I've replaced about a dozen over the past year. Usually the owner has either tried to find a fix for months or searched for many weeks for some way to keep the failed drive. In the end I swap the drive and the problem vanishes. At least it's cheaper than a new laptop. I'm unsure where you are in the process (you may have not reached the point where you'll replace the drive.)
I have an old Powerbook G4 laptop that is definitely showing its age. It still works, but there are two problems that I hope can be fixed before I upgrade to the new macbook pros next month
1) I can't seem to install the update to the OS (10.4.7). Whenever the automatic update notifies me of the new upgrade, it completely downloads the file and crashes during the installation cycle. I downloaded the individual upgrade from the apple site, but the installer crashes on me when I try to install manually as well.
2) The DVD combo drive fails to read any CD or DVD anymore. Is there a firmware file I can download that will fix this? The drive is a Matshita DVD-R UJ-815
I would love to fix these problems without having to drop it off at the apple store and not see it again for 2 weeks.
Thanks in advance