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How to Maintain and Repair Dual-X and Other Non-Serviceable GPU Fans

25 Jul


There are a lot of people that use various GPUs for mining with the stock fans that the video card comes with and normally many of these fans start to have issues in just a couple of months or after a year or so. The time frame usually depends on how clean is the environment that the mining rigs are at and how well maintained are the rigs themselves. Sooner or later it is inevitable for the fans to start behaving worse than they were initially, because of the dirt they accumulate that slowly eats away the brass or bronze bushings of the non-serviceable cheap fans that most video cards use. By non-serviceable fans we mean these where you have no access to the mechanical parts of the fan when you remove the sticker of the fan. One of the most famous and widely used such fans are the ones used on Sapphire Dual-X cards, but there are others such as Gigabyte’s Windforce and so on.

The good thing is that these cheaper fans can actually be kept in good shape as well if you know how properly disassemble them to clean them on a more regular basis. Even if you have missed the point where the fans could be kept in top shape by cleaning them regularly and have instead started breaking down, there is still a chance that you can bring them back to life as long as they have not stopped completely rotating. We have prepared a guide on how you can completely disassemble a non-serviceable fan from a Sapphire 280X, clean it up and assemble it or repair it with the help of some new bearings that you are going to be using to repair the fan making it like new. Although this guide is specifically for Sapphire’s Dual-X fans, it should be pretty much the same for many other similar fans. For comparison the turbine type coolers used on most cards, although noisier, are much higher grade and more expensive fans that can last much much longer without any attention from the user.


Depending on if you just want to clean the fans or to repair them and make them more durable you may need a different set of tools. For the first you can go with just a spray can with cleaning fluid, but for proper repair and upgrade a few more tools will be required. You will need a spray with cleaning fluid to make cleaning easier, we are using TRW brake cleaner, but anything else that is not too aggressive to plastics should be fine. You can also use alcohol-based cleaner that is not under pressure to clean the parts of the fan as well, so pretty much anything will do here. You will also need a philips and a flat screwdriver, some cyanoacrylate adhesive, a small wood screw (or a larger one for plastics) and a pair of bearings with size 2x5x2.5mm in size (this is the correct size for Dual-X fans, some other fans may require different size of bearings). This is all you will need to prepare along with some patience and a few spare fans that you may initially break until you get the hang of things if you are not careful enough.


You need to detach the fans from the faceplate holding them, usually they are held by three screws each and then comes the first step in disassembling the non-serviceable fans. You need to carefully remove the top rotating part of the fan with the blades. The top part of the fan contains not only the blades, but it is also essentially the rotor part of the brushless motor while the lower part contains the stator of the brushless motor that rotates the fan. You need to separate the two parts carefully by using three or four of your fingers to push in between the two parts (some fans come of easily than others). The important thing here is not to pull the blades of the fan and they can easily break, you just need to apply enough force with your fingers in between the two parts of the fan and you will get the desired result of the two parts separating. Gigabyte’s Windforce fans for example do require more force to come off as apparently they have a stronger plastic locking ring.


Here are the two parts of the fan disassembled, this is essentially half of the hard part already done. At this point you can just use some cleaning spray to clean up the two parts of the fan, apply some grease on the steel shaft and reassemble the fans. This would be enough to extend the lifetime of the fan significantly if you do this maintenance once every few months of operation. You just need to make sure you use a pressurized cleaning fluid that will take out all of the dirt away from the lower part of the fan as it is harder to clean than the upper part. If you are doing only the cleaning part you can just push the two parts back together and everything should be fine for a couple of more months when it would be a good idea to repeat the cleaning process again.


For the people that want to repair and upgrade their fans with dual ball bearings thus extending their lifecycle significantly you will need to continue with the disassembling part. You need to use the flat screwdriver or a flat tool that you need to insert between two of the poles of the stator and gently apply pressure. Do not push too hard, if you do not feel the stator with the PCB below moving a bit, then just move to the next pole and apply some more pressure. This is needed, because the PCB with the electronics and the stator of the motor that is on top is glued to the plastic bottom part of the fan and you need to break the glue. Be very careful not to press on the thing copper wire sued for the windings as this may damage the motor, also too much pressure may break the stator away from the PCB, so you need to be extra careful here. There is just a drop of glue, so once you feel the part rotate a bit you should be able to separate the PCB with the electronics from the plastics pretty easy.


Here are the parts separated. As you can see the bottom plastic part contains the metal bushing (sleeve bearing fans) and on top of it is the plastic holder ring that locks into place the top part of the fan. The PCB and the stator of the motor show traces of some grease and dust accumulated on it. You need to remove the plastic holder ring and be careful not to loose it and under it is the metal bushing that you need to pull out and replace with the two bearings turning your cheaper sleeve bearing fan into the usually more expensive dual ball bearing fan that provides longer lifespan and reliability. As you can see when you remove the plastic holder ring there is a lot of dirt inside, this is the thing that essentially kills the fan because it eats away the bushing unevenly and destabilizes the rotating part of the fan.


You need to turn the screw inside the metal bushing with the help of a screwdriver, again be careful here, because as soon as you feel that the screw is not rotating, but instead the whole bushing is you will need to pull out the screw with the bushing attached to it. Be careful after removing the metal bushing, because under it should be a small black disc that is easy to get lost and you will need to put it back in when you clean everything up.


Clean everything well from the dust and dirt and make sure not to loose any of the small parts and then you will be ready to start assembling back things. The difference is that instead of returning the metal bushing back you will be inserting the ball bearings inside the plastic bottom of the fan.


Start by placing the small black disc inside the bottom plastic part, make sure it is seated well on the bottom before you start inserting the ball bearings. The two 2x5x2.5mm ball bearings should fit tight inside where the original metal bushing was, just push them carefully to get inside and place the plastic ring holder on top.


Apply a small drop of cyanoacrylate adhesive on the spot where the original glue was placed and quickly place the PCB with the electronics and the stator of the motor back on top of the plastic lower part. You can use the fan cables as a guiding point in order to properly orient the two parts, so that there will be no issues gluing them together properly. What you should be extra careful about while gluing the two parts is not to rotate the bottom too much as the white plastic ring can move around and while pressing the two parts together. Make sure it stays on its original position centered above the bearings as otherwise you may have to remove the two parts and try to glue them again after reseating the plastic ring.


Wait a couple of minutes for the glue to cure and you are ready to assemble back the two parts of the fan together. Just hold them parallel to each other and gently press them until you hear a click sound. This would mean that the plastic holder ring has moved to its place and has locked onto the steel shaft of the rotor (the top part of the fan). After that you can reassemble the fan on the video card and connect it to the power in order to test that everything is working properly and it should. As a result of replacing the stock metal bushing with two ball bearings you should have the fans rotating just like brand new with a little less effort and with an extended lifespan that the bearings should offer. What you have essentially done is to upgrade your cheap sleeve bearing (single metal bushing) to a higher grade dual ball bearing fan.

As a result you should have less problems with fans on your GPU mining rigs, but as we’ve already explained even if you do the simpler procedure of cleaning the stock fans every few months you should still experience much less problems on the long run. We have already cleaned, repaired and upgraded quite a few of these Dual-X, Windforce and some other similar fans with great success and are really happy with the results. You can even upgrade the cheaper sleeve bearing fans of a brand new card to dual ball bearings, and that should be possible on many video cards even without causing potential problems with the warranty of the card. The reason for this is that if properly done one would have to actually completely disassemble the fan using the procedure above or a similar one in order to find out that the stock bushing was replaced with ball bearings and that normally does not happen in service centers, maybe unless of course you send in the card with fan problems.

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14 Responses to How to Maintain and Repair Dual-X and Other Non-Serviceable GPU Fans


July 26th, 2016 at 01:31

Whats the spec of the 2.5mm ball bearing? I cant get that size here.


July 26th, 2016 at 02:00

An excellent guide. Thank you. However, where to buy dual ball bearings?Is there somewhere on e-Bay? Do you have a link?


July 26th, 2016 at 09:47

You need 2mm (inner) x 5mm (outer) x 2.5mm (width) bearings, dual ball bearings simply means you need two of these for each fan.

Not sure what are the exact inch or fraction sizes, but if you operate with these in your country you need to calculate the closest to these numbers in mm. Look for an online bearings store they should have them available, these are quite small and not that often used size, but are not a rare size either.


July 26th, 2016 at 14:08

Anyway to fix the ASUS 7970/280X fans? Those you can’t pull apart the blades?


July 26th, 2016 at 14:39

I modded all my fans (dualx and vaporx style) removing the plastic holder ring (the white one). Now i can pull the fan out to clean and re-oil it easily.


March 15th, 2017 at 13:38

Good details. Learning to clean the cpu fan, by reading like this is very fun and also with images is really helpful. I run a hp printer service center and also do laptop service so it is very much helpful for me and also our entire service team. Keep writing more on other computer parts also. Thanks

Madhu bala

March 30th, 2017 at 12:09

Dust collected in the fan can slow down the fan and can also cause to restart your PC. Good post with good details. Post more photos on how to clean the fan and also if you can also post a video in the blog. Thanks from a computer and led name board display service person.


September 29th, 2018 at 08:59

My graphics card fan has started making some irritable noise all of a sudden so my question is that should i oil it or it is better to buy a replacement fan. Thanks for this guide any way.


November 24th, 2018 at 20:41

My new RTX 2080 has one fan a little loose. When my PC case is in it’s place, the fans are hanging, and when I press the center of the 3rd fan, I can feel it has some space to move. A tiny bit. Is it poorly assembled, can I just click it to place? From your guide, it seems that way. Thank you!


November 26th, 2018 at 09:19

Velimir, it depends a lot on the type of fan that the card you have uses… you might be able to easily fix it, but if not careful you might also damage the fan trying to open it up, especially if you haven’t done it before, so be very careful should you decide to try and fix it yourself.


October 31st, 2019 at 01:38

Thank you for the guide. I successfully took apart the fans of a hd7770 vapor x from sapphire. I will look into the dual ball bearings next. Regards.


November 18th, 2020 at 12:48

Hi, where buy? top of it is the plastic holder ring


November 1st, 2021 at 19:23

My problem started with my R9 290X Sapphire 4GB just weeks ago. Fans started to wobbling, rattling and all annoying noises plus increase of temp which was something around 85 and even 90 or more.
First started to use oil and clean it but not a deep clean like you showed here which I am so appreciated for this article. But things only got better for few days or few hours and each time it would last less than before.
So I just decided to buy new fans, bought 3 new fans, looked nice and clean and it cost me around 47$ yes It’s a lot but I couldn’t find much better deal here in my country.
Unfortunately the new 3 fans were each had a 3 pins, so I had to do some wiring job and connect them all with a 4 pin at the end to connect it to board and turn them all on, it was a tricky job and I had no proper instruments so asked a repair specialist and I just charged for ~7$ this time.
Now I was so happy to try new fans, but here we go, I found same damn issue again, sent a video to repairman and he told me my GPU board is the problem and the fan controller part of the board is faulty and it’s not providing constant 12v so the fans are acting like that. He said he may be able to take a look and try to find and fix the issue on board but sure it would be costly even more than price of fans, so I thought on myself maybe I can provide power to fans not via GPU board but from other sources like PSU Molex 4 pin or via motherboard 4 pi chassis fan ports which both were 12v and ~0.5A just like the specifics of fans.
I asked another guy to change the end of the fans cable port to molex, he did it but had to use some kind of IC on the wire too as the direct molex was not turning on the fans which I don’t know why. He also told me your fans are fake and used ones, these are not new, look at the ball bearing and see how the fan can bent to the sides but I ignored him This one cost me ~3$.
Now the final test, but the same issue was still there, it was much better this time but not a total fix.
After all these I followed this tutorial and cleaned it deep and now for about 1 hr it’s working fine but the problem was always coming back in first few minutes so I have a strong feeling it’s now an acceptable fix.
So now I understood the problem was the dirty fans since start, and I almost wasted lots of money through this, I am so thankful for putting this on internet guys and hope the problem doesn’t comeback any time soon.

My only current problem is the temp because looks like the molex is not turning fans at full speed, now I guess the GPU board can actually increase the voltage or maybe the ampere to turn fans at full speed which molex can’t because it’s not smart.

Muhammad Khater

February 1st, 2022 at 19:19

I am grateful for people who do post detailed very niche stuff like that. It comes in handy and could give you more way outs of your current situation. I think it is worth mentioning that what brought me here is actually a bricked BIOS and after search I found out there is some way to program the bios through Eprom programing found it thankfully of amazon and waiting for it and while waiting for it to arrive I had my desktop intestines out and yes one of the GPU fans is about time to change. My country has terrible customs system and it would cost me about 25% of a newer better GPU in such terrible pricing times. So, I came across your guide after many simple guides and some of them actually broke their pcb’s and the plastic ring that holds the fan and he was thinking it will hold on by the magnetic field!. Despite my irritation of a dead pc, yet the things am learning while trying to solve my problem are very interesting. I can replace the bearing with a different one and different mechanism! could be a way out for me instead of buying a replacement and while searching for the bearing size you mentioned I came back to check what size in mm refers to as I have another tab opened with bearing sizes drawings. Anyway, I havent solved yet any of my problems and probably I wasted some money on shit stuff but It seems learning about how things work is just overwhelming me with joy. After all that, just wanted to thank you. Wish me luck.

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