MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and...

Released October 2008 / 2.4, 2.53, 2.66, 2.8 or 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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Cleaning the fans without removing them?

My fans keep spinning like crazy, even when just using the browser with a single tab open they end up at 6200rpm and are noisy. I guess this is because of the dust build-ups since everything else works just fine and it started to get noisy quite recently.

Since I am planning to install the new memory modules (2x4GB) tomorrow, would it be of any use if I cleaned the fans from dust since the machine will be open?

I am not comfortable with removing the fans themselves (I'm female and a blonde, fullstop). Would blowing from a can of compressed air do any good or would I just make it worse by getting the dust deeper or perhaps end up damaging the fans?

I was thinking of cleaning everything I can reach with a clean Q-tip if compressed air won't work.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. It's a late 2008 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; I have already upgraded the RAM to 2x2GB (was 2x1GB) and changed the HDD from 250GB to 500GB. The serial number ends with 11GK, and I'm running 10.7.3 on it.

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Take it outside and use compressed air to blow the fans out. Do not blow to long at a time or it will start blowing liquid gas. Remove the battery before doing this for best results. If you can't make sure it is turned off. Our guides were made for blonds ;-) Some of them BY blonds. Personally, I'm turning blond myself again.

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Thank you mayer - I have to remove the battery either way to access the RAM slots.

by alex bilusic

+ Blondes have more fun. Unfortunately my hair has gone from extremely blonde, to dirty blonde and now is going to dirty blonde with some grey highlights.

by ABCellars

Anyway, I disassembled it today. After reading about some pretty bad experiences with canned compressed air blowing dust even more into the machine to places where it wasn't before, I did it all manually. What I found inside could only be described as true horror: I ended up removing one of the fans (turned out I didn't have to disconnect it since the wires were long enough to just unscrew it and move it out a bit). I couldn't remove the other fan because one of the screws got...well... screwed (sorry I don't know the right word). So I removed all the dust I could reach, changed the RAM (what a piece of cake!) and right now the fans are really calmer (running at about 2500rpm) and CPU temp lower than before. I also thought of replacing the thermal paste but I'll have to do it another time since I have no idea of how to do it. :) Thanks again

by alex bilusic

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So here the fan is still connected but removed for easier access and cleaning.

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OMG - I've been doing this over thirty years and never have I seen one that dirty. You HAVE to get that other fan off and clean the vent. If the screw is to tight, use a screwer driver with a larger diameter handle so you can get more torque on it. Either you live in a very dusty place or you vacuum clean a lot. Vacuum cleaning a house stirs the dirt up into the air and people who leave their machines on end up like this. Their computer sucks in all that stirred up dirt and filters it out of the air. Turn your computer off when cleaning house.

by mayer

@mayer - hope you're fine :) . The machine was last opened early in 2009 when the 1st owner upgraded RAM and never again after that. Actually I don't vacuum the house a lot (I live in a flat and there's not much dust around, as I can see on the furniture). We have 2 cats and vacuuming just makes things worse - so mostly I damp clean the floors and other things around the house to avoid bringing the dust & cats' hairs up in the air. I didn't take a picture after cleaning when everything was still dissasembled, but here's one after I cleaned it up: I also tried using the larger screwdriver but it didn't work - seems that I managed to screw up the screw head with the first one. I guess I will have to figure out how to take that one out, and after that how to disconnect the fans from the motherboard, remove them and use compressed air to clean them. I've seen the tuts here on how to replace the vents but the part with disconnecting them bothers me. :(

by alex bilusic

I'm not seeing any hair contaminants. It all seems to be the same color. Are you using your machine in the kitchen while cooking? Was it greasy?

by mayer

It was used in a separate room/studio and for the last 10 months it's used in the same room where I'm cooking, but around 7-8 meters away from the kitchen itself - it's a space around 45m2 with living room, dining and kitchen combined. I guess it might also have to do with the fact that 2 persons are smoking in the house?

by alex bilusic

Was just a bit greasy around the vents, but mostly it was dry dust all over. Check another photo, close-up where you can see the dust bunnies as well >

by alex bilusic

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alex bilusic will be eternally grateful.

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