help me salvage my Alienware 17R4

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by LaptopGamingGeek, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. LaptopGamingGeek

    LaptopGamingGeek Notebook Geek

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    Hi all,

    So my 17R4 is cooled with liquid metal, I've noticed that I seem to need to repaste it from time to time and when I do this solves the heating issue and I can continue to use my laptop as normal...

    This time I though, I thought I needed to do the same, so I opened my laptop as usual, but I have an issue... I have a stripped screw on the heat sink that I can no longer remove but I can sort of lift the heat sink enough to look at the CPU and GPU and well they look fine in terms of LM coverage yet the CPU is still overheating...

    Any ideas on what I could try to keep the laptop going? I'm not ready to buy a new PC yet due to the dreaded component shortages we're suffering with right now...

    Any and all help appreciated!
     
  2. Tenoroon

    Tenoroon Notebook Evangelist

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    I had the same issue when re-pasting a friends 13 R3, the last screw was just weak and stripped on me to the point where I couldn't get it off. I ended up using a fairly large drill bit (a bit the size of the screw,) and stripped the screw to the point where it finally came out. I then used a magnet and some compressed air to ensure that no metal shavings were left. I suggest you do the same as the screws from the 2016-2017 models are complete garbage.

    As for the temps, I have no clue to what's going on, you may want to either use thermal paste, or try more liquid metal. Even though the CPU looks covered, it may not be fully covered, so try fully taking the heatsink off, and then assess the situation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  3. bigtonyman

    bigtonyman Desktop Powa!!!

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    Could also be that the stripped screw is preventing good thermal contact with the CPU. If you get the screw issue figured out, I bet your temperature issues will go away too.
     
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  4. LaptopGamingGeek

    LaptopGamingGeek Notebook Geek

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    man I was afraid of that... I'm not too good with drills and stuff so no idea how to get the screw off...
     
  5. Tenoroon

    Tenoroon Notebook Evangelist

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    Just keep drilling until it comes off, if it doesn't, the head of the screw will disintegrate and then you can use pliers to take out the screw rest of the screw. When I did my friends laptop, the screw almost had no head, and then just came out like butter.
     
  6. Virale

    Virale Notebook Evangelist

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    To start, I’d stop pulling the heatsink up as you could be bending it, worsening contact due to an uneven surface/heatsink warping.

    Try looking for stripped screw extractors, they all work the same way. Basically you’ll have to drill into the head of the screw, attach and “screw in” a screw extractor, which is like a pointed cone with counter threaded “teeth”, that will bite into your stripped screw as you turn it counter clockwise to remove it. Then simply get new screws from Dell or elsewhere (look for the part number, and replace them).

    To me the most important piece here is DON’T bend your heatsink... you have to remove that stripped screw and replace it for the heatsink to have a chance to make proper contact, if it isn’t bent already...

    Also, if it’s a unified and sealed heatsink, it may be filled with dust and hair. Use compressed air to try to push all that junk out and up the fan intake holes. Maybe use a very small pipe cleaner to run it through the inside.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Gumwars

    Gumwars Notebook Consultant

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    Stripped screw extraction is a bit of a lost art. Couple of ways you can go about it:

    Using a dremel, carefully cut a slot into the face of the screw and use a flathead screwdriver to remove
    If you don't have a dremel (or other rotary tools), you can use pliers to grip the sides of the screw head and twist it out
    Depending on how badly stripped it is, you might be able to use a crosspoint screwdriver one size larger to grab whatever notches are left in the face

    No matter what you do at this point, consider the screw a lost cause; you're going to destroy it through the process of removing it. The focus now turns to making sure you don't damage the heatsink or motherboard while removing the stripped screw.

    FWIW.
     
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  8. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Notebook Deity

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    I agree with this one. It's worked for me before.

    There is also a trick that can work sometimes (depending on how bad it is) by using a rubber band between the head and the screwdriver.
     
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  9. Tenoroon

    Tenoroon Notebook Evangelist

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    I tried using a rubber band for my friends screw and it did not work. I ended up replacing all of the screws because some of them had already been partially stripped despite him never opening the laptop. I guess they used crap screws on the pre m17/m15 models.
     
  10. LaptopGamingGeek

    LaptopGamingGeek Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for the info guys... I'll have to buy the drill and bits and pieces - can anyone recommend specific parts that worked for them?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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