(Topic ID: 246504)

Help Me! 1964 Williams River Boat in need of love


By rott

13 days ago



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  • 3 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 days ago by bigdog50
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 13 days ago

Sup pinball people. As the only one interested, I recently inherited/rescued our family pinball machine, a 1964 Williams River Boat. Considering it has sat in my grandmother's uninsulated Michigan garage for the past 4 decades, never having been played, let alone serviced, it some how works almost flawlessly. At not even 93,000 plays, this beauty is just being broken in, and I'd love to bring it back to its glory days. Here are my concerns...

The almost flawless:
Water/Moisture damage- The inside of the cabinet is where you can really see the effects of 40 or more michigan winters. There's nothing serious, no rotting holes or anything, but there's visible stains and surface decay in the corners especially. Many of the metal brackets are also covered in surface rust.

Modifications- Someone spray painted the entire exterior in a protective coating, which honestly may have turned out to be a good thing for the garage, but it doesn't exactly make the thing look great. This is nothing however compared to the newb who put a nail in the PF to act as a center post.

Scoring Wheels- This is where my most immediate problem is. Someone, I'm assuming the person who put the nail in the pf, has used a set of pliers or something to twist and mangle the switches for the scoring drum units. This has resulted in the total malfunction of the scoring wheels. Sometimes the thousands wheel will advance when the hundred wheel does, or the hundred when the 10... The game will reset without resetting the scores to 0. I have some experience in motor controls, relay logic, ladder diagrams, but I have never worked on a pinball machine before, and never worked with true old school EM control devices like this. I'm seeing on the schematic that all the switches for the drum units are normally open. So I'm wondering about trouble shooting the issues I'm having. As far as I can tell, the switches are being held open by the plastic armature from the drum unit. When the drum passes 9, the armature is momentarily tripped downwards, temporarily closing the circuit, energizing the next wheel, and advancing it by one position. So the switches simply need to be in a position/state where this can be true, and Im assuming, due to the mangling, it's not. What I'm wondering is, is it best to try to fix/straighten the switches, or should I buy new ones, also benefitting from the new contacts? And if it is best to fix the ones already inside, which I'd prefer, keeping it as original as possible, how do I go about doing this properly? Although I've worked with switches before, I've never had to straighten bent ones. I'd love to get this figured out, as it's the one thing keeping the game from working fully at the moment.

Beyond that, I don't intend on messing with the playfield or cabinet myself as I'm not qualified to do so. Perhaps down the road, I can have someone else do it for me, but I'd like to get the thing working mechanically and playing well first, as nothing in the playfield is bad enough to really effect play.

I can try to upload some better photos if necessary. If it would be helpful, I can remove the drum units, or at least the switch assemblies to photograph them better as they're difficult to get to when in the game. Thanks for any help!!!

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1 week later
#2 5 days ago

Those switches don't look too bad, certainly in the realm of adjusting. On the first 3 reels (1, 10, 100) identify what the switches are, there should be one for scoring, one for 0 position, and one for carrying over the the next higher reel. If you can't figure out which is which, try manually operating the score reel solenoid and see where the switches want to land in the 0, 1-8, and 9 positions. (Also, the 1000 reel lacks the switch used for carry over)

#3 5 days ago

Hey Rott
With the resources available on the web and sites like this to help you, you will be totally capable of repairing and restoring that game, including the playfield and cabinet (which you said you "are not qualified to do"). Start by going here http://www.pinrepair.com/
scroll down and read the info contained in "1930s to 1978 EM (Electro-Mechanical) Pinball Repair Guide" and then in "Pinball Restoration Guide"

You can clean the playfield easily. Get some Novus 2 and that will take the dirt right up and not harm the finish. Get some Iso Alcohol 91% and with q-tips you can clean all the switch contacts that will have carbon build up which could affect electrical contact. Get a switch adjusting tool to properly bend the switches --- all this is in the Guides with pics and instructions. Same with the score reels which are critical to start a game. Usually these need to be taken apart and soaked in Alcohol to get the old gummed up grease out that will prevent them from turning properly. Get some Mothers Mag polish to shine up metal parts. Its all easy stuff -- just don't go crazy adjusting too much stuff right away.

See if this helps ----

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