I have an original 'fat' 360 elite, and for a few months now I've had this problem that if I close the tray without there being a disk in the tray then it has a real bad time trying to open the tray again. I press the button and it goes 'clunk-clunk' and doesn't open, and trying to open it from the dashboard doesn't work either. Standing it up or laying it down seemed to help before, but doesn't any more - now I have to jam a knife in there and pry the tray open, and I'm real worried I might damage some gears or something permanently.
If there's a disk in there, then there's no problem. My 'solution' has just been to remember to always leave a disk in the tray at all times, but whenever I have friends over I usually forget to warn them and they try to be super helpful and put 360 games back into correct case when they're done and all I can do is run forwards in slow motion saying "NOOOOOoooooo" as the empty tray closes.
Does anyone else have this problem? Any way to fix this? I've had this machine a while now and it's way out of warranty.