Fixing a seized oscillating fan motor

Fixing a seized oscillating fan motor

I’ve got the fan here
and it’s, kind of, stopped working. It hums and the blade
barely rotates. And, the problem is,
it’s kind of, mostly seized, if you look at
this, this should really spin a lot more than that if
I hit it with my fingers. So, let’s take it apart,
and have a closer look at the motor. Given that this fan is
so difficult to turn, the bearings are, kind of,
mostly seized, and mostly that is, the oil’s
gotten really thick and it’s just gotten too gunky. So, I don’t know which bearing
it is, but let’s just try some WD-40 on the front bearing. Well, that was way
easier than I expected. Quite often I’d have to
take this whole motor assembly apart, so I can
pull the bearings apart, and then clean out the
gunk on the inside. Now, I just used WD-40 on there, which is not the best permanent
lubricant, so I’m just gonna add some 3
in 1 household oil on here and spin that a
bit and let that get in the bearing. And, that should be good
for a long time to come. And, maybe a little bit of oil
for the back one as well.

100 Replies to “Fixing a seized oscillating fan motor”

  1. If a 'sealed' bearing dust cover is flexibe (e.g rubber or plastic) you could take it out using a pin, clean it and repack it with lithium or silicone grease. Works for skateboard and bicycle bearings.

  2. Hi Matthias. I`m personally a fan of your page (no pun intended…), specially the dust collector blower. Let me tell about some issues with WD-40: first of all, it is something excellent to unstuck shaft/sleeves like the existent in electric fans. But it is not a good lubricant for daily long term usage because it`s very thin. A 3-in-1 oil, like someone suggested, is more adequate for lubrication efficiency on sleeves. Moreover, WD-40 forms a kind of brownish hard coat like varnish with time, something totally contrary to lubrication needs. Thats the reason gunsmiths hate WD-40 and do not use it in anyway. My suggestion, IMHO, is to unstuck free with WD-40 all the moving parts, disassemble, clean with kerosene or some other solvent, cook the sleeves in hot oil for some minutes (for the sintered sleeves reabsorb oil properly), reassemble and enjoy an electric fan again for several years ahead. I did it several times with fans thrown at neighborhood waste containers.

  3. Used to be those things would have oil cups. You'd dribble a few drops into them, and the oil would saturate a felt pad. I heard that 3 in 1 makes a blue label oil, and its specialty is for motors.

  4. el tipo de aceite que aplican se evapora en corto plazo es mejor limpiar y aplicar un aceite o grasa adecuado a altas velocidades y temperatura.

  5. nice easy fix…….. I may have took the time to clean the whole thing up since all the casing was off…..but this is a good example of how simple some jobs are and will hopefully inspire a few people to "make do and mend", instead of just keep buying stuff unnecessarily…….Another useful vid……thanks

  6. That also happened to my cheap chinese fan. I took the motor apart, cleaned the shaft and bearings with turpentine, put everything back together and lubricated with automatic transmission fluid. I've done this 3 years ago and is working fine since then.

  7. The motor on the electric dryer did the same thing. I took it apart and oiled it up like you did. After cleaning the whole cabinet & blowing the motor out. Oiled it up & spun it with a drill for awhile. I put it back together and it WORKS!! Given the age I am still gonna replace the motor. Thanks Matthias !!…

  8. Matthias, you shouldn't use 3-in-1, it gets gummy, you should use either triflow silicone oil or an artificial oil with graphite. Even WD-40 is better than 3-in-1, that's why they developed it, for harsh environments so things wouldn't seize up.

  9. I've just done the same fix on my fan, circa 1990. The difference was that the blade would spin freely by hand, but slow speed with button 1 was very slow to move if at all. I sprayed some WD-40 on the shaft and around the copper windings then used compressed air to blow it all out. It now works like the day it was made. A drop of oil on the shaft is still probably required. 3 weeks now and all good.

  10. Thanks Matthias! I fixed an expensive fan that I thought was gone for good. I had to open up the motor and lubricate the rear bearing as well. Great video!

  11. As Matthias noted, they type of oil you use is very important. I made a mistake using lithium grease on our pellet stove blower fan and that same day I had to shut it down and use motor oil since I didn't have the correct oil to use. It's been a year since that time and it's still running good. Crossing fingers since winter is coming soon.

  12. Elektryka prąd nie tyka. Ale stolarza może nieźle pierdolnąć! Zanim zaczniesz grzebać w silniku (0:20), to wyłącz wtykę z gniazdka – stara, dobra zasada.
    Sorry Matthias, że nie po angielsku, ale masz takie samo prawo jak ja do translatora google . Skorzystaj z tego prawa.

  13. I have a fan which stopped working a few days ago, it is sitting here looking at me while I watch this video. Going to fix it now! Thanks!

  14. A tip that helped me on these. I also use WD40 or other penetrating oil to free them up but have found that full synthetic motor oil works MUCH better for much longer than the 3 in 1 or zoom spout oil I used to use. I dumped the zoom oil and refilled it with some Mobil-1. No gummy bearing for a few years now. Used to have to do this almost annually.

  15. great vid i helped my grandpa to fix his fan but it was very bad i cant even turn it with my hand or pliers so i use a drill with high tourqe to break it loose well it went successful and it had been running for 2 years without any problems

  16. i actually am having this problem with my gramophone. 1 the idler drive is really squeaky so i used motor oil (just to get it quiet, i plan to take the whole drive off and clean it) and i have to fix the motor. but the thing is, idk where to get 3 in 1 household oil

  17. I had a really expensive fan that seized but they made every aspect of disassembling it extremely difficult, after losing a piece of my palm to it … it also ended up in the dumpster.

  18. To lube the back bushing/bearing, remove the oscillating transmission. The bushing will be exposed for lubing. I lube both front and back bushings on my older fans.

  19. I was told not to use the standard red & white bottle of 3 in 1 oil because it wont last very long and instead bought the 3 in 1 oil that's labeled Motor oil (its in a blue & white bottle and has picture of a fan motor on it). Worked like a charm with getting a seized 6 year old tower fan running again (Honeywell HY-048BP).

  20. Regular 3 in 1 oil is not the right stuff to use, that fan will seize again before long. You want to use the 3 in 1 in the BLUE bottle which is intended for motors…regular RED 3 in 1 is not intended for motors and it doesn't even mention using in for motors on the package.

  21. I have a question about a different type of fan blade. It's similar to a squirrel cage fan, but long and narrow with closed ends. Are you familiar with these, and if so, can you explain how they work? Thanks

  22. I have a floor oscilator that makes a LOUD click as it turns right to left.. VERY annoying and about ready to toss this fan and replace.

  23. my fan just won't work anymore. much like any tall oscillating fan I use it every day. I used oil to get the motor spinning but it just simply won't turn on. I hate the thought of throwing it away. it can spin super easy when I do so with my hand but there's no way its working on its own

  24. Thanks Matthias, I had a vintage metal fan that seized up after using it twice. It's been collecting dust ever since as I hadn't felt like digging into yet to try and figure it out. Followed your instructions and had it going today in 10 minutes!

  25. I have a seized fan too. I took it apart and added some household oil. that made it worse and it got slower. what a pity, it's a relatively new fan (about 1 year old) and it wasn't that gunky. No idea what's wrong with it.

  26. I have an all metal table fan that I bought from BestBuy a few years ago.  And, it's much better quality than the fan that you are demonstrating.

  27. Wow, this is the exact problem that an old fan of mine is starting to have. You've inspired me to try fixing it myself!

  28. Hi do you have any idea how repair a standing fan when the drops down the height. My son had it low to get breeze on the ground and when he tried to put it back to normal height 16" the screw or nail came off and it dropped down. Thanks

  29. wow! that's what I did yesterday and it worked for a half an hour with the WD40 so I used a better lubricant the next day and it worked. Thanks dude!

  30. I regeted throwing my SGD$100 Fan just because the shaft jammed.. cant turn. that time i dont know how to fix it, that 5 years ago. now i see that is so simple to fix it.

  31. you should do the front and back with grease after the oil. vasoline works wonders or any generic petroleum jelly. you should do the whole shebang at once and be done with it. a job done right the FIRST time always is the right way.

    thanks for sharing.

  32. Correct Solution: cleaning would be equally effective & have longer lasting effect.  [ofc the addition of 3n1 oil in the AHEM correct area is key]

  33. This works!!!! GREAT video! It's trash day today and there will be one less oscillating fan in the garage. Thanks for the 3 in 1 info as well, I didn't know about that oil. will pu some soon. Thank you for posting on youtube.

  34. I first squirted WD-40 on mine at the front and rear bearings and only lasted a night. Next used oil but only lasted a night again. What gives?

  35. Ever since you started doing all these videos about motors, I've been salvaging just about every oscillating fan I find in the trash.

  36. Finding this video helped me fix all the fans in my house… they were all about 6 years old and I didn't really know what to fix on them, thanks Matthias 😀

  37. Oh man. My mum has the same fan but in white. What a pice of trash. It's clearly designed to not be serviceable, so yay, it was fun to take apart, and runs smooth like butter after tedious dissassembly and re-lubrification, but I swear next time something happens to it I'm mercilessly throwing it in the recycling (after saving the nice prop of course)

  38. I always look at something and try to fix it before I throw it away and half the time it can be fixed with a simple trick

  39. Thanks man, i have a old sears 70s 3 button fan that was gunked . Worked great. All of the fans you get now are so shitty and off balance.

  40. those fan blades literally delivered high air flow. but why is it that I don't see fans anymore with these blades installed on them?


  41. Thank you! I'm getting my fans ready for a hot summer and have 2 that are now working more efficiently and rotating. So easy. Now I'll look on Craigslist for the older fans. The ones they make now are crap.

  42. I was taught by a fan whisperer–my dad–that petroleum based oil was bad for brass based bearings found in most household fans.  He told me to use a mineral oil, like sewing machine oil, which didn't gum up or harden in the bearings over time.  In the States there's a product, Marvel Mystery Oil, which is pretty much all he used. and even applied it to journal bearings when rebuilding engines.  To my knowledge we never replaced a fan once we rebuilt it, and only rarely did we repeat the application.  Maybe give it a try instead.

  43. Had same problem with my 3 year old Honeywell hcm-310t humidifier.
    3 hours, over 20 screws, 2 squirts of WD40 and a few drops of 3-in-1 electric motor oil later, and it's as good as new.

  44. after millions of years of trying to fix our(my) electric fan , i hav finally fixed it !!! hahah thx for da tutorial

  45. Thanks for the "3 in 1" tip, because like you said, WD-40 doesn't last long… Still, I wouldn't have dripped so much into the motor? Not sure if "3 in 1" has a flash point, but Yikes! I usually apply a lubricant with wooden stick or a piece of straw and let lubricant flow down onto shaft into bearing… I have loosened many a seized fan over the years…

  46. I used 3 in 1 oil on my fan by the bed, didn't get through the night. The oil was being picked up by the moving air i guess, gave me a sore throat and headache. Had to clear her out and put in a touch of heavy mineral oil.

  47. WD40 is not the answer. You really need to disassemble the motor, clean it and use real lubricant, 3-in-1 in the blue can or Zoomspout to lubricate. WD40 is crap!

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