MacBook Air Fix

Recently a good friend gave me two older Mac laptops to do with as I pleased. One was a 2007 MacBook Pro 15”, the other a late 2008 MacBook Air. They both needed to have the HD’s zeroed out, new OS’s installed along with some software. But, the Air was broken and needed a fix.

The Problem

I have never been inside of a MacBook Air, let alone a very old one. The Air that I received had a broken right hinge (bad design, plastic hinges). The “Clutch Cover” (the plastic piece that fits over the hinges) was broken as well. You could pull the entire right side of the display away from the computer. It should be noted that the earlier MacBook Airs (hereinafter referred to as MBA) had hinge problems. Apple issued a warranty fix for this issue, but, of course, this machine was way beyond that warranty recall.

I ended up buying metal hinges on eBay along with a new plastic “Clutch Cover”. To replace these items you have to take the entire machine apart!! Including the Logic Board. Because of that I also purchased some Thermal Grease for re-connecting the Heat Sync to the main Logic Board CPU chips. Here is the broken hinge (click for a larger image):

There is a small dent on the right side of the MBA body. I think someone dropped it and when it struck the ground it broke the hinge and clutch cover.

The Repair

Here is the MBA with the parts before I began the repair:

This is what the inside of a Late 2008 MBA looks like before any repairs:

It has a rather huge battery. I used the wonderful take apart instructions from the good folks at ifixit  They provide excellent step-by-step instructional diagrams. Let me tell you, there are a ton of tiny little parts and cables in the MBA, it took me a while to break it all down. Here is a photo of me removing the Logic Board,

Almost all of the parts had been removed by this time. Here it is completely taken apart:

Many techs use an ice cube tray for the screws and other small parts. You can see the Logic Board just above the tray. The hard drive (quite small) is just below the tray to the left, the heat sync just to the right.

Finished Repair

Here is the MBA with the repair completed:

All things considered, it came out pretty well. The whole thing only cost me about $50. It really is gratifying to restore an old MBA to a useful state. These two laptops, the Air and the MacBook Pro went to my grandkids. They love them and are happily setting them up to their personal preferences.

Repairing Apple laptops is not for the faint of heart. Plus, you have to have the right tools. I have a whole tool kit that I have accumulated over the years. However, if you are up to the challenge there are great take apart instructions at ifixit  They always begin by telling you what tools you will need so you don’t have to buy a ton of stuff, just what is necessary.