Tag Archives: fix

Advisory: Failing Radiator Fans in Jeep JKs

My Jeep had been sitting in the garage for maybe a week.  So I decided to start it up one day, and was greeted with a new chime, and the dreaded Check Engine Light.

I ran my diagnostics through the Bully Dog, and the result was surprising – it returned codes for P0113 – Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit High, and P0480 – Fan 1 Control Circuit.

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I forced the fan on via the Bully Dog, and nada.  As a friend of mine recently replaced his fan assembly, I figured I was also looking at a $120 bill and 10 minutes of work.  Well I was wrong.  He has the 3.8l.  The new fan (OEM replacement) is a whopping $500 and very hard to find in stock.

With my wedding approaching (and the Jeep playing a key role in it) I was desperate to find out what was happening.

  1. Fuse and relay check.  I purchased some new fuses, and replaced it.  I ensured all relays and other stuff was firmly seated.

2. I inspected all wiring for abrasions and issues.

3. Last, I went on eBay and found a listing for a new fan for $300.

Before getting the new fan, a good friend came over with a much better understanding of vehicle electronics, and helped me further diagnose.

We soon found the problem!  There are 3 wires that comprise the fan harness.  Black is ground, red is hot, and green carries a signal between 9v-12v and that basically allows the fan to operate on a scale based on engine temps.  It isn’t a straight on/off fan.

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That little green wire had some sort of a short in the connectors.  We disassembled the connectors, reseated everything, and put everything back together.  I cleared the codes, and it has been great ever since.

So, before you panic and replace a $500 fan, check your wiring!

PS.  To the eBay seller in Miami that graciously let me cancel my order, thank you!!!

 

UPDATED: Fixing the “Dashboard Christmas Tree” in Jeeps

UPDATED 09/11/2017 with something new!  I was delaying changing out the positive terminal, due to all the aux wiring and everything.  I found a set of “Battery Terminal Shims” at my local auto parts store, and they work awesome!  Just remove the stock terminal ring, slide on the shim, and use a mallet to gently tap the ring back over the new shim.  No gap, no movement!

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UPDATED 10/8/2014 with a very important update!  Even though I applied this fix to my battery terminals, there must have been a very tiny gap that remained between my terminal and the battery post.

On a recent offroading trip, I was winching another vehicle and the additional strain on the battery caused a spark to arc and actually fused the terminal to the battery, causing battery failure.  The ground winch cable was too hot to touch. I was lucky to get out under power and make it home.  It remains an expensive fix (the OEM battery was only a year old) but if you are stuck in the woods, the costs and risks increase. Based on the temperatures, I would not rule out a fire risk. Please REPLACE your terminals immediately to prevent you from getting stuck, or worse.

Battery post with molten lead, fused terminal.
New battery, new terminals. I do plan on upgrading the terminals. These are temporary.

Original post follows:

The forums are ablaze with questions around concerned Jeep drivers, that their gauge cluster will suddenly light up, chime, and do some weird things – but only for a second or two.

I found myself dealing with this exact same problem in both my 2012 and 2013 Rubicons (the videos above are mine).  Taking the 2013 in under warranty, the dealer was just as perplexed as I was.  Eventually they changed the electronic sway bar disconnect motor (claiming it was not sealed for water and thus causing the short).

Continue reading UPDATED: Fixing the “Dashboard Christmas Tree” in Jeeps