A big salute to you for patiently fixing it. In this day its very hard to spot a non unibody macbook or for that matter a white unibody. One of my lecturers has the 2008 mac and he has yet not taken it for service once, he only replaced his battery as per him he says he will not buy a unibody. I still have my white late 2009 lying around guess i may order a battery sometime soon and use if for lighter works, it certainly makes you the centre of attraction using those vintages.
I also like to keep the older equipment running. My wife has my old late-2008 MBP, that she uses daily. That has an SSD and RAM upgrades. The misses was complaining that the machine was running slow, so I put in the SSD and removed a whole bunch of crappy browser extensions. BAM - whole "new" machine.
And my son plays minecraft on my old 2006 - 1.83 CoreDuo. Only a memory and battery upgrade there.
I know I'm a bit late to the party, but this is an awesome rebuild - this was the same model as my prior Mac and they still have a lot of life left in them. I actually helped someone who brought a really beat-up one to my office with the mindset of "it's a 5-year-old computer, is it worth doing anything with" and after reinstalling the software and getting everything set up, it was running well with OS X Mavericks.
Great story, thanks for sharing. I still regret selling my 17'' non-unibody. But the worry that the 8600M would fail again was too much for me to spend money on a new charger, battery, RAM and maybe a SSD.