What will happen if I unplug my computer fan?

My computer fan sounds like an outboard engine.

I went with option D “You won’t get away with it, but you won’t immediately destroy anything either”.

There’s usually some sort of overheat protection on today’s cpus/mainboards, either that or as the cpu gets too hot, your system will become unstable and crash, usually suddenly and ungraciously. (good way to introduce electrical shocks into your system)

Anyway, without the system fan, the cpu fan will just push the same air around the inside of the case, heating it a little more each time it passes through the cooler leading to an overheat condition.

If your fan is that loud, get out to your favorite supply store and pick up a new one. Or, check out sites like quietpc.com and look for quiet replacements. (note that ‘quiet’ usually means less airflow and higher temps)

It’s a dell gx270 and it is the CPU fan that sounds like an outboard engine. I’ve been looking around online for a new fan, but the only ones I can find are “used” – and during my research I have found that gx240, gx260, gx270, gx280 fans are notorious for packing up.

I contacted Dell, and they quoted me $45 for a fan and a heat sink. I only want the fan. I told’em to stick it. They should sell the fans cheap, considering that they know they’ve sold a million computers with dodgy fans.

I’d sooner go buy another box for just over $100, and take the fan out of that (plus the ram, and I’ll have a spare HDD too)… the only reason I “don’t” is because chances are that the fan in that one will be no good too. A GX270 box is only worth $100 or so.

I’ll check out that quiet PC site. Basically I don’t want to buy a DELL fan. I’d really prefer to buy some other sort of replacement fan – one that fits. I’m not in too much of a hurry,l because I ahve other computers – but I could use this compuyer. I just don’t want to pay too much money for a fan, considering the worth of the box. I’d sooner dropkick it over the back fence and be done with it.

Ah, another Dell.

As I’ve recently found out in this thread, Dell apparently doesn’t use their model numbers to distinguish between models. I guess if the model names didn’t sound so ‘cool’ they’d just call them all ‘computer’ and leave it up to tech support to figure out which one the customer has…well, I guess they do that already.

Anyway, the GX270 name represents a family of computers with similar hardware specs, but wildly different cases, therefore: different actual hardware, therefore: different model names are needed (IMHO, I’d be happy with 271, 272, etc to represent the case types).

What does my rant mean? not much. You know what your fan looks like, obviously, get one that looks like it.

  1. It might just need cleaning and lubricating with a bit of WD40,
  2. Go down to your local PC shop armed with the fan, slap it on the table and say in your best tech free voice - “I want one of them” and let them worry about the model number!

lol @ 2). [ slap it on the table and say in your best tech free voice - “I want one of them” ] – haha

Actually, I didn’t try the WD-40… I just figured it’s had it.

Also, I did try to clean it… but it’s very hard to get into all the little cracks.

Is it ok to wash under the tap?

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Erm - NO!

Get a small paintbrush or some compressed air cleaner and have a go first.

Que my “WD-40 is NOT a Lubricant Rant”

WD-40 is NOT a lubricant.
WD-40 does a great many things, but lubrication is not one of them.
WD-40’s lubricating properties begin to evaporate as soon as you apply it, once gone, the residue left behind is sticky (aka: the exact OPPOSITE of slippery)

Add heat and friction to the residue and you really start to get a mess.

WD-40 will kill anything you attempt to lube with it.

anecdote: My brother had a desk fan, which began to emit an unpleasant squeak. He sprayed some WD-40 on it, squeak went away for a while but soon returned. Lather, Rinse, Repeat in increasingly shorter cycles, until: complete seizure.

If you want to lube a fan, use a lubricant. Go down to your local hardware store and ask for a Zoom-Spout - this is an actual lubricant (and inexpensive to boot, <$5), meant for lubricating things, not a water displacement chemistry experiment guaranteed to ruin whatever you’re trying to fix.

WD-40 is the ultimate multi-purpose problem solver. WD-40 cleans/degreases, penetrates to loosen up stuck parts, prevents corrosion and is a light lubricant. 3-IN-ONE, with it’s special drip spout, enables you to lubricate without any overspray or splatter. 3-IN-ONE is ideal to use on tools, rollers, hinges, in-line skates, wheels…nearly everything that moves.


Do what you will, just remember ‘I told you so’.

(also, note that they’re talking about 3-in-1 for lubrication of moving parts)

Well, I’ll Give WD-40 a shot… If worse comes to worse, I’ll just get another fan. That’s what I was going to do anyway. The fan is pretty dirty… maybe a plain old clean will do the trick. It’s very hard though… I don’t have any brushes. I am thinking of taping a pen to the end of my vacuum cleaner :slight_smile:

Edit LOL - “MrLeN’s Repair Shop”… anyone needs any repairs??? haha

Another Edit okies, I couldn’t get the fan off, because the end of the wire where it plugs in wouldn’t fit through the heat sink coil, so I cut it with nail clippers and joined it back together with sticky tape. I didn’t have any electrical tape. Then I figured I’d disassemble the whole fan (which is in a plastic case). So I hacked the plastic case apart (which was actually quite hard, I’m surprised I didn’t break it), and inside there is what looks more like a turbine than a fan. I wanted to get that out, so I ripped the sticker off the top and underneath there’s a tiny little circlip. So I hacked that off. The only way I could get it off was to bend it. It was wrecked when I got it off, but I straightened it out again with pliers, so I should be able to get it back on ok. Then I pulled the turbine thing out and it has a spring and a little bearing. I cleaned all that out and washed the plastic turbine thing under the tap. That part is only plastic anyway. Now I am looking for the WD-40. I can’t find it. I might have to take a torch out into the garage and have a look. But so far my operation is going really well. There was SO much gunk inside the turbine and plastic case, that the “outboard motor” sound was probably caused by one side of the fan having more gunk than the other, causing it to wobble. As far as I can see, there’s no worn parts (and I have ripped the thing totally to pieces - lol - so I can see every little part). I suspect that it will run nicely when I put it back in… I’ll come back and post when I (um…), put it … all - back – together. Assuming that it goes back together, lol.

Another Edit Ok, it’s all back together. I just turned the computer on. It never does make a whole lot of noise when I turn it back on. So I am going to go and open a heap of stuff. Make it do some work… see how it goes…

Another Edit Well, I am on the computer now, but it’s hard to tell if it’s going to make noise because it’s a fresh installation of XP. I need to download some software to play some music and open some pages and get the computer doing some work. But so far, it’s pretty quiet. It’s usually shaking the foundations of the house by now (even when it’s not really running anything)… I am not holding my breath though. I wont declare it fixed until I make it do some work… Things are looking good though…

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End Result I didn’t end up using any lubricant, because I couldn’t find the WD-40. Besides, by looking at the parts, I could see that using any lubricant would probably be a waste of time – because the fan has a shaft and on each end of that shaft is a little collar, so the actual surface area of anything that might be lubricated is “millimeters”. Something spinning as fast as this fan does would probably wear out any lubrication applied in minutes, so I just didn’t bother.

As for the testing, this the computer (which I am sitting at now) had a totally fresh XP installation. So I had to go download firefox and realplayer and a heap of stuff that I could use to kick the computer’s guts in to see if it would groan about it. While downloading all windows updates, and running real player and practically every application available on the program files menu, I opened up firefox - went to youtube and opened more than 50 videos at once. Then I opened a new firefox and did the same thing again. I kept on opening things until the computer was so depleted of resources, many of the programs displayed “Not Responding” in the Task Manager.

The CPU usage in the Performance tab of the Task Manager was running along the ceiling and the little green icon in the bottom right (near the time), showing the CPU usage was fully green for about ten minutes. Basically, the computer was “valve bouncing”…

Through all of that, the computer moaned and groaned (ie: the fan), and it even vibrated a little. BUT, compared to what it WAS doing, it is a VAST improvement. The noise reduction was 90%. However, now that the fan is 100% clean (and it is, because I pulled it down to every possible part), cleaned it and reassembled it, and it is still vibrating, I can safely say that the fan has seen better days. I am still going to need a fan.

However, I need to say: When I say “vibrating”, I mean that I can audibly hear the fan vibrating and shaking the inside of the computer, but the noise was low. Previously, before I cleaned the fan, it literally sounded like an outboard engine. I tell no word of a lie.

I have looked up many posts online, where people are complaining of gx270.gx280 fans making a heap of noise, and the responses they get from people display a complete non comprehension of the sound these fans make. Most of the replies (by the people who have the noisy fans) are along the lines of: No, but you don’t understand… what I say it’s making noise it’s shaking the house walls!"… some of the people suggest that it might be the hard drive or maybe even the floppy spinning. Hard drives and floppy drives don’t cause your computer to literally bounce up and down across the desk!

These Gx270 fans are more noisy than you could imagine possible from a computer. The main reason I typed all this is because I know that there are a heap of people in the world with these fans. So, my advice to anyone who find this article in a search engine is that you can pull the fan apart and clean it, and you might not have to buy another fan. Unfortunately, this computer has been vibrating its brains out for months – so the fan in this computer, even though fully cleaned and 90% quieter, is obviously ready for the trash.

Oh and lastly, and very importantly, when I closed all the applications – the fan took a few minutes, but it finally wound down to a slight hum… just like any regular computer. At the moment, this computer is barely making a peep, even after everything I just put it through. But the fan is definitely damaged.

Before I cleaned it, the noise got so loud I had to shut it down for a few minutes just to give it a rest, which is the only way I could stop it from spinning at maximum capacity. It would get to the point where it just WOULDN’T STOP!! … but even after rebooting, the fan would start vibrating its guts out even while it was still booting up. So to be typing on a forum now, after what this computer just went through – and the fan running “quiet” is a massive accomplishment.

I’ll see how the fan goes with regular usage (as opposed to me kicking its guts in). I think that cleaning this fan will buy me a few weeks while I patiently search for a replacement, because I am certainly not paying $45 for a piece of plastic and three wires. I think what I might end up doing is purchasing another GX270 for around $100. I’ll take the ram out of that and put it in this, and I’ll have a spare hard drive as well.

This computer isn’t half bad for what it’s worth. It’s a 2.7ghz Intel Pentium with 512MB ram and a 40GB HDD. Another 512MB of ram wouldn’t hurt. I just have to try and find a Gx270 that doesn’t have a noisy fan. Plus, I’ll have other parts if something else packs up. I think even the GX240’s (which are only like 1.6ghz have the same ram and fans) I’ll have to double check on that. As far as I am concerned a gx240 box is worth $50… but I think they might have 2 x 128MB sticks – and that just wont do. I’ll have to look it up.

This is just to help others:
dell optiplex tower gx240 gx260 gx270 gx280 fan noise computer noise

Gun Oil!

I put a couple drops on fan bearings after using compressed air to clean stuff out. Non corrosive.

I don’t have no gun oil.

My fan noise doesn’t have anything to do with lubrication. The collars on the shaft are worn because it was left running in a filthy state for months. Maybe if I had’ve taken the fan out and cleaned it when it first started protesting, it would have been ok. But this fan has seen better days. It’s perfectly clean now, but still vibrating the computer. ie: The noise is not within the fan itself, it’s an unbalanced/worn fan, vibrating the computer.

Note: gx270 fans are rather large. They’re more like turbines. They look the the inside of a jet engine. They’re not just a little propeller on a square mount like most other fans. They aren’t set on a ring and have no bearings. There’s nothing to lubricate. Adding lubrication would make as much sense as lubricating the tip of a spinning top (toy), or lubricating a differential universal joint, because the drive-shaft is vibrating the car. The damage is done. Oil ain’t gonna help.