Last night when I got home from work, as has been my usual practice, I opened the windows and put the box fan in one window pointing outward so that it would blow out the warm, stuffy air and cause cool evening air to draw in through the other windows in the apartment. I turned the fan on high. Instead of coming up to speed, the fan turned sluggishly for a few seconds and then
Sparks flew and the fan stopped turning. Amazingly, it did not blow the circuit breaker, but I decided the fan was toast and took it out to the dumpster. I think it lasted about ten or fifteen years, so I shouldn't complain too much. While I still had the van, I ran down to Walgreen's and bought a new one for $20.
The immediate problem with the van fan was loose wires, which sort of explains why the problem was intermittent. Fixing that including the original fee for diagnosis would be about $225. However, while looking over the van, they found that the oil cooler lines were leaking (which might well explain why I continue to have occasional fluid drips). I told them to go ahead and fix it, since the point of this is to keep the vehicle running and in good condition. Estimated total damage: $650.
The good news is that they say they'll have the van ready for me sometime tomorrow afternoon, so I won't have to rent a car on Monday to go to work.