Radiator woes

I have a 2002 honda accord with almost 150k miles. So i am heading into the ‘last leg’ territory with my car. The other day i noticed that the coolant from the radiator reservior tank was bubbling. I topped off the coolant, but still i noticed bubbling when the car was driven. Reading through the net, i worried that it could be a blown head-gasket issue. Troubleshooting a bit, i figured it was the radiator fan (one to the right when in driver seat) that was not working. While this fan is not so important when the car is moving fast, it is important when the car is stopped or is moving slow. Being curious as to why the motor stopped working, i pulled out the motor and opened it up.


Here’s the whole shebang. The fan assembly with fan and the motor.


The motor after being dis-assembled.


The motor casing. That’s a bearing there at the top. Not a bushing.


The cleaned up armature. The coils seem fine.


Bingo. The culprit!!. The carbon brush at the bottom is totally worn out. It was barely making contact with the armature. I am sure this brush would cost less than $5.00. But if you were to buy this motor from the dealer, be ready to shell out $240.00 !!! Yikes. Also, what’s up with the bushing for the tail end??. No bearing??

So…what did i do ??

No way i was gonna spend $240.00 on a OEM motor for a car with 150K miles. Especially if i was commited to take care of it well. So off i went to autozone, and for about $50.00 bought a after market motor (make VDO). The best part is that this motor comes with a lifetime warranty. Means that if it goes bad, autozone will replace a new one for free!


So here is the new replacement motor (make VDO) from Autozone. The same is available from Oreily-auto too for the same price. Except, i believe you get the lifetime replacement only from Autozone.  While this motor fits, there are 2 issues.

1: Note the generic bullet connectors. The wire harness in the car uses a specific connector. What i did simply was to cut out the bullet connectors. Solder the connector from the original motor onto this one and i was good to go.

2: Not sure how important this is: The original motor used a ball-bearing on the shaft side. This motor has a bushing. This means a shorter life.


I am a computer engineer living in the beautiful city of Austin,TX. While my day job is designing computer chips, I love to dabble in woodworking, metalworking, r/c and electronics.

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Posted in Automobile

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