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Old 03-23-2004, 06:50 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 5
Noisy Fan/ 180E / 190E/ Air Conditioning problem

My daughter's 1993 180E 5 speed was a proper pain to drive with the air conditioning on.

The electromagnetic fan is wired so that when the A/c pressure builds both the electric fan and the electromagnetic fan are activated.

This means that the fan runs most of the time in summer in Australia.

The electromagnetic fan is about 18 inches in diameter and, judging by the effect on the car's performance must have consumed about 20 horsepower, not to mention the sound of a jumbo jet about to take off.

It was not too bad if the A/c temperature switch was moved about 1/4 of the way on but it ran almost 100% of time if the switch was more than 1/2 way on.

Experiments with the fan disconnected showed massive improvement in the driving pleasure and no discernible change in the A/c output. ie only electric fan running.

The system is wired so that the electric fan is not activated when the temperature of the engine is elevated so the engine would be vulnerable if the electromagnetic fan was disabled permanently.

My solution was to disconnect the electromagnetic fan at the connection just under the front of the air cleaner and "hot wire" the electric fan to the same connection.

In this way the electric fan only operates with the A/c but also operates when the engine temperature exceeds 100 degrees C.

Tests so far have proven massive improvement in driving pleasure (no howling fan or reduced performance) and the electric fan cuts in on long slow hill climbs and drops the temperature in short time.

I hope this quick fix helps others who are putting up with similar problems

Peter Cowie

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Old 03-29-2004, 03:34 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 627

I know exactly the problem you describe. I remember when I owned a 180E for a short time how the engine driven fan roared and sapped precious power from the 1.8 engine. With my current 2.3 the power loss is nowhere near as bad but the fan noise is still a problem. It beats me why the M102 never got the superior viscous clutch fan like the M103 and virtually all other engines.

I addressed part of the problem by swapping the wiring at the temperature switch at the front of the engine (which meant no wiring is cut or spliced). This means that rather than have the electromagnetic fan clutch engage the engine driven fan first at 100 C, my electric fan switches on at this temperature. Should the temperature continue to rise (which it never has), then the engine driven fan will engage at the higher temp (110 C I think). This mod not only avoids the problem of the noisy engine driven fan, but by way of the electric fan provides better engine cooling when idling in traffic on a hot day, something the engine driven fan could not achieve at idle. The electric fan is noisy outside the car but virtually inaudible inside. I have considered the possibility of a further mod whereby the electric fan engages at the (quieter) low speed (as used by the air-con) at 100 C and only uses the high speed should the higher temp ever be reached. I'm sure the low speed would be sufficient for most situations judging by how quickly the high speed pulls the temp down. I just haven't investigated this mod as yet.

I must admit that my mod does not address the problem when using the air-con as you describe. Mine still runs both the electric fan (at low speed) and the engine driven fan when demanded by the air-con. I would be interested to see what you have down with your daughter's 180E. Perhaps it's time you came along to a club meeting or event again, it's been a while. Alternatively we could compare notes at another time, we are only a couple of suburbs apart after all.


107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
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