I recently put new ceiling fans in my house. One of them rattled very badly. Turns out it was a bad motor. I took the motor down and shook it lightly and could hear the problem rattle. Took it back and exchanged it, problem solved. I assume your fixture box is capable of holding a ceiling fan? Standard ceiling boxes for plain lights may not be strong enough, causing a wobble and rattle.
Attic fan without a "whole" (hole) in the roof? Are we talking about a gable mounted fan? Either way, gable mount or roof mount with the mushroom shaped vent: The motor mounts on theses are very finicky. You must get the new motor centered just right so that when the fan comes on and runs it is not "torquing" and the blade rubbing ever so slightly. Too many hot hours in attics taught me this.
I had the same or a similar problem with my bathroom exhaust fan. It ended up being a blade that needed to be tightened up.
When the whole thing was pulled out, it ran very quietly. When he put it back up inside the housing, it was loud again. After he tightened up the blade, it was nice and quiet. At first he thought it was the motor, but that was fine.
It may not be a loose blade, but it's something to look at.
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