Having problems with your Dell Dimension E310 PC Desktop ?

DEll E310 fan make strange noises at various times. How can I replace the fan?

Answers :

You didn't state which version you have, Slimline, Mid-Tower, or Desktop.

I'll give you the link to the Dell Dimension E310 Service Manual, and we'll go from there,


Computer off, unplug the power cord from the surge protector, FIRST, \015\012then unplug the power cord from the back of the power supply. (Back of \015\012computer)
\015\012Unplug all cables connected to the computer. If you are not 100 percent \015\012sure where they plug into, now is the time to make yourself a chart, and\015\012 add notes.

Work on a table, open the computer case.

(Cover Release Latch button on the rear of the computer, top side. The \015\012Right side cover opens.
Tilt it out, lift it up to remove. Or on the Service Manual main page, \015\012scroll down to Removing the Computer Cover, and left-click on it)
With the computer cover open TOUCH the metal frame of the computer case, to relieve your body of Static electricity.
(Static can fry out your computer's hardware components, and you probably won't see it, or feel it)

1) The Floppy Disk cable has to be partially removed.

2) The Processor's Heatsink Assembly has to be removed.

3) The SATA harddrive cables, need to be slipped out of the top of the Fan assembly cage's, squeeze connectors.
(This will make more sense, once you view the SATA harddrive's cables, and where they go across the Fan Assembly)

4) Then you can access the Fan Assembly, to get to the Fan.

A) With this Dell Dimension model, you have to remove the Floppy Disk flat ribbon cable, to access the Heatsink assembly, that sits on top of the Processor.

Remove it from the Floppy Drive ONLY. (Not shouting) Leave the cable connected to the motherboard.

You also have to slip the Floppy Disk's flat ribbon cable, out of the connector tang, that is on top of the Processor's Heatsink assembly.

(Flat steel tang, that is part of the Heatsink Assembly's frame, or cage. Pull up on the side that faces the rear of the computer, slip the Floppy Drive cable out)

This information is more easily seen, if you view the illustrations for - Removing a Floppy Drive.

On the main page of the Service Manual, scroll down to Removing and Installing Parts, and left-click on it.

On this page scroll down the left column, and left-click on - Floppy Drive

B) Removing the Processor Heatsink Assembly:

The Processor Heatsink Assembly is essentially a U shaped metal cage, that has a Heatsink attached to it.
There are 2 screws that hold the front of this metal cage down, and when removed, the cage itself tilts towards the Back of the computer.

(You may have to remove the Power Supply, to access the top screw of the Heatsink cage, or use an Offset screwdriver)

The tangs are triangular shaped, and are on the bottom of the metal cage, towards the Front of the metal cage.

The metal rectangular cage tilts back on two pivot pins, then it can be lifted up, and off.

In Removing and Installing Parts, left-click on Removing the Processor, for illustrations. (Or scroll down the page to this heading)

C) Removing the SATA harddrive cables, out of the connectors on top of the Fan Assembly:

This can be more readily seen by clicking on -
Installing a Harddrive, in Replacing and Installing Parts.

D) Now you can access the Fan.
The Fan is inside a shroud. The shroud is held to the Fan Assembly cage by plastic tangs, that are part of the shroud.

The tangs go through slots on the plastic Fan Assembly's cage.

The tangs are squeezed in, so that the hook end of the tang is able to slide out of the slot.

(It may be that the tang is pried towards the outside, so that it will clear the slot)

It's a lot of fun(?) trying to keep to tangs squeezed, so that you can slip one side of the Fan shroud, out of the slots.

This should release tension so that the other side's tangs will be able to slip their corresponding slots.

Buying a replacement fan will require a little homework, and searching various websites that offer a compatible sized fan. (Or peruse your local Mom and Pop computer repair shops)

You need to know the diameter of the Fan, as well as the thickness, (Or depth), of the shroud that surrounds the fan.

Also what type of connector it uses. 2 pin, 3 pin, or 4 pin.

The size of a fan, and the thickness of a Fan shroud, are usually stated in Millimeters. If you use the Inch system, go online, and use a free Millimeter to Inch Converter.

Here is one example, of a website that offers computer case fans,


BEFORE you reinstall that Processor Heatsink Assembly! (Not shouting)

You MUST clean the top of the Processor's case, and the bottom of the Heatsink that sits on the Processor.

You will either see Thermal Paste, or a Thermal Pad.

If it is a Thermal pad, remove it, throw it away.
They are Junk, and cannot be reused!

I use an old credit card to scrape the top of the Processor's case, and the bottom of the Heatsink.
Stiff plastic, and is anti-Static.

I use Isopropyl Alcohol with Q-tips to clean the remaining thermal paste residue off.
(Rubbing Alcohol. 91 percent alcohol, or better is best)
Usually takes quite a few Q-tips, dipped in alcohol to do this.
Both surfaces must be CLEAN!

Isopropyl Alcohol is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE, and burns clean. The flame is virtually colorless. Use in a well ventilated environment, and with no sparks, or flames present.

The top of a Processor's case, and the bottom of a Heatsink are not perfectly smooth. To the human eye they may seem so.

There are microscopic pits, and valleys. These create Air Pockets.
Air is an Insulator, not a Conductor.

Thermal paste fills these voids. Thermal paste is an excellent Conductor, and transfers heat well.

The heat Must be transferred from the Processor to the Heatsink, so that the fan will transfer the heat away, from the fins of the Heatsink.

When a Processor becomes too hot, it turns off. (BIOS turns it off)
This is a Fail Safe feature that is built-in, to keep the processor from burning up.
Repair Help & Product Troubleshooting for Dell Dimension E310 PC Desktop

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