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Best lubrication for fan

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Avoid products like WD40 and '2in1' oil. WD40 wont 'lube' anything but its great at getting water out of stuff like bike chains or unjamming some mechanical parts that have become rusted and stuck together..

2in1 will just turn into a sticky mess that will jam up your fans. silicone, lithium grease or sowing machine oil is always good.
Many people don't realize that WD40 is actually a cleaner. Any lubrication that it provides is purely incidental (and short-lived).
 
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Many people don't realize that WD40 is actually a cleaner.
Actually, and far more technically, it's a Water Displacement agent. Hence the WD. Which was originally formulated to be used primarily as a rust/corrosion inhibitor. So any cleaning it does is purely incidental too.

But is has literally thousands of uses. Cleaning and lubricating a plethora of things being among them.

I don't recommend using it to lube fans either though. It's too thin(low viscosity) for that IMO. Plus it stinks. So you'll be smelling it for a while if you do.
 

4ektonik

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i don't know is it true but
1)In some articals don't recommend to use lithium grease
2)Using graphine oil(it's have crumb which not good influence for the cooler
3)Bad idea using very thick grease
4)WD-40 only for clean not for grease
5)Of course don't use oil food
6) some articles saying use oil/some grease silicone
 
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The reason to not use grease is due to the higher viscosity. Which can affect the rate at which the fan is able to spin(RPM). IOW, it's just too thick. You don't want something too thin or too thick. Too thin will have problems staying in place. Too thick will slow your fan down. That's how I look at it anyway. But there's more than one way to look at it. And there's no real "right" answer. It's more or less "whatever works...works".

EDIT: To add to that a bit. I've NEVER seen a fan come lubed with grease from the factory. If you ever find one I'd like to see it. Every one I've ever seen has had some kind of light weight oil applied for lubrication.
 

4ektonik

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The reason to not use grease is due to the higher viscosity. Which can affect the rate at which the fan is able to spin(RPM). IOW, it's just too thick. You don't want something too thin or too thick. Too thin will have problems staying in place. Too thick will slow your fan down. That's how I look at it anyway. But there's more than one way to look at it. And there's no real "right" answer. It's more or less "whatever works...works".
real answer have people who doing it's many times/often.Like people in computer business who serve it.If it works fine in many years and didn't do problems it's ok. P.S. I read comment,man use graphite grease,and after 3 years it was burn.Someone answer this man that problem was in grease,it was crumble by crumbs which influence on video card.:wtf:
But your view i think is good and useful
 
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100% Teflon Grease works for me. (got mine from the Space Program) Very hard to find, but very slippery and lasts forever too.
 

4ektonik

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100% Teflon Grease works for me. (got mine from the Space Program) Very hard to find, but very slippery and lasts forever too.
many specialization shops have silicone+PTFE(Teflon) i think it's will be as well
 

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i don't know is it true but
1)In some articals don't recommend to use lithium grease
2)Using graphine oil(it's have crumb which not good influence for the cooler
3)Bad idea using very thick grease
4)WD-40 only for clean not for grease
5)Of course don't use oil food
6) some articles saying use oil/some grease silicone
You dont want anything too thick because the lube needs to permeate and really penetrate the bearing, thats why sewing machine oil or various chain lubes for motorcycles or bicycles work great so long a the viscosity isnt too thick. Its not going to do much if you apply a dollop of it outside the bearing. Its almost gotta be submerged and left for a minute or two to soak up the lubalicious goodness. You dont have to do this though.
 
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I have a Wang 8088 APC that I bought in the mid 80s. I kept it for a DOS structural engineering program on it that we used till 2016. Only part ever replaced was the PSU, which I took from 5 spare machines I was given when a client moved on to Windows based systems. Best route for lubricating fans ? ... buy decent fans and you won't have to. Have another build here from 2011 ... two fans died. Contacted Antec and asked to purchase replacements as that fan was no longer "in the store". Antec replaced them free of charge.


Many people don't realize that WD40 is actually a cleaner. Any lubrication that it provides is purely incidental (and short-lived).
Tell that to someone who has stepped on it after their kids used it in the kitchen and excess spray landed on the floor :) ..... missed work for 2 days after finding myself flat on my back:)

Truth is, it is exactly the opposite ... it's the the volatile hydrocarbon that exists short term ... it evaporates, leaving behind the oil. That being said, it is a low viscosity oil and is not intended to last very long. I find it particularly useful when using "hardware store" duplicate keys which tend to require a bit of "wiggling" to get to work ... a spitz of WD-40 every 3-4 years makes them work effortlessly.

From Wiki:

"WD-40 is the trademark name of a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray ... The long-term active ingredient is a non-volatile viscous oil which remains on the surface to which it is applied, giving lubrication and protection from moisture. This oil is diluted with a volatile hydrocarbon to make a low viscosity fluid which can be aerosolized to penetrate crevices. The volatile hydrocarbon then evaporates, leaving behind the oil. A propellant (originally a low-molecular-weight hydrocarbon, now carbon dioxide) creates pressure in the can to force the liquid through the can's nozzle before evaporating. The product is also sold in bulk as a liquid to industrial companies."

Also https://files.wd40.com/pdf/sds/mup/wd-40-multi-use-product-aerosol-low-voc-sds-us-ghs.pdf

The composition is:

LVP Aliphatic Hydrocarbon = 45-50 %
Petroleum Base Oil = < 35 %
Aliphatic Hydrocarbon = < 25 %
Carbon Dioxide = 2 - 3%

Again, WD uses a low viscosity oil which is not intended for other than light loads.... and that's what we have in PC fans and why they use it. If the fan is noisy, it has lost lubricant which undoubtedly picked up some gummy residue and dust; the WD would / should help clear that out. Lubrication of PC fans is generally only recommended for sleeve bearing PC fans. These are designed with a shaft spinning inside a cylinder of porous metal which is impregnated with a low viscosity oil. The bearing is designed to have a sufficient amount of oil to last the fan's lifetime. Sometimes this seal will fail and the way most find out about it is after some wear occurs and it starts to make noise. Adding oil at this point is in essence addressing the symptom not the problem.... if it has leaked out, it will do so again. Lubricating sleeve bearing fans successfuly involves ...

a) peel back the label
b) use a professional specialist's tool aka "pointie thingie" like a toothpick or sewing needle to pry off the cap.
c) Add a drop or 2 of oil in the lubricating well
d) put back the cap.

Those caps are generally held in place by friction and you can sometimes skip this step if don't want to put in the effort. If you use a low viscosity oil as recommended for sleeve bearings, it can slip in thru the teeny gap. In other fans, the cap is glued and adding oil outside the cap is useless. Sleeve bearings work by oil suspension. The oil has to be thin enough to get easily between the bearing and spindle, thick enough that it won't weep thru the seals at the end of the bearing but not so thick that it puts its own drag on the spindle. When seal wear happens and the lube ends up weeping out adding more lubricant is a short term solution. If the seal is worn enough to let the lubricant out, it won't stop any added oil from doing the same thing. In short, if you need to do it, you will need to keep doing it ... for me, I'd rather just replace the fan.

Ball bearing fans are generally sealed and as such, adding oil is not an option.

Best practices ...

a) Buy quality fans so you don't have to bother
b) Consult your fan manufacturer

For the last 6 years, we've been using the Phanteks PH-F140SPs which topped the charts in silentpcreview,com's performance testing. Whenever supply here gets low, I buy 10 or so when newegg has their "$5 off" specials (last purchase were $10.89 each). We had one fan about 3 years ago, that made noise about 2 months in on the top of the case. They are rifle bearing designs and one thing common to this type of fan is that the slide a bit along the shaft between "stops". When used as push fans blowing down thru a radiator in the typical water cooling manner, at high speeds they can lift up and as fan speeds change up and down, they can make a chattering noise as the blade assembly rides the shaft hitting the stops. I didn't think 1250 rpm was sufficient to do this and on top of that only one fan was making the noise. So I contacted Phanteks to set up an RMA (5 year warranty), they sent two replacements "for my trouble" and didn't want the old fan back. The noisy one was quiet when installed as a pull fan but I wound up installing it vertically and it was quiet that way also.
If I find myself in a situation where a fan makes noise, I'll RMA it ... or just pull one of the $11 spares off the shelf.
 

4ektonik

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You dont want anything too thick because the lube needs to permeate and really penetrate the bearing, thats why sewing machine oil or various chain lubes for motorcycles or bicycles work great so long a the viscosity isnt too thick. Its not going to do much if you apply a dollop of it outside the bearing. Its almost gotta be submerged and left for a minute or two to soak up the lubalicious goodness. You dont have to do this though.
I just have thought what to choose oil/or air-spray silicone.I think i need to try oil.I'm just thought that oil is thin but oil is you could notice oil it's not like water it has something thick.So my choice is oil.I don' t really know is air-spray silicone thick,but i guess it is
 
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I use bike chain oil with PTFE (teflon). It's thicker than sewing machine oil.
Most oils will be OK, be that car engine oil, chainsaw chain oil, oil for fine mechanical parts, sewing machine oil... WD-40 will be good only as a short term solution and I wouldn't recommend it.
Just NO to the chainsaw CHAIN oil, the fan probably wouldn't even turn if you did manage to get some in it.
It is thicker and designed to stick to the chain as it rotates at high RPM.
 
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Just NO to the chainsaw CHAIN oil, the fan probably wouldn't even turn if you did manage to get some in it.
It is thicker and designed to stick to the chain as it rotates at high RPM.
Yeah, that'll gum up your fan.

I used to do maintenance on some industrial PCs in a very dusty area of a factory. These were ordinary PCs placed in an industrial environment, so I needed a lot of compressed air and lube to keep them going.
I've used Moebius Watch Oil (I collect mechanical wrist watches), cheap sewing machine oil and pro sewing machine oil.
Watch oil and cheap sewing machine oil works, but you'll need to relube pretty often since they lack staying power at higher RPM.
My favourite is a veterinarians syringe with Singer Machine Oil, it'll get the job done and it'll last longer.
 
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I use 'gun oil' I bought at a local Army surplus store. Can looks like '3 in 1'oil cans, '3 in 1' is good too. I use gun oil on my sewing machine. Yeah, I sew!
 
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Just NO to the chainsaw CHAIN oil, the fan probably wouldn't even turn if you did manage to get some in it.
It is thicker and designed to stick to the chain as it rotates at high RPM.
It will spin and it will be OK. Chain actually runs slightly below 25 m/s on the bar, while some fan bearings will rotate up to 5000 RPM. I agree that chainsaw chain oil is certainly not the best solution, but it's also much better than "air lubrication" that I found on my R9 390 FirstD fans. Yep, these fans had 0 lube on the bearings.
I use Taiwanese "Lifu" bike chain oil without issues for years. It's slightly sticky and approximate as dense as VG150 chainsaw oil. In other words, it's way denser than, for the example, Finish line's "dry" teflon oil (also bike chain oil). Denser oils will be better for fan bearings, especially if your fan has been running without any lubrication for quite some time or if you hear grinding noise. Some manufacturers these days don't even bother to lubricate the bearings, because it's "costly".
 

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Truth is, it is exactly the opposite ... it's the the volatile hydrocarbon that exists short term ... it evaporates, leaving behind the oil. That being said, it is a low viscosity oil and is not intended to last very long. I find it particularly useful when using "hardware store" duplicate keys which tend to require a bit of "wiggling" to get to work ... a spitz of WD-40 every 3-4 years makes them work effortlessly.
You are both wrong. WD40 is designed to displace water. It has ingredients in it that are lubricants, and things in it that are solvents, and hence it sort of works for both of those things. In fact, it works for a lot of things because of what it has in it. The problem is it doesn't work the best at pretty much anything it does except it works really really well as a water displacement.

WD40 works well as a lubricant in applications where the parts aren't constantly moving and aren't moved often. In applications where the parts are moving constantly, the oil in WD40 just doesn't last that long.

You should be using the best tool for the job when possible, and WD40 is rarely it when it comes to lubrication. That said, I have a big can of it, and do use it for certain tasks, it has its place. But the idea of this thread it to find the best tool for the job of lubricating a fan, and WD40 ain't. Now, WD40 might work really well for cleaning out the bearing, and even getting things freed up if they are sort of seized. But after that, clean out the WD40 and lube the fan with a proper lubricant that is designed to work in a constantly moving condition. Sewing machine oil, motor oil, heck even ATF would all be great at lubricating fans, because they are all designed to work on parts that are in constant motion. They won't wear out quickly. And they are also light enough viscosity that they won't gum up the fan.
 
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I use 3-n-1 with my fans, works fine and no issues to mention.

Remember those fans I dunked?

I did flush them out with WD40 initially to drive out moisture and followed up with 3-n-1 oil.
3-n-1 worked great with those and those fans are still going strong today.

Cleaned the way I did it in the vid or not, you will have to apply some and run the fans outside of the case/enclosure - It will sling oil and that's why instead of doing all that I simply place them face-up on a flat surface atop a paper towel overnight after lubing and spinning them by hand only to work the oil in.
Make sure the opening/gap of the motor where you can get oil in is facing downwards so any excess oil can come out while the fan is sitting that way.

After the excess has come out THEN you can test them without all the flying oil mess. Cleanup the fans from the excess oil after that and they're ready to go.
 
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I use 3-n-1 with my fans, works fine and no issues to mention.
I used to use 3-in-1 oil, but had mixed success with it. It works at first, but I found I had to go back and re-lube the fans often because the 3-in-1 oil would gum up.

The version with the blue label is supposed to not do that, but then I read that it is just SAE 20 motor oil. So for the price you pay for a little bottle of 3-in-1 you can get a whole quart of motor oil...
 
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replace with a new fan.
Not always the best advice or the best option. Fans are simple devices and most of the time easily maintained/repaired with a little know-how.

It should be noted that a lot of advice for oils have been given. However if a fan works on the sleeve-bearing mechanism, a light grease is a better and more suitable lubricant. Oils and other liquid based lubricants are better suited for ball-bearing based fans. Care to clean the fan bearings should be taken. Brake cleaner or 99% isopropyl works best.

Marvel Mystery Oil is my fav for ball-bearing fans as it soaks right in, doesn't evaporate or gum up and lasts a very long time(years at a time). For sleeve bearing fans, the dielectic grease I referred to earlier in the thread is arguably the best that can be used and for similar reasons.
 
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I used to use 3-in-1 oil, but had mixed success with it. It works at first, but I found I had to go back and re-lube the fans often because the 3-in-1 oil would gum up.

The version with the blue label is supposed to not do that, but then I read that it is just SAE 20 motor oil. So for the price you pay for a little bottle of 3-in-1 you can get a whole quart of motor oil...
If that's true then a quart of 5-20W should last forever, esp the synthetic stuff.
I too have noted with 3-n-1 it could become gummed up with dust and such sticking to the oil residue/oil itself but that's actually true with about any kind of lubrication in liquid form.
If for example something like graphite (Dry lube) could be used that would eliminate this dust matting problem but cons about it have been mentioned too.

We can discuss it forever if we want, fact is there is no perfect solution and all I can suggest realistically is go with what works for you. :)
 

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If that's true then a quart of 5-20W should last forever, esp the synthetic stuff.
I too have noted with 3-n-1 it could become gummed up with dust and such sticking to the oil residue/oil itself but that's actually true with about any kind of lubrication in liquid form.
If for example something like graphite (Dry lube) could be used that would eliminate this dust matting problem but cons about it have been mentioned too.

We can discuss it forever if we want, fact is there is no perfect solution and all I can suggest realistically is go with what works for you. :)
There is something else happening with the 3-in1 oil besides just dust sticking to it though. The fan hubs are usually pretty sealed when I put them back together, I replace the plugs. And when they failed again, it wasn't dust build up, but the 3-in-1 oil just sort of turning to gum and burning up.

Right now, I lube fans with 5w-30, because that is what I have on hand. It is what I use in my vehicles, so the cost to me is 0, I just take a little out of the 5 quart jug I buy when i do an oil change.

I just put it in one of these and it lasts forever. Though I have to refill that oiler from time to time because I use it for more than just lubing fans. I've also had ATF in it, again, just because it was what I had available at the time. It works too for lubing fans.
 
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Oh yeah, have one of those mini-oilers myself but it's one of the older, all metal jobs with the little needle spout.
Perfect for things like this.
 
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Not always the best advice or the best option. Fans are simple devices and most of the time easily maintained/repaired with a little know-how.

It should be noted that a lot of advice for oils have been given. However if a fan works on the sleeve-bearing mechanism, a light grease is a better and more suitable lubricant. Oils and other liquid based lubricants are better suited for ball-bearing based fans. Care to clean the fan bearings should be taken. Brake cleaner or 99% isopropyl works best.

Marvel Mystery Oil is my fav for ball-bearing fans as it soaks right in, doesn't evaporate or gum up and lasts a very long time(years at a time). For sleeve bearing fans, the dielectic grease I referred to earlier in the thread is arguably the best that can be used and for similar reasons.
Brake cleaner or MC chain cleaner will do just fine, as long as it's formulated to strip greasy residue.
Light grease will work great, as long as it is meant for bearings, but I've seen fans lubricated with blue copper grease (heavy grease, belongs in high load/low RPM applications)...poor things were barely moving.
I usually recommend oil because grease is a lot more specific to the application.

tl:dr Oil is easy, grease a little bit more complex.
 
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80w90 rear differential oil. ;)

Not always the best advice or the best option. Fans are simple devices and most of the time easily maintained/repaired with a little know-how.

It should be noted that a lot of advice for oils have been given. However if a fan works on the sleeve-bearing mechanism, a light grease is a better and more suitable lubricant. Oils and other liquid based lubricants are better suited for ball-bearing based fans. Care to clean the fan bearings should be taken. Brake cleaner or 99% isopropyl works best.

Marvel Mystery Oil is my fav for ball-bearing fans as it soaks right in, doesn't evaporate or gum up and lasts a very long time(years at a time). For sleeve bearing fans, the dielectic grease I referred to earlier in the thread is arguably the best that can be used and for similar reasons.
Brake cleaner melt some kind of plastics.
 
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That's just silly.

Light grease is easy to use.
Yup, light grease is easy...if you know your lubricants, otherwise it's easy to screw up.
(You should never underestimate the incompetence of the uninformed)
 
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