(Topic ID: 143420)

Gottlieb Ball Return - Replace?


By dtown

3 years ago



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  • 11 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by EMsInKC
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#1 3 years ago

Finishing up my Top Card and it sometimes has an issue with outhole kicker getting the ball over the hump. I can tell by the underside of the apron that it's taken a lot of hits from the ball over time. The outhole itself doesn't appear that worn. However, the ball doesn't always land squarely on the kicker arm. Not sure if this is more of an issue with the outhole or the kicker arm. As you can see in the photo the one side of the kicker arm has mushroomed quite a bit. It doesn't have that little extra point that may keep the ball from sitting too far towards the trough rail side.

I did see this post and the Mr. Pinball fix with a switch blade which I may try but it doesn't always get the ball over the hump even when the ball lands squarely on the arm.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-ball-return-kicker-trouble#post-1445177

Note that the entire assembly was taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. The coil fires just fine with plenty of kick.

Opinions before I give Steve Young my money, if he has one. I don't see them listed on his site but, as we all know, he has much more than what's on there.

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#2 3 years ago

Steve has them, but keep in mind that Gottlieb used a few different styles, so you'll want to match up the one for your game (this is where the parts catalog is valuable).

But also consider some other causes:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-gottlieb-ball-return-not-kicking-ball-out-to-shooter-one-cause

The spring is frequently the cause of the ball launching up into the apron.

#3 3 years ago

Make sure the motor switch that controls this function is clean and well adjusted. I have a TC that had the same exact issue (as do most Gottliebs). I did the switch blade fix, spring fix, everything, but cleaning and adjusting the score motor switch fixed it.

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from DirtFlipper:

Steve has them, but keep in mind that Gottlieb used a few different styles, so you'll want to match up the one for your game (this is where the parts catalog is valuable).
But also consider some other causes:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-gottlieb-ball-return-not-kicking-ball-out-to-shooter-one-cause
The spring is frequently the cause of the ball launching up into the apron.

The spring feels like it has good tension and certainly "looks" original. Sucky thing is this is all one unit till you get to the plunger linkage. I did the Mr. Pinball mod and it's helped somewhat. One thing I added was some heat shrink tubing to the end because, no matter how short it was, once in a while it would ground out with the ball and cause a small spark.

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Quoted from EMsInKC:

Make sure the motor switch that controls this function is clean and well adjusted. I have a TC that had the same exact issue (as do most Gottliebs). I did the switch blade fix, spring fix, everything, but cleaning and adjusting the score motor switch fixed it.

I will look for this next. Yes, even though I've already cleaned and adjusted the score motor switches, sometimes a switch just needs to hold contact a LITTLE longer.

#5 3 years ago

Looks like the plunger could use some cleaning, maybe a new coil sleeve too? Some SuperLube on the sliding plates can also help (after a good cleaning).

It does help to remove the apron and watch what's actually happening when it tries to kick the ball out. It's all about conserving the energy to kick out the ball. The spring does weaken over time, so a new spring may still do some good.

I've not had to use that particular mod before, but I have replaced the whole kicker. PBR does have that style (double-forked).

#6 3 years ago

Have to kind of laugh at this thread. Bally and Williams games never have this problem. Bad design by Gottlieb, just like decagon reels. They didn't always get it right.

#7 3 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Have to kind of laugh at this thread. Bally and Williams games never have this problem. Bad design by Gottlieb, just like decagon reels. They didn't always get it right.

It's really only because the Gottliebs got played so much more of course.

(And really, there's nothing wrong with decagon reels - they get played to death; they rebuild and operate just fine.)

#8 3 years ago

The plunger and sleeve are clean. It's just that this game had so much white corrosion over almost every metal part it would have taken a long time to get all the staining out of the metal. I'll only sit there and polish a part so long till I've had enough. It's clean and smooth. That's what matters.

According to the manual, position 4C on the score motor pulses the O relay (return relay). I recleaned and adjusted the score motor switch closer but this made no difference. I recleaned and adjusted the O relay which seemed to have helped. It hasn't re-ocurred since then. Nonetheless, I think the mushrooming on the kicker arm is my real issue. I'm placing an order with PBR for some stuff and I'll inquire as to a price for one. If it's too much, I'll just wait for Allentown.

Oh, and I don't mind the decagon score units anymore. I even bought a couple clean used one's at the last Pinfest and stripped them for parts. Good stuff.

It seems that each of these manufacturers had their own pluses and minuses. Williams's ball return mechs are awesome because they slam the ball over to the shooter lane where Gottlieb's kinda just lolly gag over a hump. However, you have to remove the apron to service a Williams one where a Gottlieb you don't. "Six of one and half a dozen of the other".

#9 3 years ago

I know you mentioned having taken apart and cleaned the entire assembly, but I never had this problem where replacing the coil sleeve and sandpapering the plunger smooth didn't fix it. At least, try a new coil sleeve, it's manual simulation will NOT give you the real game performance. While you're cleaning the motor switch for a nice strong coil pulse, may as well clean the switch in series on the outhole relay as well.

#10 3 years ago
Quoted from DirtFlipper:

It's really only because the Gottliebs got played so much more of course.
(And really, there's nothing wrong with decagon reels - they get played to death; they rebuild and operate just fine.)

Riiiiiiight...

Decagons are the most over designed score reel ever. A pain in the butt to get adjusted correctly.

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from dtown:

The plunger and sleeve are clean. It's just that this game had so much white corrosion over almost every metal part it would have taken a long time to get all the staining out of the metal. I'll only sit there and polish a part so long till I've had enough. It's clean and smooth. That's what matters.
According to the manual, position 4C on the score motor pulses the O relay (return relay). I recleaned and adjusted the score motor switch closer but this made no difference. I recleaned and adjusted the O relay which seemed to have helped. It hasn't re-ocurred since then. Nonetheless, I think the mushrooming on the kicker arm is my real issue. I'm placing an order with PBR for some stuff and I'll inquire as to a price for one. If it's too much, I'll just wait for Allentown.
Oh, and I don't mind the decagon score units anymore. I even bought a couple clean used one's at the last Pinfest and stripped them for parts. Good stuff.
It seems that each of these manufacturers had their own pluses and minuses. Williams's ball return mechs are awesome because they slam the ball over to the shooter lane where Gottlieb's kinda just lolly gag over a hump. However, you have to remove the apron to service a Williams one where a Gottlieb you don't. "Six of one and half a dozen of the other".

True, but you never really have to service the Williams ball return mech. You can find the nastiest, dirtiest Williams game and that ball return will just keep on trucking. Almost every Gottlieb from the time they started the auto ball return suffered from this issue.

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