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STP: The Miracle Lubricant

Every PC I’ve ever owned with a fan-cooled video card has had a fan failure. It used to take years, now it takes months. The obvious conclusion: cheapnified fans.

The “business class” Dell I’d been using as a file server started groaning a year ago. I swapped out the video card fan for a similar (used) one from my heap, which failed after half a year. I just replaced the whole box with a newer one that has on-board graphics with no fan…

A while ago I stuck a pair of nVidia cards in my always-on desktop box so I could get a portrait-mode page display. One of the cards had a bizarre cooler with a fan stuck inside a fingered aluminum cup clamped atop the video chip: definitely not a FRU, at least from my parts heap.

Months later: groaning & whining. So I used the same trick as I did for the fan in the refrigerator: a drop of STP soaked into the sintered bronze sleeve bearing. Worked like a champ (the freezer fan is still silent) and the PC is now nearly silent once more.

While I have the STP out, I’m going to blob some on the bathroom fan that’s starting to groan. Certainly cheaper than replacing the fan and, as I found out with the refrigerator, even a new fan can have crappy bearings.

I now officially loathe fans…

Yes, I’m perfectly aware that STP is not a real lubricant, but it’s close enough for these bearings. Mostly, it’s slippery and gooey and works perfectly to damp out shaft vibrations and wobbulations.

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