E-Type radiator fan failure

Unlike most cars of its era, the E-Type uses an electric fan rather than one driven by the engine.   This was probably due to room in the engine bay, as other Jaguar models of the era used engine driven fans.   True to form, Jaguar used a very cheap fan (actually a windscreen wiper motor) with two blades like a propeller.  This fan was barely adequate in the UK in the 1960s and is completely unsuitable for the Australian climate.    When I purchased my car, it had been upgraded to an aftermarket fan, but not a great one.   I replaced it with the CoolCat fan, a popular upgrade on Series 1 E-types.

On the way back from the British Car Show, I noticed after I got off the freeway that the temperature was steadily climbing.   It was not a particularly hot day, nor was traffic a real problem for me.    Once the temperature reached 110c, I pulled over to see why.

On examination, I found my problem, E-type radiator fan failure.   This left me with a problem – I needed to drive through a high traffic area, so a working radiator fan would be essential.   Unfortunately while I had a tool kit, I didn’t really have much in the way of electrical supplies.   What I did have was a set of jump leads.   I was able to use a jump lead to test the fan directly from the battery and the fan still worked.  As soon as I applied 12v, it sprang into life and started to drop the temperature.    Running this for a few minutes got the temperature down to 70C.

E-Type Fan

One must be careful to not get the cable caught in the little fan for the alternator.  I did and I was left with two halves of the jumper cable.   This was actually ok.  I was able to use some masking tape to connect the fan wire to the severed end of the cable and limp the car home.   The masking tape also allowed me to properly insulate the 12v source.

The learning from this is that it is probably wise to carry some electrical tape and wire in the toolkit in each car.   It also shows that while older cars are less reliable than modern ones, if you run into trouble you have a much better chance of making a temporary repair to limp home.    I have not properly troubleshooted the issue, but I suspect either the temperature sensor or the fan relay.   Regardless of the problem I need a new relay.  I broke the current one trying to disconnect it from the fan.   This is unfortunate as I suspect it is the sensor.   In the meantime I can wire up an always on solution until I get new parts.

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