No it’s not by using a lubricant or getting stronger springs or installing a metal spine to stiffen the target or reshaping how the target grips. In actual fact there is no modification required at all, all parts are genuine original parts and as far as I know, so far there are no ongoing treatments required.
I recently purchased a Judge Dredd which had three of the five drop targets sticking and just not performing well at all. After removing the assembly it became quite evident as to why, sticky greasy gummy residue. A simple fix...so I thought! Complete disassembly, clean with alcohol, replacement of two damaged tension springs, then inspect for other damage including misalignment, burrs, corrosion, warping and any other issues that could possibly stop it from performing as it was designed.
I have read numerous times many people saying lubrication and pinball machines don’t mix. For the most part, I agree with this theory but I draw the line with metal on metal rotating parts, but that’s another argument for another post that I’m sure many will disagree.
Anyway back to my JD. After careful, dry (non-lubricated) reassembly I installed the assembly back into my machine only to find that now four of the five targets were sticking, even worse than before. I was dumbfounded, how is this possible? I started to think that the only fix was to purchase new targets, springs and washers or to use some form of lubricant, but I refused to do this.
I then decided to try using something that most all of us have in our tool kit, at least those of us who look after our machines with an almost OCDC attitude. Hands up those of you who notice just how smoothly and quietly your steel balls glide over the Playfield after a fresh coat of wax! Well that’s the fix. I completely dissembled the drop target assembly again and applied my best carnauba wax on all sliding surfaces including the metal bracket, washers and of course the plastic drop targets themselves. I let it dry and then buffed off all the residue, reassembled, reinstalled and Voilà! 100% serviceable. They are rock solid, snappy and crisp in operation and have been so for about six months now.
I also now wax and polish all my plunger mechanisms and associated plastic sleeves, flipper shafts and bushings and although it’s not as noticeable how this improves their performance during game play the drop targets are faultless. Hope this helps.
I have another 100% fix for JD owners with balls flying out of the wire ramps. Let me know if you have the need for a guaranteed fix for this. Cheers and happy pinballing.