A noisy fan can be caused by either the fan being clogged up with dirt and debris or that the fan’s bearing may be giving out or that the blade within fans housing has broken and/or brushing up against the housing. This tutorial will show you how to fix a noisy fan on your IBM Thinkpad.
1. Before we go about disassembling the laptop to get to the fan, you will need to verify that the fans noise isn’t being caused by hardware anomaly. Make sure your Thinkpad’s BIOS is up to date.
2. With the help of thermal monitoring apps like HWMonitor or HWiNFO or Speedfan or Realtemp, install and see what your temps are. You should be in the mid 30°C’s (depending on your room’s ambient air temps) at idle after booting into GUI.
3. Inspect the air that is blowing out the cooling vents and see if there are any obstructions. You may also want to touch the keyboard top and the bottom areas where the processor and the cooling assembly will be located.
4. If your temps are higher than expected or you can feel the area around the VPU heat up but the air isn’t being exhausted as it should, then you have an obstruction in your cooling assembly.
5. Order a replacement fan using the SKU of your Thinkpad and locating a replacement part off of Ebay or Aliexpress.
6. Power down the laptop, close the lid and flip the laptop over.
7. You should be greeted with the underside and all possible screw mounting locations. Remove them all and set them aside for safe keeping. You can take the aid of a sheet of paper and a pen to mark each screws location and the order in which you unscrewed them.
8. Flip the laptop over and detach the keyboard using a small flat head screw driver wedged between the palm rest and the keyboard’s underside.
9. Disconnect the ribbon cable tethering the keyboard to the motherboard. Remove the keyboard.[/b]
10. Disconnect the touchpad cable. Gently pry the palm rest assembly off the laptop from the bottom half using a guitar pick or a discarded credit card.
11. Unscrew the three screws holding down the cooling assembly and detach the fan’s cable from the motherboard.
12. Gently lift the heatsink off the heat source. You will feel some resistance but an even gentle force in an upward motion will free the cooling assembly. If you were unsure of your cooling fans part number, you can use the part number listed on your cooling assembly.
13. Clean off the thermal paste from both the heatsink and the heat source using isopropyl alcohol or nail polish remover.
14. If your cooling assembly comes pre-applied with a thermal pad, leave it as is. Areas where there should be thermal paste pre-applied, yet are devoid, you can use Arctic Silver 5 or Arctic MX-4. Apply the paste no larger than 1mm in diameter. You can add more if your heat source is large but the highest application of thermal paste you can use on a larger heat source would be 3mm in diameter.
15. Reverse steps 14 to 7 to reassemble your laptop.
16. Power up your laptop and take notice of your temps correlating to the noise levels.
Hopefully you’ve resolved the fan noise issue on your IBM Thinkpad laptop.