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I managed to get to the motherboard's underside...
The heat-sink/fan assembly slid right off....once I removed the screws to clamp that holds the sink onto the dual main-processor ICs.
I think Robert was correct....the old thermal compound had hardened completely.
Even the goo that had oozed out as the heat-sink was clamped down originally was hard as a rock.
Am in the process of cleaning off the old thermal compound residue with denatured alcohol....and then apply some new TC.
Also, I can clean the blades off on the other side of the fan to help restore proper air-flow to the extent I can.
Will report back if the laptop survives my "meat-ball" laptop surgery....lol
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