Three weeks ago my iPod bit the dust. It was a 4th generation 60gb colour screen model that was 18 months old. Holding it up to my ear as I switched it on, I could hear a whimpering sound as the hard disk tried unsuccessfully to spin up. After a few seconds, it gave up and an unhappy face appeared on the screen. Taking it into the Apple store in London, the 'genius' told me that I could pay £160 to exchange it for a refurbished model with a 90-day guarantee, or pay £100 more for a shiny new 5th generation video iPod. I decided to buy a new iPod from Amazon.co.uk for rather less than the Apple store charged.
Then I began looking into the possibilities of repairing it myself. There's an excellent website ipodhowtovideo.com full of videos showing you how to open up an iPod and replace the parts. Spending £10 on a non-marking pry tool from Radius, I got the case open, and took the iPod apart. I inadvertently started the disk spinning up while applying pressure to the case of the disk. It made a horrible grinding sound until I removed the pressure, then it booted up as normal, and has worked fine ever since. It gets a bit hot, so I'm sure the disk is on its way out. I've located a source of replacement disks on eBay for £69. So now I've got an iPod that lives permanently in my home stereo, as well as the one I carry round.
Actually, I'm amazed my first iPod lasted as long as it did. It got a shaken to bits in the back of a trailer driving around the Australian outback on holiday last year. I was convinced I'd killed it then.