Emerson Fan Blade Removal

3:19 pm Restoration

So you’ve obtained an antique desk fan, and you want clean it up and restore it, but you just can’t seem to figure out how to get the blades off. Based on a number of email inquiries, here are instructions for removing the blades from certain Emerson antique desk fans. You will need some basic tools, including an Allen wrench, a flashlight, and a wrench appropriate to removing the cage.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 1
Before you begin, you’ll need to remove the cage so you have easy access to the fan blades. Usually that means you need to undo the four bolts holding the cage assembly to the front of the motor casing.
Next, you need to examine the rotor of your Emerson’s motor using a flashlight. Look for a “blind” hole drilled into the side of the rotor. These are drilled by the manufacturer to remove some metal and balance the motor.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 2
Once you’ve found the hole, insert the Allen wrench through one of the vent holes in the motor casing and into the balancing hole on the rotor.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 3
The next photo shows a closeup of the Allen wrench inserted into the balancing hole.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 4
When you do this, be very careful not to damage any of the stator windings. They are very fragile and protected only with a layer of cloth tape.
Emerson Stator Windings
Once you’ve got the Allen wrench in position, grasp the fan blade by the blade hub (commonly called the “spider”). Yes, the blades will provide more leverage, but they bend pretty easily, and once you’ve bent a fan blade, it will never be the same again.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 5
The threads fastening the wheel hub to the rotor are left-handed, so you need to spin the hub clockwise to unscrew it. The hub on my fan had frozen onto the rotor, and no amount of physical force would get it turning. I trickled some penetrating oil down the hub so it could get into the threads and free things up, but even after that I had to heat up the hub spindle with a heat gun. The heated metal expanded and broke the threads loose. It made a terrible squealing noise when I unscrewed it.
Emerson Blade Removal, Part 6
And the blades are off! You’ll want to clean up the threads at this point to remove any crud or rust, and add some oil to make it easy to remove the blades next time.

12 Responses
  1. Danny Fisher :

    Date: December 31, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    I have an emerson model 79648 SD and I cant get the blade off. It doesn’t appear to work like this one you have. Any suggestions? Thanx

  2. eric :

    Date: February 23, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    Check the AFCA forums?

  3. John Given :

    Date: January 7, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    Thank you.
    I have turned the blades over and over looking for a set screw.
    I would have never figured that one out.

  4. Rob ittig :

    Date: January 25, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    Excellent!! Thanks for the tip

  5. Bill Huggins :

    Date: February 13, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    any suggestions on how to best balance vintage emerson fan blades.I have a floor model and have reworked the motor and wiring but the blades are out of balance and causes the fan to vibrate.
    Thanks,
    Bill

  6. eric :

    Date: April 28, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    Bill–it’s not too bad. The AFCA forums have some very detailed posts with photos, but I haven’t been there in a while so I don’t have a link.

    If you can get your hands on a Strobotac or mechanic’s strobe light, it’s very helpful for balancing. You can use the strobe to “freeze” the blades while they are spinning (if the rate is equal to the fan’s RPM), or you can “overlap” and compare multiple fan blades (by setting the rate to the fan’s RPM x the number of blades).

    Two ways to adjust a blade: You can adjust the “clock” by bending the blade clockwise or counterclockwise, and you can bend the blade inwards or outwards.

    It takes a bit of experimentation…

  7. gary shafer :

    Date: August 11, 2013 @ 4:25 am

    thank you so much now for the wiring

  8. val wetherington :

    Date: January 28, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

    Your instruction were wonderful and to the point. It worked great. It took about five minutes for me to remove the blade and take the whole fan apart. Wanted to thank you for the information and the help.

  9. Mike :

    Date: June 2, 2015 @ 9:44 am

    I have an Emerson 79648 AX. Are the fan blades supposed to free spin on the hub assembly? If not, how do I tighten them up?

  10. eric :

    Date: June 4, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

    No, I believe it is supposed to be riveted in place. You might try hammering it tight with a mallet, or perhaps dripping in a little superglue to hold it tight.

  11. John :

    Date: September 26, 2015 @ 9:39 am

    I have a Emerson 79648-AX
    It should be simple but I see no to get the cage off the blade, I have it loose but there no opening big enough to maneuver the blade out. Any suggestions?

  12. eric :

    Date: September 26, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

    John, hard to say since I’ve never worked on one of these. You might have to loosen the blades up first and then remove the cage and the blades at the same time.

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