(Topic ID: 306675)

Gottlieb Snow Derby - where to start?

By Sanjunana

5 months ago


Topic Heartbeat

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  • 11 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by wrd1972
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 5 months ago

First off, sorry if this question has been asked a million times - I AM reading, but there's a lot to digest!

I’ve recently gotten my dad's old pinball machine (Gottleib EM - #snow-derby) to my house, and want to get it back into playable condition. It worked when I was growing up, but hasn't been turned on in 10+ years and may be closer to 20 since it's been working.

I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, and can typically follow many basic repair guides, but don't have a ton of experience with electronics and not great with a soldering gun. Can't really read a schematic (though I do have them for my machine).

I don't mind giving it a go, but since this machine does have a bit of sentimental value, I wouldn't want to risk permanently damaging it. It looks like it’s in worse shape than I remember, so not sure exactly where to begin. The playfield has a lot of ‘grit’ on it - not sure what it’s even from. What’s a good gentle cleaner I can use that won’t further damage it? Pictures attached and I know I’ll have lots more questions as I dig in. I have ordered a ring kit (rubber is all dried out and at some point someone tried just using rubber bands to replace one). Would a flipper rebuild kit be needed, too?

The playfield glass also has a good size chip in it - what are the thoughts on replacing that glass with plexiglass? Would it get scratched too easily?

Finally, my wife has asked if there were any lead paints used on these machines that we should be worried about?

Is the "Routine Maintenance" portion of this guide a good place to start? https://homepinballrepair.com/pinball-repair-introduction/#routinemaintenance … or is there a guide that’s more focused on a complete restoration?

Really just looking for some advice on how to get started and hopefully avoid some common mistakes.

Thanks!

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#2 5 months ago

Best source for information I know of. I could list steps off one after another but nothing will be better worth your time to read then this guide.

http://www.pinrepair.com/em/

#3 5 months ago

Get a lead paint testing kit from a large box store to answer that question. It looks like the cabinet has been repainted, so there are two layers of paint to test.

Pinrepair and Pinwiki are both good sources of information to get you started. Since this machine has not worked for some time, its likely the stepper units are gummed up. Clean those first. Next high priority is to make sure the score reels work. You can slide them out and use your finger to operate the plunger - you want to make sure that the score reel moves are crisp and do not hang up. They will usually hang up at position 8 and or 9. Again, lots of info out there on how to disassemble and clean.

Getting plexiglass to replace the glass would work, but it may sag over time. Also, price it out and compare to a new tempered glass. If going with glass, go with tempered instead of plate glass, especially if you have kids.

Don't be afraid to ask questions - most of the folks here are very willing to help you get the machine going. One word of warning - once you get this one going, you will be looking for others. It happens to all of us!

#4 5 months ago

This is my little advice. Billc is spot on. Score reels, Stepper units and BX and AX relays! boy there touchy. You will meet some people that know their stuff. take LOTS of pictures before you remove things. You might think about getting a Gottlieb catalog for your machine from The Pinball Resource. If you need new parts Steve really likes part numbers. Take your time, No WD40 ever. It is truly a great (and sometimes very frustrating) Hobby.
Following,,,
Mike.

#5 5 months ago

Thanks, all - great advice! Going to take it slowly, and will be starting with checking fuses then starting on inspecting, cleaning the stepper units (with guidance from pinrepair, pinwiki and homepinballrepair).

Can anyone tell me what this is? Photo attached - I didn't see anything like this in the wiki, pinrepair.com, etc. (although certainly possible I just missed it)

Just inside the coin door, to the right, on the 'floor' of the cabinet is a little disk with 2 posts. I've got 2 wires (black and red) connected to one post, and 2 loose wires that aren't connected to anything.

Is it a ground terminal? Are the 2 loose wires supposed to be attached to anything -- do I need to trace them?

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#6 5 months ago

Those are female spade terminals, and should mate with the male counterparts.

From that area, I’m guessing they are supposed to go to the tilt mechanism. Do you have a plumb bob tilt and a rolling ball tilt in the machine?

Without seeing more pics, it’s hard to tell. It’s also possible it goes to the leaf switch behind the flipper push buttons. See where the wires could possibly go.

Another idea is to look at your schematic for those color coded wires.

#7 4 months ago

Not sure if I have a plumb or rolling ball tile, or both -- still very new to this! I have the schematics, but it's all greek to me.

I checked the fuses and went ahead and powered it on, and it actually ran through it's startup sequence, reset the score reels and appeared to be ready to play -- other than needing all new rubbers attached and new pinballs at a BARE minimum. I will still go through the stepper units and score reels manually, too, to get the experience and check everything out. I want to make sure I can maintain it as well!

Flippers are looking pretty rough as well.

I think I'm going to make a small playfield rotisserie to help with the playfield restoration, so until I get that made I think I'll start on some of the cosmetics.

Any tips on how to fix the broken plastic shields? I have a few that are broken at the attachment holes. Super glue? Acetone? Some other glue? A couple pieces are a little warped, too. Can I use a heat gun or low temp oven to get them to be flexible enough to lay flat again?

#8 4 months ago

Billc479 is asking if you have a tilt mechanism similar to this one on my Jet Spin.

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#9 4 months ago
Quoted from Sanjunana:

Thanks, all - great advice! Going to take it slowly, and will be starting with checking fuses then starting on inspecting, cleaning the stepper units (with guidance from pinrepair, pinwiki and homepinballrepair).
Can anyone tell me what this is? Photo attached - I didn't see anything like this in the wiki, pinrepair.com, etc. (although certainly possible I just missed it)
Just inside the coin door, to the right, on the 'floor' of the cabinet is a little disk with 2 posts. I've got 2 wires (black and red) connected to one post, and 2 loose wires that aren't connected to anything.
Is it a ground terminal? Are the 2 loose wires supposed to be attached to anything -- do I need to trace them?
[quoted image]

Is that the under cabinet on/off switch?

1 week later
#10 4 months ago
Quoted from Sanjunana:

Is the "Routine Maintenance" portion of this guide a good place to start? https://homepinballrepair.com/pinball-repair-introduction/#routinemaintenance … or is there a guide that’s more focused on a complete restoration?
Really just looking for some advice on how to get started and hopefully avoid some common mistakes.
Thanks!
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

There are a ton of great sites out there and that is one of them. They have a section of restoration: https://homepinballrepair.com/shop-your-pinball-machine-part-1-supplies-needed/

Clay's site, also listed, maybe the granddaddy of them all. He took it down a few years back and has been rebuilding it. His restoration articles are excellent: Scroll down to his pinball restoration guides. http://www.pinrepair.com

Pinwiki started when Clay's guides went down. It is a community effort (apparently) and has excellent parts. https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=EM_Repair
They also have a restoration part: https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pinball_Restoration

Vid is here on Pinside. He is excellent. I just wish is guides were collected without all the comments.

You will not find universal agreement on how to do 'stuff', especially when it comes to clear coating. But you cannot go wrong on any of them.

2 weeks later
#11 3 months ago
Quoted from Sanjunana:

I think I'm going to make a small playfield rotisserie to help with the playfield restoration

Check out my Pindoc Rotos here on Pinside. A Pro/Premium model is ideal for EM machines.
https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1236-pindoc-restorations/03115-pindoc-pinball-playfield-rotisserie

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