Gary attempts to replace his noisy MacBook Pro fan. Don’t try this at home folks!
Related: New MacBook, MacBook Pros Today, Does Apple Need An $800 MacBook?, MacBook Keyboard Problem, New MacBook Pros Fail With Mini DisplayPort, In Defense of Non-Firewire MacBooks.
hi nice video!! i think the fan of my mac is about to die.. it makes a noise like there is a paper grinding into the fan it is not a loud noise it is just annoing how can i tell if this is the beginning of the end or if it will just stay like this?
you can download a “fan monitoring” program that will tell you the rpm’s of both the right and left fan. the program will install into your system preferences panel.
sjan: I’d recommend taking it into the Apple Store ASAP. They can tell you.
Hi – can you refer a good parts source? I have a couple fans to replace as well, and am having a tough time finding a parts supplier (and similarly, identifying an exact part number for fans on a Core Duo MBP 1.83).
Nice video. Thank you for taking the time to show that. Apple really should just replace these even outside of warranty and applecare, but they know we are hooked and will buy the next ones anyway. I found smcFan control earlier today and have used it and amazingly by speeding up the fans it seems to have made the loud rattling sound stop – at least for now. Probably just a matter of time before the fan goes for good, but I’m game to put in a new one having seen the video. I opened my old powerbooks to do hinges and hard drives. They never went back together perfectly at the front seams, but were acceptable; much better than having to live without the thing for a week.
Not a PowerBook, that is driving me crazy.
Hey, nice video! I’m about to do the same exact operation; looks a little more complicated than I was expecting (mostly in how the fan itself is connected/seated), but I think I’m up to the challenge. I actually just took it to the genius bar, and the guy said that a reasonably technical person could probably do the repair; I decided to go for it. :D
I would also like to know where you got the fan.
I bought my fan at powerbookmedic.com
Great VID. I have taken mine apart 5 times put in a new drive 250GB and new superdrive and NOW yup..the left fan is doing the same freakin thing..so I appreciate the work you did and will no doubt be busy this weekend!!! wish me luck. fyi also bought mine at powermedic. Since i am in broadcasting i beat the crap outt thism achine.. jd
AWESOME VID. Thanks so much for making it. I took my 15 ” Macbook pro apart and replaced the fan and the entire process was very easy and only took me about 45min. Your video took all the mystery out of it and I cant thank you enough.
Download SMCfancontrol and go to prefs.
Then ramp up the speed to about 4500 rpm, then wait 5 seconds and put it back to about 1500 or where it started, the rattling stops!!!!!
I was planning taking my mbp15 apart due to noise, when I found your SMCfancontrol advice. It worked !!!
You’ve made my day. Infact you’ve made my week !!
Thanks – So cool, So silent .
All the Best, John Eduard, Copenhagen Denmark.
SMCfancontrol worked for me too! Revved up the left fan to 6000rpm, but when I returned it to normal, it was still making the noise. I shut the puter down and took out the battery to let it cool for about 5 min. When I turned it back on…no noise. You’re the best thank you!
Where can you buy your new fan?
I replaced the left fan because it was noisy. I ordered the fan from “we love macs”.
The fan was slightly different as the power connector was different and also the case has screw holes different. But the serial number and model were right!!! That’s strange!
I decided to go for it: I replace the fan case with the old one and cut the power cord to match the power dock on the motherboard.
When I powered the mac all seemed to be ok!
I worked fine for a week but now it’s a coulpe of days I have sudden speed of the left fan to the maximum velocity… they are short and fast… but they seem to be totally random.
What do you think I can do? (of course keeping it to official reseller, I will do at the first holiday)
ginuz: If it was me, I’d return that fan and by another from another source, making sure it was exactly the same before installing it.
Thanks for the video… I desperately want to do mine myself, but it’s a work computer and still under AppleCare. You shouldn’t discourage people from taking their laptops apart… they should just tape their screws to the paper… it’s can be expensive if you make a mistake but very rewarding and worth any reasonable screw-up.
Firstly, thanks so much for this page, it set me off in the right direction. But you’re going to laugh at how I solved the noise problem. Well, your wallet won’t laugh so much, but you will…
I’ve had the dreaded noise for a little while, only mine was from , it turns out, the right side fan. It sounded so dire that I thought my hard drive was dying, and so I’ve upgraded the 200GB drive to a 500GB, and retired the existing drive to an external enclosure. But that didn’t affect the noise at all. Hence tracking down this page.
Having changed the internal drive I was already familiar with all the screws to undo. When I got into the fan area I decided to be even more bold than you had been, and I ran my machine with the fan removed, but still connected. Doing that helped prove that the fan was vibrating within itself, and not just vibrating when in place. I went further still, and removed the silver plate that you had removed too, and ran the machine again. All of the noise had gone away, but there was still some vibration. The left side fan doesn’t vibrate at all.
I next tried putting some electrical tape between the fan plate and the metal holder thingy, but that didn’t improve things at all. I looked at the plastic fins, hoping to see an imbalance there, but they seemed ok. That really only left the shaft of the fan to blame. So I squirted it with a tiny amount of WD-40. Instant low vibration!
I put things back together again, and now the right side fan has no vibration when in place, same as the left side one. With the machine fully assembled again I have that eerie silence that you experienced after fitting the new fan, only without having to buy a fan!
Of course, in the full experience it did cost me the price of the 500GB drive, but then that is incredibly useful, so I’m not complaining.
Hey, the SMCfancontrol trick really (really, really) works! My MB Pro C2 left fan just stopped to produce noise after 10-15 seconds of 6000rpm! It’s really, really cool!!!
I use Fan Control normally, but it can set max 3500rpm.
Max, you’ve saved me time and money.
Hi, I also tried the SMCFancontrol trick. But unfortunately it did not work in my case… :(
Anyway cool instruction video.
sorry, great video, but you made it without the demographic in mind. people come across this with the same problem, and need more help than cutting all the important parts. I understand you were filming with a hand camera, but that’s like trying to teach heart surgery by showing an unconscious patient, cut to the patient with open incision, cut to patient sewn up, cut to patient alive. just saying.
also tried SMCFancontrol. 4500 for 10 seconds, 5500 for another ten, and then 6000 for ten. I forgot how great having a silent computer can be. Thanks Max
SMCFancnotrol, 5500 for 10 seconds and now utter silence. THANK YOU!
Although the video skipped the important parts (like the opening and removal of parts, as chris mentioned above), it was enough to give me confidence to replace my dying fan (the video and Eric’s comment about “any reasonably technical person can do the repair). So, instead of the $300 to fix, I spent only $48 for the fan and screw drivers.
For the next person: you need a small phillips head screwdriver, a T-6 sized Torx screwdriver, and, if you don’t completely disconnect the keyboard, a small piece of tape to hold the keyboard to the LCD while performing repairs (just make sure to secure/reseat the end of the keyboard cable when done). A can of compressed air and tweezers are also recommended.
I just finished replacing my fan, and by fan I mean just the fan. I bought the assembly pictured in the video (my problem was the right fan), but found that the plug was different and incompatible. As I was packing up it occurred to me that if there is a mechanical noise, the only thing that could be making the noise was a moving part, and the only moving part in the assembly was the fan subassembly. So I swapped out the fan subassemblies and, to my joy, it worked. My MB Pro is as quiet as the day I bought it.
Randy, where did you buy the fan alone. if it saves money I’m more than willing to perform further surgery on mine. my fans are not working correctly. the hardware test showed inconsistently that they are both experiencing issues. i was hoping i could replace just the fan with something newer, more efficient, and even more powerful. but at this point i would really like a cheaper alternative to $100 for 2 fans.
[...] emitting a constant racket from its left fan (which sounds something like this). Most people will tell you you need a new fan for $50, but I decided to try to fix it instead, and so far (it’s been two [...]
Thanks for the information. My right fan started to make a lot of noise when running programs that made the fan speed go over 3k rpm. The fan also ran slower than the left one at higher temps. I was able to do the replacement on my mbp core 2 duo 2.16 ghz with a fan from powerbookmedic. =D
Thanks for the video and fan source. My left fan started making a God-awful noise a week ago. At first I feared it was my hard disk, but once I determined the location I realized it was the fan, I did a search that took me to this site and the video. The noise was only bad when the rpm ramped up, so I put off dealing with it for several days until I finally ordered a new one from Powerbook Medic. This is a great resource, and the new one went in without a hitch. However, after finishing the job I read the comment above from No Film School and checked out the link. Looks like a reasonable alternative to a $50 replacement (I bet the factory in China got no more than a buck or two for this fan!). After putting the new on in, I took my old one apart and applied a minuscule amount of 3-in-1 oil to the shaft. I will save it and try it out if the new fan starts acting up. I bet it will work fine! I wish I had read the The No Film School comment before ordering a new fan, but I am back in business either way. One word of advice, though. Don’t substitute WD40 for a real lubricant the way No Film School did. WD40 is NOT a lubricant, but rather a water displacer.
Gotta say thank you for posting this vid! My Fan was slowly dying and then about 1 week ago would just be loud from startup. Watched your video, (love the part with the paper and screws)ordered the fan and put it in last night.
For the first time in a long time istat and smcfancontrol showed my fans both working normally and obviously that horrid sound is gone. Thanks again!
Wow, I too was experiencing fan noise, and followed the SMC Fan Utility advice.. Running it around 5500 for about 15 seconds. I don’t know how, or if it will last, but THE NOISE STOPPED!!
I’ve been living with the “God awful fan noise” from my left fan for almost a year. I think it’s about time I replaced it but I’ve been afraid until this week. I had to open my MBP to upgrade the 80GB HD to a 200GB. I went ahead while it was open and investigated the fan noise. Nothing I can do will help it. SMC fan control helped initially but has long since been no help at all. I’ll keep it just to keep my MBP cool when running demanding apps but it’s no help for the fan noise at this point. I’m so cheap that $50 is too much so off to ebay I go…. fingers crossed.
I really, REALLY would love to use the app; however, I downloaded the zip file (version 2.2.2), extracted it, launched the app, it asked me for my admin password, then…nothing. I even trashed the original folder and downloaded it again, but it has yet to open (I double-click on the app icon and it appears to open, but never launches). Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated, as my fan noise is driving me crazy and I’d love to tweak it with smcfancontrol before taking it to the Apple Store (which I hopefully won’t have to do if smcfancontrol works as it should). I’m running OSX 10.4.11 on a MacBook Pro 15″ machine.
You might need to have Leopard for it to work. Check the Web site for the application for details and help.
It opens up top, where your time is shown. Not as a standard app.
Crazy as I am, I boldly went and did this on my macbook pro. Some tense moments, as I raided town (São Paulo, Brazil) in search of a #7 torque wrench, and then almost fainted as my computer failed to turn on the first time I reassembled it. When I reopened it, my wife noticed the big flat keyboard cable was disconnected. Then everything was fine and quiet! Thanks bro
How much does the Mac store quote a repair like this? And does it really take a week to do?
I don’t know. Call them and see what they say.
Great vid, Gary. I’ve taken my 12″ G4 apart to replace the HD when it died, but I’ve got one of the original 15″ MacBook Pros. I took delivery of it the week they were first announced, so I was a little more concerned about opening it up and performing surgery. Now that I’ve seen the process through, I’m going to order a replacement fan and put it in. Thanks!
Don’t use smc whatever you do . I installed smc on my mac and my fans now get stuck on 6000 rpm with no applications opened . I have done a complete osx restore and they are still at 6000 rpm . Smc works for many but for me it is a nightmare . Avoid it like the plague .
Ps anyone know of a way to get my fans back to normal
Things I would try: Reset your PRAM. Re-install SMC Fan Control and manually set the fans back to normal (maybe they got suck at the last setting you had when SMC was installed?)
My left fan is ****. Using SMCFanControl, though, I kicked left down to 2000 and right up to 4000 and that’s made the noise go away for now.
Still under Applecare, so genius bar – here I come.
i own a macbook pro 15″, and my right fan was making the noise just like i this video. now i dont like buying things if they can be fixed. so what i did was i opened up my mac, removed the right fan and gave it a good clean. i applied a little (i really mean a little, like less than a full drop) of lube to the fan and now it works like new! i did the same to the left fan even though it didnt make noise, just in case. its been about 5 months and no noise. i saved myself $30 and i feel good knowing that i fixed my mac and learned a little bit more about how my mac works. so before you think you need a new fan and buy one, try what i did. its not a hard task opening your mac, it took me about 15 minutes to do the whole thing. if it doesnt work then by all means purchase a new fan.
My 2006 Macbook Pro has been making noise (mostly when I browse busy web pages) for awhile, but I need it for work and can’t turn it in for long. I brought it to the Apple Store two months ago and they said it was the right fan. I need to replace the keyboard as well, and they told me replacing the fan and keyboard would be $175.
When I knew I could afford it I called in to find out how long it would take, and they said they wouldn’t know until I brought it in. Second time in, they said both fans would need to be replaced (total with keyboard – $245). The parts needed to be ordered and it would take 2-3 days once they were in. BUT, I could send it in to a central repair center and if anything else was wrong with it they would fix for $300 total, in about 7 days. UNLESS, it’s motherboard (like, if something was spilled in it), then I’m looking at $1275.
I have a break from deadlines in two days and I have time to get something done. But now I feel uneasy about my choices, and the computer is starting to run slow within the last week. Any MacBook Pro owners have a similar experience? Any advice Gary? I’m tempted to pick up the pieces and install myself in case I’m going to wind up spending a small fortune, but I’m heeding you’re advice for now.
Hard to advise you here. Since it is a very old MacBook, do you think you might replace it soon? If so, you may not want to spend any money on it at all, and instead put that toward a new one. Or, spend just a little money and try to do it yourself, knowing that a new one might be worth it anyway if something goes wrong.
Is 2006 very old? I kept a 1999 iMac running for seven years. I was hoping not to have to replace it yet. I thought someone might have an idea of how things worked behind the scenes with Apple repair.
I was leaning toward taking a chance replacing the fans. I did just follow a recommendation to reset the SMS, and the slowness stopped. But I’m dying to crack it open after finding this page!
I opened my macbook and my left fan has all of the blades broken…
Is it possible to leave the left fan unplugged and run the computer until I decide to buy a new fan to replace the broken one? Thanks!
Weird. Any idea how that happened?
I wouldn’t run it again until you have a working fan in there.
It started making really loud noises like the one described here, 3 weeks ago. (I didnt find your forum until last night… but I did read some other posts about the problem being fairly common)
So I decided to try blowing compressed air from a hose in a workshop I have access to; I thought it would be the same as the pressure from a can of compressed air. But I think it was too much pressure. I heard a snap while I was blowing air into it. The weird thing is that I did it to every opening in the computer, right fan included, and nothing snapped in the right fan it would just make a hissing rotating noise. So it leads me to think that the left fan was already sensitive somehow and couldnt take the pressure… I just helped it to continue breaking?
So you think it’d be a problem to leave it in there rotating without the blades? I cleaned them all out of the computer. Now its just the center piece rotating without the blade endings. And did you say definitely not unplugging it so that it doesnt run while the macbook pro is on?
I think the danger is in your MacBook not cooling properly. Without those fan blades, the chips won’t cool. They may overheat. Once that happens, you’ve got a dead MacBook.
I have the same problem, but i could not find the address to buy the same brand of the one is install, please, can you give to me???
Unless you have the exact same model as I did in the video, then you may need a different fan. Probably do. If you really want to do this on your own, then open it up and find out what model number of fan you need to replace. Search on that model number.
Thanks for the Vid. I ordered my MBP in jan 2007 so i have a late 2006 model. You must have the same. Your screen looks like it has the same discoloration issues that mine has had. My fan also makes the same noise. I also intermittently have issues with display driver, always have.
I didn’t get the extended warranty and the moron at apple (who sang on the phone!) told me not to worry about sending it in in the middle of the semester. He said since the problem was documented i could send it in at the end.
HA! Did you know Apple is not responsible for their employees’ claims? I didn’t until they refused to fix anything. $2000 down the drain.
Did you have other problems with your model? I always wondered if the display had anything to do with the fact that the temp outside was 19 below zero.
I don’t really have any screen color issues. I never had any other problems with it — I used it often until just a few months ago when I upgraded to a new MacBook. It still works well, though.
he talked a lot and he missed the most important part of the video .. that is how to put the fan ..!! and how to conected .. !
What you’re looking for is a little more detailed than a simple video. If you need something that detailed, then you should probably have a pro do it, as it can be quite tricky. Plus, unless you have the exact same model (and the one shown is quite old now), it will be different for you.
My macbook pro was making noise on the left fan i switched off then i switch it on again and it never start please it seems dead. Any advice
Take it to a Mac repair shop to have it looked at.
THANK YOU MAX for the smc fan advice..initially mine was at 6000rpm then i took it to 4500 like you said and i could hardly hear the noise .. then i saved and waited 5 sec and put it to 1500 the noise died out completely. The noise has been driving me nuts..it was so loud.
Just fixed my macbookpro fan. My problem was with the right side fan. The very loud grinding noise has now stopped. SmcFanControl
did not fix my problem, but I do recommend that every one should have this app. It tells you the RPM of each fan so you know if you have a dead fan.
I fixed my by removing just the top silver cover of the fan not the whole fan housing its self. The fan and blades are attached to this part. Only two screws hold it in place. I could clearly see the fan blades had been rubbing on the metal plate. I pulled the fan blades off the motor (The blades pull off quite easy) and could see the shaft had a dark all most burnt color to it. So I figured the fan was shot and I would have to buy a new one, but after blowing off all the dust and putting every thing back together, my computer is as quiet as the day I bought it.
smcFANCONTROL fixed the problem!
thank you so much!
I’ve had my 2006 mbp right fan out twice and lubricated the bearing surface and shaft. 1st fix with WD40 lasted 5 months. 2nd with an “electronic” lubricant and that lasted 2 days. Going to try 3 in 1 next. I agree with the earlier posts – both WD40 and the electronic lubricant are primarily dewatering/solvents. Installed SMCFanControl – excellent for 5 months – now I have to change the speeds manually. Need to beat the heat!
Thanks for all the posts – very helpful!
I have an early 2006 MBP which made very loud noise, got very hot, and now doesn`t upload (it passes the grey screen and stays on blue screen trying to upload, but it can`t complete) I had to do forced quit because Firefox crashed, and then I couldn`t start it up. AHT gives me two errors:
apparently something wrong with the fans.
I did repair permission in Utility, but it didn`t find any errors.
Any ideas on my case, and if that`s what I need to fix the problem-to replace the fans?
It sounds like you have a lot wrong with it — not just fans. It is getting old. I’d take it to a Mac repair shop. Or, get a new one.
I got a new one a week ago, but I want to recover this one as I have a lot of files I need. In fact, I got one (the newest MBP) in April, and it had a noise and got hot since the day one, but I didn`t pay much attention to it, but now I understand it`s wrong. Unfortunately, I left it at my parents overseas and can bring it back to the States after the warranty expires.
If you just want to recover those files, I would remove the hard drive and try to get the files off of it directly. A Mac repair shop should be able to do it for you.
I have been having similar problems with my MacBook Pro. The RIGHT fan intermittently made a HORRIBLE whirring noise (similar but definitely worse than what’s on the video). I had already had smcFanControl installed and had the fans programmed at 4000 rpm initially to better cool my computer. However, it seems that this higher fan speed setting INCREASED how frequently the right fan would become super noisy. I shifted back down to the default 2000 rpms for both fans w/ some improvement initially but then the right fan would once again start acting up. What shows up on smcFanControl display right top corner of the screen by default, though, is the speed of the LEFT fan. When I changed smcFanControl preferences to show the speed of the RIGHT fan, it was consisently LESS than 1000 rpm’s when it became extremely noisy (even though it should have been at the 2000 rpm minimum I had programmed). Pressing the + and  keys down forcefully eliminated the noise and brought the fan speed back UP to the programmed speed. Basically, my suspicion is that there is something mechanically wrong with the fan but can be corrected w/ subtle repositioning.
There is this guide too might be helpful:
I’m a Mac harware tech and have seen this a number of times. The cause of the noise usualy is dirt between the shaft and the winding of the motor. Don’t use WD-40. Its not a proper lubricant. I have found that electronics oil works the best. Take the plastic impeller out, clean the metal shaft and lightly coat it with oil. Insert it and spin a few revolutions. Take it back out and clean it again. This grabs more dirt that was in the motor. Very lightly oil the shaft again, reassemble everything and enjoy the silence.
when I pulled out the power connector the black 4pin piece that is connected to the motherboard pulled off as well. Any ideas where I can buy a new one?
I’d just take the part to a computer repair shop and buy a replacement. It will be hard to find online unless you can identify the exact part name.
You can buy those fans very cheap on Ebay for as little as $10.80 including shipping . Not the original fan, but a Sunon fan which is a very good brand. I bought one to replace my old noisy fan on my Macbook pro (2007, A1226 model)
I repair PCs. But I would never try to repair a Mac. Just to remove the hard drive (takes 20 seconds in most PCs)you need not only to open the box and remove parts of internal frame but you also end up with 50-90 screws of all shapes, sizes, threading, numbers and colors. Some of them may be invisible to naked eye
:-)They have to be all put in individual boxes and named and a diagram where to place each one after needs to be created :-)
In the end…I swear 3 of the boxes contained dead ants, not screws as the exhausting undertaking has induced hallucinations. But I faithfully screwed them back in their sockets and it’s just then I realized I have 9 small useless parts which were not at all required to hold integrity of the case or safety of the parts inside.THEY ARE FOR ELEGANCE!! DARN! It’s put there so that in case you happened drop the Mac from the fourth floor, – although it would be busted up inside and completely dead – it would still look sleek and “airtight” LOL Why don’t we hold a MAC funeral? So I started unscrewing some of those reddish ants back and putting them in boxes…
When I was done I realized I had to seriously dry the motherboard. It was drenched in my sweat. In only one short MAC motherboard replacement I lost so many minerals out of my body that I began to have muscle cramps…You get my point :-)
I AM GLAD THAT I WILL NEVER AGREE TO REPAIR ANOTHER MAC IN MY LIFE! Not only are they non-serviceable by user, THEY ARE NOT SERVICEABLE BY HUMAN. Period.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not a hardware expert, but I have taken apart many Macs in my time and never had an experience like that. Wonder which Mac model you were working on. Anyway, there are plenty of Mac shops all around, in every city in the US, so plenty of people do work on Macs.
Some people shouldn’t be disassembling car transmissions either, but there are people that do, and do it well. Just admit you don’t have those particular skills, and move on…
Thank you! That noise was driving me crazy. My problem was fixed by installing SMCfancontrol and switching the “Active Setting” in the drop-down to “Higher RPM.” It took me a moment (of reading the instructions, duh!) to realize that the controls for the app live in the menu bar and not on the dock (hey I’m a newbie at all this!!). Anyway, I now sadly realize that my previous Powerbook probably crashed because the fan wasn’t keeping things cool enough, as I had heard a similar whirring sound before I started hearing the grinding screech of the hard drive failing … live and learn (some expensive lessons). Thanks again!
Hello:I just received a new mac book pro 15′ from the apple store. I noticed that my laptop gets hot. is there a fan upgrade our something I can do to prevent this.?
I will get somewhat hot when it is working hard. WIth a new one you shouldn’t really do anything to alter the operation of the fans — doing so could either affect battery life or cause it to really overheat. Is it much hotter than any previous laptop? Are you doing anything in particular when it happens?
no, I might watch a movie on net flex,our hulu. thats the only time it gets real hot. Travis
Ah, well when you do that it is using wifi a lot, the processor a lot (to decompress). So it makes sense.
Thanks to all for the posts. Using the video and the posts, I took my MacBookPro apart, took the fan apart, blew the dust out, oiled it (partial drop of 3 in 1 oil), and put it all back together. Quiet as new. For now, anyway. We will see if it lasts. Suggestion: use your phone to take pictures as you disassemble. It will help if you forget how everything goes back together.
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