Monday, July 21, 2008

Changing fan on Thinkpad T41

After four years in service, the fan of my Thinkpad T41 started to fail. The computer either wouldn't boot with "fan error" message at boot time if the fan doesn't start or the fan would whine causing video card to overheat, freezing X11. Time to change the fan.

I found the fan part number at IBM's website, it was "CPU Fan Long", FRU 13N5341. I searched online shops for the part, finding several listing the fan from anywhere from $30 to $80. At three different cheapest stores, I tried to order the fan and failed, each time the store canceling my order because the fan was out of stock. Then, I found the IBM parts store, 1-800-388-7080. At the IBM store, the fan was $58 and 1-2 day shipping via DHL was $15, an amazing deal. They just changed the part number to 91P9252. I ordered the fan on Friday. On Monday I received a new looking fan, nicely packaged, with thermal gel intact (covered with a removable film) and thermal grease pre-applied in the right place (gel above the video card heat sink and the grease above the CPU).

The hardest part was removing the old fan. I had to find just the right screwdriver (Philips #1 from my toolkit having Ph 0..3) and applying drops of WD-40 to the fan screws. Once the fan was out, putting new fan and closing the laptop was a piece of cake. The laptop booted just fine and noise disappeared. Let's hope the thermal gel and grease adhere correctly, but it looks like IBM still got the chops. Let's hope new Chinese owners (Lenovo) won't screw it up.


Unknown said...

Hi. My T41 has the same fan-problem. Does the place you got the part from have a website?

Nicholas Sushkin said...

Josephine, no, there is a website for finding part numbers, but to order it from IBM, you have to call the number. See the original post.

Anonymous said...

Good, day, my name is eLiO, i own a IBM think pad T41, i had to change the FAN, because it does not work anymore; i have a question, i changed the fan for a second hand fan of another IBM thinkpad, but i saw, that the screws are not properly tightened, even when i tried to force them, and the LCD display turned off, maybe for overheating.
Doy think that i have to buy a new fan, instead of using a second hand fan???

Nicholas Sushkin said...


It's possible you got a fan from a different Thinkpad model, in which case it may not fit correctly.

Display shutdown may happen due to overheating video chip. Did you apply thermal grease to the thermal sink? I think if you buy a new fank-sink combo, it may come pre-greased.