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 Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 02:45 am
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Bill LePera
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Hello.

I have a Westinghouse Mobilaire two-speed fan that's been in our family for three generations.  This is a three blade fan, and sort of a powder blue/aqua color.  The fan runs on both high and low speeds, but recently has begun making a humming sound when it runs.  The sound is louder when running on high.  The fan still manages to pull air through the entire house, so apparently whatever's wrong is not affecting operation too much.

I was thinking of having the motor rebuilt, but after reading some of the postings in this forum I'm beginning to think a complete rebuild may not be necessary.  Are there other repairs that can be made to a motor short of a full rebuild?  Or would it be better just to have the whole thing rebuilt, given it's age?

As an aside, is there any way to date these fans?  The model number on the switch plate is tough to read, but I believe the model number of the fan is MA-4020.

Thanks,

Bill

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 Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 02:57 am
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Myles Gifford
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id say the humm it makes is due to it needing oil get soom spout of blue can 3 in 1 oil and loscate bouth the front and the back oil ports and see if that helps get rid of the hum

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 Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 04:11 am
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Mark Allen
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Try tightening the set screw in the blade, there is a hole in the shaft it goes in to and will make noise but work if even the slightest bit loose. Oil it both ends, there is a small hole over the bearings on each end.

If I recall mid to late 50's, someone correct me if I am wrong.

Last edited on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 04:13 am by Mark Allen

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 Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 01:23 pm
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Bill Kreiner
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Bill LePera wrote: Hello.

I have a Westinghouse Mobilaire two-speed fan that's been in our family for three generations.  This is a three blade fan, and sort of a powder blue/aqua color.  The fan runs on both high and low speeds, but recently has begun making a humming sound when it runs.  The sound is louder when running on high.  The fan still manages to pull air through the entire house, so apparently whatever's wrong is not affecting operation too much.

I was thinking of having the motor rebuilt, but after reading some of the postings in this forum I'm beginning to think a complete rebuild may not be necessary.  Are there other repairs that can be made to a motor short of a full rebuild?  Or would it be better just to have the whole thing rebuilt, given it's age?

As an aside, is there any way to date these fans?  The model number on the switch plate is tough to read, but I believe the model number of the fan is MA-4020.

Thanks,

Bill

I will check my catalogs when I get home. I have catalogs covering the mid-1930s to mid-1960s period.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 01:09 am
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Bill LePera
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Thanks to everyone who replied.

I removed the front grille and checked the set screw.  It seemed tight.  I used a 1/8 hex key to remove the screw, thinking I would remove the blade and run the motor without it to see if it still made the noise.  However, the blade assembly would not come off, it's stuck to the motor shaft.  I did notice there was some front-to-back play in the motor shaft, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.

I replaced the set screw and tightened it securely.  I then oiled the front and rear ports, vacuumed out some dust, and replaced the front grille.  Noise is gone now, at both low and high speeds.

I would have liked to vacuum out the dust from the rear of the fan, but it doesn't look like there's a way to remove the rear grille without damaging the rubber (?)  gasket that holds it in place.  I assume this type is meant to be serviced from the front, by removing the motor from the fan housing.  I'm a little reluctant to mess with the wiring, which is probably almost 50 years old and brittle.

So, it's running, quiet, and cooling the house.  Thanks again.

Bill

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 03:41 am
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Mark Allen
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Find a way to blow out the dust from both ends like with some shop vacs you can use the hose to blow or an air hose. Dirt in the motor blocks the air flow from cooling the motor windings, I have seen many that were burnt up because of the motor overheating.

Good luck, I have 8 or so Mobilair fans and a few more of the similar Riviara and love them all. About 6 or more different styles of Mobilairs, I never knew there were so many.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 06:31 am
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Russ Huber
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http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=8C9hAAAAEBAJ&dq=2521920

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=cWluAAAAEBAJ&dq=2628020

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=BahFAAAAEBAJ&dq=2792512 :up:

If the motor design in the motor patent matches your fan...just look for another functional motor if you can.  These fans are not rare.  Westinghouse designed that motor cheap, and cheap is what you get with....that motor. :cry:  Those rollabout fans became popular in the late 40s and 50s with different manufacturers.

Last edited on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 06:34 am by Russ Huber

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 07:15 am
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Russ Huber
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Earlier motor. :up:

Attached Image (viewed 10274 times):

MobileEarly.JPG

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 07:16 am
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Russ Huber
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The cost cutter motor. :D

Attached Image (viewed 9592 times):

Mobilaire.jpg

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 Posted: Thu Jul 9th, 2009 07:22 am
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Russ Huber
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There was nice one of those things sitting in a musty basement not to far from Happy Haroldson of Minnisoda.  It was a antique shop that is now out of business.  I would bet all of Loren's money it is still sitting idle in that old basement. :up:

Last edited on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 07:22 am by Russ Huber

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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 09:45 pm
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Wilma Rojas
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Are motors for the Mobilaire available??? or only rebuilding an option?

Thanks, WR

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 12:22 am
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Rob Duffy
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Wilma Rojas wrote: Are motors for the Mobilaire available??? or only rebuilding an option?

Thanks, WR

I don't know if any other motor would fit the frame, you may have to rebuild it. Could be expensive but I would say it is worth it in my opinion, those Mobilaire fans are excellent air movers. :up:

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 11:19 am
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Wilma Rojas
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Thanks so much - - - would LOVE to have my Mobilaire working again -
rebuild would be costly!!! Will keep looking for fan motor!

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 12:44 am
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Greg Miller
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Well, not that I'm gonna give this one up, but a few box fans of the period were also made with that motor. You already stated that you had a three-blade, so the later motor is most likely what you're dealing with. I had a similar problem with this one, but after oiling, it's silent and has been running in the bedroom for the past week solid.

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DSCN0697.JPG

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 12:56 pm
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Tom Zapf
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I have read all the comments and have a question for you. Your fan is 3 wing blade  which is a 17" model and those came out in 1954 with a transition from the rounded motor to the hexagon  motor which lasted until 1960-ish. later 3 wing mobilaires had less "rings" and standard box fan motors and black or brown blades in housings that were blue, 2 tone tan, avocado etc. The guys are right, try oiling the motor to insure you arent hearing dry bearings. is your three wing a tilting model or just points straight ahead? the tilting models in the mid 50's started the brown/tan scheme while the stationary models were still westinghouse blue. Tilting models usually had one less "ring" and a different badge. If it is a tilt model, the back of the armature might be touching the bearing (motors had some sort of non metallic spacer between metal, and they break and wear away). you could also have a loose winding. is there any "buzz" on startup? I have numerous rivieras and mobilaires and box & window fans and have never had any complaints about any W motor and think the hex motors have given me graet service.... if you can avoid removing the rear grille, try not to. If you have the rubber ring, yours is probably 1956 ish and are a bear to get on and off......tom

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 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 11:40 pm
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Tom Zussman
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i have a westing house fan that looks like a mobile air, only it has a 4 over lapped blade and just 4 rubber feet. it has the old motor too. i cant find any info on this model at all.

anyway, oil it up front and rear, check shaft play, one of my fiber bushings deteriorated when i opened up the motor to clean it, it will hum if you tilt it forward, however mine is always straight ahead.

also, look at the rivets holding in the motor, sometimes they will get just a tiny bit of play making a humming sound. if its just a tiny bit loose,  a little dental floss between the joint will work.

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 Posted: Wed May 12th, 2010 03:09 pm
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Tom Zapf
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Tom your fan sounds like a 16" Riviera from the early 50's. By 1954 this fan was a 17" with the older style motor but a 3 wing blade. The first of the hex motors was being tried that year in the double riviera which had 17" overlapping blades for a huge twin unit, but my 1954 catalogue shows the single riviera as with the earlier round motor. If your Riviera has the large removeable handle on top, it has a spring loaded clip section for the V shaped window mount. You could tip the fan on its back and the handle and two rear rubber feet held it off the floor and the advertising said it sprayed a "fountain of air"....... I have one too and they move good air. The 4 wing version is older than 1954. The double Riviera was called the "Big Twin Window Fan" and was shaped like a medicine caplet. One fan faced front the other faced rear and they over lapped and pushed air in one direction. The thing is huge!. The ads comment on how compact it is compared to a 24" window fan... Hilarious. To add to the lineup, Westinghouse turned this unit on its ed (picture the caplet going up and down), mounted it on a roll stand and called it a "Super Mobilaire" . I have never seen one in real life....

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 Posted: Tue May 18th, 2010 01:14 am
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Tom Zussman
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yep i found it in a online magazine. its a 1953 riviera. got it for free from a guy who comes to our shop to pick up scrap metal, he said he just saw it laying by the curb, he was going to junk it but i asked and got it.

it runs pefectly, all it needs is a new handle (old one cracked) and paint and it will be close to perfect.

i noticed it has a very strange air stream, like its coming from the rim of the fan  not in a tight beam.

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 Posted: Tue May 18th, 2010 01:52 pm
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Tom Zapf
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that is odd, they usually did a good job shooting air straight out. email me a picture if you can tdog58@verizon.net

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