Looking for Kernel guru

Hi there,

I'm not quite a Linux newbie anymore but I still have a ways to go before I'm really good(a sysadmin). I watch the kernel.org site from time to time and see new kernels come out but never tried to install any until now. I got a Pavillion dv6000 laptop with the Atheros wireless set up that didn't work with RHEL 5. After a bit of digging I found that the latest kernel versions would support Atheros, so now I've installed a new kernel and the wireless works(happy days are here again), but now I broke some of the other hardware. I have tried various re-configurations of the kernel but have either made things worse or come up with non-bootable system. There a lot of config options with the kernel but I've not figured which ones to include to get a fully functioning system. If there's a kernel guru with some time to spare I could really use some pointer on how to debug the problems I caused.