2.26 or 2.4 GHz / White plastic unibody enclosure

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Fan stops working aproximate 20 minutes after cold start.

Hi, I have a 6 year old MacBook Unibody (late 2009) which worked well till now, thanks to fast SSD and new ifix Battery). The OSX version is 10.11.4 (El Capitan).

Yesterday it shutted down without any warning. After starting it again the temperature (CPU Die) was about 120°C and the fan was not working (0 rpm). I turned it off again to let it cool down. I also opened the MB and cleaned the fan following the fan replacement instructions with disconnected battery. I also did SMC and PRAM reset. I was not able to run Apple Hardware Test (D key at startup sound).

Anyway, after a cold start it seems to work well again, the fan was working too. But about 20 to 30 minutes later iStats menu indicated again 0 rpm I was not able to hear the fan and the heat went up slowly.

Today, after a cold start I got the same results, fan worked. I installed a fan control app to raise the fan speed to keep the computer cold, as I thought it might be related to the temperature. I was able to get it to 6000 rpm (where the spinning was hearable, without strange noise). About 20 to 30 minutes later the fan stopped working again. The fan control app was not able to control the fan speed, it showed 0 rpm.

I am still able to use the computer with only a few programs open and constantly monitoring the temperature - to not allow it to get over 90 °C. I was using a hairdryer to blow cold air into the exhaust on the back side to be able to finis the time machine backup (otherwise the temperature would have risen over 100 °C and the machine probably shut down before finishing backup.

I am wondering if changing the fan would have sense, as it seems to work, at least after a cold start. The fan does not make any strange noises and when I was cleaning it, I also verified that it spins well. Could it be a failure in the fan control (chip)? What does it need to fix that - hopefully not a logic board replacement. May there be a workaround (for example to connect the fan somewhere else to have it run always)?

I would appreciate any help/information on that. I need the macbook to work. I am currently living in the north of Argentina (next service provider is more than 1000 km away from here). The macbook should at least continue to work until new MacBooks (Pros) with Intel Skylake are are available.

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Yes! Your fan is in trouble.

Time to replace it before you cook your system. Here's the part you'll need: MacBook 13" Unibody Fan - Apple P/N 922-8620

Once you cook your system like you have its a good idea to do this and given the age of the system it also makes sense to clean off the old thermal paste and apply a good quality thermal paste. I personally like the Arctic products:

Here's a good guide: Technique: How to Apply Thermal Paste. And here is the guide to pull the logic board out to get to the heat sink: MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Logic Board Replacement

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody and MacBook 13" Unibody Fan Image


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody and MacBook 13" Unibody Fan


Arctic Silver Thermal Paste Image


Arctic Silver Thermal Paste


Arctic Silver ArctiClean Image


Arctic Silver ArctiClean


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How to Apply Thermal Paste



5 - 20 minutes

MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Logic Board Image


MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Logic Board Replacement



40 minutes - 2 hours

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Thank you very much for your fast answer, Dan. How sure you are that it could not be anything else. And do you know how reliable are the fans? Just asking, because shipping to argentina is more expensive than the product itself. Maybe it makes sense to buy two fans, just in case one isn't working.


I think you've proved it with the software you have. If you want something more definitive you could give this app a go: TG Pro You'll need to get the full version but it offers logging so you can see over time what happened. I find this is by far the best app out there for monitoring fans and sensors.

Fans go over time it's a fact of life. I've replaced dozens! As to getting a defective one thats possible, ordering two ... I think thats over kill.

Don't forget your system is showing its age so think how much you are going to invest in it Vs getting a newer model.


I was able to run AHT now (I had to disable System Integrity Protection, SIP, see https://discussions.apple.com/message/27... to bless the USB stick). AHT confirmed finally that it is the fans fault: 4MOT/1/40000002: Exhaust-0 (4MOT/1/40000002: Exhaust ... Fan problem?), it dosn't show any other problem so I'll going to by a new fan. Thank you also for the hint to renew the thermal paste under the heatsink, I'll definitely do this too.


I've changed the fan and also replaced the thermal paste. Now it seems to work fine, thank you again, Dan.


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Hey Lars,

Going off on the model year, Dan is probably right about the fan needing replacement.

but also, check out this article:


Using a different apple unit, they outline software-related issues, in addition to the hardware , when assessing the occassionally observed overheating of apple's laptops. I actually had the model you had an depending on OS updates and whether they addressed power cycle management in their firmware updates, I got stung with burns. and same with the macbook air i have now. (but that's because I dropped the computer :) )

good luck!

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Thank you Albert for helping me too. I think on software side I've done everything possible. I'll by a new fan now and hope that helps.


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Lars will be eternally grateful.
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