Sager 56X0 Hinge Crack Solution
Some owners of the Sager (AKA Clevo AKA Midern AKA Alienware)
Models 5660, 5670, 5680, 5690 & Area-51m laptops have experienced small
cracks forming in the LCD case/lid at the hinge points. I happen to be one of
these cases with a Sager 5660. The problem first showed up about
6 months after purchasing the laptop. A repair would have been covered under
warranty, but I would have needed to pay shipping and there would be no guarantee
that the same problem wouldn't develop again. I decided to take the wait and
see approach until August of 2004 when the crack became so bad that I could
no longer close the lid. My I wanted to find a solution that would permanently
solve the problem, so that ruled out buying the replacement parts from the manufacture
and gave birth to this tutorial. Please note that by following the steps below
you will most likely be voiding your warranty, and that you should only proceed
if you feel comfortable after reading through the entire process. I can take
no responsibility if you break or damage anything in the process. Also remember
proper safety and eye protection when working with tools, as well as adult supervision
if you are under 18.
There are multiple factors that contribute to the problem
the two most prominent that I encountered were:
- Hinges are set too tight at the factory
- Though the hinges are metal, and mounted with metal
screws, they are anchored into the plastic housing of the LCD which can't
take the stress of normal use.
To fix this problem I simply wanted to find a way to loosen
the hinges or reinforce the material onto which they were mounted. I was able
to find the nut that determines the tension on the hinges, but it is located
in such an awkard place that I gave up on trying to access it. For reference
it is inside the plastic barrel that covers the hinge unit attached to the keyboard
side of the laptop. I didn't have a tool that was small enough to get all the
way to it and still have room to make adjustments, so my answer was to strengthen
the LCD side.
Here is a list of tools and parts required for this repair.
Small phillips and flat head screwdriver
Pen or Pencil
Metric Socket set
Drill bits - 1/8", 3/16", 3/32", 1/16"
One 36"x1"x1/16" flat plated steel
Eight M3 x .5mm x 20mm sized machine screws
Four M2 x 20mm sized machine screws
Eight M3 sized nuts
Four M2 sized nuts
Of all the places I checked (Lowe's, Home Depot, Radio Shack,
and Ace Hardware) Ace Hardware was to only place that carried all the parts
required, and the only place that carried M2 sized nuts and machine screws in
1: Remove the Plastic LCD frame by first removing the 6 sticky rubber
covers from the 4 corners 2 between the hinges, then remove the screws they
were covering. Next use a small flathead screwdriver to pry apart the front
piece from the back LCD casing. There are tabs located around the perimeter
that need to be un-snapped. This takes some pressure, but not so much that I
ever feared I would break the plastic. Once it's open enough work your finger
in and around all 4 sides until the front part is completely off.
the plastic part of your hinge has all ready fallen off, or if it is very close
to falling off follow steps 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. If you only have minor cracks
but want to solve the problem before it gets out of hand skip to step 7
2: Next you should find 2 additional screws at each hinge point that
are holding the LCD onto the base of the laptop. Remove both of these keeping
one hand on the LCD to keep it from falling. Once removed, gently lean the LCD
back being careful not the stress the wires going to the base.
3: Place the flat plated steel up against the hinge and trace around
it including the two holes. (Repeat for other side).
In this photo I'm using 1/8" aluminum, because I happened
to have it sitting around the house, since the project all ready required steel
it makes more sense for you to use that at this step (There should be about
12" left over as scrap anyway) rather than also buying aluminum.
4: Drill out the two holes using an 1/8" bit. This should be enough
room for the M3 screws to pass through. (Repeat for other side)
5: Counter sink all 4 holes you have drilled using the 3/16" bit
(you should drill about half way through the material).
Next use a hack saw to cut out along the lines drawn for
Finally remove the original anchors that are located on the
back LCD panel that the original hinge screws mounted into. I needed a utility
knife to free them a little, then I put in one of the screws, and grabbed it
with pliers to remove the screw and anchor together.
The anchor should fit nicely into the countersunk hole, but
not pass all the way through the smaller 1/8" hole.
6: If the plastic hinge pieces on the back panel are still attached
you can remove them with the utility knife. Next tip the LCD panel back into
place and insert the new replacement metal brackets behind it. Put both anchors
into the bracket and pass 4 of the new M3 screws through the hinge, LCD, and
thread them into the anchors. Now skip to step 8, seven is only if you did not
do 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6.
Step 7: If you did not follow steps 2, 3,
4, 5 & 6, and you still have the original plastic hinges on the LCD panel
you can remove the screws that attach the panel to the hinge (one at a time)
and drill all the way through the back plastic lid with a 3/32" bit (the
idea here is to make a whole that will go all the way through without damaging
the threads that the original screws went into, if the 3/32" bit doesn't
easily go into the hole all the way to back plastic, use a smaller 5/64"
bit. Once one hole is drilled you can put the old screw back into place.
Step 8: Remove, one at a time, the 4 screws
located directly above the hinge and drill all the way through the back of the
case with a 3/32" or 5/64" bit, which ever fits loosely inside the
hole. Once complete put the old screw back into place.
Step 9: Next drill through the top corner
holes with a 1/16" bit, then remove the screws next to those and drill
through them as well. Replace screws when done to hold the LCD in place at the
Step 10: Hold the flat plated steel strip
up to the back of the laptop LCD panel running from the bottom hinge area up
to the top. Draw a line, and cut with a hack saw. Repeat this for the other
Step 11: Hold the cut steel strip in place
again, and remove screws one at a time (4 in each of the lower corners, and
2 in each of the top corners). For each location drill through with a 1/16"
bit just enough to mark on the steel strip where the holes should be.
12: Drill through the steel at each mark. For the 4 lower marks usa
a 3/16" bit and a 3/32" for the two upper ones. Repeat this for the
13: Using the new M3 screws thread them through all the bottom holes
and slide the steel strip over the top of them. Fasten them with M3 nuts.
14: Repeat step 13 for the top 4 screws using the M2 screws and nuts
15: Test to make sure everything is opening and closing properly and
make any adjustments necessary. If everything works well you can remove the
4 screws in each corner, replace the front plastic LCD frame and re-insert the
4 corner screws through the proper holes. Next replace the rubber sticky screw
covers, and saw off the ends of the screws that are now sticking out of the
back of the LCD case.
Congratulations you have now have a solid-as-steel hinge on
your Sager/Clevo/ Midern/Alienware 56x0 laptop.