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How to identify the right fan clutch replacement


April 30, 2020

The door to your service shop swings open, and in comes a customer with a fan clutch that needs to be replaced.

As soon as he reaches the parts counter, you know every minute you spend trying to identify a replacement means downtime for the truck and a dip in revenue for the company and driver who operate it.

The clock is ticking. Here’s how to find the right fan clutch and get your customers back on the road. Now.

(By the way, “fan clutch” and “fan drive” mean the same thing. For these tips, we’ll be using both terms interchangeably.)

1. Locate the part number.

There are many types of fan drives, including on/off, two-speed and viscous models. But they all come from the manufacturer with a part number.

Horton part numbers are pin stamped on the front of the drive – usually either in the center, often near the fan pilot, or about halfway between the center of the fan mounting surface and its outermost edge.

Part number and serial numbers are also printed on an adhered tag.

Fan clutch part numbers are usually located in one of two places on the fan mounting surface.

For on/off and two-speed drives, the part number may be on the front or back of the fan mounting disc.

Other fan clutch manufacturers tend to put a printed sticker with the part number in a similar location on the drive.

 Examples of part numbers pin-stamped on fan clutches.

2. Head to and enter the part number in the search field to view repair and replacement options.

Whether it’s a Horton competitor part, this site contains a full database of common – and uncommon – drives and fan clutch cross reference information.

The clutch model will appear on the screen. Click on the Repair and Replacement Options tab to view upgrade, remanufactured and repair kit options.

Dealers and some independent distributors may have their own in-house parts lookup database containing the same information. In this case, feel free to use the Horton catalog for confirmation or as a second option if parts aren’t listed in your main system.

3. Decide which replacement is right for your customer.

Which repair or replacement option is the right one? It depends.

In general, a direct replacement or upgrade is the best option because lowers total cost of ownership of the vehicle, both by lasting longer and providing optimized cooling to relieve stress on the truck’s engine.

Price-sensitive customers may be interested in a reman drive, which is manufactured to the same OEM specifications and can come at a lower cost than rebuilding. This becomes especially cost-effective when customers turn in the damaged drive’s core for credit toward their reman purchase.

Most manufacturers also offer a handful of repair kits to essentially rebuild the drive yourself right at the shop. While certainly a viable option, kits can take longer to work with and it’s likely you’ll end up with unused parts when a drop-in replacement would’ve sufficed. But depending on availability and the individual customer you’re serving, kits can make perfect sense in a pinch

4. Check your inventory.

If you have the desired replacement part or repair kit in stock, you’re good to sell it or head back to the service bay and put in a work order. If not, there are a variety of ways to obtain it quickly:

  • Some manufacturers offer registered distributors the ability to view inventory and place orders via the Internet. Horton’s online parts ordering portal and corresponding network of North American QuickShip warehouses can get you parts in as few as 1-2 business days.
  • You can also contact the manufacturer directly and place an order over the phone. Horton’s QuickShip program allows any on-highway distributor or shop to view available warehouse inventory, then call customer service at 1 (800) 621-1320 to order the part(s).
  • There may be times when it’s quicker and more efficient to contact a nearby dealer or distributor and hop across town to get the part from them directly. A lot of successful parts managers and service counter representatives have a list of local contacts they can reach out to in a jam, so don’t underestimate the power of personal relationships throughout the supply chain.

What if I can’t find the part number?

There are times when the part number either wears off or becomes unreadable due to wear and tear. If you run into this, the Horton online catalog accepts VINs in the search field. Just enter the vehicle’s VIN, confirm the truck’s identity and view results that way.

If a VIN isn’t available, the online catalog offers advanced search options for both vehicle manufacturer and engine manufacturer year, makes and models. You can also search by product line or dimensions.