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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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Best lube for old stuck CPU/southbridge/video card fans?

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    Best lube for old stuck CPU/southbridge/video card fans?

    Anybody know if you can keep old fans running by applying some lube (maybe lithium grease) to old seized up cooling fans?

    If so is there any special type/brand to get?

    I have a few system with sleave bearing fans that either need replaced or lubed. I figure anything with a ball bearing that is stuck can't be fixed?
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

    #2
    "Ball bearing" on Chinese fans doesn't mean what most people think. These are still sleeve bearing (bronze oiltite sometimes), with a single ball used as a thrust bearing at the end of the shaft. Hardly qualifies.

    Start with some light oil, say SAE 5 (sewing machine oil). You can add lithium grease later. The only fans I haven't been able to resuscitate are those with damaged or cracked blade or frame assemblies or ones where the bearings are so worn that the rotor wobbles.

    As to whether or not it's worth the effort, that's another matter.
    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

    Comment


      #3
      check out www.svc.com, they have quite an array of inexpensive fans in just about every size you could imagine.

      IBM 5160 - 360k, 1.44Mb Floppies, NEC V20, 8087-3, 45MB MFM Hard Drive, Vega 7 Graphics, IBM 5154 Monitor running MS-DOS 5.00
      IBM PCJr Model 48360 640kb RAM, NEC V20,, jrIDE Side Cart, 360kb Floppy drives running MS-DOS 5.00
      Evergreen Am5x86-133 64Mb Ram, 8gb HDD, SB16 in a modified ATX case running IBM PC-DOS 7.10

      Comment


        #4
        I would rather keep the fans that are on the cards now, and I have purchased new ones direct from China before (cheaper, same parts). The thing is if you have a large collecting of computers then replacing fans (all different types and sizes) gets to be an expensive pain.
        What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
        Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
        Boxed apps and games for the above systems
        Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

        Comment


          #5
          Last few I fixed (yes, I actually work on current equipment as well as Legacy and Vintage), I just pulled the fan off, flipped it over to the inside surface, put a drop of 3-in-1 penetrating oil, let it sit for 10 minutes, hook power up to the card (they were ATIs), let the fan run for 5 minutes, re-assemble and away they go. On cards that don't have power right to the card, just assemble and put them back in, the fan will be facing down and the oil will flow down as it spins.
          Legacy Computers and Parts

          Sales of, parts for, and repairs to, Vintage and Legacy computers.

          Comment


            #6
            The crappy fans on my XClio Windtunnel froze up last year after a couple months of use. I cleaned out the burned grease, replaced it with Marvel Lubricating Oil, and they've run perfectly ever since.
            Searching for NEC Powermate SX/20 parts:
            KTN-8101/2 (NEC OP-410-8101) and KTN-8102P/2 (NEC OP-410-8102+ or OP-410-8103) memory boards

            Comment


              #7
              Most people at the Silent Personal Computer Review forums use sewing machine oil to replenish the reservoirs (such as they are) when fans give audible indications of bearings running low.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Fire-Flare View Post
                Most people at the Silent Personal Computer Review forums use sewing machine oil to replenish the reservoirs (such as they are) when fans give audible indications of bearings running low.
                Sewing machine oil is good. I've used it for years and apply it sparingly with a glass hypodermic syringe and needle, which I keep in a small tin box. Makes it easy when attempting to reach those hard to get at places.
                Surely not everyone was Kung-Fu fighting

                Comment


                  #9
                  I went to the local harbourFreight and purchased this:

                  http://www.harborfreight.com/white-l...ase-94528.html

                  Seems to work very well, but you can't realy control the amount that comes out so I just blasted a Q-tip and then applied the grease to the fans.

                  I couldn't find the small packages of lithium grease, that store moves stuff around so much even the workers don't know where they put stuff.
                  What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
                  Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
                  Boxed apps and games for the above systems
                  Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

                  Comment


                    #10
                    For a small tube of lithium grease, try your big box stores--Permatex usually has a tube of this stuff on a rack card in the automotive department. 1.5 oz.

                    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I honestly use a toothpick to apply motor oil. If your good, and don't apply too much or be messy with it, you can put the original sticker back on. otherwise I find a square of duct tape works wonders.
                      It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Is lithium grease the same stuff used inside floppy drives for lubrication?
                        What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
                        Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
                        Boxed apps and games for the above systems
                        Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

                        Comment

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