High CPU temperature - fans not activating to cool!

Early 2008 MacBook Pro, Model A1261, 4GB Ram, OSX Lion.

My MacBook Pro has always run fairly warm but i have become concerned that it is running too hot and the fans are not automatically (it appears) cooling it sufficiently. Whether it needs cleaning inside or if something is not working to tell the fans to kick, I don't know. Where should I start, I have no definitive direction from any of the forums I have found. Local Apple repair here in the UAE will take 10-14 days...too long to be without my Mac.

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The vents going out from the heat sinks can become blocked. A shop would open it up and use compressed air to blow out the fans, remove the logic board and clean out the vents and reapply thermal paste. It's a big job but may be needed. Here's how to remove the logic board. Look through the guide and see if this is something you want to attempt: MacBook Pro 17" Models A1151 A1212 A1229 and A1261 Logic Board Replacement

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Here's a guide on applying thermal paste: How to Apply Thermal Paste

Here's the paste: Arctic Silver Thermal Paste


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Yeah. I have an old MacBook 17" too (mine mid2010) and I have recently started having the same problem which led me here. I have installed smcFanControl which allows me to both monitor the temperature and fan speed BUT it has not solved the problem. The program lets me establish different power settings for the fan (ie. different speeds when charging, plugged in or battery) but does not allow me to program different settings based on TEMPERATURE which seems the most important to me. It was showing temperatures over 100C (BOILING WATER!) before the fan changed which actually caused me to look! Not cool. Not cool at all.

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James will be eternally grateful.
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