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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I searched the forums hoping to see something about this. My search didn't turn up much.

After a year of owning a 2017 RTL, I would get an intermittent clicking noise from the cabin fan. When it was happening it was more noticeable at the lower speeds. It was very audible when turning the fan off. You could hear the thing wind down and make audible clicks as it stopped.

Swapped out the fan under the extended warranty from the dealer (about time one of these things pays off) and ran great for a year. Then it started happening again. Brought it in and they swapped it out for what is now my 3rd blower fan. This one out of the gate is doing it. Am I the only one having this issue? Dealer claims they haven't seen this before so how am I so lucky to have 3 fail?

It honestly is like nails on a chalk board when it is happening. I can't stand it. No amount of music can mask it. I would rather roll around without the heat on in the winter than listening to that racket.

Anyone else having this issue and is there a more permanent fix than replacing the blower assembly? Each time the dealer has verified "bad bearings" but is that what is actually happening? Help!

Thanks all!
 

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No, you are not the only one. I am actually taking mine in for this issue this weekend since I still have a little warranty left. I am guessing your blower fan sounds like this:
That video is from someone with a Pilot having the same issue.

I assume the blower fans in cars have sealed bearings in the blower motor? If the motors are sleeve bearing, the sound is probably being caused by the lubricating oil drying/gumming over time and metal on metal rubbing. Sewing machine oil will fix sleeve bearing fans (I use it on PC fans all the time).


I have experienced this once before in a VW rabbit but it was about 80k miles before that happened and the fan motor eventually seized. I got lucky with the VW as at the time the entire fan unit was about $20 on amazon. The fan itself was only held in place with a couple screws and was easy to replace (like 10 minutes).
 

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Anyone know if there is a non OEM blower unit that can be swapped in, I highly doubt it.
Maybe a new unit can be disassembled, add some better lubricant, then installed.
 

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I see the fans that are affected are in cold climates. When I lived in the mountains of Colorado, my wife's BMW fan would make a squeaking noise when the weather was extremely cold. When it got warmer the noise went away. It did it even with a new fan that took me three hours to replace. The BMW fan didn't have bearing, but only bushings. I tried lubricating those, but it didn't help. I wonder if the temperature is causing the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, you are not the only one. I am actually taking mine in for this issue this weekend since I still have a little warranty left. I am guessing your blower fan sounds like this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60upPNAq0cM
That video is from someone with a Pilot having the same issue.

I assume the blower fans in cars have sealed bearings in the blower motor? If the motors are sleeve bearing, the sound is probably being caused by the lubricating oil drying/gumming over time and metal on metal rubbing. Sewing machine oil will fix sleeve bearing fans (I use it on PC fans all the time).


I have experienced this once before in a VW rabbit but it was about 80k miles before that happened and the fan motor eventually seized. I got lucky with the VW as at the time the entire fan unit was about $20 on amazon. The fan itself was only held in place with a couple screws and was easy to replace (like 10 minutes).
Yes! that is exactly what I am experiencing. I'm glad to know I am not the only one but perplexed how I am the only one my dealer is admitting to. I would agree with others that the cold temperatures definitely play a part. It seems to get worse the colder it is. That said, I didn't need the polar vortex to bring it out. It is still clicking today in mid 20s today.
 

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Mine is doing it too. Dealer said they couldn't replicate the sound. I said BS. Took them into the truck, after 1 second the chirp starts. Dealer said, ok fine, we'll order you a new fan. Two months now and I'm still waiting for the part to come in.
 

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I am not sure this is limited to hot or cold temps but could be a factor. My vehicle resides in TN which isn't too cold. My VW that had the same problem was also in TN (and broke in the summer). I've noticed mine makes more noise during turns.

I'm still betting that the blower fan motor is just a cheap sleeve bearing fan and the oil is drying out/gumming in it. Unsealed sleeve bearings are infamous for the squeak issue since dirt and grit get into the oil reservoir and the oil just drys up over time. When the oil drys/gums, the spindle can start to go off axis and contact metal as the oil functions as the bearing keeping the spindle centered.

I wouldn't hold this specifically against Honda though, I know VW uses sleeve bearings for the blower fan motor in certain models (as others probably do as well). If I can't get it to make the noises while at the dealer (and before warranty runs out) I'm going to just try re-oiling it. I'm only going to try with sewing machine oil or food grade mineral oil since I don't want to smell the oil fumes from a more industrial grade oil. Sewing machine oil is easy to get in nice spout bottles and is formulated for this kind of duty cycle anyways, it is just non-food grade mineral oil (and plus I have some on my desk).

I took my vehicle in and of course it didn't make the noises while there. It is making the noises again though, probably have them look at it when I take it in for the fuel pump recall.
 

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I wouldn't hold this specifically against Honda though, I know VW uses sleeve bearings for the blower fan motor in certain models (as others probably do as well). If I can't get it to make the noises while at the dealer (and before warranty runs out) I'm going to just try re-oiling it. I'm only going to try with sewing machine oil or food grade mineral oil since I don't want to smell the oil fumes from a more industrial grade oil. Sewing machine oil is easy to get in nice spout bottles and is formulated for this kind of duty cycle anyways, it is just non-food grade mineral oil (and plus I have some on my desk).
The 2008 Infiniti G35 I had used a brushless DC motor with ball bearings. That's the first and last one I ever saw. Every other automotive HVAC blower I've seen before and since then uses brushes and sleeve bearings. The motor itself was indeed quiet, but the electronics failed at a relatively high rate. I believe Infiniti reverted back to "traditional" HVAC blowers after that.
 

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Call up the parts dept (If uncomfortable maybe not at that same dealer) and ask for the blower fan and ask for the cost and how long for it to come in. That will tell you quick if you are getting the run around.

Also, likely the 2018 blower fan motor and 2019 will be the same part. Make sure you have the vin number, they will ask for that as well as, the year, and model type.



Mine is doing it too. Dealer said they couldn't replicate the sound. I said BS. Took them into the truck, after 1 second the chirp starts. Dealer said, ok fine, we'll order you a new fan. Two months now and I'm still waiting for the part to come in.
 

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Had the same issue - initially tried swapping out the cabin filter then when that didn’t resolve replaced the motor. About a week in and seems to have resolved. Parts took about two weeks to come in.


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Pretty sure I’m having the same issue with my 2017. Noticed it when the temps here in Alberta dropped a few weeks ago. Glad I found this thread, will definitely suggest a blower motor replacement next time my truck is in for service! But concerning that there doesn’t seem to be a long term fix from Honda yet.


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I’m having the same issue. I found it funny that I can hear it and it drives me nuts but my wife can’t hear it. It’s hitting some perfect frequency where one of us can and can’t hear it.
 

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Just had my 2017 Ridgeline in for service and told them about the clicking sound when the heater is on. Of course the dealership didn't hear it so I had to drive around for about 20 minutes and bring it back. Eventually the service adviser heard it. It is really noticeable when you shut off the fan. Spot on to the youtube video earlier. Got a loaner and fixed under extended warranty. Btw I personally replaced like 4 of these in my Tacoma. Same freakin problem. And they think we are stupid.
 

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What I have done to some of my older vehicles in the past to keep them running when the fans did this. Removed the fan and drilled a tiny hole on the back of the motor centered over where the end of the shaft would be, with a needle attachment on my grease gun I then injected a little grease. On the squirrel cage side remove the cage and work some fine oil into the bushing around the shaft.I have drilled on an angle thru the housing and bushing to try and inject a little grease to work it around the shaft. These were older vehicles however and your RL is new you shouldn’t have to do that. If mine were to do that after years of service I would do that to mine if it resembled similar design in blower configuration. But that is me, I fix everything having been a mechanic for 45yrs.
 
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