ThinkPad Fan Replacement

Recently, my IBM Thinkpad T41p has been making a lot of noise with the fan. It sort of whirrs up and down throughout the day. Also, when booting up it was starting to creak when the fan turns on...making a bad churning sort of noise. I figure that's a bad sign. I'm thinking I need to replace the whole computer.

Finally, I slow down enough to wonder if maybe I can just replace the fan. Behold the power of the web. Others have had a similar issue. The fan is a part of the computer we can expect to replace. It was so wonderful to find links like these:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/99157755@N00/2645785841/in/photostream/

http://repair4laptop.org/disassembly_ibm.html which leads to
http://www.insidemylaptop.com/ibm-thinkpad-laptop-displays-fan-error-mes...

http://foolswisdom.com/fan-error/

Plus I found the Hardware Maintenance Manual (HMM) for the T41p:

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-46464

(sometimes the page is not showing up...go to Google to get the cached version of the page.)

I tried calling around Seattle to see if I could pick up a replacement fan today, but apparently that is a bad idea. The one shop that has parts will not sell them. They have to do the replacement for you. I don't have a problem with that, but they were going to take as long to do it as I would so I ordered it online at Thermal FX:

http://store.thermalfx.com

which I trust enough to try because I saw this:

http://zurich.ai.mit.edu/hypermail/thinkpad/2007-02/0182.html

And I just have to add a side note about the local store. The man on the phone had the impression that if they sold parts they would somehow be liable if I broke my own machine while replacing parts. He went on to compare replacing computer parts to brain surgery. I kid you not, he said "Selling parts would be like having a brain surgeon hand you a scalpel..." I did not ask for this from him. I wasn't even pushing on the subject, but he felt compelled to tell me all of this crap. I already know replacing the fan is not that difficult because I found so many descriptions online plus the manual! A fan is not a frontal lobe...let's all keep that in mind (get it..."keep that in mind").

I have to wait for the part now. Currently the machine can still boot, but it won't be long before it fails and shows the lovely "Fan Error" message and nothing else. Just hoping it can hold out till the part arrives.

One last thing, I took the time to open up the machine to make sure I had the correct FRU number. For my T41p it is FRU Fan GL 13N5347.

UPDATE: The fan arrived promptly and I had it installed in 1/2 an hour. You can do it too!