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About Maes

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    Here's an old post I made on the subject,

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  1. Even since I got down to work on a seemingly dead and gunked up PSU fan, I entered the marvelous world of PC lubrication. At first I was trying to revive said fan by applying light lithium grease between its stator poles and the rotor's magnets. That seemed to help a bit, but not nearly enough. At some point however, as I tried to inject the grease deeper and deeper, I must have hit the sweet spot because the fan suddenly came to life at full speed.

    As I learned later from this excellent page, all I had to do was reach for the back of the fan, open a cap, pour in a bit of oil directly on the bearing and I would be good to go without all that fuss -_-

    Anyway, since then I learned the "proper" way and I promptly lubricated any noisy (or not) PC, PSU or GPU fan I came around. In a few cases, it was really needed and made a difference in noise and performance levels, especially with small, fast spinning fans using sleeve bearings. This can be very beneficial for hard-to-replace fans.

    I initially used an assortment of spray oils (WD-40, silicone oil, motor oil etc.) but in the end Saratoga 1000usi (a sort of 3-in-1 general purpose light oil in a drop dispenser) and a light lithium grease proved to be the best choices.

    I generally use a few drops of light oil, and then add a wad of light grease as a sealant, to absorb and re-emit any excess oil and prevent leaks. Then I seal the back of the fans very well with their stickers, caps or a makeshift seal. For ball bearings, it may be better to use a thicker oil (low-grade motor oil) or press-inject some grease.

    1. Show previous comments  11 more
    2. exp(x)


      I used bicycle chain lube on my xbox fan the other day, and now it works perfectly.

    3. Super Jamie

      Super Jamie

      Give it a few months. There are guides out there detailing hacking a chunk out of the drive tray and installing an 80mm PC case fan, or you could probably find a generic 60mm replacement.

    4. Maes


      Actually, chain lube may be a better choice than even light machine oil, because a proper chain lubricant is usually designed to offer even greater penetration than light oil, in order to reach the chain's o-rings. That is, if you're not willing to completely disassemble the fan and access the sleeve.

      The only catch with chain lubricants is that you must let them set for a while (they usually advise 30 minutes or better yet, overnight) because there's a liquid volatile carrier and a solid, dry lubricant (usually PTFE or molybdenum) that sticks to the moving parts.

      Unlike machine oil and grease however, the final result will be a dry lubricant. You'll still need to add a drop of normal oil or use a chain lubricant that also contains mineral oil, because sleeve bearings actually need a fluid to work properly. Dry on dry won't last for long, even with hi-tech stuff like Moly or PTFE.