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Thread: GE 5KC39BG condenser motor replacement?

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member owkaye's Avatar
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    Jun 2010

    Default GE 5KC39BG condenser motor replacement?


    I have a GE 5KC39BG condenser motor that has "gone bad". For a day or two I heard squeaking (like metal on metal) occasionally, then after a few minutes the sound disappeared. This made me suspect that the bearings had dried up, so today I opened the motor with the intention of replace the bearings.

    They do not appear to be sealed ball bearings. In fact they do not appear to be ball bearings at all. The bottom bearing looks like a "bushing" type bearing, and I haven't been able to get the fan blade off the shaft yet so I'm not sure about the top bearing, but from what I can see it looks the same.

    These bearings appear to have had a foam washer installed under what looks like a press-on cap, possibly to help retain the grease that once lubricated them. Unfortunately there is no sign of grease any more -- they are dried out -- and the foam washers have almost completely crumbled / disintegrated.

    Ideally I would install sealed ball bearings in this motor to keep my costs down (vs. replacing the entire motor). But I'm not sure I'm up to the task of finding or installing suitable ball bearings. I don't even know if they are available.

    Plus if I'm wrong about the problem -- for example if the motor is actually burned out instead of just the bearings gone bad -- I might be wasting my time trying to find and install sealed ball bearings. So my second option is to replace the whole motor ...

    Unfortunately I cannot find any info about this motor online. It could be a very old motor or perhaps an uncommon one, but I have read the "BG" part of the model number correctly off the label which is still very clear, yet I cannot find "5KC39BG" on any web pages indexed by Google.

    So ... since I cannot seem to find this exact motor online I'm hoping that someone here can suggest a suitable replacement, or perhaps tell me what I need to look for in order to find my own replacement.

    Here are some more details visible on the motor's label:

    HP. 1/6
    RPM 1075
    V. 208-230
    HZ. 60
    AMPS 1.00
    1 PH.
    CAP. 5.00/370

    The housing measures about 5 5/8 inches diameter, the shaft is 1/2 inch diameter, and there are 3 wires to the motor: black, brown and purple. Black goes to power, brown goes to the outer capacitor terminal and purple goes to the middle capacitor terminal.

    Can anyone suggest a replacement motor for this one? I'm not married to GE so if you know of another manufacturer's motor that will work properly please feel free to post it.

    Just one final question:

    The current motor is only 1/6 HP. Would a 1/4 HP or larger motor be an acceptable replacement, or will a different motor require a different capacitor (or other changes to the existing system) before it will work properly?


  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    It sounds like the bearings may be oiled bronze bushings, and not ball-bearings at all. When these go, they often score the shaft, and replacing the motor is the only fix. They can work for a long time if the load isn't great, the fan is balanced, and they are oiled periodically (the bronze is porous and can hold some oil). once dead, it's probably replace the motor.

    You may be able to replace the motor with a different hp - size is probably your biggest issue; the output shaft diameter is common, but the biggest thing is diameter of the whole thing and length. Somebody that works with these things more may be able to offer a substitute, or maybe a call to GE.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    The GE 5KCP series were OEM specific. Few places would be able to cross reference those numbers. Grainger might. But the best way to get a new motor is from the manufacturer's parts list for your specific model of condenser. The new motor wont be that GE but it will be an exact replacement. Also, your specs are in a very common ball park, so Grainger or any HVAC supplier can probably find a Fasco or Emerson motor to suit,

    What is the make and model of your unit?

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member owkaye's Avatar
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    Jun 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    What is the make and model of your unit?
    It's hard to say. I just bought the house a couple months ago. I was told that the Rheem furnace was installed first, then the a/c unit was added years later ... but there are no labels on the condenser so I don't know if it's a Rheem condenser or some other brand.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Rat's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Bertram, Texas


    That GE number, 5KCP39, crosses to a:
    Fasco D917
    You can order it here: Fasco D917
    you will also need a 5x370 or 5x440 capacitor for it.
    Forget trying to find a new sleeve bearing, just get a new motor and install it. This is a reversible motor so verify direction and, depending on application, you may need to cut the shaft.

    Do not install a higher HP or lower RPM motor. A higher HP will cause excessive Amp draw and cause premature failure of the new motor; lower RPM will not move enough air across the condenser coils and cause elevated pressures in the refrigerant circuit and loss of system efficiency. Trust the people who engineer these systems, they know what they are doing.
    Last edited by Rat; 06-15-2010 at 11:32 AM.
    There's nothing magical about it; it's all science, physics and math.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member owkaye's Avatar
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    Jun 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by Rat View Post
    Do not install a higher HP or lower RPM motor. A higher HP will cause excessive Amp draw and cause premature failure of the new motor; lower RPM will not move enough air across the condenser coils and cause elevated pressures in the refrigerant circuit and loss of system efficiency.
    Thanks for this information, Rat, and thanks for the cross reference and link to the FASCO motor, too.

    Before you posted your last message I found a motor at Grainger that appears to be a suitable replacement motor. Not only is it a little cheaper than the FASCO motor but it also has ball bearings, a higher thermal rating, and better insulation:


    Grainger Item # 1UME7
    Your Price (ea.) $74.15
    Brand A.O. SMITH
    Mfr. Model # FE1016SF
    Country of Origin Mexico
    Item Condenser Fan Motor
    Motor Type Permanent Split Capacitor
    Enclosure Totally Enclosed Air-Over
    HP 1/6
    Number of Speeds 1
    Nameplate RPM 1075
    NEMA/IEC Frame 48Y
    Voltage 208-230
    Hz 60
    Phase 1
    Full Load Amps 1.3-1.4
    Mounting Stud/Hole
    Thermal Protection Auto
    Insulation Class F
    Service Factor 1.0
    Bearings Ball
    Ambient (C) 70
    Rotation CW/CCW
    Length Less Shaft (In.) 4-13/16
    Shaft Dia. (In.) 1/2
    Shaft Length (In.) 6
    Body Dia. (In.) 5-5/8
    Stud Quantity 4
    Stud Pattern (In.) 3 5/8 x 3 5/8
    Stud Size (In.) 8-32
    Shaft Type Double Flat
    Shaft Orientation Up/Down
    Lead Length (In.) 36
    Features Reversing Plug, Totally Enclosed Endshields with Removable Drain Plugs
    Duty Continuous Air-Over
    Capacitor Required 2MDV4
    RPM Range 1000-1380
    Standards UL Recognized (E25022), CSA Certified (LR 43341)
    Mfr. Stock No. FE1016SF

    Nearly all the specs on this A.O. Smith motor are the same as my failed GE motor. But this motor has ball bearings whereas the FASCO motor says "ball bearing and sleeve bearing models". I prefer a motor with ball bearings because I think they are better and/or last longer, so I would want to confirm with the folks selling the FASCO motor that it has ball bearings before I order it.

    The A.O. Smith motor also has a higher temperature rating than both the FASCO motor and my failed GE motor, and a higher insulation rating as well. I may be wrong but to me this suggests that the A.O. Smith motor is a higher quality product.

    The one specification that I am concerned about on the A.O. Smith motor is its Full Load Amperage rating of 1.3-1.4. This is substantially higher than my original motor and the FASCO motor -- both of which are rated at 1.0. I'm no genius when it comes to electrical stuff, but my gut tells me that a higher amperage motor will not create problems in my existing system ... although it will cost me more in electricity.

    Am I wrong about this? Should I avoid the A.O. Smith motor because of its higher amperage rating? What problems might the higher amperage motor create in my existing system when all the other specs appear to be identical or better?

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    If you have a Graingers near you, and IF they sell to noncontractors, they will supply you with a replacement motor. It might be easier if you took the old one with you.

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