(Topic ID: 227344)

First Pin Purchase! Gottlieb's Wild Wild West (1969)

By radial_head

3 years ago


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  • 27 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by radial_head
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Hi all, long time lurker, first time owner.

I've grown up my whole life playing pinball and just recently decided to get more into it a few years ago. Looking at how things work and how play each game better and getting a little more involved with my pinside. I've been searching for my first machine for a while and this weekend while in New York, I had the chance to score a 1969 Gottlieb Wild Wild West. I got what I think was a pretty good deal on it, loaded up a pin into a station wagon for the first time, and I just got it home and set up.

I bought the machine sight unseen and figured it was going to need some work. First off, the two prong power cord is all doinked up and needs to be replaced and I had to drill the change box to open it up (last owner had no keys, didn't plug it in, and just got it in with a trade of 4 other tables he was trying to repair).

The Good: Original schematics, a lot of the original paperwork, a few extra rubbers. All the internals are there and intact (was very worried that it was just going to be a harvested machine). Some little paperwork and business cards of places that had had it before (looking at you Candytown Motocycle Club).

The Bad: Playfield doesn't look... museum worthy but nothing I can't live with. Quarter counter mechanism is missing but luckily dimes and nickels still have its parts. Tiny bits of flaking on the backless (but in areas that aren't super bothersome). Some Moldy or greenish parts here and there.

The Ugly: Rust! So much rust. Any tips of how to deal with this are welcome. The cabinet exterior isn't wrecked, but it might be too ugly for me to live with. At the end of the day, this will go in my studio partially as decoration, so I might try to refinish the outside. I graduated from art school and know my way around adobe illustrator so I might be making some stencils and refinishing the outside.

I'll keep you all posted with my progress, and feel free to chime in with any tips or tricks you might have! My uncle has been restoring machines for my whole life so I have him on speed-dial, but it's nice to hear from the community as well!

P.S. I only have one functioning elbow and arm (got in a car crash pretty recently) so all my strength and movement comes from my right arm and hand. If any of you have some tips or tricks on how to do a lot of this one handed, or have physical issues yourself that impair your fixing upping, let me know.

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#2 3 years ago

Welcome!

Quoted from radial_head:

P.S. I only have one functioning elbow and arm (got in a car crash pretty recently) so all my strength and movement comes from my right arm and hand. If any of you have some tips or tricks on how to do a lot of this one handed, or have physical issues yourself that impair your fixing upping, let me know.

Some great ideas for playing with arm/hand issues in this thread:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/one-armed-pinball-i-mean-it

#3 3 years ago

Congrats on your first machine!

My advice would be to get everything working, then decide what you can live with. You can pick up parts a little at a time, and also put want ads in the market here.

#4 3 years ago

It looks quite clean inside. You can easily get new parts for the front of the machine to replace the rusty ones. Quarter coin mechs are plentiful. pbresource.com
It's a good thing you were able to get the lockdown bar off, unlike the guy posting here with the "Super Soccer". I think he's going to need dynamite for that one!

#5 3 years ago

Very Cool and Congrats! I had been looking for a Wild Wild West for a while. Fell in love with this game at the PHOF several years ago when my son was playing there at Nationals.

I ended up finding a Lariat which is the AAB Version.

Keep us posted of your progress!

#6 3 years ago
Quoted from RCA1:

Welcome!

Some great ideas for playing with arm/hand issues in this thread:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/one-armed-pinball-i-mean-it

Good thread there! I’m finding it not as hard as this guy has it. My arm is still there, just locked in place. Glad to see that person has it figured out though.

Quoted from pinballcorpse:

I ended up finding a Lariat which is the AAB Version.

Why exactly did they have multiple versions of machines? I’m with you though, the two player oriented playfield is reakky fun.

Thanks for all the support thus far! I’m in the hospital for the next week recovering from surgery, so I am studying up the schematics in the meantime and I am getting excited to dive in. (I took an ultra Hi-Rez scan for myself if anybody else wants it.)

#7 3 years ago

Congrats on your purchase wheyface & I trust you are able to devise ways in which you will be able to manage this restoration. There are some wonderful, inspirational & helpful posts in the link provided by RCA1 in post 2. We are here to help you along the journey-Wayne

#8 3 years ago
Quoted from radial_head:

Why exactly did they have multiple versions of machines? I’m with you though

In some parts of the country it was illegal for machines to award free games, since that was considered to be "gambling". So companies made games that would only add an extra ball at a time and could not be considered gambling machines. The add a ball versions are generally more rare.

1 month later
#9 3 years ago

Alright everybody! I'm out of the hospital (2 weeks) and recovered in bed at home (4 weeks). My arm's on the mend and now I've finally started to go into it! So here's what I've done in order to get it "playing" and then the questions will start.

First things first was replacing the power cable. Gave it a three prong IEC (this thing ain't going to no arcade) and gave it a proper ground. Plugged it in and nothing happened, turns out there was a bad on/off switch, so I replaced it with a nice SPST toggle I had lying around from an old guitar amp project. Turned it on and the ball count relay just went wild and wouldn't stop. Took a look at the schematic and figured two things: one the trough switch isn't doing too hot, and the missing quarter coin slot was giving me some trouble, but a jiggle of that switch and it was up and running.

The big things that are keeping it from being a functioning player is the right flipper is very weak, and I want to sure up those connections on the coin slot and trough switch. I'm still deciding how I want to handle this one, but i'm going to lay out some plans and would love all of you to shoot me down or tell me I'm on the right track. My mentor is suggesting that I completely go through, touch up every connection, every switch, every solder point, every thing I can touch, take it all apart, clean everything, and put it back together, and leave the cabinet and all it's hardware as is. I think I'm going to have a really hard time leaving the rusty metal parts alone, but it's hard to start replacing metal without replacing ALL the metal, and I'm just not sure if I want to dive down the rabbit hole of finding new old stock coin doors, and what not. If you have any tips on handling rust this intense, I'm all ears!

I've attached some higher resolution photos from my actual camera (not just my phone).

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#10 3 years ago
Quoted from radial_head:

mentor is suggesting that I completely go through, touch up every connection, every switch, every solder point, every thing I can touch, take it all apart, clean everything, and put it back together

That would be a mistake. This forum is full of posts from people who tried shotgun cleaning & adjustments, and caused more problems than they were originally trying to solve.
What to do instead: Slowly and carefully diagnose one problem at a time and then fix only that.

#11 3 years ago

Very often, a single misadjusted or dirty switch can make a game totally inoperational. Take the time to correctly diagnose the issue, fix it, then proceed with further restoration if needed.

#12 3 years ago

As a still relative newbie. Just fix what’s broken as Howard n JR suggest. And get to know evaporust, miracle rust remover.

#13 3 years ago

Your Mentor is correct, just from your initial observation you sound like someone mechanically inclined. Most repairs on Ems are intuitive once you learn just a few basics. Plus having someone with a lot of experience in your corner will help immensely.
Do it right the first time and you won't be returning chasing down irritating glitches.
Remove the boards from the machine and vacuum the whole mess, being careful around instruction labels.
Once you recognize Normally Open and Normally Closed switches problem areas become readily apparent.
Go from one end of the board to the other, checking operation of Stepper Units first, a clean one puts you way ahead of the game!
Have good lighting and look forward to your repair time a fun and relaxing. If you can't it may be better to just try and get it running.
The rust doesn't look that bad, I have done miracles with steel wool, and there is a whole thread on Evaporust.

2 weeks later
#14 3 years ago

Any chance you could scan your instruction cards? (or someone can point me towards a scan)? My Wild Wild West is missing its cards.

#15 3 years ago

Evaporust & Pinball resource are your friends

2 weeks later
#16 3 years ago
Quoted from ejacques:

Any chance you could scan your instruction cards? (or someone can point me towards a scan)? My Wild Wild West is missing its cards.

Yep, just instruct me as to exactly what "instruction cards" are. I have a scan of the schematic too if anybody needs that.

Quoted from dasvis:

Evaporust & Pinball resource are your friends

I've ended up using a ton of evaporust and it not really doing the trick for some of the heavier parts of rust (I mean REALLY heavy). On top of all this: I'm planning on leaving this one kind of gnarly. Since it's my first pin, I'm not looking to do a full restore, or replace a bunch of parts on it that will look oddly new alongside the rest of the machine. So I'm doing some fine grit sanding down on the legs for the rust there and leaving it as is (it's leveled out ENOUGH). I'm currently going through and cleaning it to the best of my ability and have some new parts coming along the way that were necessary like a shooter spring and some new rubbers.

I've got some wildcat wax coming in the mail too, and I'm curious how gentle I need to be with this machine. A lot of the paint on the playfield is cracked and in all of my reading I haven't seen this talked about a whole ton. Also underneath the apron looks as if it's literally never been cleaned ever, so I'm giving that whole section a sprucing up.

My uncle/mentor (are you on here Uncle Neal?) is coming up from PA to come and help me get this all together in-between Christmas and New Years, so hopefully I'll have some progress pictures to post as the year wraps up.

#17 3 years ago

For very rusty parts you have to alternate between soaking in Evaporust and physical scrubbing. After each round rinse/remove as much rust as possible for the next round as every bit of rust that remains just uses up evaporust during the chemical reaction. Also, at a certain point you have to start with fresh evaporust to make progress. All rust will be gone in the end.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from spinal:

For very rusty parts you have to alternate between soaking in Evaporust and physical scrubbing. After each round rinse/remove as much rust as possible for the next round as every bit of rust that remains just uses up evaporust during the chemical reaction. Also, at a certain point you have to start with fresh evaporust to make progress. All rust will be gone in the end.

Scrub parts with simple green first to get rid of loose dirt & grease. Give part a quick once over with a metal bristled brush to remove loose corrosion. Soak in Evaporust overnight. Pull part out, rinse off & hit it with the brush again, then soak in Evaporust again if needed. Note that WARM Evaporust (above 70f works way better than cold).
NEVER has this failed me.

I then wax chromed parts to prevent rust, & use a satin nickel spray paint on cad plated parts.

#19 3 years ago

Hi,after looking at your playfield,needs a little touch up.i recommend after getting playfield clean.get some permanent markers.they come in assorted packs of colors.i noticed that now they have the right colors for playfield touch up.worked great on mine.wal mart were selling big packs of them.after touch up, wax table.it will blend the color in.also.colors that are real close will also blend in.good luck.

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from pinballbrian:

Hi,after looking at your playfield,needs a little touch up.i recommend after getting playfield clean.get some permanent markers.they come in assorted packs of colors.i noticed that now they have the right colors for playfield touch up.worked great on mine.wal mart were selling big packs of them.after touch up, wax table.it will blend the color in.also.colors that are real close will also blend in.good luck.

Touching up playfields can really make them look better. But depending on what you are going to do with the machine, be careful about using permanent markers. If you are just waxing the field, then they can work ok. But read Vids guide for playfield restoration thread on Pinside if you want to really learn about touching up and restoring playfields. The biggest problem with markers are if you or someone in the future might clear coat the play field. Otherwise, it should be ok for small areas. I have used them in particular for black lines around inserts or between colors. I wouldn't use one for large areas of color. For those it seems like craft paints, where you can pretty easily mix custom colors, work pretty well. Check the forums and Vids guide for brand and type of paint ideas.

1 week later
#21 3 years ago

Update time with some photos!

Had my uncle come up and he helped me get the damn thing together. We did our best to do some quick cleaning of the playfield, especially some of the grime under the apron (which I also did a really fine job of scrubbing up to look mint again, going to art school has its perks). He convinced me to put a drop of solder right where the bulb holders connect to the ground attachment on the underneath to make them glow evenly and consistently which has made a world of difference. We upgraded the flipper coils and cleaned out the plastic piston guide and both flippers work extremely well now.

A few kinks I've launched into:
Someone had bent the contacts in the play count to give free play (why they didn't just jumper them I have no idea) the 5 and 10 cent slots don't add to the play count, yet the 25 cent mechanism is missing (the contact itself still works however and gives 4 plays).

The extra ball feature seems to be disabled somehow. Having trouble tracing this one down in the schematic so any tips there would be helpful.

Also, correct me if I'm reading the schematic wrong, but it appears to me that the vari-targets don't reset when a new game is started? Seems a bit odd.

Anyway, here are some photos from shop week.

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#22 3 years ago
Quoted from radial_head:

The extra ball feature seems to be disabled somehow. Having trouble tracing this one down in the schematic so any tips there would be helpful.

It looks like you can win an extra ball by either
getting the ball in the right hole and then hitting the right vari target all the way back, or
getting the ball in the left hole and then hitting the left vari target all the way back.

That should activate the Extra Ball Control (F) relay.

Then, the Extra Ball (B) relay should activate, which (when the ball drains) should interrupt activation of the Change Players and Add Ball Count (P) relay.

How much of that is working?

#23 3 years ago

Nice job with the cleaning! I just did some cleaning and waxing on my WWW this weekend.

Vari targets stay unclaimed until you get it in the red or yellow side hole. If the game ends with the targets unclaimed the next person that plays can score them (keeps you playing!) if you can hit the target just right it will set 1000 PTS. and an extra ball when you land in the side hole. Try pushing the vari target to the top then hit the side hole and see if it scores an extra ball.

I was unhappy with the game play after thoroughly cleaning and rebuilding the flippers so I tried the hi tap on transformer.......LOVE the game play now so much faster and snappier

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from HowardR:

That should activate the Extra Ball Control (F) relay.
Then, the Extra Ball (B) relay should activate, which (when the ball drains) should interrupt activation of the Change Players and Add Ball Count (P) relay.

The good karma of sharing schematics is upon us!
So both relays fire, however I've noticed that the "extra ball relay" activates immediately when the extra ball is rewarded, but then either the control relay or the extra ball relay itself is making relay B immediately shut off, turning off the extra ball and also the "shoot again when lit" light near the trough. Going to do a little cleaning and double checking on all the contacts and then get back to you all about this.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from radial_head:

making relay B immediately shut off

If the Extra Ball (B) relay activates and immediately lets go, inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires, starting with the 2 indicated switches.

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#26 3 years ago

Thanks for the tips HowardR. I'll give this a try and get back to you.

Also, I have a set of high res scans of the instruction and replay cards for anybody who wants them. I'll even give it a full touchup and restore as mine are in pretty rough shape.

2 weeks later
#27 3 years ago
Quoted from HowardR:

If the Extra Ball (B) relay activates and immediately lets go, inspect and diagnose this circuit with Alligator clip jumper wires, starting with the 2 indicated switches.

Fixed it! Runway switch wasn't closing. Thanks for all the help and support everybody! I'm really proud of have a machine that works and is fun and is unique! Pin on!

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