In this guide I explain how to replace the cooling fan assembly in an IBM ThinkPad T43 laptop. This laptop was starting up with a “Fan error” message indicating the cooling fan failure. The fan is a part of the heat sink assembly and when the fan fails, the whole cooling assembly has to be replaced.
Also you can use this guide for removing and replacing the keyboard and hidden memory module.
Turn off the laptop, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery.
Remove three screws securing the keyboard on the bottom of the laptop.
The first memory module can be accessed through the door on the bottom.
It’ not necessary to remove the memory module in order to replace the cooling fan.
Insert a sharp object between the bottom of the keyboard and palm rest and carefully lift up the keyboard.
Place the keyboard upside down on the palm rest.
Disconnect the keyboard cable from the motherboard.
Remove the keyboard.
If you are looking for a new keyboard for an IBM ThinkPad T43, you can find it here.
The cooling fan assembly is hidden under the palm rest and cannot be removed until the palm rest is removed.
The second memory module is located under the keyboard.
Now we are going to remove the palm rest.
Remove all marked screws from the bottom of the laptop.
Disconnect the touchpad cable from the motherboard.
Start separating the palm rest assembly from the laptop base.
Remove the palm rest assembly.
Remove three screws securing the cooling fan assembly.
Disconnect the cooling fan cable from the motherboard.
The cooling fan assembly part number is printed on the label.
Lift up the right side of the cooling fan assembly.
Remove the cooling fan assembly.
In order to find a new cooling fan assembly, I would suggest searching by the IBM FRU part number. In my case the part number is 26R7950.
You can buy a new cooling fan assembly here.
Clean up the CPU and GPU chips with an alcohol swab.
Do not forget to apply fresh thermal grease on the CPU. You don’t have to apply thermal grease on the GPU because it will be covered with thermal pad located on the heat sink.
A new cooling fan assembly should come with thermal grease pre-applied on the heat sink. Also, it comes with thermal pad for the GPU.