Should I Go Ahead With A Creaking Fix???

Jack Sun

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 30, 2013
70
5
I LOVE everything about my new rMBP, my first Mac..........except..........have to say, the growing problem with a creaking, flexing, hollow-feeling back plate is starting to annoy me. Just sounds and feels a little cheap for a $2000 "unibody precision crafted" rig.

So my idea is to open her up and pop a few little slivers of felt spacer stickers on the battery packs around the middle of the underside (so the felt will be against the backplate once replaced). I'm hoping this will make it feel more solid and reduce the creaking a bit. I assume it won't affect cooling to any noticeable degree.

Am I wrong? Any reasons why I shouldn't do this, why this might be a terrible idea? I've attached a photo of the felt pads I plan to use and the cool little electronics toolkit I found on Amazon. If I do it, I'll post more pics and a report...
 

Attachments

Laco

macrumors 6502
Apr 23, 2008
375
1
I LOVE everything about my new rMBP, my first Mac..........except..........have to say, the growing problem with a creaking, flexing, hollow-feeling back plate is starting to annoy me. Just sounds and feels a little cheap for a $2000 "unibody precision crafted" rig.

So my idea is to open her up and pop a few little slivers of felt spacer stickers on the battery packs around the middle of the underside (so the felt will be against the backplate once replaced). I'm hoping this will make it feel more solid and reduce the creaking a bit. I assume it won't affect cooling to any noticeable degree.

Am I wrong? Any reasons why I shouldn't do this, why this might be a terrible idea? I've attached a photo of the felt pads I plan to use and the cool little electronics toolkit I found on Amazon. If I do it, I'll post more pics and a report...
If it is under warranty why go through all this trouble just get Apple to fix it for free.
 

Jack Sun

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 30, 2013
70
5
If it is under warranty why go through all this trouble just get Apple to fix it for free.
Because making it "feel more solid" by propping the backplate from bowing in so flimsily is a personal preference versus a warranty issue, right?

And others say they take it in for creaking and the Geniuses tighten the screws or something that usually reduces (but doesn't eliminate) the creaking. I can do that myself in a few minutes and save an 1-1.5 hour trip to the mall...
 

Shmanky

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2005
242
5
Toronto
Don't strip your screws like I did. I'm worried about putting foreign objects inside the case. I brought in my machine twice to the Genius Bar for creaking and it wasn't fully fixed. Consider returning it.
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,315
225
West Suburban Boston Ma
And if you scratch or damage something in the process, your warranty is toast. At least give Apple 1 chance to fix it before taking a screwdriver to a $ 1000 plus machine.
 

ducatiti

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2011
932
153
Don't strip your screws like I did. I'm worried about putting foreign objects inside the case. I brought in my machine twice to the Genius Bar for creaking and it wasn't fully fixed. Consider returning it.
Yep. Screw heads to be rounded/stripped. A Genius and myself ended up doing so. I say return it for a new one. Too much of a hassle for a new machine.
 

js09

macrumors member
Sep 17, 2010
81
17
mine is creaking too and i hate it. but i am of the opinion that i have 1 year to take it to apple to fix it, so i am in no rush.
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,642
785
More often than not - taking the bottom case off, repositioning it and screwing it back on a little less tightly than on the factory solves it.
 

davidjearly

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2006
2,209
249
Glasgow, Scotland
More often than not - taking the bottom case off, repositioning it and screwing it back on a little less tightly than on the factory solves it.
This.

I too had the creaking 'issue' with my new rMBP, and did just that. It wasn't noticeably out of alignment, but just seemed like the obvious thing to try. It worked perfectly - no more bottom plate creaking here!

Give it a go, and be careful with those screwheads!
 

Shmanky

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2005
242
5
Toronto
What did they say to you when you told them it's still there?
They told me to bring in the machine again. And I did and they serviced it again. And it still creaked. But it creaked less. So it was weird to try to go back because it was hard to reproduce. Then I got an entire machine replacement for an unrelated reason and this one creaks too but very rarely.
 

Jack Sun

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 30, 2013
70
5
Against most of your advice, I did it! ;-) Also, added some steps from another thread about oiling screws.

And VERY happy with results.

Here's the rundown:

1. Removed screws and backplate (was very nervous about stripping screws after so many reports, but found them very easy to turn after ensuring a tight fit with pentalobe bit. Maybe my cheapo electronics bit set is high quality after all)
2. Carefully oiled the rather dry and friction-y springs (these are ON the motherboard, so minimal oil for sure. The springs are weird little metal cylinders that double into themselves. I found some of them were very dry, almost sticking, and so a little lube really smoothed them out)
3. Oiled the two cheesy plastic clips (female side) that hold two cheesy plastic inserts on backplate that snap into clips
4. Cut two of my sticky pads in half, added two halves near the center of the computer, on upper middle of battery packs (battery packs already have sticky cushions on them for this reason...mine are a little thicker and so brace backplate better)
5. Added two other halves stacked on each other on blank area near middle back (under screen, where there is very little support and LOTS of flimsy play in backplate. With the first pads on battery under trackpad, the center of backplate felt MUCH more solid, but the back area under keyboard and especially the screen felt even more wobbly and hollow, really just a surprising amount of play in backplate back there, so I added this stack. I've decided the back plate for the 15" is just TOO THIN for the span it covers, which is why it is so flexy and hollow-feeling. It at least needs some kind of roll-bar braces across it, rather than a silly and inadequate system of springs, pads, and plastic snaps. I guess Apple chose to reduce weight?)
6. Oiled each backplate screw as I replaced them, since they, the backplate, and the screw mounts are all bare metal (note that the two middle back screws under screen are shorter than the other 8 screws)

I tightened them very tight, though I know most people say LOOSENING them is what fixes the creaking. I wanted to see if the oil would help. It does. A lot...

I didn't see any reason to worry about adding the pads, and can easily remove them before taking the machine to Apple Store if need be (in case of warranty-void issues). Overall machine feels MUCH MUCH more solid, less hollow, no creaking, even typing on the keyboard and clicking on the trackpad feels more solid. MUCH better!
 
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stuff99

macrumors 6502
May 11, 2007
390
0
Went to apple, they said this was normal and a part of the design cause of the springs and there wasn't anything they can do about it. Crappy for me i guess.
 
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