Fan Relay Wiring: Your 5-minute Why and How-to Guide

It is midday in summer, your car cooling fan is blowing, and then everything comes to a grinding halt. What do you think might have happened?  In most cases, the fault is terrible fan relay wiring.

Reading along, you will learn all about your vehicle’s cooling system. In particular, you will find how necessary the fan relay wiring is to the whole system.

What is the Cooling Fan Relay?

Cooling fan wiring diagram

A cooling fan relay controls when the electric radiator cooling fan turns on and off. It does so based on the temperature information it receives from either your car’s electronic control module or a thermostatically controlled sensor. 

For example, if the thermostatically controlled sensor measures an abnormal engine temperature, it signals the cooling fan relay to send a 12-Volt electric charge to power the fan. Consequently, your radiator receives a constant gust of cool air bringing its temperature down. Once the temperature drops below the threshold, your car’s electronic control module sends a new signal to the cooling fan relay instructing it to switch off the charge. 

However, you will find cars whose electric cooling fans continue running after the engine is shut off. 

What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Cooling Fan Relay?

Old relays

Here are the typical signs that you need to replace your cooling fan relay:

  • Your engine temperature is higher than usual. It means that the fan relay is not responding to the thermostatically controlled sensor or electric control module signals.
  • Your electric fan continues to run even after you turn off the ignition. Here, you may have a blockage within your fan relay system, causing the switch not to toggle between on and off.
  • Air-conditioning does not function. Some vehicles’ air conditioning compressor fans also use the fan relay to turn on and off. Consequently, they fail to turn on whenever there is a fault with the cooling fan relay system.

Where Do the Four Wires Of an Electric Fan Relay Go?

A relay without housing

Use our fan wiring diagram and guide to make sure you correctly wire your fans to your relay. Before that, let’s have a clear picture of where the four wires of an electric fan relay go.

  • First,wire 85 connects the relay to the thermostatic switch, which determines when the fan is operational. 
  • Secondly,wire 86 is the connection to your car’s ignition switch.
  • Third,Wire 87 connects to the electric fan’s positive wire.
  • Finally, wire 30 links to your car battery and requires a constant 12-Volt current.

Please note that the wire insulation colors may vary depending on your electric fan relay kit supplier.

How to Wire an Electric Fan with A Relay?

The type of electric fan cooling system you use depends on the amount of cooling you require. As such, you can opt either for single or dual cooling fans. Additionally, the installation procedure may vary depending on the electric fan relay kit you have.  

Wiring a Single Cooling Fan.

  single electric fan

  single electric fan

  1.  Firstly, remove your car’s stock mechanical fan and then mount your electric fan onto your radiator.
  2.  Then, install the single relay in a location where it is safe from excessive heat and water. Exposure to these elements can compromise the functionality of your new cooling system.
  3.  Next, connect each of the wires as per the wiring diagram. For example, wire 30 only connects to the fan’s positive terminal.
  4.  Finally, if all connections are correct, your engine should receive sufficient airflow to cool it.

Wiring Dual Cooling Fans.

Dual electric fans

Dual electric fans

The process of wiring double electric fan relay systems is quite similar to that above. However, the amount of space available may cause you to make some adjustments. For example, you can opt to use a single activation fan relay for both fans. However, doing so will require you to use a higher gauge connector wire and fuse a slightly higher amperage. Below is the procedure for installing a dual activation Fan Relay.

  1.  First, remove your car’s mechanical fan and mount the dual electric fans onto your radiator.
  2.  Secondly, install the activation fan relay kit in a location that is heat and moisture-free. You can either opt for a single activation fan relay for both fans depending on their required power to function. However, if they draw more than 15 amps each, you will need a dual activation fan relay. Cloom recommends the AR-79 with an amperage rating of 60 amps.
  3.  Next, install a 30-Amp fuse on both wire 30s of the dual activation fan relay and splice them to a single wire before reaching the battery. You can also add a circuit breaker to the setup to prevent any short circuits.
  4.  Then, splice both wire 85 from the dual activation relay and join them to a single conductor that connects to the thermostatic switch. Additionally, make sure that you have a ground connection from both fans as well. Finally, splice the wire 86 of each relay and conjoin them to a single conductor that connects to your ignition switch or your car’s fuse box.
  5.  With all connections in the right place, your engine cools even when idle.

Note:

The information is the standard installation procedure for Cloom electric fan relay kits. Also, you can refer to the wiring diagrams for each type to ensure that you have the correct connections to complete the circuits. 

Other General Information-Common Causes and Solutions of Overheating Problems

Below are some of the common overheating issues that you may have and their solutions.

Car overheating

Car overheating

Your cooling system leaks.

Coolant flows through your radiator through a series of hoses and pipes. Therefore, any leaks in the system may result in your engine overheating. You can remedy this by regularly inspecting your radiator and the cooling system as a whole and using high-temperature thread sealant to plug in any leaks.

You have a bad thermostat.

Engine cooling systems utilize a temperature-controlled sending unit to determine their level of operation. Additionally, they include a thermostat that measures the heat signals from your engine to regulate the fan’s speed. Therefore, any faults in your thermostat may cause the system to malfunction leading to engine overheating problems.

You have a faulty radiator fan.

Dust, moisture, and debris can cause damage to your radiator fan and prevent it from functioning at its best. Therefore, conduct periodic maintenance checks to ensure that it is always in tip-top shape.  

Conclusion

As you can see, an electric fan relay is necessary to ensure the painless performance of your engine cooling system. Additionally, you can also add an air conditioning relay. It allows for extra automation from the ac pressure switch for additional temperature readings. 

Consult Cloom for all your automobile wiring harness solutions and installation guides.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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