Saving my MacBook Pro 17in from Right Side Fan disaster!
After many years, my beloved MacBook Pro 17 (early 2008 - A166X), was about to "byte" the dust (yes, pun intended). I had heard some intermittent noise occasionally, but it had always gone away. Now it was consistent, loud (annoyingly so), and starting to make the system overheat. (I verified this by running the Hardware Diagnostics). It was surely going to cook the system, and although I'd love to get a new laptop, that is not in the cards right now, so I needed to fix it.
Even though iFixit did not list my vintage of MacBook Pro as supported (no one seems to), I did have the part number from my online research. iFixit matched the number on their SKU's, and the pictures were similar to what mine looked like, so I made the order.
The part was $30 for a refurb unit. (I would have bought new, but those weren't available). The shipping (overnight) was $32. While that might seem crazy (shipping more than the part), the other vendors were charging $15 for the part, but get this: for overnight shipping, one vendor wanted $80 and the other $180!!! Given the effort involved in producing the videos and tutorials iFixit produces, I decided they were the right people to place my trust in.
The actual repair is not as simple as replacing a memory stick or a battery. It is a little more difficult than replacing a disk drive but not by much. (the direction are pretty well described in the iFixit tutorials).
The biggest difficulty was in detaching the very small and sensitive connectors to the fan. Mine was slightly different than in the tutorial main instructional steps, but sure enough there was a note about the difference in the tutorial. (if that came from feedback from another customer, well, it paid off, because this customer is very happy that it was there.
When I reassembled and powered up the system, I heard 3 loud beeps and the system refused to boot. Did I screw up a connection? Was it the actual wrong part after all? Was I doomed now to buy another system and not pay the mortgage? .......After a few moments to gather myself, I did a web search on the issue, and things pointed to it being a memory issue. I removed the battery and memory cover, reseated the memory sticks, and low and behold, the system booted and runs like a dream!!
1) As mentioned before, this is more difficult than a battery or memory sick replacement. It is more like replacing a disk drive, with a little more delicate work around the power and cable connection of the fans. Since you are messing with the tiny and connectors, you can mess this up and mess up the motherboard. Not a first time repair task, but if you've replaced a drive, you can probably do it. The biggest glitch was the on of the fan connectors mentioned above.
2) Do have a good set of tools for the tiny little Phillips head screwdriver and T6 Torx drivers. Also the so called plastic "spudgers" for getting under the connectors and gently prying them up were critical. These kits are available on-line, I think for iFixit even.
3) As always, before doing a major repair like this:
a) Back up your drive (hopefully to something you can boot from if you fail....at least you can keep working using another computer until you can get this one fixed, or a new one!)
b) Use your anti-static straps, etc, as you will be touching the memory chips and logic boards and you don;t want to roast either of them with a said discharge.
c) Work under really good light as this is delicate work and the connectors are tiny and sensitive.
Best of luck, and I'm going to use iFixit again for repairs.