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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > DIY: Do It Yourself

DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 06-28-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
sonnybobiche
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Remove automatic fan without special tools or big hammer

So I was taking apart my old crashed 323i from front to back when I got to the fan. Now, this fan had been the bane of my existence throughout the year I had the car. Every time I wanted to work on it, the fan got in the way. I didn't have a 32mm wrench. I didn't have a special water pump pulley nut holder tool, though I did try to make a few from aluminum, like this one :

Spectacular waste of time that was. Perhaps the aluminum I used was too thin, or my fan clutch nut was particularly seized, but basically the tool just kept flexing and eventually broke. I didn't want to shell out $30+ for a proper version of such a unitasker either.

Many on this forum had suggested simply putting an appropriate size wrench on the fan clutch nut and whacking it with a hammer, like so:



A) This must be hell for the water pump bearings, B) good luck not destroying your expansion tank accidentally, C) this never, ever worked for me.

But looking at the fan from the front, with the bumper and radiator removed made something plainly obvious. The fan blades themselves can be removed from the fan clutch with just a small allen wrench! I was able to do this on my new 323i with the radiator and everything intact.
With the fan shroud in place, simply reach through between the fan blades from the back and get the allen key into the bolt head. There are just three bolts--I believe they're 4mm allen (hex), normally threaded.


This is easiest if you are standing next to the engine bay, as you can see roughly where the bolts are on the fan clutch. I have fairly large hands, but I was still able to wriggle in there and unbolt the fan blades with minimal knuckle scraping.

Once the bolts come out, simply push the fan blades towards the radiator and the whole thing will slip off the fan clutch. You can then pull out the fan shroud along with the blades.

Reassembly is tricky with the fan shroud in place, but it should be possible. I chose to reattach the fan blades WITHOUT the fan shroud; no ill effects so far.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:27 PM   #2
Mingohd@aol.com
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How this works

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Old 08-31-2013, 08:31 PM   #3
Mingohd@aol.com
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I go it

Thanks
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:22 AM   #4
SlimE46
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Totally works. I found out how to do it a little easier. With re assembly
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:41 AM   #5
SlimE46
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I did a complete write up that ill post tomorrow. I practiced doing this method 3 times and was able to do it in about 3-4 minutes no hassle. Great find dude. Saved us all some money with buying that tool.

Last edited by SlimE46; 09-02-2013 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:33 AM   #6
tcphoto
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Borrow the tool from Autozone, O'Reilly's or whoever and make sure that you put a little anti seize on the nut and you'll never need the tool again.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:38 AM   #7
Cavi Mike
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I just always use a big screwdriver.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
SlimE46
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I still find this very useful regardless. Some times we don't have the time to go get tools we don't have.

What I did essentially to make this easier was to undo the two fasteners on each side of the fan shroud, removed the two electrical connectors on the left side of the shroud. Then, zip tie the top of the shroud to the bracket that's in front of the vanos solenoid. This will hold it up and out of the way so you can now turn the fan and locate the three 5mm Allen screws. Its easiest to see them if you look for them on the 9'oclock or 3'oclock angles when turning the fan rather then the 12' o clock position. They are then very very easy to access the screws and you can take them out within a minute or two. Might help to spray the screws with some parts cleaner the first time you ever do it because it gets quite gunky back there. Then once the screws are out, cut the zip tie and continue like mentioned above. On a last note, remove the fan first by pulling up on the shroud, then the shroud JUST fits through between the fan clutch and radiator so don't worry it will be able to slide through. Take the clutch off last by holding the water pump bolts with a flathead screwdriver and a 32 mm wrench. (reverse thread, right to loosen)

For re assembly, put the clutch back into the fan first with the rigid side of the fan blades facing into the fan clutch. Then re-assemble as you normally would by dropping in the fan inside of the shroud and placing it back into position and then screw in the clutch to the water pump assembly.

Last edited by SlimE46; 09-02-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:18 AM   #9
SlimE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavi Mike View Post
I just always use a big screwdriver.
Really? I tried that so many times and can never get it in there the right way with the shroud still on.

Last edited by SlimE46; 09-02-2013 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:03 PM   #10
325isk
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Had this issue as well sometimes its just easier getting the right tool to do the job right the first time as hammer trick never worked for me i do wish i had known this sooner but o well
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:23 PM   #11
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can i get a .25lb of salami sliced thin please?
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