I've had a string of bad luck with my aging iBook lately. First the screen went dead with the infamous Logic Board problem. Fortunately Apple replaced the logic board free of charge with what I would describe as one of the best support experiences I have ever had. However, shortly after getting my iBook back from support the hard drive started making creaking noises and the machine would grind to a halt - a sure sign of a dying hard drive. My iBook is no longer on warranty so it would cost me $250 to have Apple replace the hard drive and they would only replace the factory default drive which was 30 gig. Considering I can find deals on the Internet for an 80 gig drive for close to $100 - no thanks. Not to mention the drive that came with my iBook was a 4200 RPM drive (slow). So after a bit of research, some advice from friends, I decided to attempt to install a new Toshiba 80 gig 5400 RPM drive.
If you have ever searched around to see how to replace a hard drive in an Apple iBook you will understand when I say it's a "tad bit tricky". These things are built like Fort Knox. When I first saw what was required I ran away with my tail between my legs..but after a bit more encouragement and research I decided it wasn't so bad as long as you are diligent. The worst part is all the little screws you need to keep track of. If you have a screw chart it's a piece of cake.
I found this excellent Mac laptop repair guide that gave detailed instructions on how to replace a 12" iBook G3 hard drive. The guides list equipment needed to perform the repair, provides a screw chart, pictures of each step, etc. I highly recommend it. The instructions were pretty accurate and fairly easy to follow.
The estimate was 2 hours to perform the replacement and that was pretty much bang on. I probably would have been under 2 hours had I not had difficulties removing the audio cable. That sucker didn't want to let go!
I'd also recommend using Xbench to test the performance of your iBook before and after the replacement so you can see how much of a performance boost you gained. In my case it was close to 20% (most likely because the old hard drive was almost dead).
For your enjoyment, here are some pictures of the upgrade (click the photo to view more):