I completely understand the reluctance to strip it down... I had one 4k die on the operating table: FAST RAM was working quite happily, then removing the battery and cleaning caused FAST RAM to disappear
. It's a connection problem, and it would have reared its head sometime.
you're best off biting the bullet and addressing the problem now, I think
. Not an easy thing to say.
Take anti-static precautions. I use cans of compressed air to clean connectors etc out - make sure you don't end up covering the connectors in propellant if you do go down that route! (Hold the cans vertically)
As for the IDE drive, you should be able to get HDToolbox to register it if you change the appropriate tooltype of HDToolbox to be DEVICE=uaehf.device (edited as I think it's uaehf.device, not uaescsi.device)