Resolved Yet Another Noisy Fan Inquiry

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Strawhenge, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Strawhenge, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011

    Strawhenge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    Hi everybody. I have a noisy left fan in my 15" MBP. I have done countless hours of research trying to find a solution or something that is like the problem I'm having so I can gauge the severity of the issue, and there seems to be a number of causes, solutions, et cetera. So I figured I'd post up my specific issue and see what y'all think. (and yes, this is my first post on these forums, so be kind!)

    Alright, so, first off, the noise is not that loud, and not that persistent. It's a quiet rhythmic rattle that is sometimes so quiet that I forget about it, and sometimes just loud enough for me to worry about something going wrong. There's no squealing or squeaking, just a rattle. I've recorded a short sample of it from my internal microphone. I'm not sure what the guidelines for posting downloadable things in the forums, so let me know if it's cool and I'll put up a sendspace link so anybody who's interested can take a listen. Hopefully my description is enough.

    Here are the things I have tried to remedy the situation based on testimonials on the internet:

    1. Vacuum method - I hooked up the smallest vacuum extension to my vacuum cleaner and ran it slowly along the vent in the back, careful not to create too much suction. No changes.

    2. smcFanControl - An article about someone who had a hair or something in their fan suggested I download this utility and ramp up the fan's RPM to maximum (6000 rpm) for 30-40 seconds at a time to hopefully dislodge whatever was in there. I noticed that the noise is less consistent in its volume and rhythm, but it has not yet fully stopped. I've done this method 6 or 7 times, and it doesn't seem to be improving the situation fully.

    3. Disassembly - After crapping myself from nerves in dismantling my expensive machine, I located the fan, gently manually tested its movement and replicated the sound. So I know for certain that it's the fan making the noise. Advised against using compressed air, I used that blue squeezy ball thing that comes in ear-cleaning kits to blow some lower-pressure air into the fan. No noticeable improvement. (And the reassembly went well, btw, I'm posting this from the MBP in question. I've never been so anxious over a piece of technology before.)

    So that's my sitch, gents and ladies. This very morning the noise has gone from barely audible to nagging and worrisome and back again. Now, here are my questions. (sorry if this is becoming a little tl;dr for you, but as you'll see, I'm worried...)

    Let me preface these questions by saying I'm unemployed and have very little funds to spend on computer repair.

    Uno: Most obvious question: what else can I try at home?

    Dos: Is this a severe problem? How long can this problem continue until I have the money to fix it, if I can't fix it myself?

    Tres: For anyone who has had to replace a fan, what did such a repair cost? Did you have to take it to an actual Mac repair shop, or did you go to a local business?


    Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Halp!
     
  2. iMacDragon macrumors 65816

    iMacDragon

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I've replaced a few fans on an older generation macbook myself, didn't cost too much and not that hard to do, especially on the unibody models it's frankly not really much harder than how far you already went to take cover off, should just be a case of carefully unplugging fan and undoing 3 screws ( possibly torx ), either way, once exposed the fans, shouldn't have to take anything else out.

    Have to be careful to get the exact right model of fan to replace with though, I've got mine from ebay before, prices can vary a fair bit.
     
  3. Strawhenge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    Alright, good to know it's not that expensive. I'll find out what kind of fan I need and keep it in mind.

    As for the other questions, are there any other methods I can try? And if I let this sit until I start generating some income, will it be harmful?
     
  4. vincenz macrumors 601

    vincenz

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    #4
    Take it out and clean out the dust bunnies. If that doesn't help, get a new fan on eBay for $15. That's what I did to my aluminum MacBook. Works perfectly and dead silent. My computer runs as quiet and as cool as on the day I got it.

    It shouldn't be harmful if you don't do anything. Sounds like it's just noisy. As long as it's running and keeping the mobo cool, it's fine.
     
  5. iMacDragon macrumors 65816

    iMacDragon

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    As long as it still spins at proper RPM it shouldn't cause damage to anything else, just keep an eye on it and stop using it if it actually outright fails.

    I kept using fans in my old MBP till actual failure when stopped spinning. Just use SMC fan control or something similar to keep an eye on it meanwhilst.

    The fans are custom built for apple AFAIK, and have changed a few times between generations, hence need to make sure get the exact right replacement, last time I got some it cost me about £24 for a full set for my old macbook, but it might cost around that much for one fan as I got a good deal that time. I'd expect a parts and labour repair for an our of warranty machine would probably be a few times as much as that, mostly due to the labour, though I'm not sure how much exactly, if don't want to attempt it yourself.

    It might be possible to try oiling it or something, just a single drop of sewing machine oil into spindle under stick ( can't even recall how easy that is to get at though, probably have to take fan out fully for that too ).
     
  6. Strawhenge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    Thanks guys! Great advice. I have smcFanControl already running, and the RPMs are holding, and I'll see if I can take the fan out and give it a good cleaning this weekend. Marking thread 'resolved,' since y'all answered all my questions. Hopefully this will come in handy for someone in the future. :)
     

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