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Noisy fan lubrication

By nismo91
Sep 22, 2010
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  1. Hey all, I've been using this PC almost 4 years now, parts get upgraded etc but the noise is still there. Actually I can bear with it even though my side window is always open.

    Recently out of curiosity I tried spraying some silicone based liquid (car dashboard grooming) into the CPU fan, Chassis Fan and GPU fan. I was surprised by the result, because just a careful spraying near the bearing reduces noise significantly. It is so obvious that I can hear my HDD crunching clearly now. Of course it's not noiseless, but it works!

    Now I guess it probably dangerous or incorrect, perhaps some of you might enlighten me? I know some people suggested olive oil, but I kinda like silicone because I've been using it with door and drawer hinges. Beside, I happen to have quite plenty of them.

    TIA
     
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,627   +320

  3. en0nym0us

    en0nym0us TS Member Posts: 70

    Some PC fans have an opening in the center with a revealing bearing. When they do have this opening.. it is covered with a sticker and/or small rubber disc. I like to lubricate the bearing with WD-40. Make sure the lubricant you are using isn't conductive.
     
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,454   +227

    I would not recommend using WD-40 as a fan lubricant. WD-40 is a water displacement (hence the name WD) fluid which will eventually evaporate to leave a non-lubricating residue. So while it is oily initially, that property does not last. One of my hobbies is repairing cars and trucks and sometimes I use it as a short term lubricant such as minor tap and die work when chasing threads or cleaning tools but not for long term lubrication.
     
  5. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,004   +11

    thanks all for the replies.

    yesterday I continued lubricating by opening the bearing sticker and try to spray little silicone liquid thingy there. just like en0nym0us suggested.

    [​IMG]

    turns out, I may did something wrong, because the chassis fan i'm lubricating become indeed more noisy now. previously I only lubricate the gap between the blade and frame (where the coils are visible). perhaps I may need graphite like SNGX1275 mentioned to use it in the bearing instead of liquid. or perhaps just get a new, silent chassis fan.

    for the WD40 I have to agree with mailpup. I used WD40 with no success on drawer and door hinges. At first the squeaking disappear, but shortly after it will squeaks again.
     
  6. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Addict Posts: 1,095   +22

    WD 40 is really designed to work through rusted threads on bolts etc. Therefore it has to be very thin, so it will run out of a fan bearing as fast as you spray it in. Graphite powder is much better, and graphite powder in a thicker oil (say 3-in-1) is better than that. Problem is getting it into the bearing, and not over everything else. I fixed a noisy fan on my Powercolor X1650 card, by lifting the fan off the spindle with 2 small screwdrivers, mixed up a small amount of 3-in-1 oil with some pencil graphite (it's not lead), using some sandpaper. Put the mixture on the bearing, and now I can't hear it. This needs to be done right in the bearing, because graphite is conductive, and only the minimum must be used.
     
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,454   +227

    Because pencil graphite contains clay it is too gritty to be used as a lubricant. You may not hear it but it's chewing away just the same.
     
  8. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Addict Posts: 1,095   +22

    Fan bearing oil

    Yes I think you are right about the graphite, but it was a trade-off between replacing the fan with a better one with a ball-race, or doing a bit of 'diy' on the original one. The fan as fitted to the 'Powercolor' card was noisy from new, a steady screaming noise more or less all the time. I had a look at it, and the bearing was a plain 'oilite' type sleeve. So I took a slight gamble on oiling it as I described, but knowing the only real answer is to fit a better quality fan, above the original. If it lasts another 6 months as quiet as it is now, I won't complain !
     
  9. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,004   +11

    in the end i just bought a cheap fan to replace the only chassis fan i'm using. a little bit quieter, but not as quiet as the original when i was writing this topic. :( will try to use silicone thingy again later.
     
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,627   +320

    Bearings are steel, with a Mohs hardness of 5.5. Graphite is carbon with a hardness of 1-2. Smectite clays wouldn't be used in graphite because they gum up and shrink/swell a lot in the presence of moisture (even changing humidity), so that leaves illite or kaolins. Illite's hardness is 1-2, and kaolinite is 2-2.5. The hardness is on a log scale too so at minimum steel is 30x harder than the hardest material that would be in the graphite.
    If the bearings were aluminum their hardness is 2.75, so its closer. But the clay content in graphite lube shouldn't be high and even if it was pure kaolin you still wouldn't scratch it because aluminum has a higher hardness.

    In fact, paper has maybe up to 20% clay in it. Pencils don't have any problem writing on paper.

    /geologist

    Now I did fine one thing online about some 'graphite' lube that apparently is used for lubricating rocks or something, but I'd never heard of it without googling. Not the graphite lube for stuff like door hinges.
     
  11. en0nym0us

    en0nym0us TS Member Posts: 70

    Yes, it does wear off quickly. I like using it because of the long straw it has. That way I can open the side panel and point it in hard to reach places and lube the fan bearings without actually removing them from the PC. Like you said, it does wear out quickly. I would never use graphite. I am wondering if there are any other lubricants out there that are oil based and offer the spray straw like the WD-40.
     
     
  12. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,004   +11

    Hey guys, so I've just been told that most of the fan noise issue was due to the dust collected inside the fan itself. These are the step-by-step pictures on how to dismantle your PC fan. Be careful when opening the plastic locking washer, as it may fly into the air and becomes difficult to find. Don't forget to lubricate the center part of the fan when assembling it back.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. en0nym0us

    en0nym0us TS Member Posts: 70

    So I found some very good grease to use and it works great! What I now use is ZEP 2000 HEAVY-DUTY, CLEAR PENETRATING GREASE and it is perfect!

    I've never had to go this far. I experience great and ever lasting results just by removing the sticker & rubber dustcap and then spraying a little bit of my Zep 2000 Heavy Duty Grease directly (on the bearings) under where the dustcap was. Using Zep 2000, I have never had to reapply any sort of lubricant.
     
  14. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,004   +11

    Yeah well this method is usually used when your fan is already contaminated with huge amount of dust such that it requires complete disassembly of the fan itself. usually came from PCs that is being used in dirty environment or smoking area.

    good suggestion, I'll try to use grease instead of oil next time.
     


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