Common Maxtor MFM drive failure mode -- any ideas?

Kyle Owen kylevowen at
Sun Oct 25 06:56:45 CDT 2015

On Oct 24, 2015 6:36 PM, "Josh Dersch" <derschjo at> wrote:
> To add insult to injury, one of the heads is loose (the glue holding it
on dried up and it fell off after the impact of running off the platter) so
this drive is basically toast.  At least now I can kind of see how one
takes this drive apart to remove the spindle; if I get overly ambitious and
find a working sacrificial XT2190 to start with I could almost see myself
doing a spindle replacement surgery to see if I can recover the data.

I've successfully glued heads back on and have cleaned platters of goo
before. I had a full height 40 MB CDC drive from a PC AT if I recall that
wouldn't start reliably, but once it was spinning, worked fine. I took it
apart in a clean room and had the same issue as you with heads falling off.
I reattached them with clear fingernail polish for fear that superglue
would leave nasty cyanoacrylate fumes everywhere.

The drive worked fine for several months after the repair and a low level
format. It suffered the same problem again and I opted not to fix it a
second time.

It took me a while to figure out an optimal way to put the head back
together. I ended up separating the heads with the big ends of zip ties
which happened to be just the right height. Once I got everything mounted
back in, I just pushed it over the platters, causing the zip tie pieces to
be pushed out, and the heads to fall back over the platters.

Ahh, found the album (which I think I've shared before):


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