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(Topic ID: 263785)

'39 Bally Champion - Find

By dwabid

7 months ago

Topic Stats

  • 21 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 37 days ago by u2sean
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 7 months ago

Hi All. New Member. First Post.

When I was growing up, one of he highlights to visiting my grandma's house, was to head to the basement to play Pinball. She had this EM pinball machine. It is was the real deal. When she passed, and the house was sold, the machine was lost....or so we thought!

Incredibly long story, extremely short: it was never lost! It just moved across the alley and into a basement. It more or less sat there for 40 or so years...

Skip forward to 2 weeks ago. My cousin tripped over this machine in an estate sale posting. From there on, the rush was on to secure it and find it a home. It is happily in recovery in my basement (and so are we after moving the beast.)

When found, the back was removed but still attached by the wires. I removed the legs for moving.

The power cord is disintegrated, so I don't dare plug it in. Yet as far as I can tell it is completely intact and in great shape with general "family" wear and tear. However, it is missing two "when lit" bumpers. One seems to have broken off (see picture) and the other is missing.

I most likely cannot restore this thing myself. Mark G. (in thi forum) has provided some great initial advice, and suggested I join this group to learn more.

To start it would be great to find a source for these missing bumpers and to also to connect with a local restorer (south central Wisconsin). ANy other advice and comments are surely welcome. I can share what i can.

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#2 7 months ago


Great back story on this machine-hope youre able to get it up and running soon!

#3 7 months ago

wow the story is a great read & the pictures are even better !

a good guide to repair on your own here:

that lit post might have to ask here:

is that the part laying on the apron?

#4 7 months ago

Welcome ! You're gonna like it here!

#5 7 months ago
Quoted from chas10e:

wow the story is a great read & the pictures are even better !
a good guide to repair on your own here:
that lit post might have to ask here:
is that the part laying on the apron?

Yes. That's the part. Yo can see its missing the ring and someone tried to tape it to insert back in to the hole. If you look real close to to right hand hole... someone inserted some cardboard shims....

#6 7 months ago

the playfield rubber rings are "consumable items" ... those may all be hard and should be replaced, it looks like your shooter tip is missing and that would be bad for the balls , the balls may rough and would be bad for the playfield.

Usually when folks get a new pin , it's new rubbers (with shooter tip & rebound rubber) and new balls

I am not familiar with what the appropriate rebound rubber for your machine is ( or any "woodrail" for that matter

#7 7 months ago

Welcome to the club. I think I've seen those red posts come up before either in the seeking-parts-thread here or on everyone's favorite auction site. The tape and shims are likely because they've shrunk slightly over time and no longer fit snugly in their holes.

One of the neat features of this game is that if you can bump the middle, purple bumper it will return one completed ball from the trough to the player by dropping it into the ball lift trough. If you look closely you can see that the bottom of the ball trough is split into two sections. The whole bottom slides out of the way at the start of the game but the smaller section slides out of the way when the purple bumper is hit.

Dan previously found me offline I think through my Champion web page ( which is a longer version of the topic ( I started here a couple of years ago.

Now I'm curious how many others are still out there.


#8 7 months ago

Great job Mark bringing this one home...and I love the details of your resto pages. )

I think I might have some of those missing insert/posts the OP is looking for at home...please send me a PM to remind me to look.

#9 7 months ago

Great save on a classic pin that means a lot to your family.
From your pics seems to be in very good shape. I've been
collecting pins of this vintage for a long time now and they
are getting to be hard to find in any condition.

Check with Steve Young at the Pinball Resource as he has a stash
of older parts.

2 weeks later
#10 6 months ago

Ok, I am about to crack this open. I have removed the back and the back panel ( Markg : here was you were missing....see image... solid advice...
specially I don't know who my "jobber" is).

I have looked through the opening in the back. The inside is slightly dusty but wiring and everything looks intact.

My question to the experts is: Once I remove the coin box and the glass, how does the playfield lift up or out? I certainly need to get to the rear of the inside to attach a new power cord.

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#11 6 months ago

The playfield glass on my Champion is plate glass with sharp edges. I don't know if it's original. If yours is plate glass too beware that plate glass can easily break in to life threatening shards of glass. A new sheet of tempered glass might be in order.

The playfield may be screwed down from the top, but otherwise it should lift up from the game like the hood of a car. Champion has a door on the right side near the back. If you remove that door the bottom board should slide out for better access.

2 weeks later
#12 6 months ago

Quick update. I drilled out the locks and the machine is open (extra key found inside -- ) . As you can see from the guys were correct. I found the missing two small lighted bumpers buried inside the machine. Balls were found as well. Two brass one steel.

Couple interesting things I noticed when I inspected. The "free ball" bumper was purposely disconnected (light and all) and the wires tied off. Also notice at the top of the playfield. Two posts, in front of the orange bumpers, were removed and the holes filled in. Not sure they did that for better play or they just wore out and were removed.

I found several bulbs rolling around the inside and the rubber for all the bumpers is intact. I suspect someone at some point had done some repair and maintenance.

Now on to cleaning. The inside has plenty of dust and some old mouse turds. I am going to vacuum and blow out nooks and crannies with CO2.

Once complete I will replace the power cord and see what lights up...

PS also found the "payout" schedule.

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3 months later
#13 3 months ago

Hi all, Its been sometime but I thought I would post on my progress. I have the machine back together. (picture)
- I have repaired and reattached the legs.
- The back was basically ripped off the base from the previous owner(s) so I had to do some basic carpentry repairs and then re-attached.
- We soldered in a new power cord and turned it on....

The machine fired right up and when the ball is is in play it looks and sounds like it is functioning properly. I visually see relays engaging, solenoids snapping, circuit wheel turning (I don't know the lingo, but I hope you know what I mean.) However the only lights that turn on and off with play are the lights currently visible. At this point I am out of my depth. I am going to try and find some local expertise (wisconsin) but if anyone has some ideas please pass them along. Thanks, - D

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#14 3 months ago

I would pull the fuses (all that you can find) and test them with a DMM. Then I would run some 600 grit sandpaper in the fuse holders and if the fuses test good, run 600 grit around each of the caps as well. If you have correct value fuses on-hand, then just replace them.

#15 3 months ago

Are you certain that the lamps in the head are good? If so, either a fuse, fuse holder, or plug related issue. The jones plugs could be fouled. For the fuse, be very gentle with the holder. There are probably only two or three sets of plugs for the game. One of those handles the backbox lights.

Last possibility is break in the common wiring.

#16 89 days ago

Hi There. I did replace the fuses with modern 3 amp (as stamped in the machine). However I did not sand the holder.

When I found the machine the head was disconnected from the back (more like ripped off) and lying on the top with the wiring intact. When I opened the head one of the jones plugs was loose. I have since repaired the head and all the plugs reinserted. I can look at all the plugs and sand lightly. Just seems odd only one set of lights seems to work, so current is flowing but not everywhere.

#17 89 days ago

Have you checked to ensure that the new fuses did not blow? A shorted socket would cause the fuse to immediately blow.

Ensure the plugs are making tight connections - if old style Bally plugs, there are two metal pieces that "pinch" each tube of the male portion of the plug. If the head was ripped off, just the strain of holding it in place during transport or other event could bend those metal pieces away from the male portion. Remove the male plug then examine the female side and ensure that all sockets are shaped correctly. Use a pair of pliers (with the game unplugged) to reshape them as needed. Be gentle, of course.

#18 89 days ago

You can always use a DMM to check that there is voltage to the dead lamps. Have you inspected or replaced the bulbs? Do each of the bumpers light up or is it just the 2 on the right and 2 on the left?

1 month later
#19 37 days ago

It is ALIVE and quite well!!! It turned out it was a little more complicated than bulbs or fuses, but luckily I found a local expert to help me out.

After about two hours, and a dozen tries: he found the fault in the general illumination (relay/switch) and it sprang to life. I spent the next several days using up some elbow grease and here is a the result. Surprisingly only 1 bulb is out in the back panel (not in a hurry to replace).

Only other flaws are a "1000 When Lit" trip will not score and the Credit light does not illuminate (socket is out...may need to re-solder). Fixable but not in a rush.

But here it is and it looks fantastic. Thanks for all tips and advice!!

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#20 37 days ago

Looks great!

#21 37 days ago

Well done - looks great!

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