November 1, 2015

How to replace a downdraft vent gear motor

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent gear motor

The gear motor in a downdraft vent drives the crank assembly that raises and lowers the vent. If the gear motor wears out or locks up, the vent won't pop up or retract. Replace a worn gear motor with the manufacturer-approved replacement part following the steps in this DIY repair guide.

This basic repair procedure works to replace the gear motor in common Kenmore, Broan, KitchenAid, Frigidaire, Electrolux, GE and Whirlpool downdraft vents.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
1/4-inch nut driver
3/8-inch nut driver
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace the vent gear motor in a downdraft vent system repair guide video.

Replacing the gear motor in a downdraft vent system video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect power and remove the downdraft vent from the counter

    Unplug the cooktop and the downdraft vent.

    Remove the cooktop from the counter. Remove the downdraft vent from the counter. Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Tip: Use the installation manuals for the cooktop and downdraft vent to guide you when removing the appliances from the counter.
  2. 02.

    Remove the gear motor cover

    Remove the mounting nuts from the clamp channels and then remove both clamp channels.

    Remove the screws from the gear motor cover.

    Pull the gear motor cover up and disconnect the gear motor wires.

    Remove the gear motor cover.

    Remove the clamp channel nuts.

    Remove the clamp channel nuts.

    Remove the clamp channels.

    Remove the clamp channels.

    Remove the gearbox cover screws.

    Remove the gearbox cover screws.

    Disconnect the gear motor wires.

    Disconnect the gear motor wires.

  3. 03.

    Remove the blower housing assembly

    Carefully tilt the top of the blower housing up and disconnect the blower motor wire harness.

    Remove the blower housing assembly.

    Tilt the blower housing up.

    Tilt the blower housing up.

    Disconnect the blower motor wires.

    Disconnect the blower motor wires.

  4. 04.

    Remove the air box cover

    Remove the mounting screws from the air box cover and pull off the air box cover.

    Remove the air box cover screws.

    Remove the air box cover screws.

    Pull the air box cover off.

    Pull the air box cover off.

  5. 05.

    Remove the gear motor

    Remove the gear motor bracket mounting nuts.

    Flip the gear motor bracket over.

    Loosen—but don't remove—the  U-bolt nuts to release the cam from the gear motor shaft.

    Pull the cam up and off the gear motor shaft. Remove the gear motor mounting screws and then remove the gear motor.

    Remove the gear motor bracket nuts.

    Remove the gear motor bracket nuts.

    Flip the gear motor bracket over.

    Flip the gear motor bracket over.

    Loosen the U-bolt nuts.

    Loosen the U-bolt nuts.

    Pull the cam off the gear motor shaft.

    Pull the cam off the gear motor shaft.

    Remove the motor mounting screws.

    Remove the motor mounting screws.

    Remove the gear motor.

    Remove the gear motor.

  6. 06.

    Install the new gear motor

    Position the new gear motor on the bracket and reinstall the mounting screws.

    Position the cam on the gear motor shaft. Pair the flat side of the gear motor shaft with the side of the cam.

    Tighten the U-bolt to secure the flat side of the gear motor shaft to the side of the cam.

    Flip the gear motor bracket upright.

    Position the gear motor bracket in the air box and reinstall the mounting nuts.

    Attach the new gear motor to the bracket.

    Attach the new gear motor to the bracket.

    Reinstall the cam.

    Reinstall the cam.

    Tighten the U-bolt nuts.

    Tighten the U-bolt nuts.

    Reinstall the gear motor bracket.

    Reinstall the gear motor bracket.

  7. 07.

    Reinstall the air box cover

    Position the air box cover over the air box and thread the gear motor wires through the grommet in the air box cover.

    Secure the air box cover to the air box using the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the air box cover.

    Reinstall the air box cover.

    Reinstall the cover screws.

    Reinstall the cover screws.

  8. 08.

    Reinstall the blower housing assembly

    Position the blower housing assembly on top of the air box cover.

    Tilt the blower housing assembly up and plug in the blower motor wire harness. Lower the blower housing assembly into place.

    Connect the blower motor wire harness.

    Connect the blower motor wire harness.

  9. 09.

    Reinstall the gear motor cover

    Thread the wires through the gear motor cover and reconnect the wires to the gear motor.

    Position the gear motor cover over the gear motor and reinstall the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the clamp channels and secure them using the mounting nuts.

    Connect the gear motor wires.

    Connect the gear motor wires.

    Reinstall the motor cover and screws.

    Reinstall the motor cover and screws.

    Reinstall the clamp channels and nuts.

    Reinstall the clamp channels and nuts.

  10. 10.

    Reinstall the downdraft vent and cooktop

    Reinstall the downdraft vent and cooktop in the counter.

  11. 11.

    Restore power

    Plug in the power cords for the downdraft blower and the cooktop.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all downdraft ventilation systems

Choose a symptom to see related downdraft vent repairs.

Main causes: lack of electrical power, up/down activation switch failure, bad vent gear motor
Main causes: clogged grease filters, air duct problems, fan motor failure, broken blower wheel
Main causes: problems with the vent limit switches, up/down activation switch failure
Main causes: fan control switch failure, bad blower fan motor, broken blower wheel, wiring failure
Main causes: electrical power failure, up/down activation switch problems, vent gear motor failure

Repair guides common to all downdraft ventilation systems

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your downdraft vent.

How to replace a downdraft vent up/down button pad

The up/down button pad located on top of the air vent engages the activating switch when pushed to raise the air vent. Replace the up/down button pad if damaged.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent up/down switch

The up/down switch starts the gear motor to raise and lower the air vent. Replace the up/down switch if defective.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent blower motor

The blower motor spins the fan blade that removes smoke and steam from the cooktop area. Replace the blower motor if it doesn't run when activated.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all downdraft ventilation systems

Use the advice and tips in these articles to get the most out of your downdraft vent.

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