Is this cause for concern? Bottom panel, wobble, and screws...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by vbman213, May 2, 2011.

  1. vbman213 macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    I have spent the last few days wondering if my bottom panel is "okay" and "within normal tolerances".

    I would appreciate some input to help bring some closure to my dilemma (if you could even call it one...

    So about 3 months ago I decided to take off my bottom panel to clean out any dust that might have accumulated around the fans. I lived in a dorm room for nearly eight months and the air circulation was horrible... I wasn't surprised to find some dust around the fans and the black non-conductive area of the bottom panel.

    I cleaned this off and proceeded to replace the bottom panel...

    This is where things started to get a little "iffy"

    A few days later I began to hear the notorious metallic click noise that is caused by that grounding bar near the battery...

    After about 5 or 6 tries at properly resetting the bottom panel (removing a replacing the screws in a star-shaped pattern / to provide even tension), the noise was minimized but not gone entirely... I eventually got fed up and took two small (nearly invisible) pieces of scotch tape and placed it right over the contact points. Problem solved...

    However, in light of my seemingly O.C.D and my notorious habit to "worry about everything", I began to worry about the long term ramifications of my actions. I began to worry about the longevity of the threads in the bottom case (what happens when these wear out???) I began to worry about the longevity of the screw heads/threads (where can I buy replacements???) I did end up resetting the bottom panel quite a few times!!!

    I also began to worry if I some how accidentally screwed the screws in too tight? Would this somehow cause the bottom panel to somehow bend inwards? I only screwed the screws in with enough force to tighten them to the point where they no longer turn, yet they are not "loose" at the same time... If that makes sense??? In other words, I didn't "HULK" them down. Just a fluid and natural tighten... Nothing insane...

    After coming home for the summer, I felt compelled to run around my house, placing my macbook pro on various "flat" surfaces: tables, floors, etc. I was interested in seeing if my machine was "wobbling." I noticed that on some surfaces, the front right "foot" hovered above the table by just a few mm, maybe even less. But it was enough to cause the machine to "wobble", ever so slightly. However, on other surfaces, the machine did not wobble at all and all four feet were firmly centered on the surface. But which one do I believe? Do I blame the surface or the macbook? WHICH ONE???

    So now I am stuck trying to wrap my head around all of this... I am being overly paranoid or is there seriously a cause for concern? This has been eating me up for most of the weekend now and I would appreciate some input to help bring closure...

  2. kdoug, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    Dude, you sound like me. I'm relieved I'm not the only person around who should be medicated. You can buy the screws from ifixit if keeps eating at you. The threads will be fine, you can't supply enough torque to damage the threads. I'd probably take it to Genius and let them look at it. Keep in mind, dust doesn't affect a computers performance.
    Here's a link to ifixit screws, they're expensive."-Unibody-Mid-2010#0-Screws

    Here's a step by step guide to disassembling and repairing your computer."_Unibody_Mid_2010
  3. vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Actually, I purchased just the bottom panel screws from powerbookmedic a few weeks ago... Only cost me about 12 dollars for 5 of the smaller screws. I replaced some of the screws to make the bottom look near brand new =)

    I was merely writing what I was thinking at the time...

    The only weird thing about the replacements screws (even though they were exactly identical to the old ones) was how difficult they were to install... They were wrapped in blue loctite that really made installing them quite annoying... However, after a few attempts the blue stuff started to come off and the screws now go in and out smoothly (gigg-it-y hehe)

    Anyways, yea my parents are actually starting to get worried about this... xD It's kinda funny actually. Maybe I should be medicated??? LOL

    No seriously though... Here is the problem with going to Apple about this...

    First, The nearest Apple Store is 2 hours. There are 4 stores around me, but all of them are 2 hours away...

    Second, I did take my machine into a local AASP about 3 weeks after I purchased my MBP. I was complaining of a slight hinge noise issue... Honestly, I look back now and I am shocked I even made a big deal about it... I kept going back to the store, asking questions like "Does this sound right? Does this look right? etc" They eventually said "Ok, you are just being way to paranoid... Chill out..."

    So, I'm really trying to decide if this warrants another "take in"
  4. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I'd take it in and have them check the wobble. It obviously bothers you so it would be worth it. Make sure you talk to somebody who really listens to you.
    Here's a link with somebody who had a similar problem.
  5. vbman213, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Part of the problem is it only happens on some surfaces and not others...

    For example, I just got the idea to test something that I know is near perfectly flat... A glass cutting board and a glass table...

    Notice: May 02, 10 32 42 PM.jpg May 02, 10 32 59 PM.jpg May 02, 10 33 09 PM.jpg

    That is damn near flat if you ask me...

    Edit: Even the flat cutting board seems to exhibit a wobble on the surfaces that also cause the MBP to wobble...

    Edit2: Here are two other shots... Does anything look wrong? May 02, 10 41 17 PM.jpg May 02, 10 42 00 PM.jpg
  6. Al Coholic macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2011
    Under the I-470 Freeway
    No offense but I think you've got bigger problems than a wobbly MBP.
  7. vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Well at least I'm no Al Coholic haha


    Notice the small depression caused by the tension on the screw...


    The horizontal line is for reference...

  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Without a doubt I'd be freaked out if I were your parents.

    Also, that horizontal line looks like it'd go right thru the MBP if you extended it.
  9. vbman213, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    The picture was taken slightly off kilter... That could explain that anomaly...

    I am mainly pointing out the ~1mm depression caused by the screw tension... Is this a problem?

    Edit: Here is another pic: Again, notice the small depression caused by the screw tension... Even though the screw does not feel overly "tight"

  10. 8CoreWhore macrumors 68020


    Jan 17, 2008
    Big D
    "no offense, but I'm about to offend you"
  11. vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Meh, I'm not offended lol

    I know I'm psychotic =)

    Edit: Any input based on the new pictures?
  12. vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
  13. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    No. But you should definitely get checked out by a shrink for that OCD of yours.
  14. vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Sad part about this, my parents are legitimately concerned... :/
  15. CorvetteZR1, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

    CorvetteZR1 macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2011
    UC San Diego
    I understand if you're concerned about whether or not your mac meets the standards of quality from the factory. To be honest, I would blame the surfaces and not the Mac. I know that if my MBP wobbled, it would bug the crap out of me and I'd definitely replace the bottom panel. If that didn't work, I'd ask apple to fix or replace the machine. A MBP should not wobble when placed on a truly flat surface.

    With that said, mine doesn't wobble and I am not very nice to my MBP. I throw it around, I've dropped it from my bed, I've used it with dirty hands, I close the lid when it's piping hot, etc. I don't take as good of care of mine as you do of yours. I just figure if it breaks I'll replace it and be nicer to the next one. But, my buddy had an old Titanium Powerbook (remember those?) that he dropped on concrete more than once and the case broke all the time. He would just get the cases replaced and the damn thing would keep working. It was amazing. That's how I feel about my MBP. No matter what I do to it, it just keeps working so I don't really care.

    One piece of advice on worrying about your computers I could pass along, that helped me stop worrying about my computers: Use time machine and back up your data regularly to an external HD. Do this and if your machine breaks you still have your whole computer on a disk.

    One piece of advise about worrying in general: Upajjhatthana Sutta (Wiki it) or the 5 remembrances in Buddhism. Repeat this to yourself every day, every-single-day. It changed my life man, not kidding.

    "I will lose my youth, my health, my loved ones, everything I hold dear, and finally life itself by the very nature of being human."
  16. vbman213, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    vbman213 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks for this! Actually, this has really helped me! Not kidding =)

    Anyways, I have just come to accept the fact that some of my table surfaces are not truly flat, while others are... Part of the problem (or advantage) of owning a sturdy MBP is that it doesn't mold or contour to uneven surfaces like flimsy plastic notebooks... So any slight surface defect in the table can potentially cause a slight wobble...

    Btw, the wobbling that I am complaining about is barely anything at all... I'm talking mere ~.5mm to 1mm. It is almost hair-width... Just enough so it causes a small noise when that particular foot makes contact with the table surface. Like you said, I blame table surfaces and not my machine. I can place my MBP on other surfaces (like glass) and it appears to even on all four feet.

    Problem solved...
  17. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    All joking aside, from their perspective (and most people's) it's simply something that isn't worth "eating you up" as you said.

    Don't sweat the small stuff.
  18. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2010
    Get a sleeve you can use your computer in.

Share This Page