I'm with Steve (not that my opinion counts for a hill of beans relative to his...). The blower regulator has not failed - the fan works and changes speed just fine, right? If so, the regulator is just fine and you need a new fan minus the squeeky bearings.
The regulator is located directly under the fan; the fan must be removed to change it. The regulator itself is just a small box a few inches square with electrical wiring connected. It takes no more than 10 additional minutes to change it out with the fan removed.
Three hours sounds kinda high to change a fan on a 124 chassis car. I've had the fan out of mine once, and it didn't take two hours - and that's the first time I ever did it.