Pacific Energy Neo 1.6 Insert blower issue

TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
Anyone else have issues with the blowers that are installed on these units? Mine last about 1.5 burning seasons....what happens (same issue on 3 blowers now, just installed the 4th and need a 5th soon) is that they use a cheap rubber grommet to hold the top of the bird cage fan in place on the frame of the blower. Over time this rubber grommet wears out and the bird cage develops a "wobble" while running......well this wobble cause vibrations and these vibrations get sent throughout the insert making it sound like there are beer cans vibrating inside. Needless to say quite annoying....the first two were under warranty, now i am S.O.L.

I do not know why they didn't use a bearing on the top, anything to save a dime I suppose.

Anyone know of any fix or replacement that would fit? I will spend money for a good blower that will last....these cheap crap things are costing me $125 each.

Other than the stupid blower design I love the look of the flush unit, well built, good burn times and heat for a small fire box...

Thanks.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,180
South Puget Sound, WA
Can yoj post a few pictures of the fan, installed and out that show the grommet and where it attaches?
 

TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
I will when I get home (at work now). I have an old one, saving them hopefully for a fix, hate to toss out a perfectly fine blower for a bad 60 cent part.

I have also contacted the blower manufacture asking for the replacement grommet, they said because it's special made for P.E. I have to go through them.....well they never responded to my email or called me back. I'm one who doesn't like to repeat myself or ask for things twice.......I just "move on...." if you know what I mean.
 
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bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
285
NW Oregon
I will when I get home (at work now). I have an old one, saving them hopefully for a fix, hate to toss out a perfectly fine blower for a bad 60 cent part.

I have also contacted the blower manufacture asking for the replacement grommet, they said because it's special made for P.E. I have to go through them.....well they never responded to my email or called me back. I'm one who doesn't like to repeat myself or ask for things twice.......I just "move on...." if you know what I mean.
Yes, my experience with PE is that their is NO CS at the manufacturer/factory level. I find that extremely disappointing in an otherwise very quality product.
Harass the dealer until you get those grommets! There is no reason not to get a simple part like that. In the very horrible distribution system that PE has set up -- the dealers & suppliers (warehouse markup guys) are supposed to take care of the customer. Most of the dealers seem to be Spa businesses that just sell stoves to have something to do in the winter -- which aggravates the situation considerably.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,180
South Puget Sound, WA
Fortunately we have a great dealer and almost no issues with the Alderlea, but I still occasionally contact PE for Hearth.com questions I can't answer. They usually respond within a week or two depending on the question.

In this case I suspect the design has something to do with vibration isolation. If so, there may be a workaround that is more permanent, but it may make the blower a bit noisier if a thru bolt is employed due to vibration transmission through the stove body. Good that you have an old blower to experiment with. I'm wondering if Sugru could be used to repair or refashion the broken grommet.
 
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TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
Harass the dealer until you get those grommets! There is no reason not to get a simple part like that.
Yeah I will.......they are a true fireplace shop that's been in business for as long as I can remember....30 + years....always treated me well.....I told them what the problem was when the blowers we under warranty, they didn't offer to see if they could get the grommets, they just gave me new complete units, maybe now they would.

I'm wondering if Sugru could be used to repair or refashion the broken grommet.
The grommet is not broken, it's worn out....I'll try to explain it......on top of the fan / bird cage there's an axle, this axle fits into a hole in the rubber grommet (that's mounted on the blower assembly where a bearing should be) the high revolutions of the axle wears out the hole (making it larger) and the fan then wobbles.........grommet on the top axle, bearing on the bottom axle.....horrible engineering....the pictures will show better. The assembly is mounted by three screws with foam between the motor and insert, I assume the foam is there for anti-vibration properties. I tried replacing the not so heavy duty metal screws with nut and bolt and loctite - no luck - still vibrated.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,180
South Puget Sound, WA
Got it, your explanation and the pictures illustrate the problem perfectly. I looks like there is a metal collar held captive by the grommet. Is that correct? If so I am wondering if a) the blower manufacturer has a bearing version of the blower that you could purchase or b) if a ball bearing could be fitted into a grommet or c) a ball bearing could be moulded in and held captive using Sugru (a mouldable glue).

For anyone with this blower I would recommend lubricating this shaft and sleeve with a good lithium lubricant at least once a season.
 

TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
I never noticed but there is a collar or sleeve inside....it's made of plastic though....I'll try the manufacturer again but it's special made for P.E., I doubt they have the same one in a bearing version but I suppose I'll ask....all I really need is the little sleeve that goes inside.
Thanks
20170303_194127.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,180
South Puget Sound, WA
That's nuts to put a plastic sleeve bearing in there. It should be metal and lubricated.
 
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TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
That's nuts to put a plastic sleeve bearing in there. It should be metal and lubricated.
Or make the part readily available at .07 cents.

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armanidog

Burning Hunk
Jan 8, 2017
195
Northeast Georgia
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TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
Yes thanks.....someone else recommend taking it to a grainger shop and seeing if they can match something up....

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TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
I made an observation last night, I'm kinda shocked I didn't notice this before, but the "peak" of the vibrations seem to occur when the insert is cranking at its hottest / when secondaries are on full throttle. They were vibrating when i went to bed and quite this morning when i woke up. I suppose that high heat would make that plastic sleeve expand allowing for the bird cage to wobble and vibrate.

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TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
559
NE Ohio
For anyone with this blower I would recommend lubricating this shaft and sleeve with a good lithium lubricant at least once a season.
So the vibrations were so bad on the left motor that I actually unplugged it and only ran the right side...........having nothing to lose I took begreen's advice.... I removed the grommet and sleeve and lubricated it with brake caliper grease....1) because it's what I had in the garage 2) it has a kinda high heat rating.
Working like a charm, 3 days and running like brand new with zero vibrations. I will respond to this post once it starts getting noisy again and if another grease job fixes it again.

20170315_164827 (1).jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,180
South Puget Sound, WA
Good news. One thing I would be concerned about is if there are any oils in the lubricant. If yes, they might break down the plastic over time. Graphite is a safe lube if this is the case.
 

ValleyCottageSplitter

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2016
438
Rockland Co, NY
Yes. Poor design indeed. Viscoelastic/rubber damping materials should be put in parallel with some type of low creep/high strength material (metal such as steel\titanium) or used at specific low stress levels. They are using a bushing instead of a bearing? It makes no sense. It's likely delrin, a low friction (and cheap) plastic. It will also wear faster than a harder material, but may be quieter. It probably costs about $0.50 or less to manufacture that in quantity.

So is it the plastic bushing that is wearing out or the rubber grommet? You could check
Mcmaster for bearings, there might be something that fits: https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-ball-and-roller-bearings/=16rt032
They have some replacements for the grommet too. I would just check the RPM range and the high temperature PEEK bearings might be safest if they meet the RPM range. That should drastically increase the life.

It looks like CRC brake grease is supposedly "rubber and plastic safe". It is meant for metal to metal surfaces, so it might not be ideal for lubrication but I don't think it will deteriorate the plastic.
 
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Slagathor

New Member
Sep 16, 2020
6
New Jersey
Anyone else have issues with the blowers that are installed on these units? Mine last about 1.5 burning seasons....what happens (same issue on 3 blowers now, just installed the 4th and need a 5th soon) is that they use a cheap rubber grommet to hold the top of the bird cage fan in place on the frame of the blower. Over time this rubber grommet wears out and the bird cage develops a "wobble" while running......well this wobble cause vibrations and these vibrations get sent throughout the insert making it sound like there are beer cans vibrating inside. Needless to say quite annoying....the first two were under warranty, now i am S.O.L.

I do not know why they didn't use a bearing on the top, anything to save a dime I suppose.

Anyone know of any fix or replacement that would fit? I will spend money for a good blower that will last....these cheap crap things are costing me $125 each.

Other than the stupid blower design I love the look of the flush unit, well built, good burn times and heat for a small fire box...

Thanks.
Could you tell me where you are getting these blowers for $125 a pop? Only seeing 250 for one side, almost 400 for the other currently.