux fan only.
1. You get a slightly perkier engine. You will get used to its perkiness after a short while, so the gain here is not that substantial. However, it is nice to have anyway.

2. Your water pump's bearings will last longer due to the reduced load on it, which means you have less risk of its sudden failure, and a longer service interval on it thus saving money.

3. You don't have to spend money on things like a fan clutch eventually, which is not easily changed by inexperienced people.

4. You can see all of your engine's belts and pulleys more easily, which helps you keep it clean, and to spot and test problems with your pulleys. Since deleting my fan, I've changed (or shortly will) 3 pulleys, one deflection pulley, one tensioner and both engine belts. It was far easier for me to see and spot possible problems that were confirmed and expanded upon by trained professionals after I asked them to look closer.

5. Without the need to remove a fan clutch and its shroud, which is not always the most straightforward thing in the world, it becomes a simple matter to change your own engine's belts whenever that is needed. 5 minutes to remove the old one and install the new one x 2 belts = 10 minutes total, that you can do, on your own.

6. Though I don't see how it could happen, I've read reports on this and other forums of the fan clutch coming apart during driving without warning and denting the hood, shredding belts, damaging the radiator, and causing a huge racket that stops your heart. That's one less risk you'll have to deal with when you don't have that there.

You can try it and always go back to your fan clutch down the line if you prefer that, or you can install an electric fan instead. Most newer bmws come with two electric fans and no clutch fan.


rgds,
Roberto

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 10-19-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-19-2012, 07:33 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Just say no to drugs dude !

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You actually made me laugh with this one my friend. It was justified, that really was a needless explanation above.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 10-19-2012 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:09 AM
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You actually made me laugh with this one my friend. It was justified, that really was a needless explanation above.
Likewise , you have entertained me this past few days , and I am grateful no matter what the topic is you bring . Like I said , one of the most brilliantly staged automotive comedy I've seen in a long time !
Carry on

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Old 10-19-2012, 10:01 AM
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I think you ment to say that unless its cold water has better cooling properties.

Part of the reason we have coolant is to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point. But it is also added to lubricant, and lower the possibility of corrosion.

With that being said I like more water in the solution in summer, and less in winter. Do i change it no, it stays more water than anything year round.
Your engine will be cooler with water + wetter .vs coolant mix.

http://www.redlineoil.com/content/fi...ech%20Info.pdf
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:03 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by 1995i540 View Post
Your engine will be cooler with water + wetter .vs coolant mix.

http://www.redlineoil.com/content/fi...ech%20Info.pdf
That's a great article thanks. Water wetter for me from now.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:07 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Likewise , you have entertained me this past few days , and I am grateful no matter what the topic is you bring . Like I said , one of the most brilliantly staged automotive comedy I've seen in a long time !
Carry on

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Old 10-19-2012, 11:32 PM
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I wouldn't dare remove my fan.. Especially if I wasn't replacing it with anything. The aux fan forces air through the AC condenser and through the radiator, for some scenarios, the amount of COOL air getting to the engine block might not be enough and will start to slowly overheat the engine.

Getting an electric fan as an alternative is a much better choice, it basically lasts forever and it will still do everything stated in the original post.

They're also relatively cheap and easy to install.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:02 AM
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I'm pretty sure people are not doing that anymore due to a fire hazard?
Yep because Antifreeze is made mostly of alcohol. If you spring a leak and it hits say your exhaust it will start a fire.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:08 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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I wouldn't dare remove my fan.. Especially if I wasn't replacing it with anything. The aux fan forces air through the AC condenser and through the radiator, for some scenarios, the amount of COOL air getting to the engine block might not be enough and will start to slowly overheat the engine.

Getting an electric fan as an alternative is a much better choice, it basically lasts forever and it will still do everything stated in the original post.

They're also relatively cheap and easy to install.
Yes, that certainly is the tried and tested method and has no downsides. As I noted elsewhere, the new bmws come with two electric fans, one for the ac in front of the radiator and the other where the clutch fan used to be.

However, the evidence runs contrary, at least when it comes to the m50 engines. So I've chosen not to succumb to fear and simply ask myself if I wish to purchase the insurance of an extra fan via either the fan clutch or an electric fan in there. Insurance is always a good thing to have. However, i just feel like doing without it. The car's in tip top shape. Anything that could go wrong now with the cooling system would have caused an overheat anyway even if the clutch fan was there. And I can work with my car far more easily, which is cool.

The reality is that a pushing fan (the aux fan) creates more airflow than a pulling fan (the fan clutch and any electric fans installed in the same location). This, coupled with the fact that the onrushing air that comes while driving and the great heat-transfer properties of the aluminium in our radiators, ensures that sufficient cooling takes place to keep the car safe.

I can only state my experience. No overheating. The needle has moved, from being pinned to the middle, to a needle's width to the right, which is acceptable for optimal combustion (optimal combustion ranges from a needle's width to the left to a needle's width to the right. Out of that, the engine is either too cold or too hot for optimal combustion. Or so I've been told.)

Having read that great article on water wetters, something I've never heard of before, I'll be picking that up and refreshing my cooling system with it immediately. Engines run slightly cooler with that than normal coolant. Since I need to have coolant in the car anyway, I might as well use the best.



rgds,
Roberto
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  #21  
Old 10-20-2012, 11:12 AM
SawheadE34 SawheadE34 is offline
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That's exactly what I did with my 540. My fan clutch had seized on me while driving home from my parents place (3 hour drive at midnight) and I had to remove the fan clutch. Being unsure of this, I let the car get hot and watched the aux fan work as it should and then I gained confidence to drive home and actually drove like that up until I got rid of my car. There will be sufficient air glow across the radiator as long as you're moving. Even in stop and go the fan held up fine and never worked longer than I would've liked. This was the same reason I went out and got the Volvo fan for my 540. It's a near perfect fit, has a shroud, 2 speeds, and only required soldering the new connector. I also did my research and talked to others who had run the same set up and they vouched for it. It was a much better alternative to me as this was my 3rd fan clutch in a year. Not because race car. For anyone interested, I still have this fan sitting in my garage.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:07 AM
Josh429er Josh429er is offline
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You gotta remember fans aren't there to push air onto the engine. They are there to pull air through the radiator. A cool radiator is a cool engine.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:24 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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You gotta remember fans aren't there to push air onto the engine. They are there to pull air through the radiator. A cool radiator is a cool engine.
The aux fan pushes air through the radiator. The flow sequence is cool air - fan - radiator. The clutch fan and any electric fans in the engine bay will pull air from outside the car, through the radiator. The sequence is cool air - radiator - fan.

Apparently, the pushing fan works better than the pulling fan, when it comes to creating air flow through the radiator. I read that in the internet somewhere.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:41 AM
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M540FELLA M540FELLA is offline
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I have to say that I was a little skeptical about using just the aux fan, but I met a guy today at 4ngiefest with a 540i/6 who was using this setup. He said he's had no problems without the clutch fan. Although I would do like Sawhead and run a Volvo fan. Because in the summer the aux fan is really needed to push air on the condenser for the a/c. I think it might struggle with it and cooling the engine too.
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:50 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by M540FELLA View Post
I have to say that I was a little skeptical about using just the aux fan, but I met a guy today at 4ngiefest with a 540i/6 who was using this setup. He said he's had no problems without the clutch fan. Although I would do like Sawhead and run a Volvo fan. Because in the summer the aux fan is really needed to push air on the condenser for the a/c. I think it might struggle with it and cooling the engine too.
I don't really agree with that. Let me explain why.

The condensor is a mini radiator like device that's placed in front of the radiator, roughly behind the car's number plate. It can't be see from the engine bay and can't be seen through the car's front grills either.

I've taken temperature readings throughout all parts of the radiator while it was running : top, middle, bottom, left, centre and right, and from the temperature variances that I get, the part of the radiator that is blocked by the ac condensor gets the least amount of cooling through its passages. Naturally, that makes sense, because that portion of the radiator is well largely blocked.

In other words, the top left to right of the radiator has more cooling in terms of temperature drop than the bottom left to right of the radiator. This is how it is while it functions.

Yet, everything works fine. So, this aspect of the car is already designed for.

Even if you have a clutch fan running while the a/c fan runs, the portion of the clutch fan that pulls air through the bottom of the radiator (which is largely blocked by the condensor), is not going to be pulling much anyway due to the blockage.

The worst that could happen in summer during a traffic jam with the ac on is that the ac is not as cool as you would like despite your temp being set at its lowest, so you'd need to set your blower at higher settings for more cabin wind speed. This is typical of the E34 anyway.

The aux fan has a high speed setting as well. I think we would do fine.

Lets wait till summer. If the car threatens to overheat in a traffic jam on a hot day, simply turn off the ac to reduce the temperature on the condensor and thus slightly reduce the amount of hot air hitting the radiator. Then when you get home, reinstall the clutch fan or an electric fan.

I really don't think that this is a big deal anymore, having driven the car for nearly 2 weeks now without the clutch fan, but I understand why this still requires a leap of faith to tackle.
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