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Fiber washers for GE  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Dec 2nd, 2021 04:12 pm
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Paul Khoury
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I'm trying to find the dimensions of fiber washers I'd need for some near future fan restorations. I last did a restoration in 2007 (which was the last time I was also a member, though I plan to fix that after NYE). I recently acquired an AV Form S1 and an AO Form R (I think), both for around $100 each while on vacation. The AO needs the most work. The AV could use a new headwire, but I'm tempted to mostly leave it as is.
That said, I always struggled with washers before, and just reused the old ones. This time, I want to do it right. Also, would the washers help eliminate the play of the armature sliding back and forth in the stator? I'd probably order from McMaster-Carr.

I did use search before writing this post. Someone suggested a kit, but that company requires a $100 order, and since all but one of my 9 or so fans are GE, I don't anticipate needing other oddball sizes (nor a 1000+ part kit). I also had trouble finding these on homedepot.com.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 2nd, 2021 07:33 pm
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Dave McManaman
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Yes, the fiber washers are specifically designed to center the armature in the field. No set number on each end, it's really trial and error as to how many to stack on. If you're just wanting the right size, do you have a micrometer? If so, I'd just measure the ID. The OD shouldn't matter too much as long as it isn't bigger than the ID of the bearing carrier. Maybe someone on here already knows the precise measurements off hand. I've got a couple two star GE's stripped down and boxed for later restoration but can get one out and measure if you don't have something to work from. Good luck with your fans!

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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 06:37 am
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Paul Khoury
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Dave McManaman wrote: Yes, the fiber washers are specifically designed to center the armature in the field. No set number on each end, it's really trial and error as to how many to stack on. If you're just wanting the right size, do you have a micrometer? If so, I'd just measure the ID. The OD shouldn't matter too much as long as it isn't bigger than the ID of the bearing carrier. Maybe someone on here already knows the precise measurements off hand. I've got a couple two star GE's stripped down and boxed for later restoration but can get one out and measure if you don't have something to work from. Good luck with your fans!Ha, I totally didn't think about that. I do actually have a Mitutoyo digital caliper, so I can measure it that way, though I have it set to metric.
In fact, my two star will probably be my next restoration project as well, though it currently does run.

So how much play should I have on the armature when done?

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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 09:59 am
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Lane Shirey
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If I recall from memory, the loop handle era GE fans have 5/16” rotor shafts. Someone please correct me if I’m not thinking right. 

I’d just buy an assortment that has 1/4”, 5/16” and 3/8. At some point you’ll need the others. For example if you get a GE BMY, you’ll need a larger washer.  


The rotor needs to be roughly centered in the stator, like Dave said.  Whichever end of the rotor goes in first, you’ll add maybe 3 washers to start, then test insert the rotor.  Use a flashlight and peek inside vent holes on the closed end of the motor housing to see how the rotor looks with regards to the open side.  Add or remove washers accordingly to get it centered.  When you’re happy with that, put some on the other end of the rotor, then test the motor end bell (cover) . You may need to install the mounting screws as that will fully seat the cover.  Check the in and out play. Pop off the cover and add or subtract accordingly.  You’re looking for 1/16”-1/8” max play.  When you think it’s right, tighten the cover and test that the rotor spins freely 


There are red and grey washers. They grey ones are half the thickness of the red. It seems I rarely need the grey ones. 


Keep in mind that the wind pressure will tend to push the rotor all the way to the back of the motor, so keep that in mind when comparing how far the rotor sticks out from the stator on each side. 

Just to clarify,  armatures and fields are found in DC and AC/DC brushed motor fans.  Induction motors like we’re talking about have rotors and stators.  No biggie, just for information sake.  


I hope that helps. 

Last edited on Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 10:02 am by Lane Shirey

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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 04:34 pm
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Paul Khoury
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Lane Shirey wrote: If I recall from memory, the loop handle era GE fans have 5/16” rotor shafts. Someone please correct me if I’m not thinking right. 

I’d just buy an assortment that has 1/4”, 5/16” and 3/8. At some point you’ll need the others. For example if you get a GE BMY, you’ll need a larger washer. 


The rotor needs to be roughly centered in the stator, like Dave said.  Whichever end of the rotor goes in first, you’ll add maybe 3 washers to start, then test insert the rotor.  Use a flashlight and peek inside vent holes on the closed end of the motor housing to see how the rotor looks with regards to the open side.  Add or remove washers accordingly to get it centered.  When you’re happy with that, put some on the other end of the rotor, then test the motor end bell (cover) . You may need to install the mounting screws as that will fully seat the cover.  Check the in and out play. Pop off the cover and add or subtract accordingly.  You’re looking for 1/16”-1/8” max play.  When you think it’s right, tighten the cover and test that the rotor spins freely 


There are red and grey washers. They grey ones are half the thickness of the red. It seems I rarely need the grey ones. 


Keep in mind that the wind pressure will tend to push the rotor all the way to the back of the motor, so keep that in mind when comparing how far the rotor sticks out from the stator on each side. 

Just to clarify,  armatures and fields are found in DC and AC/DC brushed motor fans.  Induction motors like we’re talking about have rotors and stators.  No biggie, just for information sake.  


I hope that helps. 

Do Pancakes need washers, or is just just the BMY and up? I had two BMYs about 2009 or so, but they had wiring issues and I gave up then and sold them. I'd wish I'd kept them now. Pretty much all I have are AUU/AO/AOU/AV, which I believe should all be the same shaft size.

Aha, didn't realize these were induction motors. I've worked with motors with brushes as well, but I didn't know the terminology between the two (now I do).

On my first restoration, my 16" AUU, I don't remember if I reused the original fiber washers or not. It works otherwise, and during most of the year, sees 24/7 operation (though I do clean and refill the oil cups). So for something like that, should I think of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality? Obvoiusly, I'd want to get things right on future restorations, of which I can think of about 4 or 5 (mix of AO, AOU and AUU, mostly 12").

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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 08:02 pm
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Steve Sherwood
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All these old fans use fiber washers.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 6th, 2021 10:46 am
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Lane Shirey
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Agree with Steve.  Dont get rid of old fans as most can be made to run.  Consider joining the club so you get the magazines and full access to the site and it’s information.  As a guest, you have limited access.    Also, you may want to sign up for our new forum website.  Many of our contributing members have mostly moved over to it and don’t check this old forum as much.  

Posting pictures of what you’re struggling with helps us to understand and provide advice.  When I started restoring, I learned a Ron by using the search feature on this forum to read old posts about the fan I was restoring at the time.  

Best success and welcome to our group. 

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