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.
Replacing the gear motor in a downdraft vent system video.
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.
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 channels.
Remove the gearbox cover screws.
Disconnect the gear motor wires.
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.
Disconnect the blower motor wires.
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.
Pull the air box cover off.
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.
Flip the gear motor bracket over.
Loosen the U-bolt nuts.
Pull the cam off the gear motor shaft.
Remove the motor mounting screws.
Remove the gear motor.
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.
Reinstall the cam.
Tighten the U-bolt nuts.
Reinstall the gear motor bracket.
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 cover screws.
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.
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.
Reinstall the motor cover and screws.
Reinstall the clamp channels and nuts.
Reinstall the downdraft vent and cooktop
Reinstall the downdraft vent and cooktop in the counter.
Plug in the power cords for the downdraft blower and the cooktop.
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.
The up/down switch starts the gear motor to raise and lower the air vent. Replace the up/down switch if defective.
Learn how to repair broken, frayed or damaged wires in your appliances.
Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working
See what to check if you are having a problem with a retractable downdraft vent.