Oh wow! That doesn’t sound too good. Be very careful messing with the encoders. They’re strong when used normally. But when pulling the knobs off or when pushed sideways like in a bag they can bend/break.
They’re normally attached to the metal base with just some plastic. It can easily break. I’ve seen people rip off the plastic tops trying to remove the encoders with a little too much force.
There’s some horror stories to be found on the old forums.