Recently, the outside blower motor on our heat pump started to go bad. It made a horrible noise on startup, and upon inspection, the bearings were going out. I replaced it with the help of my good friend Bill McCain and afterwards cracked it open in the shop to see what went wrong. I was expecting worn bearings, but I was ASTONISHED at what I found.
This motor DIDN’T HAVE ANY BEARINGS. Instead, it had sleeves / bushings, and this crappy oil soaked felt that had disintegrated around them. Upon further research, I found out that none of the smaller HVAC blower motors have real bearings in them! This article here: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/transformers-phase-converters-and-vfd/hvac-fractional-hp-fan-motors-why-most-them-junk-how-get-better-ones-247476/ has a good explanation of why. There is no demand for them, because no one wants to pay extra for them!
User Jraef posted:
“I used to work for a company that as a side line, represented a mfr of muffin fans for enclosure cooling. They offered “maintenance free” fans and they offered ball bearing versions, which cost about 50% more. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, bought the ball bearing fans. 5 years at that company, their sales of ball bearing fans was zero. The mfr was angry about it because they made more profit on the ball bearing fans and wanted our salesmen to push for the upgrade since they were made in the USA and the others were brand-labeled cheap imports from Asia. Didn’t matter, nobody wanted to pay extra for them.
That company eventually sold out to an Asian competitor and the US production was shuttered. So what I am saying is, we (as consumers) get what we collectively ask for.”
And he has hit the nail on the head. We, collectively, don’t want to pay extra for better quality. That is also why Walmart is putting small businesses out of business. If we didn’t flock to their stores and buy their low-priced items, the smaller stores wouldn’t have disappeared.
To make it sound better, sleeves are advertised as “bearings”, and real bearings are marketed as “ball bearings”. (Or needle bearings, etc…).