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Author Topic: 1993 Espace - heater fan only works on fastest (4th) setting?  (Read 16760 times)
Posts: 9

« on: September 26, 2006, 08:11:09 pm »

My Espace interior heater fan was working fine until today. Now it only works on the fastest (4th) setting? I can hear the relay clicking when I turn the fan on but it only works once it's on the 4th setting. This fault is the same regardless of the direction setting (screen, feet, face, etc.)

Has anyone had the same thing happen and know the cause?
Lennart Sorth
YaBB God
Posts: 819

« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 10:52:03 pm »

Now it only works on the fastest (4th) setting?

Yep, been there done that. :-)

First of all, there are two relays involved - and at least one (or two?) fuses.
Check this diagram:

the most likely cause is the resistor '298' to the right on that diagram.

The system is made as cheaply as possible (accountants rule!) - and thus the different speeds are simply obtained by burning off the excess power in a resistor (!)
So if you use level 1 or 4 doesn't matter - it will pull the same amps from the supply.

This fan-resistor obviously gets rather hot, and has thus been placed in its own airstream - which make sit last longer (GOOD!) - but at the same time makes it a bugger to get at.. (BAD).

It CAN be done though, - from the engine side. Remove wipers, and disassemble the heater airbox - there shoud be a connector on the lefthand (car-centric) side.

The german spoken  www.espace-freunde.de has a very well written howto here:
with nice pictures and everything.

The resistor itself is on the expensive side (in the region of 50EUR, as I recall), but thats still nowhere near the amount of hours you'd pay for, if you delivered the car to a dealer to have this fixed .-)

PS: To be fair, it is not only Renault who used this cheap solution for fan-speeds, - nearly every manufacturer did - including "ever reliable" VW and Toyota. Nowadays I think this is commonly controlled by a computer and some thyristors ... not that this makes me any happier to be honest.


Murena 1983 1.9i silver // Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0d 2012 white // Smart 4two cdi 2010 blue //
Posts: 9

« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 01:01:17 am »

You've been a great help Lennart. Looks like I'll be a busy man over the next few weeks. Many thanks!
Jr. Member
Posts: 44

« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 01:09:45 pm »

The resistor itself is on the expensive side (in the region of 50EUR, as I recall), but thats still nowhere near the amount of hours you'd pay for, if you delivered the car to a dealer to have this fixed .-)

Thank you very much for this (old post) advice. My aged J63 developed the same problem, with the same cause.

Lennart is right that the fan motor and resistor are horrible to get at, and that the wiper mechanism has to be removed before the heater box. On mine, right-hand-drive, one of the heater box fixings is incredibly difficult to get at. I had to buy a 10 mm flexible-end ratchet spanner, and extend it with another spanner, to reach past the heater box, heater and air-con pipes, and brake master cylinder, and even then it must thave taken 15 minutes to remove that single nut.

The good news is that a new resistor pack is not needed. There's a little thermal fuse, cost 99p online (about €1.20) including postage, along the side of the resistor. Cut out the old fuse and connect a new one, with a crimp or screw connector rather than solder, and save the cost and waste of a complete resistor. The critical information needed is the cut-out temperature, which is 240 C for mine. Look for "thermal fuse 240C" and buy one before starting work. Check the temperature marking on the old fuse when you do get it out, though: this is a safety-critical part, to avoid a fire if the heater air-flow stops.

The reason my resistor overheated is that the fan motor bearings needed lubrication, so the fans were not running fast enough. I've given the bearings a few drops of oil (transmission oil, but I don't think that's critical). Ideally I would have replaced the fan motor's carbon brushes as well, but they look to have another 100 000 km before wearing out.

Before fixing the heater airbox back in the car, rest it on top of the engine and connect up all 3 cables, turn on the ignition and test the fan at all speeds. That can save a lot of work if something's not running smoothly and quietly.

I would like to replace the sound-insulating soft cover of my heater air-box, because after 24 years it's getting ragged. Is it possible to get the right sort of engine-compartment-grade fabric and make up a new cover?

1994 Espace RXE 2.0 (J636)
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