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Old 07-24-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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Whine, squeal, howl from basement air

Hi Gang,

It has been HOT!

We have a Coleman-Mach basement unit on our 2004 Adventurer. It seems to be cooling quite well but at the same time it has started to make an unpleasant noise, whine, squeel, or howl. Often, it runs an hour or two and the noise stops and it keeps on cooling nicely and the noise may start up again. It seems to be worsening.

A fellow camper suggested it was a minor matter, probably the fan rubbing on something. A mechanic, not an A/C guy, said it sounded like a bearing going out on the fan.

My wife doesn't want to run the A/C because "we may ruin it." I'm thinking it is not the A/C and if it is a bearing and goes bad, no big deal, it needs replacement anyway. I could stop using the A/C when the fan stops.

Three questions:

What do you think of continuing to use the A/C and ignoring the noise?

Is there anything I might be able to do before taking it for repairs?

Does anybody recognize the problem?

Thanks
Bruce
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:54 PM   #2
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Bruce,

There are bearings on the fan shaft that need to be lubricated on that unit. If left go too long you may be looking at also replacing the fan motor and blower wheel if they get damaged as the vibration that comes with the squeel could crack the blower wheel or put enough drag on the motor to burn it out.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:31 PM   #3
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It's probably the fan squirrel cage that is developing slack where the blades are joint to the front and back plates. This will cause that type of noise. It's not going to cause any harm to continue running it but if you want the noise to stop the squirrel cage will have to be replaced. RVP now sells an all plastic unit that won't develop this problem again. It's not an uncommon problem.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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Twice (2005 & 2006) I have had my unit pulled for what a service tech said was blower fan noise ...once it was "needs lubrication" and once "blower run-out adjustment. In the first case, they told me the remaining squeal on startup was "normal startup noise." I knew better, but let them snow me..." In the first case, the squeal/squall got worse until it was continual. In the second case, the noise returned n a couple of weeks and gradually got worse. Since we are fulltimers we don't often get to take a failed repair back to the same place. In BOTH cases we had to take the unit in for repair within about two months or so. And in BOTH cases the real problem was the blower motor ...both the inside and outside motors have been replaced on ours.

One thing I learned was NEVER take the unit to a service facility not listed on the RVP website, not even if they are a large Winnie dealership. The last tech who worked on it at Flint Hills RV just East of Wichita KS was awesome ...he had the unit out (with wiring still attached so it was easy to test run and diagnose) and diagnosed far faster than the other places could even begin to get started.

Oh, and in spite of the fact that the oem blower bearings have oil points, RVP says "no service required." Mine runs year-round, and has not been "serviced" in any way for 4 years now ...except for my cleaning cottonwood fluff off the outside coils.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
Bruce,

There are bearings on the fan shaft that need to be lubricated on that unit.
The unit appears to me to be fairly well sealed and maintenance instructions don't mention any needed lubrication. It looks like a major effort to work on anything on that unit.

Maybe I don't understand your reply. Thanks, though

Bruce
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Harry B View Post
It's probably the fan squirrel cage It's not going to cause any harm to continue running it but if you want the noise to stop the squirrel cage will have to be replaced. RVP now sells an all plastic unit that won't develop this problem again.
Since I first posted, I have taken the rig to an authorized repair service and they pretty much told me what you have. On your and their advice we plan to ignore the noise (we don't run it often) and schedule the repair at our convenience between outings.

Thanks for your reply. Your and other replies here helped me work more effectively with the mechanic.

Bruce
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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in BOTH cases the real problem was the blower motor ..

One thing I learned was NEVER take the unit to a service facility not listed on the RVP website
I'll be sure to mention the blower motor when we take it in. It could make a nice difference in getting it right the first time.

Per your recommendation for a listed facility, I had already scheduled with a facility we've used several times. When your recommendation came in I checked RVP's recommendations and ours was top of the list, so we kept the appointment and will likely use them when it gets to ordering the parts and scheduling the work.

Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:53 AM   #8
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Bruce,
Download this troubleshooting guide I made when I repaired mine two yrs ago. Click here: A/C Repair Procedure

It will give you some insight to the problems and the cost for the items I had to replace. Be sure to have them tape up any air leaks in the cold air out duct work. If you haven't touched it, I can just about guarantee you have some dried up tape and leaks at the elbow.

It will sure run a lot quieter with the new plastic squirrel cage. From the symptoms you describe, your metal blower probably has a cracked/loose hub like mine was.

Good luck,
Bill
PS: I hope it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Duner View Post
Download this troubleshooting guide I made when I repaired mine two yrs ago. Click here: A/C Repair Procedure


PS: I hope it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg
Hi Bill et al.,

Thanks for this post. I found your "A/C Repair Procedure" link yesterday; what a NICE piece of work you have done there. I've shared it with a friend with a fairly recent Adventurer. Our rig is an '04 Adventurer so your photos look like they could be our rig.

Your instructions look so straight forward they have gotten me thinking seriously of doing the work myself. Over the 7 years we've had this rig I've gradually taken on more- and more-"daring" projects. Doing the A/C maintenance-repair would be among the most "daring" for me so far.

Often, I've dared tackle a new project for just this reason, someone here posts clear instructions which reveal just how possible it is.

As for costing an arm and a leg, that's hard to avoid these days. Labor charges here are $109, currently. However, if I follow your instructions successfully there is no doubt I'll save a bundle. Its a bit early to know for sure, but based on a tip on iRV2 a few months ago I spent $6 and repaired our gasoline tank. I estimate that save us well over $2000.00 and a lot of time.

So, thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Bruce
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JucenBrudi View Post
Hi Bill et al.,

Thanks for this post. I found your "A/C Repair Procedure" link yesterday; what a NICE piece of work you have done there. I've shared it with a friend with a fairly recent Adventurer. Our rig is an '04 Adventurer so your photos look like they could be our rig.

Your instructions look so straight forward they have gotten me thinking seriously of doing the work myself. Over the 7 years we've had this rig I've gradually taken on more- and more-"daring" projects. Doing the A/C maintenance-repair would be among the most "daring" for me so far.

Often, I've dared tackle a new project for just this reason, someone here posts clear instructions which reveal just how possible it is.

As for costing an arm and a leg, that's hard to avoid these days. Labor charges here are $109, currently. However, if I follow your instructions successfully there is no doubt I'll save a bundle. Its a bit early to know for sure, but based on a tip on iRV2 a few months ago I spent $6 and repaired our gasoline tank. I estimate that save us well over $2000.00 and a lot of time.

So, thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Bruce
believe me with Bill's inst you can do the work yourself if your just alittle bit mech inclined. I made 2 copies just in case
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:40 AM   #11
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believe me with Bill's inst you can do the work yourself if your just alittle bit mech inclined. I made 2 copies just in case
Well, your encouragement just about seals the deal. I'm now planning to do it myself. I'm not sure when I'll get to it (we're trying to sell Sticks & Bricks), but I'll plan to follow up here at iRV2 with something of my experience. You even moved my wife (Judi of JucenBrudi) to thinking I could probably do it!

Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:22 AM   #12
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Update and questions

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Well, your encouragement just about seals the deal. I'm now planning to do it myself.
Good morning gang,

I've done it! I have pulled the unit, opened it up, and started it. I quickly isolated the howl to the outside blower assembly. Oil on the bearing seemed to have no noticeable effect and the fan seems to spin smoothly when the motor is off, suggesting the howl is not coming from the bearing. Moving the fan by hand I can hear a slight rubbing, which may rise to a howl under power, but I'm far from confident about that. I'm suspecting the howl is from a bearing going out in the motor itself. I have the assembly out (that was a bit of a challenge) and expect to have the motor out for a close look later today.

I was surprised to find that the shaft from the bearing back to the fan mount and the far end of the motor are covered in a thick layer of what looks like oily black stuff more like what I'd expect to find in gasoline engine work, not electrical motor stuff. There is no sign of it on the inside blower motor.

For years I had a seeping gasoline leak in the gas tank not too far from the A/C. It is now fixed, but I'm wondering if the A/C could have pulled in enough gasoline fumes to accumulate the dusty/oily stuff. It does not seem to smell obviously of oil or gasoline.

At this point I know which blower assembly is creating the howl, and assume it must come from either a) the bearing at the outside end of the shaft, b) the fan rubbing somewhere, or c) the bearing going out in the motor itself.

Questions: Is there another possibility? and how can I determine which it might be? I hope to order parts tomorrow.

Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:13 AM   #13
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Update/correction

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Originally Posted by JucenBrudi View Post
Good morning gang,

I was surprised to find that the shaft from the bearing back to the fan mount and the far end of the motor are covered in a thick layer of what looks like oily black stuff more like what I'd expect to find in gasoline engine work, not electrical motor stuff. There is no sign of it on the inside blower motor.

It does not seem to smell obviously of oil or gasoline.
I'm back at it this morning and have taken a closer look at the black stuff. It does, in fact smell oily when you smear it and smell it up close.

Bruce
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:39 PM   #14
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Bearing down on a diagnosis/ How's this interpretation?

I may have found my problem. I disassembled the noisy blower assembly and did a quick test of the motor, itself, no fan attached. It runs quietly.

The fan shows no sign of rubbing anywhere.

I've cleaned the oily stuff off.

I have inspected the bronze bearing. It has an oil cup and what looks like a bronze bushing that the shaft rides in. I would have expected that the bronze "bushing" should turn freely in the housing, but it doesn't. If so, the bearing is frozen and likely is the source of my problem. If it isn't supposed to turn freely, then I'm quite puzzled about my problem.

I'd relax a bit if I had confirmation of this interpretation and figure all I need to order is a new bearing.

Bruce
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