Safely clean and oil a fan

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Svalbart, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Svalbart macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    #1
    The right fan in my Macbook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2010 is noisy. Many tutorials I find on google tell me to clean and oil the fan, and to do so I should take off the plastic fan. However, I believe these tutorials are for older Macbook Pro models, because when I tried this with my Mid 2010 model I couldn't get the fan off easily, and I was afraid that if I would force it it would break off.

    So: can I safely take out the plastic fan in order to clean and oil it without breaking it?
     
  2. Big-TDI-Guy, Jul 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013

    Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #2
    If by noisy - you mean loud / blowing fast - it's more likely dust built up on your heat exchanger / exhaust area - blow some compressed / canned air or vacuum the dust out. That will help it slow down / run quieter.

    If you mean "squeal" or bearing chatter - you're better off replacing the fan with a new one entirely. At that point - adding oil likely will only fix it for a few hours, then it'll start making noise again. Because at that point - the bearing has already run dry - and worn down / damaged.

    Other times, the lubricant will gel up / carbonize on the bearing surfaces due to the heat, and mixing with dust / debris. Degreasing it in strong solvent can remove this, however given the sizes of the parts, and how it's put together - is no trivial task.

    Edit: This one? http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2010+Teardown/2212/1

    Edit #2: Rendered void by Edit #3.

    Edit #3: Realized I linked to the wrong model - linked to the correct one. Also - iFixit gets insane money for those fans... Look on eBay, or try to find the same model fan on DigiKey - if it's there.
     
  3. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
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    Here
    #3
    They don't cost much on ebay. I'd pick a new one up first then try to tear the old one apart. Do try to take it apart the fan "should" separate form the motor.

    Alternately

    under the sticker is the bearing you could probably lube it with a syringe and some oil.
     

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  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #4
    I believe those fans are of the same lineage as the ones I had in my Early 2009 UB 17" MBP and use magnetic bearings. They don't require any lubricstion and trying to add any will result in a mess. The lubricant will attract dust like, well, a magnet.

    I would just try and carefully blow off any dust that's collected on the blades and make sure the vents are clean (through the heat exchangers too). Removing the bottom cover will give you good access to the fans, etc.

    Be sure to use all the normal precautions when working on an opened machine.

    ----------

    Looking closely at the label, you'll notice the "MAGLEV" branding. That's Sunon's name for their magnetic bearing tech. Nothing to lubricste.
     
  5. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #5
    I've opened up some of those Sunon maglev blowers (not this exact model) - and they still had a shaft with a sleeve-type bearing that was actually lubed. My guess is to keep it in place during abrupt movement - so the blades will not collide with housing - and/or serve as a parking spot for when the fan is not running. It definitely did have oil on it, though.

    I also have a high-pressure fan (also a Sunon blower type) - had 2 ball bearings on either end - but the data sheet also claimed this unit employed maglev technology. I chalked it up to blower using magnets to provide most of it's alignment - but not all of it.
     
  6. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #6
    Interesting. Thanks. Still, I wouldn't think they would be serviceable without disassembly. Better off just replacing it as a unit. Hopefully, in the OP's machine, just removing any dust build up will quiet it down.

    My 2009 ran almost 24/7 and, although it never had noise problems, I still blew out dust periodically (usually when upgrading the HDD over the years). As a side note, it ran in a dustier than normal environment in our living room thanks to our cockatoo.

    I looked at the fans iFixit sells for the 2010 MBP and they're made by Delta. Can't find any info on whether they use mag bearings or not.
     
  7. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #7
    I've never had any long term luck re-lubing fans
     
  8. falcn macrumors member

    falcn

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    #8
    I have Late 2006 Macbook.
    Starting from 2008 it was working under the heavy load (max CPU/GPU utilization 24/7).
    In 2010 fan started to make buzzing noise. Over the next 3 months, noise gradually became louder and louder. One day, fan stopped.

    I took the fan out and washed it with WD40 (a lot of WD40!), while rotating it manually. Wiped it with paper towels and put it back in place.

    It is still working today. No strange noises, steady 6200rpm. As good as new.
     

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