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July 2012 Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on July 1, 2012
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Now, you might be sitting there after reading “fan fixin’” trying to figure out what in the heck me fixin’ a fan has to do with my electrical column. Well, you see, I’m cheap. I hate spending money on stuff. That’s why I tore apart two starters a couple of years ago and mixed and matched parts to get one that would bolt in and work. Sure, we only got 2,000 miles out of it, but that was 2,000 more miles than we would have gotten otherwise. I also like to tear into things to see if I can fix them. Sure, sometimes I don’t ever get the things back together and working again, but I almost always learn something by tearing stuff apart.

The electric fan and connector can be found in the front driver’s corner of the engine compartment. First, verify your fan is working by either turning on your A/C or getting the Jeep hot. If the fan comes on, you are set. Shut the Jeep off, unplug the fan, and grab your multimeter. Start the Jeep back up, and turn on the A/C. Now, put the meter in DC voltage mode, connect the black lead to your battery negative, and probe the connector with the red lead. When the meter reads positive 12-plus volts, you’ve found your wire. You’ll need to cut the wire. I do that on the Jeep side of the connector, about 4 inches away from the connector.

Oops, I guess that doesn’t really answer your question, does it? OK, here’s the deal. I was out in the desert for Tierra Del Sol’s Desert Safari this past March, and while I was hanging out by Trasborg’s ’98 Cherokee, a guy came up to me and asked if there was a way to put a switch on the electric fan. I started telling him all the different ways to do it, and it seemed like after the second or third different way, his eyes glazed over. Basically, he wanted a cheap and easy way to take control of the fan, and I was getting all complicated with it. So, my inner cheapness finally got the best of me, and I decided to sit down and figure it out. You can take control of the fan with a switch and a length of wire (or two) you most likely already have lying around somewhere.

On the ’87 to ’01 Cherokee and Comanche (through ’92), the engineers (not the train drivers, the pocket-protector guys) got the crap job of trying to fit an inline-six in a space that was designed for a V-6, and once they did that, they had to come up with a radiator big enough to cool it. Because of the short nose on the XJ/MJ, they ended up with a radiator that was a weird shape (11 inches tall and 36 inches wide), which made drawing air through it hard. Their solution was to offset a 15-inch engine-driven fan and sit it inside an 18-inch shroud. That left about 12 inches of core with no fan, so the pocket protector guys decided to add an electric fan. Stock, the electric fan automagically comes on when the A/C compressor is on, or when the Jeep is too hot. That’s cool and all, but what if you don’t want it on? Or what if you want it on before the Jeep gets too hot? Not a problem. Let ol’ Randy show ya three different ways to git er dun.

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