What screwdriver to fix the creaking?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nvcplus, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. nvcplus, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    nvcplus macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    Hi, I bought my MBA a few months ago and I noticed the creaking about a month in. It seemed to be getting worse so I ordered the 5 point pentalobe from ebay under the suggestions of many on the forum.

    I never got around to fixing it as I was traveling a lot at the time. When I finally did, I noticed that the screwdriver did not fit the screws. It was definitely too small. And if it somehow did and I felt it wasn't, it still has not fixed the problem.


    That is the one I ordered. I contacted the seller and they said they sent me the right one. It even said it on the packaging.

    Is this for sure the correct screwdriver for the 2011 13" MBA? Will any 5 point pentalobe screwdriver work?

    I would rather re-order the right tool myself and have it available for possible future use than to bother the genius bar on a sure to be crazy next couple of weeks.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. lippyt macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
  3. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Just curious, what do you plan to fix/adjust that will end the creaking. Seems to me this is a hinge issue. I have take off the bottom before and cannot see how this will help anything other than a wobble.
  4. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    The creaking comes from the unibody cover at the bottom moving slightly over time, slowly backing out the threads on the screws. The stock threadlock is pretty weak, so this happens more and more often as you use it, fix it, and then go back to using it. If this begins happening on my MBA, my plan-of-action will be to use some red (extremely strong) threadlock when I retighten the screws.

    This same problem plagues Unibody MacBook Pro's as well, and I had trucked my 2009 MBP to the apple store like 5 times before I decided to replace the threadlock with something worth a damn.
  5. pieuk macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Loctite® Threadlocker Red 271™ is designed for the permanent locking and sealing of threaded fasteners. The product cures when confined in the absence of air between close fitting metal surfaces. It protects threads from rust and corrosion and prevents loosening from shock and vibration. It is only removable once cured by heating up parts to 500°F (260°C).

    good luck with that lol!

    id just buy the screwdriver and tighten it when need be
  6. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    Haha, they boost it up to sound stronger than it is. Once the red threadlock cures, in say an engine block, via heat, yes, it is outrageously hard to break. In a non-heat cured situation though its merely a good bit stronger than the blue formula.
  7. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    First, I would not use any threadlock. It will probably void your warranty as it will be obvious you removed the screws.

    Second, engineering wise....I cannot see how the bottom cover has any relationship to the creaking (unless somehow it rubs the hinge).

    I will look again at my unit to see if there are contact points.
  8. Robyr, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    The bottom cover is certainly the cause. You may indeed have another issue involving the hinge, but the majority of noises on Unibody macs are caused by the cover.

    Also, threadlock: It will not void a warranty, as not a peep was raised about my uMBP when I needed to have it serviced. On top of that, theres already threadlock on the stock screws, they just use cheap/weak compounds.

    The warranty jazz might be different on the Air being that they have deliberately changed the screws to keep users out, but even the Genius bar could apply some new thread lock when they do this repair. Threadlock only works once, and when they retighten the screws to fix the noise, they have already broken it. This is simply Apple's laziness and/or improperly trained technicians. I wouldn't even really call the Geniuses technicians, but no one is going to send their Air to the Depot or an AASP just for a sound.

    Edit: I should add that even a indiscernible tweaking of the bottom cover will mean that you will forever have weird "pops" and other noises from that bottom cover. I notched a dent in a corner on my MBP, and until I replaced the dented cover the sound remained. This is a metal to metal contact area, and as anyone who's worked on an engine knows metal+metal with no gasket means you better get the torque PERFECT or prepare to hear weird noises.
  9. lippyt macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    The bottom shell is the cause. I believe it is not the screws themselves, but the contact between the two edges of the top shell and the bottom shell which causes this (the looseness allows for this).
  10. pieuk macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2011
    correct, so essentially if the screws vibrate loose you will end up with creaking or flimsynes. id say it is the bottom shell meeting the top unibody.

    mine was re-seated and for now it feels solid. of course i don't expect this to last more than a few months.
  11. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Mba's are not user servicable so any evidence you might have opened it could cause you service problems with apple.

    You all are so sure its the bottom cover. What is the based upon?

    If the bottom is not loose how is th making a noise without a contact point?
  12. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    Its based on nearly five years of Unibody laptop use. The same thing happened on my Pro, and I suspect it will happen on my Air. Tightening the screws in the right corner fixes the issue. This is not hard troubleshooting here.

    The real question is why are you so sure it isn't the cover?
  13. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    It is definitely the bottom cover. No question about it. Mine creaked and tightening the screws fixed it immediately.
  14. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
  15. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    Just to add this here:

    For anyone too scared to use a real thread lock to secure their bottom cover screws, just use clear nailpolish. Brush some on the threads before inserting and torquing. This will likely perform the same duties and be imperceptible.

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