Bent MBP Optical Slot - Repair, Parts, Apple Care...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Verdanice, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Verdanice macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    So, I screwed up a couple months ago and stuck my MBP in my backpack's padded laptop compartment within a SECOND case, only to pull it out at my destination and immediately notice this:


    The way out of line upper case was like that before, but the bent optical slot was new. I guess I had too much in my bag, even though it was all clothing and, again, the laptop was inside TWO cases. Anyways, for about a month I got by getting discs in and out only when I really needed to, with various techniques to get the gap open just enough to let it slip out. More recently I opened the computer up to see what I could do. I removed the optical drive, but absolutely could not find a way to bend the aluminum back into shape. I thought it would be easy enough with some care, but there's a piece of steel, probably to support that very part of the case, glued to the case there - and it won't budge.

    The situation right now is that I have a disc in the drive that I can't get out (it's gone past the point of tricking it into just barely making it), which would be okay except for a few points: (1) I can't use optical media any more, and while I don't usually do a lot of that, I do need to once or twice a month minimum. (2) The computer has to spin up the optical drive every few minutes while moving around the operating system, which takes a few annoying and unnecessary seconds. (3) I'll never be able to sell this machine in a year or so for what it's worth without this damage.

    I've done about all the communication I can with Apple, including trying the sjobs@apple(..) route, which has worked in the past for other issues. I am covered by Apple Care, I'm about 6 months into the two years, the laptop is about 18 months old. I was told at the Genius Bar twice that it would not be covered, but I forgot both times to get an approximate cost, but I'm thinking expensive.

    So I'm looking for a few tips...
    1. How much is the repair cost typically for a bottom case?
    2. Where is the best place to find either a new bottom case (i.e. not used), or a used one that is in good cosmetic condition (i.e. not scratched and dented)?
    3. If I do choose to do the repair myself (likely the plan if Apple is going to charge over $400), it seems like a very extensive and somewhat risky job. I know there are iFixIt guides to get me through it, but I have had big problems in the past with messing up screws (guess I just need a better set of small screwdrivers). I also can't seem to get a decent Torx T6/4 that can handle some of the more serious case screws - I've twisted the head right off one and malformed another pretty badly. Is doing the repair myself realistic? How would you rate the risk, and any suggestions for a kit that will let me do the job as best as possible?

    If anybody could give me a few pointers on the above, it would be very much appreciated. I hate having a laptop I can't really be proud of anymore, it used to be in perfect condition, prior to this.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Perhaps just pry the mouth of the drive open (the part of the case) so you can extract the disk , then get an external?
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm not sure why you tried the sjobs@apple trick when the damage was clearly self inflicted. I assume you were fighting with them to get them to cover the cost of the repair instead of charging you.

    anyways, ifixit and OWC carries the tools you'll need so check them out.
  4. Verdanice thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    Forgot to mention my consideration of that option. I figure it's minimum $50 for a decent looking external optical drive based on what I've seen, but this has several downfalls as well: No burning on the go (which is where I commonly need to do it), uses one of the two USB ports I have - already in short supply and my MBP no longer handles USB hubs properly (yet another issue, and yes I've reformatted), and finally, I won't be able to sell the MBp for any decent amount - it's always the case that when selling something damaged, you have to knock more off the asking price than the repairs would cost.

    I should have put in a little more detail there, I realize that sounds sleazy. I was calling about a few things - that misaligned top case, which I realize is a common problem, but Apple's refusal to cover cosmetic damage is absurd to me when it's a product defect. I was also calling about continued issues with other areas on my laptop (see USB hub issue above for starters). I was more looking for the best way to go about dealing with the case, although I honestly don't believe a $3200 laptop should have faltered that easily - but I realize it's my fault.

    ifixit's bottom cases are $240. Any word on just how involved and risky the surgery is? Also, ifixit's parts are still used - I guess the only place to get the part new is with Apple itself?

    Thanks for the responses!
  5. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    What techniques did you try to bend the optical drive slot back into shape? The way I see it, you have nothing to lose by trying again. The first thing that comes to mind for me is to wrap the end of a screwdriver in vinyl tape, stick it in the slot and twist it.
  6. fabian9 macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    A friend of mine has exactly the same damage on his MBP as you do and was quoted almost 2000€ for the repair by apple. Their tests revealed that the logic board needed replacement as well. His laptop was working fine until about a year later when the logic board died entirely. Not sure if your logic board took a hit in this as well but I wouldn't discard that possibility. :(

  7. Verdanice thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    The problem with any hard objects is that the aluminum tapers just inside the slot to a very narrow edge, so any pressure will demolish it. It's probably a better option than leaving it as is, but alternatives would be better. What I did try is an array of wide flat objects, including optical discs, a ruler, and, well, my hands.

    I don't have any reason at this point to believe me logic board has been damaged, the other issues I have mentioned were around way before this happened. Nothing has changed performance-wise since this damage.

    Does anybody have any idea what the repair may be quoted at assuming i's just the bottom case? Any input on the riskiness of doing this myself? I just contacted because the part I need is listed but no pictures or condition approximation appear on the page. I was told by email that they're not allowed to say they are new, but they are in fact unused. At $159 that's the best I've seen, and the only new parts (unless others are also listing new ones as used).

    Thanks again for all of your responses.
  8. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
  9. Verdanice thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    Bit of an update:

    Brought the laptop into the Genius Bar today and the repair was estimated at $365. I had imagined worse, although that's still quite a lot. Anyways, the employee also had my permission to try bending it out himself. He shoved a spudger into the slot and pried it open a few times, and showed it to me - very little cosmetic damage and I was able to eject the disk. I guess I wasn't being rough enough myself, knowing that that inner bezel is pretty delicate. The relatively soft spudger seemed to take the brunt. I think I'll order a couple of those tools to get me through the next couple months, until I decide it's time to replace the case.

    So, my advice for anybody reading through this for their own research, buy a spudger and don't be afraid to apply a little bit of force. Insert & twist.

    Thanks for the responses, everyone.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Mine kinda did that..after an apple repair no less. It wasn't too bad though, as I could still eject the dvd. After I took it back to the apple store for an unrelated problem, though, that required taking the computer apart, that issue was resolved as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they fixed it the same way lol.
  11. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I'd take of the top cover and bend it back myself.
    I've done that with mine after i had an accident and bent it.
    The aluminum around the slot in is very thin and easy to bend in place once you've removed the DVD player and the top casing.
    Mine looks as new, no scratches or anything
  12. tenderidol macrumors regular


    Sep 5, 2009
    $365 sounds about right. I was quoted $370 for a mid-2009 chasis (due to slight bent at the power cord, ethernet port area).
  13. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Just bend it back. Mine did this after I installed a new HD and it bowed because of the pressure you have to apply to get the tabs to click.

    Put a screwdriver in there and pull up. It took 2 seconds to do.

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