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How to minimize the headaches that come with a fan clutch rebuild


January 15, 2021

When a heavy-duty truck has a worn-out fan drive, the quickest way to get it back on the road is through a direct replacement using a new or remanufactured part. But every parts manager and repairman runs into situations in which a repair kit is the right way to go.

When you hear the words “repair kit,” you might cringe. They’re often overly complex, include way too many part numbers, and it can take a long time to figure out which one crosses to the part you’re trying to replace.

Here are four ways to reduce the stress that can come with kits and help you or your truck service customers get their repair bays turned over faster:

Look for a kit with dual-pilot functionality

Most heavy-duty cooling fans feature a pilot that’s either 2.56 inches or five inches in diameter.

Kits that include components for both pilot sizes eliminate the need to determine what size fan is being used. They also reduce the number of SKUs you’ll need on your shelves.

Horton’s latest DM Advantage repair kits, for example, can cover almost 95 percent of the DM Advantage fan clutch market with just four part numbers.

The more pre-assembled components, the better

Some fan clutch repair kits include around 20 different parts. That means more labor time and a more complex rebuild.

So look for a kit with as many pre-assembled components — like the clutch head and friction liner, for example — as possible.

Get your bearings

The bearing in the center of a fan clutch is one of the most important keys to ensuring proper, reliable engine cooling. If these bearings fail, it’s game over.

The best bearings are the same ones used in OE production. Make sure the kits you’re stocking include these.

You can think of it this way: the design engineers at Kenworth, Peterbilt, International, Freightliner, Volvo, Mack and other truck manufacturers go to painstaking lengths to ensure everything under their hood is of the highest quality. So don’t settle for anything less than what they’ve already identified as effective.

Look for kits that include the proper tools

Is there anything worse than working on a time crunch and digging around for the right tool?

Some of the newest kits out there come with the proper tooling, including cage nuts and the right Torx bit. It’s kind of like when your wife picks up a piece of furniture from Ikea and it comes with the properly-sized Allen wrench for the job.

Except better, because you don’t have to go into Ikea.