I had a similar problem a few years ago, except the drive in question was a Yahama CD writer. The drive worked at first but after a few months, refused to recognise any disc I inserted, unless I opened and closed the drive tray 5-10 times. Even so, burning would fail. I sent the drive for repair 3 times, and each time they returned it to me without doing anything to it. After the third time, I got so fed up, I smashed the whole drive on the floor at home. After that there was a rather interesting rattling sound from the inside. Only THEN did they do something about it - they changed the whole head assembly for a new one. By that time, I had given up hope on it and bought another drive.
I have made damn sure that any computer product I have bought since then does not have its warranty handled by that distributor.
I don't think doing what I did is a good idea. There is no way for you to know if the casing of the drive might get damaged in the process.
Another thing you can try is to take a disc you no longer want and bash it with a hammer several times till it is severely cracked (but not quite broken yet). Then put the disc into the drive and try to read it. Chances are the disc will fly apart into little pieces and get jammed all over the internals. Several users have managed to screw up their drives this way by trying to read cracked discs. The usual symptoms are that the drive tray either won't close properly, or else it will close but the drive won't be able to read discs.
If it doesn't work the first time, you can always try again with another disc.....