The fan in my partner’s Thinkpad X61 started sounded crunchy so I decided to install a new one from IBM/Lenovo. For anyone considering this, I recommend this page on in particular the comment with datestamp Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:29 pm:

Things you don’t have to do that it [the Thinkpad service manual] says to do:

You don’t have to remove the ethernet or modem connectors in the upper right corner of the frame (or any screws there).

You don’t have to remove any modem cards, or cell cards, or any cards mounted on the motherboard (including the hard drive connector). Just move the wires out of the way.

With that bit of advice the job isn’t too tricky. You definitely need some good quality screwdrivers.

Here’s the X61 in pieces. The LCD is underneath the tea towel:


It’s worth keeping track of the screws that you remove, in order:


You have to take the whole thing apart because the screws that hold the fan assembly in place are on the bottom.


The three main screws that hold on the fan assembly are quite tight, so I ended up using a vice-grip to loosen them:


Archived Comments

Date: 2011-10-05 06:31:24 UTC

Author: Xiaoming Yao

Very good points. Very helpful. Thank you very much.

Could you be able to disclose the tools (screwdrivers and the vice-grip) you used here? Where can I buy them?

Best Wishes,


Date: 2012-05-20 18:52:57 UTC

Author: trismarck


I was looking for pictures of X61 mainboard and found your blog note. One thing got me interested. How is this part ( that holds all of the screws called in English? 😉 I’ve always wanted to have something like this.

Date: 2012-07-25 01:12:44 UTC

Author: RabidHobo

trismarck, I just use an ice cube tray.

Date: 2013-09-27 18:54:59.8698 UTC

Author: Ashley Pomeroy

That was handy – I’ve just stripped down my own X61 ‘cause the temperature was shooting up to 83c(!) under load. Seems that the previous owner had stuck a tonne of thermal paste on the CPU. Luckily the fan was still in good nick. I think this is why so many X60/X61s have a crack in the plastic near the heatsink, because the cover that fits around the back of the laptop is very fragile and breaks easily.

After putting on a small amount of new paste it just barely hits 68c under full load. It’s still dead handy even six years later.