In this post I explain how to replace a noisy or failed cooling fan in a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 laptop.
This guide might work for some other Lenovo ThinkPad models.
Turn off the computer, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery.
Remove four (red) screws securing the palm rest.
Remove one screw (yellow) securing the keyboard.
Lift up the palm rest.
Place the palm rest upside down so you can access the touch pad cable underneath.
Disconnect the touch pad cable from the motherboard.
By the way, both memory modules are located under the palm rest. If you are replacing or upgrading RAM modules, you don’t have to follow the guide any further.
A Lenovo ThinkPad T61 can take up to 4GB RAM total. You can install up to 2GB memory module into each slot. You should use DDR2 PC2-5300 or PC2-6400 RAM.
Lift up the keyboard and place it upside down.
Disconnect the keyboard cable from the motherboard.
In order to disconnect the cable simply lift up the the connector, same way you disconnected the touch pad cable.
If you are replacing the keyboard, you don’t have to follow this guide any further.
You can find a new replacement keyboard by the Lenovo FRU part number printed on the label. In my case it is 42T3209.
Remove three screws securing the speaker cover.
By the way, the CMOS battery is located under the keyboard.
Remove two screws securing the speaker cover on the bottom.
Remove the speaker cover.
Remove four screws securing the cooling fan assembly brackets. Remove both brackets.
I would recommend taking a close up picture of the lower bracket, so you know how the wires are routed.
The picture will help you to rout wires correctly when you assemble it back together.
Remove two screws securing the left speaker.
Disconnect connectors shown by two arrows.
Move the left speaker with cables to the right side, so you can access get to the cooling assembly.
Disconnect the fan cable from the motherboard.
Remove four screws securing the heat sink.
Lift up the heat sink as it shown on the picture below.
Remove the cooling assembly from the motherboard.
If you are installing a brand new cooling assembly most likely the heat sink already has thermal grease pre-applied.
If you are installing a used assembly, you’ll have to apply thermal grease on both chips shown below.
You can search for a replacement assembly using Lenovo FRU part number.
The FRU number is printed on the fan. In my case, the FRU part number is 42W2460.
It’s possible to separate the fan from the heat and replace it separately as I did in this guide.