Heatsink/fan of doom

My old laptop is a thinkpad t42p. It’s a bit slow these days, and only 32bit, but otherwise it’s still a fine laptop. My Girlfriend has been using it as her full time machine for a few years now. As it has several times in the past, the fan berings started to die again recently. Not sure if it’s that they get a lot of use, or are substandard or what, but I have had to replace the fan/heatsink assembly in this laptop about 3 times now over the years. ;(

This time sadly was different. I ordered a new one, got it in just fine and decided that yesterday was the day to finally replace it. (The laptop was sounding really quite bad as the old fan would spin up, down, up, down, sputter, quit, start again, etc). I expected to take about 30min or so and would have the new fan in place. Disassembly was easy and very much like I recall from the last time I did this. Remove the keyboard, remove the housing around the touchpad/fingerprint reader, and there is the fan/heatsink. 3 screws and it should just pull right out. Not this time. The pink heatsink pad over the GPU would not come off , no matter how hard I tried.

List of items tried:

  • Plastic wedge
  • small screwdriver.
  • Scraping all black residue off
  • Floss (I could use the floss as a saw, but unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to get very far)

Finally I took apart more of the machine so I could remove the other end of it (normally it comes off the GPU first and slides out that side), and pried with the entire rest of the heatsink. Still no luck. So, I took a small screwdriver and a hammer and (trying to be careful) chiseled at it from each side. Finally, I got it to move on one side, stuck a screwdriver into that and chiseled with another some more. Finally that did it and the gpu was free. About 2 minutes later the laptop was reassembled and working normally.

I guess the lesson to learn here is that you should replace these things more often so the thermal pad does not degrade into a mass of glue. 🙂