My water bottle leaked in my pack and got my i-Pod thoroughly soaked. I tried the sack-of-rice drying method to no avail and decided to open the case or throw it away.
Until you see how the "clips" work, it is difficult to imagine how they work. I checked several websites and You-Tube videos, but still didn't "get it". I finally found some photos of the danged things and remounted my attack and used couple of "Exacto-Knives" as shown in one of the videos I watched. The metal spudgers will probably work similarly. You will need at least three or four of them to keep the case from closing back on itself once you get a clip opened.
Seriously, it took at least an hour to open the case with lots of cursing and a close call that almost resulted in a serious cut on my hand. Once opened, I had to bend some of the clips back into shape and the case is dinged up on the edges, but I can now replace the parts that aren't functional and go back to listening to all my music
Once you are able to get the case slightly separated enough to slip in the putty knife/exacto knife/metal spudger, do so carefully and slowly. This can't be stressed too much. Plan to take an hour minimum to get the case open. It really is the most difficult part of any i-Pod classic repair.
Go slow and gently with any and all connectors inside the case. they are very small and delicate! learn from my mistakes, they break easily with ham-handed efforts to open them.