About a year ago, my left channel went almost dead. It was there, but so faint that you couldn't really hear it. I don't listen to my iPod through headphones too much, but I do use an FM transmitter in my car that gets audio via the headphone jack. In the car, instead of just having a dead left channel, I was stuck with a loud, high-pitched whine that would--sort of humorously--change pitch with my acceleration. It made listening to my iPod pretty much unbearable.
I started this around 11PM and finished up around 2:30AM. Once I realized that I just needed to stay the course and pry the iPod open with brute force, it went alright. Seriously, cracking this baby open was not easy. I will say that after this, the rest of the process is a breeze. If I were doing this again, I'd probably skip out on those plastic opening tools. The metal spudger+putty knife is the real dream team that gets things moving.
Stay the course. Skip the plastic opening tools. Fear not.
Also, grab a really small pair of needle nose pliers (mine were 4.5" long). Those are super handy for helping to move some of the smaller parts and also for working with those gnat-sized screws around the headphone/hold assemblies.
And, as an FYI, while the guide specifies using a Phillips 00, I found a Phillips 000 to work just as well.