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Repair Help-1948 Nutone Bath Ceiling Exhaust Fan slow to start  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Nov 6th, 2021 07:09 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Hello! I will apologize for being a newbie right from the start because I am delving into territory that I am not at all familiar with, my brother was the mechanical/motor guy so I always called him for this stuff, but he's gone now.I have a 1948 house, and I love all the original fixtures and have repaired everything I can that was original to the house. 
My issue today is that the ceiling exhaust fan (Nutone) in the bathroom is working but is very slow to start up. I had no idea that you need to lubricate them (learned that in this forum, thanks!) so I am thinking that that might be the problem, but I am just guessing.I took the cover off, cleaned the filter, and used dust-off and a rag to get all the obvious lint off, as I have done many times over the years, but it is still slow to start. 

My Question is: Why is it slow to start? Does it need to be oiled? If so, where/how to I oil it?  I would appreciate any and all advice! Thanks.

Last edited on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 02:04 pm by Lisa Gruspier

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 Posted: Sat Nov 6th, 2021 07:11 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Model number?

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Model.jpg

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 Posted: Sat Nov 6th, 2021 07:11 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Cover

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Cover.jpg

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 05:32 am
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Rod Rogers
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Old oil or grease gets gummy and stiff with age. As the fan gets warm, it softens the gummy lube to act closer to normal.

You need to clean all the old lube out of the bearings and shaft, preferably by disassembly. Then use new oil. Use non-detergent oils such as 3-in-one (Blue label can) or "Zoom Spout". A knowledgeable guy at a good hardware store should be able to guide you to the right stuff if you don't have such oil.

Sometimes if you're REAL LUCKY, just adding fresh oil will soften things up, too. I can't tell from your pics where to oil, just look closely, and use common sense.....you may just find some obvious places to oil.

~Sparky~



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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 05:53 am
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Russ Huber
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And if you really want a quick fix to loosen up that ole oil varnish that has accumulated over the years between the rotor shaft and the bearings front and back...............if you can see way to spray WD-40 into the front and rear bearings(if it has front and rear bearings??)........it WILL help the fan to spin more freely by dissolving the old oil varnish .  Fact Jack.  :D



~ Russ Never Sleeps~

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 02:24 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Thanks for your replies! After four hours of examining the fan and doing research yesterday (I didn't want to make stupid mistakes), I finally plunged in to see if I could even get the fan removed from the ceiling. Turned off the breaker, unplugged the fan, and it literally just lifted off the three braces. I was literally laughing out loud at how easy it was. I REALLY love the way the old stuff is so well made. Upon inspection, I saw an oil hole, so I had to order the oil (both Zoom Spout and 3 in One Motor Oil) from Amazon because of course I didn't have any, no stores near me have it in stock (Walmart, Auto-Zone, Lowes, Pep Boys, Home Depot) and my local hardware store is closed on Sundays. Today I will do a thorough cleaning, then when the oil arrives I will see if it fixes the problem. If that doesn't work I will try taking it apart and removing gunk per your suggestions. 
Question: I am hearing I should clean the metal blades with soap and water (not immerse the unit though), but that doesn't sound like a good idea to me with electrical wires involved. I was thinking I would use dust-off, a toothbrush, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. Would rubbing alcohol harm the blades? Anyone have better ideas on how to clean the unit?


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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 02:57 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Last edited on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 02:05 pm by Lisa Gruspier

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 02:57 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Hole circled in red, that's not a oil hole, right?

Attached Image (viewed 134 times):

OilHole2.jpg

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 02:58 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Here is a side view of the fan, in case it might help with my questions.

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Inner.jpg

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 03:02 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Also, is there anything I should know about what not to do when cleaning that copper wire? I am just using a toothbrush at the moment.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 7th, 2021 10:18 pm
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Mark Olson
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Neither hole is an oil hole. The one circled in yellow is the set screw securing the blade to the motor.

The hole circled in red appears to be just a hole in the blade. There may not be oil holes on that open frame motor. WD40 as Russ suggested, where the shaft goes into the motor may be a good start. As far as cleaning, a scrubbie pad for the blades, with a bit of dish soap and water. Do not use any water on the copper wire part of the motor, just dust it off with an old tooth brush.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 8th, 2021 04:27 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Thank you everyone, it is working again! (at least for now)
Here's what I did:
-Cleaned the blades with rubbing alcohol
-Brushed off dust from the other parts with a toothbrush
-Used WD-40 on the shaft near the motor to hopefully get through any gunk
-Lubricated the shaft near the motor with Zoom (not through the hole in the fan blade or into the set screw,lol)
-Plugged it into a wall outlet to test and let the lubricant work 

Hopefully it will stay working, if not I will take it apart. I'm pretty handy around the house with most repairs but I'm scared of motors and electricity, so thank for the help!






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 Posted: Tue Nov 9th, 2021 07:33 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Hi Everyone, it's me again.
Rod was right, the blades slowed after using the fan twice, so I had to take the motor apart. I am happy to report that I was able to get the unit apart and back together, lol! 

I do have a question, though. Circled in red in the photo below is where I put the Zoom Spout oil. Did I put it in the right place? Where the two ovals are, there seemed to be felt pads, so I hope I didn't make a mistake by oiling them. Also, inside the red circles, where the bearings are, there seemed to be some papery stuff. Is that some kind of packing I should care about?

I am actually glad that this happened, because there was so much lint and crap up in the housing and around the plug that it was probably a fire hazard, so I'm glad I was forced to look up there and clean it out. I hadn't done it in the 20 years I've lived here, I've only cleaned the filter, but it's on my calendar every 6 months now to clean everything up there. And the motor was running really hot, I noticed it when I tested it before I oiled it, and after oiling it is so much cooler, just normal warmth. 

Also, is there a trick to balancing the blade piece?

Attached Image (viewed 70 times):

Internal2.jpg

Last edited on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 12:23 am by Lisa Gruspier

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 Posted: Thu Nov 11th, 2021 02:14 pm
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Lisa Gruspier
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Update: Fan is working well now!

Question: Where I oiled the bearings, there are felt pieces that hold the oil, and some are missing. Can I replace the missing felt with just any old felt, or is there special fan felt? Or does this missing felt mean that I just need to oil it more often?

Thank you for helping me on this journey. After 6 days of trial and error and help from this forum, I learned so much about motors and will hopefully remember some of it. In the very least, I have a new appreciation for fans and loved seeing all the pictures of vintage models here. Thanks!

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