Lite-On DVDRW SHW-160P6S PS0C Writes but won't read

I have had this drive for a while:
I have the latest firmware (PS0C).
I’ve been having problems reading discs with this thing for a year or two it seems.
It will WRITE fine, but will not read the discs, they are almost always recognized as blank discs (sometimes even as blank cds when it’s a non-blank dvd).
It seems to be burning just fine!
I put the disc into another computer and it reads it instantly without problems.

I have tried the following:

[li]Different firmwares (older stock, non-stock, …)[/li][li]Gently cleaning the laser lens w/rubbing alcohol[/li][li]Taking it apart down to the little lenses/mirrors and blowing compressed air into them.[/li][li]Putting the drive as master on primary IDE channel (have a VIA chipset, heard that was a problem)[/li][li]Putting the drive into another computer entirely (using other computer’s IDE cable)[/li][/ul]The result is the same.
I’ve actually come to realize it has this problem with ALL discs, not just DVDs.
It will sporadically read them though.
Sometimes I’ll put a disc in and after a while it will come up just like normal (not blank).
It’s not a software problem, I’m convinced.
I have burned bootable discs and it will only rarely boot them but will boot instantly on another computer.

Because I’m pretty certain this is a problem with the drive itself (not software, not other hardware), I will refrain from listing my software/hardware specs.

Is there anything anyone can think of that would help?
Why can it write but not read? Are different lasers/lenses/etc typically used for that?

I have read other threads with this problem (a few with this exact drive) but there seems to be no solution.
I’m ready to go office space on this thing.
I know I have a baseball bat around here somewhere…

P.S: I’m an unemployed student so I’m low on cash, just dropped $350 on textbooks (financial aid didn’t go through in time), so ‘go buy a new drive’ is not helping! :smiley: