I've seen a wide range of posts related to this topic, which makes it really difficult to narrow down relevant information that is applicable to my case. I'm hoping to get a more definitive answer by posting here, because the noise is getting out of hand. Here are the details:
Honda Clarity 2018 PHEV Non-Touring
What type of noise?
A loud, consistent whirring (presumably from the two condenser cooling fans).
When does it occur?
Basically anytime the A/C is turned on and active (does not occur when air flow is on and A/C is off, etc.); also, not sure whether it's related or not, but I believe when the gas engine kicks on (i.e., lithium ion battery is depleted) the noise level has also gotten notably louder.
How loud is it?
Loud enough that I can't park at the curb in a residential at night and have the A/C running unless I want to receive complaints about keeping people up.
What has been done about it?
At first I took it to the dealership to get it diagnosed. Long story short, they took my car to the back and had me wait all day in a crammed packed waiting area for an entire day, then charged me a $75 "diagnostics fee" despite "not being able to determine any cause", only for me to drive back home that evening to discover they never even popped the hood.
I've tentatively tried a few things on my own, such as applying some nano-tape/kinetically insulating materials in places I felt could vibrate — or amplify/exacerbate them — such as the areas where (not sure what the correct vernacular terms are here) the condenser assembly is seated/bolted onto the chassis. I've also gone through and made sure all bolts were tightened. I tried cleaning the fans themselves, but very little was actually accessible to me as I didn't want to disassemble or damage anything without being certain I knew what I was doing. I've also conditioned the rubber gaskets with petroleum jelly or silicone lubricant on a regular basis, and added a rubber "lip" to the hood which keeps it pretty well sealed when closed.
I'm unsure which of the above had the most effect, but the steps did appear to abate the noise level for a while. Unfortunately, over time the noise has increasingly gotten to a point where it's no longer tolerable once again.
What I'd like to find out?
If possible, I'd like to know the root cause for this and — hopefully — do something to address it. If at all possible, I'd like to not be told that the only thing to do is to replace it altogether, especially not by someone who cannot even state with any specificity what is wrong with the assembly to begin with that's causing the noise.
I'm only on the first step and I'm already stumped, not off to a good start!
So as you can see, each fan appears to have two connectors, not just one. I managed to unplug one of them, but can't seem to figure out how to unplug the other type of connector. As you can see, it's pretty cramped in there so it's hard to get a good look, but it appears to me the white part should somehow be able to disengage and allow the remaining portion of the plug to come out, but I can't be sure. FYI, when I started the car with just the other connector unplugged, both fans continued to run, and I received a notification on the dash stating that Adaptive Cruise Control had been disabled.
Any tips on how to disconnect the larger looking cable? Thanks!
So actually, after spending some time peeking around under the hood, I've come to notice there's no need to test the fans individually, it's very audibly distinct that the noisier side is the passenger side fan (but that isn't to say that they can't both still be noisier than the norm, only that one is definitively more so than the other). I've taken a video, by the way, just for reference here.
I tried applying pressure to the center of the fans, and while the fans themselves did not have any give or radial movement in respect to their enclosures, I did note that the entire assembly itself did have up to about half an inch to an inch of radial movement in respect to the chassis. However, I don't believe this to be the cause (or it isn't readily apparent if it is), as when I had the fans running there wasn't any significant vibratory or auditory feedback originating from the contact points (I'd already applied rubber tape to them prior anyway). There was no contact between the blades and the enclosures that I could detect, but I did note that there was a greater sensation of kinetic friction (or viscosity?) on the passenger side fan in comparison, and this was noted prior to me noticing the noise level being higher on that side, so I don't believe I was biased.