Fixing loose Thinkpad screen / lid / hinge

I guess every Lenovo Thinkpad (damn you, Lenovo! 😉 ) owner knows this: you have the perfect notebook, it’s awesome, its design and sturdiness is just… SWEET! But for some reason, Lenovo wasn’t able to deliver the used quality of IBM when it comes to hinges. They are worn out within months, a shame when i look at the old IBM TP my dad used 10years ago… its hinges are still as good as new. So after some usage, the lid will become loose, as you can see in many videos on the web. Now for some ThinkPads (and other notebooks, as well!) there is a rather easy fix, involving two screws to be tighten.
This wasn’t the case for my R60. Instead, it uses a somewhat weird construction that looks like this:
Thinkpad R60 hinge

The problem of this design simply is the fact that the bolt, which connects the lid with the body, is NOT fixed in any sort of way. It’s simply stuck in there with some sort of liquid that provides a better grip:
ThinkPad R60 lid hinge bolt
(Just a small screw right there in the center could have done the job…)

Over the time, the material will be worn out so the bolt becomes loose which causes the whiggling.
So now it’s the question: how do we make the „nut“ for the bolt sit more tightly?
You can use several methods, such as grip-increasing liquids (ScrewGrab?) or glue/sticky substances.
One could even tighten that nut with a hammer or drill a hole into the end of the bolt and drive a screw into it.

However, I found this to be the easiest way: pull the bolt out of the socket, stick some pieces of thin, yet robust wire (read the comments, copper is a soft metal, steel should be better!) through the hole and stick the bolt back in, using a hammer or so.
thinkpad wiremod

You should end up with something like this:
VentiLator's ThinkPad WireHinge :D

An other material that could work even better is teflon-wire or a similar material that is more resistive than copperthread 😉

Okay, this sounds too easy, right? Here is the problem: the hinges are not easy to access. You have to disassemble the whole front, including the keyboard, in order to get to the screws of the hinge-sockets and in order to pull out the cables of the antennas that go right through the hinges into the lid and so on… But friendly enough, Lenovo/IBM helps you with disassembling =) There are so called Hardware Maintenance Manuals for every thinkpad that include a complete list of partnumbers and a (dis)assembling guide. Just search for your ThinkPad here:
thinkpad gore

However, after reassembling, everything still works + the lid is back to normal, tight and stable =)

– Cheers

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12 Responses to Fixing loose Thinkpad screen / lid / hinge

  1. Hans sagt:

    With much interest I have been reading your remarks about fixing loose hinges.
    Your article covers the play between bolt and nut.
    In my T61 the play is of a different character.
    When opening the display, from about 0 to about 80 degrees up from horizontal there is no wobbling whatsoever. At further opening wobbling is about 10mm in every position till about 150 degrees. Beyond that no wobbling any more. The wobbling therefor is not related to play between bolt and nut, but rather in the moving part of the hinge, and that only over a limited stretch.
    I wonder if there is anything I can do to solve this little problem, other than installing new hinges.

    • thank you for reading my article!
      if it’s some error related to the angle itself, there probably is no real fix.
      hinges for the T61 aren’t that expensive, they go on ebay for like 16€, free shipping.

  2. zephxiii sagt:

    boooo, i just got a T61p and it has a lot of play in the hinges, probably from what you describe on this webpage. I wonder if there are revised replacement hinges that can be obtained?

    To be honest it doesn’t seem all THAT bad, just an annoyance and pet peeve. Surely not as bad as i’ve seen on other laptops (emachine m6805 to be exact).

    Thanks for the write up, it does shed a lot of light on the situation!

    • hey, thanks for your comment.

      indeed, there are several shops on ebay who sell thinkpad hinges, most of them are from asia but they are still trustworthy, shipping just takes a little longer.
      hinges for the T61p go for around 15$ afaik.

  3. Jo sagt:

    thanks for this diy article on this important matter – lenovo should read this & learn for the future!

    first a question: is it still tight? 😉
    i m asking because your fix uses soft copper & i wonder if it wouldnt be better to have used a piece of hard steel wire like the e or b string of a guitar..

    i got the same problem on a t61 15.4″ widescreen, will try the warrenty first – but already hear that would be of no use. so i will propably try a similar fix as you describe it here.

    • Thank you for your reply.

      Indeed, the first wire I used (seen on the pictures) was too thin!

      I got me some thicker wire and it’s been tight now for about two months.

      Copper is, indeed, a bad idea (I edited that) since copper is very soft. Steel should be hard enough, though you’ll need a hammer to get the bolt back in!

  4. Jo sagt:

    oh, i was really lucky! got it repaired by CeCon (a lenovo store & service point here in berlin) – it ihad a slack of about 40mm.. 40 minutes later it was fixed. hope is stays like that, on the other hand i now know to fix it myself 🙂

  5. Pavel sagt:

    Thanks you for this article! Very helpful for Lenovo users.

  6. Pedro sagt:

    I wonder if, better than fit a piece of metal or wire between, that inevitable will go loose some time after, it could be soldered in some way

    did you thought about that?

    I mean, my hinges start to get loose for second time (I fear this time warranty doesn’t play) and I want to do whatever, but just one, after all, the PITA is dismantle half of the computer.

    Ebay have some pairs from 10 Eur, but it would get three weeks to get them here. And will get loose after a while anyhow

    • Soldering might be an option, though most of the solder that i know is rather soft und would, eventually, wear off as well. in addition, the solder would have to be applied very spare to make the bold fit back in.

      But i have to admit that my hinges start to get lose again.

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