Chance of Late 2008 Macbook Aluminum Unibody service/replacement? Help making case

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MLHahn, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. MLHahn macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Hi, I am a longtime Mac user, having gone through several machines since iBook, and I am dismayed at what I think is the premature demise of my machine. True, this is a computer that has been in moderate use between 2009-15 (5-6 years; didn't use it much for some periods during, amounting to about 2 years of nearly non-use). I did not buy Apple Care for this machine, but I have been a longtime customer and I have bought Apple Care on a machine in the past.
    My impression was that Apple computers are supposed to reliable products that can be reasonably expected to work for many years, hence the premium we pay for the products. BUT, I suspect that my machine had a history of atypical hardware issues causing its current demise.

    Can you all offer your thoughts on whether my issues seem related or causal,
    and offer any tips/suggestions on trying to make a case with Apple for free repair of my computer?

    I have a late 2008 Macbook Aluminum Unibody, that I started using in late 2009.
    Running: 10.8.5 Mountain Lion OS (12F2501)
    Processor: 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Graphics/video card: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
    (and I upgraded the Memory/RAM to 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3; upgraded the HDD to a 1 TB hybrid SSD)

    1. Past issues:
    - battery charges dropping quickly (only 1-2 years in)
    - battery rapidly "died"; said "Service Battery" after only 313 cycles (only 2-3 years in)
    - overheating
    - loud fan
    - loud HD
    - HD making noises
    - external HDs crashing/getting wiped, possibly due to HD
    - applications crashing very frequently

    Attempted fixes to past issues:
    - took computer to Apple Store in 2012, FAN had to be repaired (2-3 years into use)
    - upgraded RAM
    - upgraded HDD
    - did not replace battery but used battery with recommended care, and generally used laptop only off power adaptor, plugged in, non-portable.

    2. More frequent, troubling issues in recent months (on new HDD, new RAM):
    - fan still seemed noisy
    - computer still seemed to get hot, overheated
    - battery: still not using computer off battery, only plugged in. must wait 1-2 minutes sometimes to shut down the computer, before unplugging power cord (unplugging power adaptor without waiting after shut down caused my wireless networks to get erased several times; had to do SMC reset)
    - software, such as internet browsers crashing very frequently, at times constantly
    - internet browsers, such as Chrome, very frequently having "error," being unable to load pages (so frequent, that suspect it is something to do with computer)
    - disk utility: Permission Repairs failing
    - disk utility: Verify Disk (new HDD) failing; Repair Disk failing
    - OS: finder not launching from desktop or Macintosh icon
    - OS: double click (tap, on trackpad) not working
    - external HD: failed initial Time Machine backup creation (stalled/stopped, after estimating long amounts of time)
    - Time Machine: after a few successful backups, failed after a few days of hourly backups -- said there was an error and it was unable to complete backups
    - Time Machine/external HD: (had some folders copied into the same external HD used for TM backups) while copying folders from external HD onto computer's HDD, copying failed, and the external HD disappeared (became unrecognizable/un-readable by computer) and presumably all the files on the external HD are lost? :(
    - inability to reboot and use recovery HD from itself (was told that 'recovery HD' was missing)
    - computer shutting itself down suddenly, restarting itself with message that "computer had to restart itself due to a problem"
    - kernel panics listed in SOME of these problem reports (the shutting itself down)

    Attempted fixes to recent issues:
    - reinstalled clean versions of internet browsers without many extensions
    - deleted many applications and customizations
    - wiped new HD and imaged OS again -- BUT, during the initial OS installation, computer shut itself down and restarted itself, starting the initial OS installation roughly where it left off (but not from the very beginning)
    - SMC reset
    - backups of TM to another external HD (for a few backups here and there, over couple days only)

    3. Lingering and current issues:
    - Disk Utility: Permissions Repair failed once, successful several other times
    - software, such as internet browsers crashing frequently still
    - internet browsers, such as Chrome, very frequently having "error," being unable to load pages (still very frequent, in almost every browsing session)
    - computer shutting itself down suddenly, restarting itself with message that "computer had to restart itself due to a problem" (seems less frequent, but still happened several times in 1.5 months)
    - kernel panics listed in SOME of these problem reports (the shutting itself down)

    Attempted fixes: took it to Apple Store:
    - battery condition same (was checked, still in condition that says "Service Battery," but only at 313 cycles)
    - first Genius Bar tech said that these issues appear to be the wrong OS for the wrong build - recommended going to Mavericks OVER current Mountain Lion, and a clean wipe and restore by the Apple Store
    - put computer through overnight "full hardware check"; results found issues with the video/graphics card (& was told that since graphics card is part of the Logic Board, that replacing the Logic Board would cost $560, since once a computer is beyond 5 years old, it is "vintage")

    - Battery: It hit "Service Battery" in 2012 (only ~3 years into use, at only 313 cycles; where online it says 500 cycle lifetime is expected for this battery).
    ---> Do I have a case for a free replacement battery?

    - Computer: I suspect that the early issues with the fan caused premature damage to other parts of my computer (the graphics card/GPU issue that has recently been diagnosed).
    I also read that instead of just replacing the fan, perhaps the logic board should have also been replaced back when they fixed/found the fan issue.
    ---> Does that argument/claim make sense?
    If so, would I have a case for saying that the issues are related, and/or that the Logic Board should have been replaced then?

    I am not convinced that this is normal wear and tear. These kinds of hardware issues seem to be the abnormal fault of the hardware, and not a reasonable experience for a customer to have with a Mac machine.
    I have already had a lot of heartbreak over the years where I lost several hard drives and external hard drives of data over the years -- including my life collections of photos and documents. I have bought almost 10 external hard drives over and over again when they kept breaking down on me, when I tried to use it when this machine (~$600). I also put in considerable investments (~$400) just less than a year ago, by upgrading the 1TB Hybrid HDD and the RAM to 8GB.
    I have tried to stick through this, and continued to use and rely on this computer, because of my (perhaps misplaced) faith and (previously) longstanding belief that Mac machines are supposed to be reliable, and last for years without hardware issues (more than 6 years; hence, why people have standard build machines that have lasted them 10 years, and why people buy machines that are 5 years old and still upgrade parts of them only to use them).
    Again, despite the time of use (2009-2015), I didn't really use my computer much for 2 years because I was suffering from debilitating health issues (RSI) for a long period of time (1.5 years). So while there have been almost 6 years of use, it wasn't ACTUALLY heavily used the entire time. I also was not in the health condition to come to the Apple Store or pursue support/service sooner (medical documentation possible), for example a year ago, when my computer would not have been considered "vintage" and thus more automatically dismissed and overlooked as "old" and just being "normal wear and tear."

    I want to call Apple Care/go through Customer Service, and make the cases for the computer repair and/or battery replacement.

    - Do you think this seems like a reasonable, plausible action?

    - Does there seem to be a case (technically) for the fan, and graphics card issues being related?
    Any suggestions for making a stronger case requesting for a free logic board replacement/repair?

    - Should I only focus on the computer repair (and leave the battery replacement case aside for now, to not complicate or overwhelm the likely skeptical representatives)?

    (- Any other insight on the variety of issues listed above-- what caused it, how you may have been able to fix it, or any knolwedge or discovery of the causes, would also be appreciated.)
  2. dyt1983, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
  3. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    No. Had you brought it in in 2012 and raised a fuss about it then, you likely could have gotten a replacement battery. But not now, 3 years later. Note: I had a first-generation 2006 MacBook Pro that went through 7 batteries in five years - I got the battery replaced repeatedly in that 5 year span, including well after the warranty had expired. But that was by bringing it up repeatedly as soon as each battery hit "Service Battery", combined with the prior service history showing the premature failures. Also: notably, every time I had this happen, my battery had <100 recharge cycles. 300 is a lot. Even when they claim it should get 500, 300 is still a significant percentage of the life of the battery. While you mentioned it says "Service Battery," you haven't said how much life it has left. My current MacBook Pro battery (my 7th, the only one that kept >80% maximum charge beyond 100 charge cycles,) says "Service Battery," yet it still lasts 2-3 hours.

    The claim is logically sound - but again, should have been raised years ago. Going 3 additional years (and WAAAY beyond warranty period) before really trying to get it done for free is unlikely to get a replacement for free.

    Across multiple Apple products, over many years, I have gotten good customer service, including getting out-of-warranty service for free a few times. But I made a point of pressing my case immediately upon notice. Waiting multiple years demonstrates to the technician that the issue isn't really as bad as you are claiming. When you bring it up immediately, it shows the urgency of it. Even if the initial claim is denied, when you bring it up again and again, it shows the urgency. When my batteries kept dying, I made a point of bringing it in every time the next battery got to "Service." At the three year mark (I didn't have AppleCare,) they replaced the logic board and power circuitry, even though there was (theoretically) nothing wrong with the system. At four years, they replaced the charger (ironically, well BEFORE there was an actual recall on them.) Because I had shown the urgency of the problem, and the repeated nature of it, Apple went above and beyond.

    Do I think you have a faulty system? Yes. Do I think Apple "should" replace it? No. It is now well past its warranty, and since it is "vintage," it is entirely possible that they might not have some of the parts for it. (Apple's list of "Vintage" products means those products only receive support in the country Turkey, and in the US state California. Everywhere else - there is no hardware support, or you are lucky if they offer it.)
  4. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland

    After reviewing your post I came to a few conclusions...

    The battery issue that appeared in 2012 is completely irrational to think it should be covered now. While Apple does state that the battery should last for a certain number of cycles, that is a general number. Your use case may be different and heat, humidity, usage, etc. all affect a battery's lifespan. You chose not to put AppleCare on your computer and therefore, the computer was 3-4 years out of warranty when the issue occured.

    Best Resolution: Buy a New Battery

    Your fan issues which were repaired at an Apple Store is a double edged sword. While I do understand the rationale behind your mentality, I do think Apple is in their right here. When a car begins to overheat due to a bad thermostat or fan clutch, provided that you shut it down in ample time and get the repair done there most likely will be no long lasting effects. Now, if you run that car with the temperature gauge on max coolant temperature then you run the risk of warping the head, blowing radiator hoses, and seizing the engine. If the computer was run with knowledge that it was overheating then I think that the fault lies on you fully. Now, with the current crop of issues I do not think that they are attributed to that fan repair.

    Best Resolution: None

    Computer needed multiple hard drives. In my experience as a technician, there is nothing I have ever seen that has caused an actual hardware failure of a hard drive directly attributable to a computer. I have seen some people go through 6 drives a year simply with how roughly they pick up their machines, I have seen others break a Molex plug and miswire it back together, but I have never seen something wrong with any machine that would cause repeated failure of hard drives...

    In all honesty, I do not think you have a case here. The machine is almost seven years old, a model they do not make anymore, and has been having issues for a long while. There was no GPU recall for these machines so you cannot even claim on that. I would sell it off to a techie like me and use the money to get a new machine.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    The long and the short of it:

    The MacBook is 7 years old -- completely out-of-warranty.

    You must either pay to resolve these issues yourself, or, consider a new machine...
  6. berlinde macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2015
    You'll actually be lucky to have it serviced as most machines past 5 years no longer have parts available for replacement.
  7. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2005
    The 6ix
    Your machine is vintage, and has been for some time.

    Apple will not repair your machine, for free or otherwise.

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