(Topic ID: 19506)

Houston, we have a problem (with my LOTR LE) ...


By gweempose

7 years ago



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  • 49 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by DCFAN
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LOTR_#4.JPG
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IMG_1928.JPG

#1 7 years ago

I just picked this game up the other day with less than 70 plays on it. Unfortunately, my excitement quickly turned to frustration. Despite the fact that I am a relative novice when it comes to playing LOTR, it didn't take me long to realize that the ball is not travelling around the top of the playfield properly. It is my understanding that hard shots to the right orbit (as well as strong plunges) should send the ball all the way around the back, behind the castle, and then down the left side toward the flippers. This is not the case on my game. Fast moving balls slam right into the castle almost every time.

Upon examining the game, it appears that the upper right steel ball guide is angled too low. The ball is coming off it and being propelled into the tower, instead of behind it. I’m assuming the metal should be more evenly lined up with the turquoise lines on the playfield (see photo). I also assume that it is supposed to be completely under the plastic, not sticking out like that. I’m guessing the ball guide was improperly formed at the factory (gotta love Stern's quality control).

Can anyone with a LOTR confirm that I am correct in my assessment of the problem? Assuming I am, do you have any recommendations on how to fix the issue? Is it as simple as re-bending the ball guide? Also, I'd love to see a photo of someone else's game taken from the same angle showing what this are of the playfield is supposed to look like.

Thanks, guys!

// Error: Image 33598 not found //

#2 7 years ago

Yes, the ball should definitely be going around and to the left flipper (when plunged hard enough).

That sucks!

This will prevent you from going for the Super Skill shot.

#3 7 years ago

I just snapped a quick pic of mine and as you suspected it should be in the green lines.

// Error: Image 33599 not found //

#4 7 years ago

Here's mine too. I agree your metal guide is "off".

Scott

#5 7 years ago

Try the attachment again...

IMG_1928.JPG

#6 7 years ago

Grad a pair of pliers and bend it back a bit.

#7 7 years ago

I'm sure it's something that can be adjusted. Maybe a slight bend up will fix it.

#8 7 years ago

I had the same issue.

Just push real hard after a few beers.

Don't slip n break plastics tho.

#9 7 years ago

Sorry Gweem that sucks

I feel your pain about the stern quality control. Look at this. Brand new NIB.

http://callcalc.collegebound.net/rust.jpg

Had 2 rusty leg bolts too.

People harp on me complaining about quality. This is my first NiB stern and aside from the rust I'm already through 2 different coils and 2 cannon motors. At < 150 plays. That's why I'm so disgruntled.

#10 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

Sorry Gweem that sucks
I feel your pain about the stern quality control. Look at this. Brand new NIB.
http://callcalc.collegebound.net/rust.jpg
Had 2 rusty leg bolts too.
People harp on me complaining about quality. This is my first NiB stern and aside from the rust I'm already through 2 different coils and 2 cannon motors. At < 150 plays. That's why I'm so disgruntled.

This is a thread-hijack. This is not a complaint about stern quality control. He has a pin from 2004 - 8 years later. He is not even discussing stern quality control. We are pretty sure this problem didnt ship this way. It's too bad you have issues on your new in box pin. Sounds like you got a lemon. I have 7 sterns and none of those issues you have on any of them. Perhaps I'd feel for you if you started your own thread with the issues, but coming here with this propaganda on a totally unrelated thread is both irritating and unwelcomed.

#11 7 years ago

Mark it's not a thread hijack and you obviously didn't read his post.

I'll quote it so you don't have to read the whole thing:

"I’m guessing the ball guide was improperly formed at the factory (gotta love Stern's quality control)."

If its a huo with only 70 plays its likely it did come that way so please re-read the entire thing anyway before trying to belittle me. It's quite nasty for no apparent reason.

#12 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

Mark it's not a thread hijack and you obviously didn't read his post.
I'll quote it so you don't have to read the whole thing:
"I’m guessing the ball guide was improperly formed at the factory (gotta love Stern's quality control)."

Ok. My mistake. I did totally miss that. I don't believe this was a QC issue 8 years later. These things happen all the time on older games and I've had to fix several of them (usually on B/W games).

#13 7 years ago

No problem at all. Yeah it could have happened during shipping as well.

And yes mines a lemon . Had it a month and it's only worked for a week total.

#14 7 years ago

Thanks for all the replies guys, and especially for the photos! As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words, and one look at the other machines quickly shows that mine is aligned wrong. I guess I will have to attempt to bend the ball guide slightly up so that it rests where it should. Do you think this can be done while it is still in the machine, or is it best to remove it first?

Quoted from markmon:

I don't believe this was a QC issue 8 years later.

It is not eight years later. The game was built in January 2011. I believe this was Stern's final run of the LE's. The pin was only owned by one person prior to me, and he purchased it NIB from Terry at Pinball Life. As I stated above, the machine has barely been played. It is almost a guarantee that it was packaged at the factory like this, so in my eyes, it is absolutely a QC issue.

#15 7 years ago

Good luck with your fix. I know how frustrating your problem is. Bet u have it right in no time!

#16 7 years ago

Take it out - you'll be kicking yourself later if you go in and break something else while trying to bend it. Not worth it to try a shortcut.

Scott

#17 7 years ago

Qweem,PM sent

#18 7 years ago

I think if that were my pin I'd try to get a new part ordered. I'm not sure if you'll ever get it bent perfectly. Although its not impossible. If its really a 2011 run maybe it's still under warranty.

#19 7 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

I don't believe this was a QC issue 8 years later.

LOTR LE's arent 8 years old. They were run just a couple years back. And yes this most likely was a QC error. No way a ball guide could be bent like that during normal play. Still most likely an easy fix though.

#20 7 years ago

Bend it Gweem....I pulled mine out of the box and had several issues that I got fixed thanks to the kind people of this site.....study the rules first or you will frustrate yourself....you have to clear all the modes to get to TABA...forget Valinor, that may never happen!

#21 7 years ago

+1 for sure.....looking at the pic again it sure doesnt look like there are any screws under the tip of that ball guide. Just use moderate pressure and I bet you will get it lined up not problem.

#22 7 years ago

I'll probably call Stern on Monday just to see if they happen to have another one they can send me. I'm guessing they don't, but it's worth a try. If that doesn't pan out, I'll try to carefully bend it into the proper shape. I'm concerned that if I use something metal like pliers it will scrape up the ball guide. It's not as if you can really see it when you are playing, but I'd hate to tarnish a game that is so new.

#23 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

Do you think this can be done while it is still in the machine, or is it best to remove it first?

I would attempt to do it while in the machine. As long as you dont use too much pressure i'm sure it will be ok. Plus with it still in the machine you will be able to see when you have it in the right position.

#24 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I'll try to carefully bend it into the proper shape. I'm concerned that if I use something metal like pliers it will scrape up the ball guide.

Well don't worry about it...its clear from the pics you can do it....and Stern isn't going to have another one they can send you...

#25 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I'm concerned that if I use something metal like pliers it will scrape up the ball guide.

I'd try getting your hand in there and see if pushing it up with your thumb you can feel if there is anything holding down the tip. If not you should be golden. Actually sounds like way too much work to try n get a new ball guide & take everything off & install it if its something that can be bent easily.

I dont think it could be installed like this if it had a post going into the playfield. Just looks like it must have gotten tweaked while being installed.

#26 7 years ago
Quoted from smassa:

I'd try getting your hand in there and see if pushing it up with your thumb you can feel if there is anything holding down the tip. If not you should be golden. Actually sounds like way too much work to try n get a new ball guide & take everything off & install it if its something that can be bent easily.

Yep, Smassa is right, that should push right up....a new ball guide would be rough..

#27 7 years ago
Quoted from smassa:

I'd try getting your hand in there and see if pushing it up with your thumb ...

I tried pushing it with my thumb very hard, and it didn't even budge. It's a thick piece of metal, and what you can't see from the pic is that it bends backwards and continues along side the Barad-Dur eject hole.

#28 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I tried pushing it with my thumb very hard, and it didn't even budge. It's a thick piece of metal, and what you can't see from the pic is that it bends backwards and continues along side the Barad-Dur eject hole.

Man that really sucks...I just checked mine and its within the line as well.....I guess I would call Stern and ask them what to do about it...I can't figure out how that got so screwed up.....

#29 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I tried pushing it with my thumb very hard, and it didn't even budge. It's a thick piece of metal, and what you can't see from the pic is that it bends backwards and continues along side the Barad-Dur eject hole.

Hmmmm thats unfortunate. I bet the 1st thing Stern Suggests is to try bending it too.....They may send a tech out to take a look at it.

The cannon on my BIBLE was a little low and the ball would not travel under it when it was swung open. Wanna guess what I had to do in order to get the proper clearance needed....lol

#30 7 years ago
Quoted from smassa:

They may send a tech out to take a look at it.

Think so? It's out of warranty.

#31 7 years ago

Ya I guess Jan 2011 may put it out of warranty. I Still think bending it is pretty much the best option. Just need to find something u can use that gives you a little more leverage to bend it. Looks like it may been to be bent only like 1/4".

#32 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I'll probably call Stern on Monday just to see if they happen to have another one they can send me. I'm guessing they don't, but it's worth a try. If that doesn't pan out, I'll try to carefully bend it into the proper shape. I'm concerned that if I use something metal like pliers it will scrape up the ball guide. It's not as if you can really see it when you are playing, but I'd hate to tarnish a game that is so new.

Gweem,

Grab a rag and double it up and put that between the plyers and the guide. No scratching

#33 7 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

It's out of warranty.

How long is the warranty on a NIB Stern? I believe the game was purchased last summer, so it may not even be a year yet.

#34 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

How long is the warranty on a NIB Stern? I believe the game was purchased last summer, so it may not even be a year yet.

Did you check with the previous owner?

#35 7 years ago

I'll call him later to find out precisely when it was purchased.

#36 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I'll call him later to find out precisely when it was purchased.

Yeah do that and he might still have invoice or paperwork on it.

#37 7 years ago

Update:

I literally tried bending the guide with all of my might, and it didn't move a bit. This prompted me to investigate the situation a little further, so I removed the plastic to see if I could get more leverage. Once the plastic was out of the way, the problem became crystal clear. There is a screw that secures the guide to the playfield underneath the plastic (see photo 1). No wonder I couldn't get the guide to bend. Once I removed the screw, it was easy to re-position the guide (see photos 2 and 3). It is now angled correctly, but the screw hole no longer lines up, so I can't secure it (see photo 4). I'm guessing the person at the factory simply screwed the thing down in the wrong spot. I now have two options. I can either leave it as it is, or fill in the old screw hole with something and make a new one. It's probably best to just leave well enough alone. The ball guide is pretty heavy duty, and I doubt it will move much even without the screw.

LOTR_#1.JPG
LOTR_#2.JPG
LOTR_#4.JPG
LOTR_#3.JPG

#38 7 years ago

Now that the guide is properly positioned, all of my right orbit shots come flying around just like they should. The hard plunges do the same, but the auto plunger has less success. It probably makes it around less than half the time. The ball seems to be getting caught up on something right as it leaves the shooter lane. Is this normal?

#39 7 years ago

Gweem, you would probably need to bend that sharp angle to line up the screw. Id still try Stern to see if they have a replacement, but I wouldn't think bending would be too hard.

#40 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

How long is the warranty on a NIB Stern? I believe the game was purchased last summer, so it may not even be a year yet.

I think it's a whopping 30 days.

#41 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

The ball seems to be getting caught up on something right as it leaves the shooter lane. Is this normal?

Sometimes this will happen on mine. I think its hitting the overhead switch we talked about on the phone.

#42 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

Now that the guide is properly positioned, all of my right orbit shots come flying around just like they should. The hard plunges do the same, but the auto plunger has less success. It probably makes it around less than half the time. The ball seems to be getting caught up on something right as it leaves the shooter lane. Is this normal?

Yes, the plunger is set up so that you need to gauge your strength of the plunge and if you do it too hard it often rattles around and dies. I usually go for the orthanc skill plunge because that one is fairly easy and gives good points (i.e. 250,000 and up).

#43 7 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

I'm guessing the person at the factory simply screwed the thing down in the wrong spot.

That was my thought when I saw the first pic. Sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. An improperly bent lane guide would likely stick out in a stack of them. Your game was obviously built on a Friday. d

Fill the old hole and drill a pilot hole for the new one. Lane guides shouldn't be flapping in the wind.

As far as quality control goes, this is a relatively minor fix. It shouldn't have got out of the factory like that, but I'm sure WMS also occasionally shipped a game with improperly aligned lane guides. Not a big deal as long as the wrong hole isn't visible while playing (which is the case here).

#44 7 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

That was my thought when I saw the first pic. Sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. An improperly bent lane guide would likely stick out in a stack of them. Your game was obviously built on a Friday. d
Fill the old hole and drill a pilot hole for the new one. Lane guides shouldn't be flapping in the wind.
As far as quality control goes, this is a relatively minor fix. It shouldn't have got out of the factory like that, but I'm sure WMS also occasionally shipped a game with improperly aligned lane guides. Not a big deal as long as the wrong hole isn't visible while playing (which is the case here).

I think filling the hole sounds like a good option. You could always use the old jam a couple toothpicks in the existing hole and screw the guide down in the proper spot.

When I bought my SM in 07' the ball guide that looped around just above the upper flipper was not installed correctly kind of in the same manner as what happened to your LOTR. It was lined up so a ball would bounce off the base of the flipper making it impossible to make the left ramp. I just moved it over a lil and have never had an issue since then and it's not visable at all.

Glad you figured out what's wrong with it and it isn't too hard to fix.

#45 7 years ago

While you have that sucker opened up I'd put some dead foam on that upper saucer kickoff. I used to get ball rejects about every other hard shoot to that tower.

#46 7 years ago
Quoted from smassa:

While you have that sucker opened up I'd put some dead foam on that upper saucer kickoff. I used to get ball rejects about every other hard shoot to that tower.

+1, the drop dead foam really helps in that location. I was getting tons of bounce-outs and the foam fixed it to like 98% reliability.

#47 7 years ago

For the record, I had nearly 9 hours into my POS NIB LOTR LE. 85% of that was trying to tweak or dial in all the shortcomings provided by Stern assembly. I had the same problem here, and worse. What really killed it for me, is the inner loop orbit from left to right. It just never flowed good and was clunky (Gomez's signature in pins I've learned). I went as far as making my own wire ball guide that was originally present by frenchy on RGP. While that helped, it still wasn't 100%. Hopefully Gweems is smoother than mine ever was.

#48 7 years ago

My auto plunger makes it into the tower sometimes and around the orbit other times.

#49 7 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

My auto plunger makes it into the tower sometimes and around the orbit other times.

Same for mine. I think that it is the way they wanted it. Also, I believe that the gate diverter closes during auto plunges (even during war of the Ents) so it will send the ball into the tower if it is a short plunge.

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