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Lubricant for bearings in a case fan..

Last response: in Components
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October 18, 2010 11:12:47 PM

Hey fellas, I might have made a bit of a blunder here..

Just today the front 120mm fan on my "NZXT Guardian-921" case started making weird grinding noises. I took my case apart and found that the bearings were probably not lubricated well enough, and I sprayed silicon lube on it without a second thought. It worked, when I spun it by hand.. But how long will this last? Is this going to destroy my fan somehow?

I haven't put everything back together yet, and I need to know if I'll have to drive by the hardware store and pick up some 3-in-one, and use that instead.

Thanks in advance!
October 19, 2010 5:39:03 AM

lol i've had the same problem. dust gets into the ball bearings and eventually causes the fan to stop and the motor to burn out. dust filters are a great way to prevent the problem. the lube however shold keep the fan running for some time
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October 19, 2010 9:38:09 AM

If you are on areas were dust is unavoidable then make sure you clean the fan or make sure your casing has a fan filter on it. Yes the lobe works but it really depends on the dust on your area.
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October 19, 2010 1:07:57 PM

It will work for a while, but you might as well get ready to buy a new fan. If the bearings are making noise, putting lube on them will make them run quiet for a while, but the noise indicates the bearings are already worn, and they will only get worse.

The oil initially will loosen up and help clean up any dust in the bearings, but moving forward, now dust is going to stick to and accumulate about 10 times faster than normal to the oily surfaces. There is dry lube which can work pretty well, but like I said, if the thing is making noise, it is only going to get worse, and fans don't cost much, I would just go get a new one.
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October 19, 2010 5:50:12 PM

This sequence has worked for us:

(1) remove the fan and clean it thoroughly e.g.
using compressed air, then a cotton swab and
isopropyl alcohol applied to the cotton tip;

(2) lay the fan flat so that it exhausts upwards;

(3) apply 3-in-1 oil to a clean cotton swab: http://www.3inone.com/

(4) squeeze the cotton tip against the circular hub
of the fan, so a small amount of oil flows into the
area of the fan bearing; do NOT use too much oil;

(5) turn the fan slowly and repeat (4) above;

(6) let the fan sit about 24 hours, to allow the
oil to permeate the plastic parts; because plastic
comes from oil, the plastic will act like a sponge,
but slowly;

(7) next day, connect the fan to a separate PSU
and spin it up so any excess oil is thrown against
the fan housing;

(8) remove that excess oil with a soft cotton cloth
or toilet paper and continue testing until there is
no excess oil being thrown against the fan housing;

(9) re-install the fan in your chassis.


What we think happens with this sequence is that
the oil causes the plastic parts to "swell" slightly,
which compensates for normal wear. Also, the
oil obviously adds lubrication which may be absent
from a worn-out fan. Lastly, thoroughly cleaning a
fan will remove any accumulated dust that will surely
cause the fan to spin out-of-balance, further increasing
the wear in its bearing.


MRFS
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June 12, 2011 10:55:50 PM

I had fun ripping apart both the case fan and the PSU. both of which if you look closely in some cases there is a pin which hold the fan blades and a washer. That from what I can tell in some cases is what dries out. Some fans have plugs that go over them other just have stickers that go there. Either way, lube it, clean it up, hook it up and in some cases if the chassis fan is able to be left open. Watch its rotation and us a pin to flow a small amount of lube into the fan, no sense for excess. Recently had to do mine.
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