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'03 Outback H6-3.0 Black Granite Pearl, base model with cold weather package and cloth seats.
1,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread is a separation from another thread I inconsiderately stepped on earlier in the week:
(my apologies...)

Yesterday, I suddenly had no blower fan, on any setting. A restart didn't fix it.
Turning the fan on, and giving the base of it a light whack from below with my hand DID start it running again, on all speeds (ACC).
Today, it runs, but sounds like there is something in there, or its off-balance and vibrating.

I'm guessing I have a mechanical, not electrical, problem.

Looking at the FSM pictures, it appears like the fan is held in by 3 screws. Reaching up beside the fan motor body, I can feel the mount points.
Are the screws in from above, or up from below? Is there a nut on the end of the screw? Different views can be interpreted various ways. IE., how much do I need to disassemble to get the motor and fan cage out for replacement?

Also, my fan motor body seems to have a loose shroud around it, not shown in the FSM. Does this complicate anything?

thanks and regards,
And grossgary's reply:

Originally Posted by wilsonhp View Post
Are the screws in from above, or up from below?
From below. Remove those 3 screws, slide off small hose and disconnect connector (both easily by hand) and the motor comes out. The loose shroud just comes off, no big deal.
The motor has little clearance and will confound you getting it out. It would help this thread to find or post in another thread about it if you can. This thread is about an un-diagnosed and hard to track down issue with multiple parts already replaced.

and now for the update:

The problem became progressively worse over a short period of time.

Yesterday, I was able to accomplish the swap. Went with an aftermarket fan motor assembly (TYC 700050, from Amazon), but it appeared mechanically essentially identical.

The bigger challenge was getting the old one out.
The issue is that there is a big bundle of wires right below the fan, blocking the path out due to the fan flange not wanting to clear the wire bundle. The solution was three-fold.
1-loosen attachment brackets for the wire bundle support,
2-move the carpet in the area down from under the bundle and gently move the wire bundle of wires down as far as possible, and
3-"flatten" the wire bundle a bit by gently pressing on it with the motor flange back and forth until it slipped past.

Replacement was kind of the reverse of the above with a bit of a trick.
It was harder to flatten the bundle as the sharp edge of the flange didn't want to slip over the surface of the bundle to help flatten it.
My solution was to use a 1.5 inch wide putty knife as a "shoehorn" to help the flange slip over the bundle and help flatten the bundle enough for the flange to slide over and get the motor in place. Used it just like a shoehorn, and it went right in.
@grossgary - what was the solution to the predicted confounding mentioned in your reply above? how about any suggestions to motor re-installation. Is there a better solution than I came up with?

This should be a relatively easy repair, so any tips would likely benefit the next lucky soul to attempt this.

thanks and regards,

OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
12,386 Posts
yep, just flat annoying. i ripped the wiring right out of the plastic holders so it moves more and just go bonkers on my own car. still a pain, the clearance is awful. not sure what i'd do with someone elses.

2004 Outback H6 35th Anniversary Ed
3 Posts
Pry bar works, too

I was having the same problem with the wiring bundle, so glad to find your solution. I was unable to loosen the wiring bundle, however. The 6mm bolt holding it in place was just impossible to reach with either a ratchet wrench (w/extension) or needle-nose pliers -- so I gave up on that idea. Instead of using a putty knife, I used a small pry bar to press the wire bundle flat, both during removal and when I replaced it. I found the pry bar was stiffer and also longer, enabling me to press down more firmly on the wires.

My reason for removing the blower was because I thought there was a rodent nest inside causing a bad rattling sound. (I literally skidded to a stop and jumped out of my car when the noise first started because at first I thought there was a rattlesnake in the passenger compartment!!) However, there was no nesting material inside (or snake). I tested the blower before I put it back into the housing (just temporarily reattached the plug), and the noise had stopped. So now I'm puzzled but keeping fingers crossed that the noise doesn't return. I'm not crazy about going through that whole project again -- my neck is stiff from the crazy upside-down position I was in! But at least now I know how to do it. (I had removed a blower before in an '04 Forester, but the process is somewhat different for the Outback.)

If anyone has ideas about the elusive rattling sounds, please let me know! I know it had/has something to do with the blower because it only happened when the blower was on. And the sound was coming from exactly that area.
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