E36 belt-driven (clutch) fan removal
Symptoms: You need to change belts, thermostat, etc; or the car overheats when idling because your belt-driven fan is broken.
Goal: remove the clutch fan
Performed on: '97 M3
Applies to: All 6-cylinder E36 cars: 325i, 325is, 328i, 328is, 323i, 323is, M3
Time needed: 30min
Disclaimer: I do not assume any responsibility for the correctness of these instructions or their applicability to the specified models. Use at your own risk! Also, use commons sense, don't do stupid things.
- These instructions will become more detailed soon, and I'll add pictures. For now, this is what I have:
- Remove the plastic panel on top of the front grille by unscrewing the 4 screws that hold it and removing the 2 screw-clips that hold it
- Remove the 2 retaining clips that hold the plastic housing around the fan (this is the housing that goes around the radiator and also holds the coolant tank.
- If you don't have the "fan removal tool", put a hex key (allen wrench) or some other thin object between the little bolts of the clutch fan pulley. Weave it through those bolts in a way that gives you leverage and allows you to apply pressure to turn the fan to the left (if you're looking at the car from the front). Don't actually turn it because that would mean making the belt slip.
- Use a 32mm wrench (or an adjustable wrench) to turn the big nut in the center of the fan's pulley to the right (clockwise). Note that this nut has reverse thread, i.e. you turn it clockwise to unscrew it. It will probably take quite a bit of force to untighten that nut.
- Once the 32mm nut is untightened, you can just spin the fan to the right and it will probably unscrew itself.
- When you've unscrewed the fan, it wll want to fall off, but there will be no room to fish it out of the plastic housing next to it. Thus you need to lift that housing a little (that's why we unclipped it earlier) to give the fan enough room to be pulled out from the top.
- Reinstallation is the reverse of removal. Don't forget to reattach the fan shroud/housing and make sure that the bottom part of that shroud is properly fit in its place (usually it goes out of its place when you lift it).