How to fix a loose hinge on an Aluminium Powerbook

If you’ve got an Aluminium Powerbook, (either the last of the G4 models or the new intel mac pro models) they are a great machine (the 15 inch is my favourite) but after a few years the hinge can get loose. Thankfully this is not like the old Titanium powerbooks where the hinge was broken, it is just a matter of a few screws that need to be tightened! Here’s how to do it.

1. First of course is power it down and remove the battery. Then you need to find two screws like this, one each side, and undo them with a torx size 6 screwdriver.
2. Now carefully prise the back of the lid apart like this. Be VERY CAREFULL when prising the back off the screen not to damage the plastic, or apply too much pressure, or force anything. There are little lugs, and you need to prise the plastic over those lugs and back to get it off. The plastic comes off the back with the case that has the apple logo on it, so you pry between the plastic and the aluminium surrounding the LCD screen like this.

When you have worked your way up the sites, and over the top, the lid will pretty much fall off like this.
These are the screws you need to tighten, there are 4, and the ones on the left are covered by a little piece of yellow sticky tape you need to remove and then replace after you are finished.

pbreadytogo.jpg left-screws.jpg pbrightscrews.jpg

The tightening!


That’s it, now carefully put the sticky tape and lid back together, and replace the two screws. It should take about 1/2 hr to an hour.


35 responses to “How to fix a loose hinge on an Aluminium Powerbook”

  1. Rob

    Hi Wayne,
    Thanks for responding to my questions…! I totally appreciate that it was a while ago but your site shows that a true Mac user/fan never gives up…so, did you just use that screwdriver only (as in the photos?) to prise away the display cover…how did you avoid damage to the thin metal bezel? Another problem was getting enough clearance/easy angle for a hex tool into the space between the screen bezel and the rear of the body to get access to those two hex bolts at each end…how did you accomplish this and with what tool? (as it would avoid having to take the entire display off the laptop body!)
    Thanks from a fellow Antipodean (via UK)…

    1. The angle of the Torx was quite tricky, but I think I used just a normal Torx driver. Looking at it now I can’t imaging how the angle worked, but at the time that’s how I did it. And yes I just used a screwdriver. Which is unusual as I usually use guitar picks on things like iPods, to slide around the frame, but here I used a screwdriver.

  2. Rob

    Hi Wayne, I was about to post a comment myself! After looking at the ‘lay of the land (so to speak)’, it was looking like I couldn’t get any of my torx bits/tools into that space…so I took the screen off from the laptop chassis and with it on a flat (cloth) surface, I prised the bezel away from the lcd back plate using a combo of plastic iPod prise tools and (various widths) black spudgers…that eventually did the trick…I was able to isolate the ‘wobble’ in the screen – it was actually the four screws that hold (from below) one of the hinge arms (not the screws at the back, as in your case)…these are quite difficult to access (I stupidly thought it a good idea to pull away the corner of the (u shaped curved) metal hinge cover to get at them – bending it slightly) until I figured out you just had to gently pull up the inverter board, remove (at most) three screws holding the cover at that end in place, pull the cover slightly away and then tighten the hinge screws…no wobble at that end! Then put everything back together…and there is a slight gap between the screen bezel and the plastic trim in one bottom corner but I was expecting that as the same thing happened on the ‘dry run spares’ PowerBook…it turned out that on both laptops, there is one small plastic clip that seems to get damaged/chipped in the first ‘prising open’ action and doesn’t seem to want to clip back over a metal lip in the bezel…anyway, I was able to swap a working screen, with a wobble from a malfunctioning laptop to a perfectly functioning laptop but with a screen with flickering lcd when the screen was moved and a non working screen latch…and in the process fix the wobble and replace the broken latch magnet…might have to go back in to fix that bend in the hinge cover, though! (I had contemplated buying a replacement complete screen (from a well-known supplier here) but after I sent an email enquiry asking a few questions about the part but got no response, I thought I’d do it myself… lucky thing this worked as I’ve just seen the supplier has just hiked the price up by £40!)

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