This is a story about our mysterious vanishing fan and a few very cold days in Utah:
After spending the winter in Park City you get used to it being colder in the morning and having to up the furnace a bit. This morning was a bit different and very, very cold. Our rig dropped to the mid 40s and no matter how high we turned the furnace up we couldn’t get it warmer. We turned on our fireplace and space heater to warm the rig and made sure our water lines weren’t frozen then went search and repair mode.
We went and checked on our furnace but did’t take the cover off yet. We heard a slight rattle and so we decided to investigate. We unloaded our underbelly and my wife grabbed some tools while I began taking the wall apart to get to the utility bay. Once I were inside the bay I could still hear the rattle but nothing appeared loose. I decided to shut down the furnace and take off the outer cover to see what was going on.
With the furnace cooled down I proceeded to remove the outer panel and began searching around for the rattle. I found a few thin black misshapen pieces of plastic that I couldn’t readily identify. After a few minutes of examination I realized it was part of my blower fan.
I proceeded to take apart the furnace to see what had gone wrong and to my surprise half my fan was missing. The fan was completely cut in half, almost as if someone cut each blade off and filed down the edges. It looked almost like it was supposed to be that way on purpose. After a quick parts search it was confirmed that the fan was missing its other half.
I took my rig to a local dealership and they told me that sometimes an animal (mouse) can get in there when its off and then can get caught in it, but there was no evidence of that. They also said they couldn’t explain where the other half the fan went and that the pieces were no where to be found. Their estimate was that it would take 1-2 weeks for warranty and parts ordering to get it squared away that is provided someone had the part in stock… Once again a quick net search turned up the part for only for $10 in-stock with an overnight shipping cost of $11. I placed the order and brought our rig back to our site and waited for the part.
The fan arrived the following morning and we began the repairs. After replacing the fan (very simple install) and kicking the furnace back on, we went about out day. About an hour later we got a rather unpleasant toxic smell in our rig. We shut down the furnace and once again and began to investigate. As it turns out we had to completely disassemble the furnace and remove it from the rig to find the culprit. I disconnected the furnace from it’s housing along with the wires and propane line. I removed all the vent houses and slid the furnace out. Once I had the furnace out of the compartment I began to find where the rest of the fan went. The fan had thrown all of the pieces that had broken onto the exhaust radiator. Because neither I nor the dealership had removed the furnace, this section was overlooked when searching for the pieces. The smell was from the plastic pieces of the fan being melted by the radiator. After clearing all of the debris and scrubbing off the burnt plastic, I reinstalled the furnace and it has been working perfectly since.
We felt that this needed to be shared with others because of how amusing and strange we found it to be. We hope you enjoyed our repair adventure.