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So I have read a few posts on the forum where a fan clutch goes bad and is needed to be replaced. Here is just my experience with the issue, hopefully I'm able to help someone else out. I am also looking for validation on my issue as well if anyone has any input.

Model Year: 2005 Frontier, 160k miles
Symptoms: Fan is just extremely loud. When I start up my truck it is loud, when I rev the engine it is louder, the fan clutch seems to never disengage. No overheating occurs obviously, as there is plenty of airflow. The engine fan is also not able to be freely spun at cold temperatures (checked in the morning when it was around 50 degrees outside and the truck was cool).

What I've done: I purchased a replacement fan clutch from Auto Zone. It was slightly different than mine as it has some sort of spring on the front instead of some straight bar-looking thing that went across. This did not fix the problem as this one seemed to be as stiff as, if not stiffer than, the original. I held it in front of my AC unit in my house to get it nice and cold and it seemed to free up for just a second, then locked back up.

I've read in many sites around the internet that the replacement fan clutches are almost always engaged and that they are not as good as the OEM replacements. I ordered an OEM one through Nissan Parts Deal (is this a good site? anyone use it before?) for $165. The AutoZone one was $100 but I'm willing to spend money on a better product. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
 

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I purchased a replacement fan clutch from Auto Zone. It was slightly different than mine as it has some sort of spring on the front instead of some straight bar-looking thing that went across. This did not fix the problem as this one seemed to be as stiff as, if not stiffer than, the original. I held it in front of my AC unit in my house to get it nice and cold and it seemed to free up for just a second, then locked back up.
They're all pretty stiff, until you install them and let the engine spin them for a few seconds.

That's why they all "roar" for the first few seconds after a cold start - It takes a moment for centrifugal force to sling the silicone-based oil out far enough to disengage the stiff mechanical connection between the pulley side and the fan side of the clutch.

So, the fact that your Auto Zone clutch feels stiff when you attempt to turn it by hand isn't necessarily an indication that it's defective - but the fact that you bought it at Auto Zone probably is...
 

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They're all pretty stiff, until you install them and let the engine spin them for a few seconds.

That's why they all "roar" for the first few seconds after a cold start - It takes a moment for centrifugal force to sling the silicone-based oil out far enough to disengage the stiff mechanical connection between the pulley side and the fan side of the clutch.

So, the fact that your Auto Zone clutch feels stiff when you attempt to turn it by hand isn't necessarily an indication that it's defective - but the fact that you bought it at Auto Zone probably is...
I guess that makes sense, but to me it doesn't explain why you should be able to free-spin the engine fan while it is off and cool. I don't see a difference between that and spinning it by hand. Either way, the clutch definitely stays engaged the whole time as the fan roars with the RPMs. Thanks for your input.
 

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Mine is the same way it is my third one and the one on it is a oem one from the dealer.
My experience is that it is normal, saving up for a e-fan.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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You don't really explain what you mean by "loud". Is the airflow loud? Is the fan hitting the shroud making a loud noise?

The fan is operating as it should be. My guess is that you have the loud roar of the fan blades spinning and the tips breaking the sound barrier. or the shroud may not be attached properly allowing more air to move than what should be.
 

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My two Frontiers in Arizona desert have no cooling issues with regular fan clutch and fan blade, no need to go electric, these are engineered well.

Just returned from 1700 mile trip through Colorado in the 2004 Frontier, and a 200 mile trip to Flagstaff in the 1998 Frontier.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Loud being that the fan clutch is always engaged and therefore the airflow is loud. It is a known problem and does decrease HP and mileage. My dad also has a Frontier around the same year and it is much quieter as the fan is able to disengage when it isn't hot out.

The OEM fan clutch should be coming in on Monday so I will keep yall informed as to whether or not it does disengage or if all of them are just going to be this way now.
 

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Update: I received my OEM fan clutch a couple days early thanks to USPS. The new fan clutch out of the box seemed like it was gonna be another stiff one. It did seem slightly looser but I didn't believe it would actually spin freely. I got it installed today and everything is MUCH quieter and I can freely spin the fan while cool now! So the autozone part got returned. If anyone has this issue I recommend buying from Nissan as their fan clutch replacement was actually what I needed. It was much cheaper going through NissanPartsDeal
 

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Good to know, thanks.

The O'Reilly replacement fan clutch on my 1998 Frontier seems OK.
 

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Loud being that the fan clutch is always engaged and therefore the airflow is loud. It is a known problem and does decrease HP and mileage. My dad also has a Frontier around the same year and it is much quieter as the fan is able to disengage when it isn't hot out.

The OEM fan clutch should be coming in on Monday so I will keep yall informed as to whether or not it does disengage or if all of them are just going to be this way now.
By freely spin by hand when cold with the engine off, can you give perspective? Does it merely turn by hand, or if you "fling it" will it freewheel and keep spinning?

And the bad one, you are unable to turn by hand at all (completely locked up) ?

And when you say your dad's is able to disengage, does it stop or nearly stop spinning with the engine running and it is cold outside?

Just trying to get an idea so I can tell if mine is acting normal.
 

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Same thing was happening to me. In trying to find my overheating issues, I replaced the fan clutch with one from Autozone. I put it on and immediately noticed how much louder it was than normal. Like a garbage truck when the compactor is running loud. It seemed to work ok so I tried to ignore it. I finally got tired of it and got an OEM one and put that on. Made a HUGE difference, and even seemed to improve my gas mileage by 1mpg.

After getting a faulty tstat from Oreilly's and the fan clutch from Autozone, I have vowed to never by non-oem parts for the critical stuff ever again.
 

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I've also had the same experience and ONLY buy OEM thermostats now. I think a fan clutch falls in the same category of critical parts.
 

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Mine is doing the same thing. Could be bad fan clutch but I can still spin the fan with my hand when truck is off. Here's a video to better understand.

 

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I got the "heavy duty" one from RockAuto ( here ), and it runs loud at startup, but goes back to normal within a minute. The stock clutch had failed so that you could stop it by hand while the engine was running. At this point I find the loudness reassuring...
 

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After getting a faulty tstat from Oreilly's and the fan clutch from Autozone, I have vowed to never by non-oem parts for the critical stuff ever again.
Three and a half years ago was all loaded up in my '98 Frontier to go up north, started it up and charging light stayed on; tested, wasn't charging. I changed clothes, removed alternator (had oil and gunk on it, 188K miles), got lifetime warranty replacement at local O'Reilly, changed clothes, went underneath, saw water pump started leaking without the belt tension from the alternator. Installed alternator to test (OK), changed clothes, went back to O'Reilly, got lifetime water pump. Changed clothes, started to remove fan clutch to do the water pump, found that was pretty much locked up. Changed clothes, back to SAME O'Reilly, got lifetime fan clutch. Went home, changed clothes, installed all.

Yep, changed clothes a lot that day !!! 3.5 years later, all those parts are still working fine, I'm satisfied, now at 215K.


And when the water pump started weeping on my 2004 Frontier with same engine, O'Reilly noticed that I had purchased that part in the past and gave me a new one free for that.
 

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I am so grateful I found this forum. I had the same issue with my fan. I followed the advise of a member above and switched out my brand new AutoZone one for and OEM one i bout from a dealer. Problem solved!!
 
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