Page 1 of 1

X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:18 am
by SteveDC
The fan on my X61s has been rumbling intermittently and is now screeching toward death. The laptop is under warranty. Same thing happened on my T40 and, to save time, they just sent a fan to me and I replaced it following the FRU directions in the Hardware Maintenance Manual. It would be convenient if I could to the same with the X61s, instead of losing a few days sending it in.

Looking at the Hardware Maintenance Manual, fan replacement is more complex than with my T40. It additionally involves removing the the LCD assembly and the system board. The LCD removal, and handling associated 802.11n antenna wiring, looks tricky in particular.

Well, if it were my T40 I would do it again, but I feel some unease about this, and wonder if you all had any advice. I can follow directions and handle mini-screwdrivers, but I don't want to open a can of worms.

I presume I could try it myself, then if it didn't work send it in. Or, am I losing some warranty rights by trying it myself?


Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:22 am
by Harryc
Tough call Steve. If I were in your shoes I think I'd send it in to the Depot for repair.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:41 am
by sojourner
Inclined to agree with Harryc. I'd like to redo thermal-grease on the CPU and lube the fan on an X60. Opened it up, and looked bug-eyed at the mess in there. It would take a lot of work compared to the T-series to do anything with the CPU or fan!

Let Lenovo take care of it!

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:21 am
by tim S
Looks like in order to have the processor stay cooler(?), Lenove put it on the underside of the motherboard with it's core facing the underside of the keyboard. IBM did the opposite on most of their models and had the core facing the bottom casing. Since hot air rises I'm not sure this was the smartest way to go becuse the fan is essentially on the wrong side.
However the heat should dissipate faster becase it's not trapped as it might be on the underside of the motherboard.
But since the core is up and the attaching screws are on the bottom I would also send it in.

Tim S

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:34 am
by SteveDC
Those are helpful insights and views. Thank you. I'll send it off.

I'm looking at the half-page of "important notices" regarding system board removal alone. Yeah, I'll pass.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:44 pm
by Cunha
Just thought i'd add that I also would send it off. The X61s is build pretty tight and more components are in tighter spaces. Take advantage of the warranty :D

Let us know about your experience.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:56 am
by jimmy274
Hate to bring back old topics, but I just wanted to share my experience with motherboard removal on X60s. I needed to reapply thermal grease (I always use AS5 for this) and clean/lube the fan.
I found that removing LCD is by far the worst part - in particular, WLAN antennas are not that hard to unroute/route (I've made some pictures with the digital camera just in case) - this is a fairly simple part. Removing LCD... the worst part is the LCD cable, which is taped to that thin metal thingy that is also used to route main antenna. I've made a bad decision to remove the tape and antenna from it (partly because the main antenna is also taped to the fansink)... even though the HMM states that you should do this, DON'T - it a pain in the butt to return the cable to the right spot, and even though I did manage it somehow, now my LCD cable makes strange noises when I open or close the laptop. Also, that metal thingy gets bent beyond repair if you try to remove the safety tape. The LCD could be removed along with this metal thingy without removing the tape - the main antenna remains partially routed through it, but I think that this is by far the better solution.
Anyway, after that and before that it's a walk in the park. The screws on the fansink are a bit tighter than usual, so grab the mainboard just beneath the CPU to keep it from flexing. After applying AS5, things are MUCH cooler - the fan rarely kicks in, plus I lubed it with some graphite grease, and it's quiet even when it does (now hdd makes the most noise).
Anyway, if anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to answer them, and I hope that this post will help someone not screw up the LCD cable the way I did. When I switch the screen to SXGA+, I'll try to fix this and also, I'll probably make a complete guide to installing SXGA+ LCD.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:33 am
by kotaro77
My fan was making a lot of noice as well, took the thinkpad apart twice, first time to remove a thick layer of dust between the fan and copper vents, and put a drop of oil in the fan and applied AS5. Sadly the fan got noisy again after 2 months.

called up lenovo and they sent me a new fan, with new heatsink assembly. They did mention that installing this on my own will void the entire warranty, since i only have 2 months left, i said no problem. New fan is very nice, came with some thermal paste on the heat sink but i removed that and added AS5.

i didnt remove the lcd, but i did undo the tape and connectors. Guess i was lucky in that the thin metal thing did not bend out of shape, and the cables naturally fit back into the exact locations. The tape was sticky enough that i just pressed them back down.

i would like to mention that this notebook has travelled alot, seen some saltwater, and amazingly runs just fine. Did need a new battery after 2yrs and the saltwater. Thinkpad quality is still there.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:54 am
by jimmy274
Well, the fan went bad after two months because you've used oil. Oil is liquid and leaks out so it's not the best solution. The same applies for all liquid - WD40 makes an instant effect which lasts for about a day or two and then you can hear the ol' roar from the fan again.
I've used regular grease before, which lasts for let's say roughly 3-4 months. When I got tired of changing grease (in my desktop computers), I've switched to graphite grease which is the best solution for greasing so far - I am yet to see a fan with this grease roar. The reason is that graphite grease is somehow not affected by dust and lasts the longest.
I also find that the fansink on my x60s is the best fansink Lenovo ever made, because it can be easily disassembled, in contrast to T4x/R5x or even T6x series.

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:29 pm
by bluesceada
My X61s fan is also failing (rattling etc.). It is still in warranty and I also didn't want to send it in. Now I looked at all the stuff, looked in the Service Manual, opened it up etc.
I am not that much scared of it, as I mess with electronic stuff quite often... it seems okay to do, but also not the easiest task. But the most thing against it is, it costs! The trader I bought it from told me the fan is no CRU - customer replaceable unit - but only a FRU. So I can either send it in, and get it replaced for free, or I can buy the part, and replace it myself....
So I decided to send it in, but still didn't do so, as I use it nearly every day.

I plan to do this sometime the next weeks, when I find a good time where I don't need it that much. (I still have a desktop computer, but carry the notebook to university every day)

Re: X61s fan failing. Should I replace it myself?

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:29 pm
by CowardlyBob
Absolutely replace the fan yourself.

I just did mine, and it was a piece of cake. The fan can be had from ebay for less than $50, including shipping. Search for "42X3805", which is the FRU for a main fan for an X61.

If your X61 doesn't have the secondary fan, order one while you're at it.(if you don't have built-in WWAN-a cell card- it won't have the secondary fan)

Download the service manual from IBM ... 550_04.pdf

Some notes:

Things you don't have to do that it says to do:
You don't have to remove the ethernet or modem connectors in the upper right corner of the frame (or any screws there).
You don't have to remove any modem cards, or cell cards, or any cards mounted on the motherboard (including the hard drive connector). Just move the wires out of the way.

When you flip the board over and go to unscrew the fan, make sure you have a GOOD screwdriver, that's exactly the right size, and you get it firmly in the screw. The screws are quite tight, and stripping one would really suck, I'm sure.

DO remove the hard drive, battery, metal plate over fan, and one screw that mounts the pccard slot to the motherboard (the one close to the edge), as it holds the motherboard in the case.

You do have to take the whole laptop apart though - only the LCD remains in one piece. It does say to unmount the LCD from the case, though you may not really have to.