Threading/screws on unibody case stripped?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by satcamp2, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. satcamp2 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #1
    Hi All,

    I took off the back cover of my MBP (early 2009) and the screws will not go all the way down. I think they are stripped. Is there anyway to use a tap and die set to fix the threads? Has anyone had a problem like mine? I had to take the cover off to check my memory (that is a whole other post) but when I put the cover back on the little screws would not go in very far. The just stick out of the case and will not go in any further. I could "make" them go down, but I do not think that would be wise to force the screws into place, because they may not come back out if the laptop ever needs to be worked on again.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    PS. does removing your back cover on a MBP void your warranty? I just had a genius tell me that becasue I took the back cover off I voided my warranty, but they are going to replace my memory :)

    Best regards,
     
  2. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #2
    All of them? Usually I get one or two that are a bit tough and I back them out and swap with another screw and it goes in fine. Sure it's not that blue gunk they put on them?
     
  3. satcamp2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #3
    Not all the screws, mainly the front ones

    No, not all the screws. Just the front 3 (closest to trackpad) and one on the side. I was hoping that the ones that could go all the way down would hold the case down securely, but they did not. And I tried changing the screws around and that does not seem to work. When I did that it seemed to make matter worse. What started out as a one screw/hole issue turned into 4 or 5 screw/hole issues. I am scared that when I bring it back to the mac store they will say that is all my fault and they will try and charge me with replacing the unibody.
     
  4. satcamp2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #4
    Has anyone tried a wire brush or tap and die set?

    I was wondering if anyone has tried a tap and die set. Because in my previous post and what NC MacGuy said that he changed the position of the screws. I did that and might have caused other holes to loose that first clean thread line. A clean thread line makes screwing in the screw much easier. I hope that all the holes need is to be cleaned out. I will try and switch the order around a bit.

    The first time I took off the back cover this happend and I was able to switch the screws until they went in flush with the back cover. But now I am worried I may have done ireperable damage to the unibody screw holes on my 4 month old MBP.

    But I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how I could make them fit. Becasue in looking at some of the screws they are starting to look a bit gnarled on the beggining of the thread. I was hoping somone had used a wire brush to clean out the screw holes. I am pretty sure a tap and die would make the hole bigger and would require different screws, so I am getting worried.
     
  5. satcamp2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #5
    The reason for taking the back cover off in the first place

    I had a memory problem, that was diagnosed over the phone with apple support. The MBP froze then when I restarted it all it would do was beep, beep, beep... So I let the apple phone support person hear the beeps they said it was a memory issue. So working in IT for a small college in Southern Alberta, I figured I would try and see if the memory had become jarred lose or somehow unseated. I though I would try and switch the memory, put the top one on the bottom and vise a versa. Low and behold the comptuer started up with no beep, beep... But it is freezing, and 4GB of memory shows up in the system profiler. So I am thinking it is not the memory, it could be the main board? Or memory slots?

    But that brings me to the other point... The genius at the apple store said when I opened the back cover I voided my warranty. Is he correct in saying that? I though you could change your own memory? I thought the only thing that voids the warranty is if you remove the battery? But it is documented that I removed the case. He was good about it and knows I work as an IT manager. So he said I know you were not messing around and touching things that should not be touched. And for the most part he is right, all execpt the screw thing. I hope I am not screwed, lol.

    So they ordered the memory 2 X 2Gb sticks of RAM are comming but not until Monday, so I put the memory back in its working position so I could have a notebook for the weekend. And come monday I will switch the memory back to the not workign state and hope for the best at the apple store.

    But I should not feel like I am doing anything wrong here. I paid almost $3000.00 for a laptop. And at that price there should be no flaws whatsoever and if there are defects they should take care of them, no questions asked or insinuations that I maybe the cause of the defect?

    Best regards,

    NS
     
  6. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #6
    Apple really does not like it when we work on our own computers, for obvious reasons... they lose money and if we mess up the inside of a computer and they can't prove it, Applecare will kick in.

    I wonder if this is an issue of purposeful design that Apple has done so they can 'catch" people working on their own computers.

    Considering the amount of fear Apple instilled in people a few years ago -- even on this site -- about opening their own laptops for example -- I bet these screws in the Unibody have been purposely made with some built in 'anti user friendly" design.

    Do your homework on this problem for us and let us know what you find out.

    That way you can earn your stripes on MR!
     
  7. zwaldowski macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    #7
    Mine certainly aren't stripped, but they are very tiny. Tiny enough to just barely be opened by my smallest Phillips-head screwdriver, a pair of needlenose pliers, and some well-placed torque.
     
  8. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #8
    The front screws fit at kind of an odd angle. Maybe you cross-threaded them?
     
  9. satcamp2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #9
    I think that is what happend

    Crossthreaded is the dredded word I was looking for. I think that is what I did. Do you think a fine thread tap and die set will un-cross the thread?
     
  10. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a

    jfyrfytr25

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    #10
    if that is the case, then why would apple include detailed instructions on how to remove the bottom case and change memory and hard drives?

    seems like if their plan was to deter self help in this area, telling us how to do it in the manual is kinda stupid.
     
  11. lenard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Location:
    Raleigh NC
    #11
    They go in at an angel. See the the dotted blue lines in the manual.
     
  12. Richard1028 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #12
    I was reading all the posts and wondering when somebody would point out your "cross threading" issue.

    You can certainly try to tap new threads but those screws are so tiny I doubt you'll be able to stay on the same thread track (if that makes sense). You run the risk of just making it worse.
     
  13. PolySciSurfer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Im sure apple has the tap and die set to work on your computer. As one poster mentioned, they are very small. It's unlikely you'll find a tap that small at your local hardware store. Best bet, take it to a genius. They will send it in and probably fix the problem.
     
  14. bmwpowere36m3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    #14
    You could try fixing the threads, but it depends on how badly their damaged. You have two choices really, DIY or Genius. I would say bring it into the store and see what happens. They can't void your warranty since obviously they "allow" the consumer to open the computer. However, the damage is purely your fault thus shouldn't be covered by Apple.

    As for fixing it yourself, those threads are very small and fine. For one, finding a tap will be difficult. Two the case is aluminum, which equals soft, thus in the process of re-threading you might completely ruin the threads. I say success depends on how handy your are and the tools at your disposal.
     
  15. satcamp2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #15
    I got them in, all except one. I can live with that for now, and I know it was my fault and I am not trying to get apple to pay for my mistake. I was just perturbed by the fact that the genius was so ready to put the blame on me. I also understand apple cannot have people poking and prodding their apple gear, just for a DIY modder or hobbyist to find out what make a MBP work?

    as it turns out the damage was not that bad. once I took the time and really got the angle of the screws that worked; compared to the ones that did not work, then things started working. It just takes patience and a steady hand. btw when the screws got messed up, I was working on the computer while driving to the apple store, I was a passenger of course. also my 5 year old daughter and son where fighting in the back seat. and I was rushed into getting the back cover back on.

    When i was able to take the time and do things right, it worked out much better. so i guess that was a lesson for me, is to make sure you take the time to do things right. we can all do a million things, multi-task etc. But when we really take the time to do our jobs with all of our attention in one place at one time. The results speak for themselves...
     

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