That's exactly what happened to mine. Now I know I removed too much of the grease the last time I opened it. That, and years of constant extended use, lead to fatigue and x axis play. Then it just cracked. Upgrading seemed the only logical step. I was able to purchase a brand new X52 stick and throttle for half the cost of upgrading and got a lighter tension setup to boot plus a couple extra programmable buttons and a mouse wheel on the throttle. You can increase the tension on the stick by inserting shims (non Toyota variety) under the coil spring. Works pretty well for me especially after I had thumb surgery to remove a dogfight switch wound scar. I'm all about Strike Fighters now but may be in the market for a new system and sims once the economy starts to pick up.
"It's perfectly ordinary banter, Squiffy. Bally Jerry, pranged his kite, right in the 'how's your father?'" - Monte Python, RAF banter sketch. P4 2.4G, 1G RAM, nVidia GeForce 2600 512M, Audigy, Saitek X52, CH Propedals, TrackIR.