Quoted from Geordie:
Hello Pinsider, or is it Pinheads? My name is Geordie, I have been restoring cars, and vintage audio gear, and just about everything else I can get my hands on for several decades. I will figure out an Avatar soon. Like a lot of you probably, I grew up playing pinball, and always dreamed of owning a machine. I have been looking for an affordable (should read overloved, unmolested, complete, needs tlc) pinball project for over a year, and finally found the right deal. I bought my first machine last week,, and here I am! It didn't take long to get the bug, and I have surrendered to my new addiction. I bought a 1973 Williams Gulstream, and set it up in the dining room...my wife is such a good sport. I came with a manual and a bag of new Marco rubbers. I ordered a schematic and an LED kit today. Like a used car, I am starting with the most glaring problems first, then I'll shine her up. The first challenge came when I plugged it in and turned it on. Two solenoids buzz loudly. One is the part that goes POP when you turn it on, forgive my ignorance on what it is called, and the second is one of the two in the score wheel. I unplugged both, as this can't be good. You all seem brilliant to me, so I humbly ask for you direction on where to start, but I am a quick learner There are probably a hundred threads on this here, just wanted to introduce myself, and get the conversation started! Thoughts ?
You’ve done well so far.
When you hear coils lock on, immediately turn the machine off. It takes only a few seconds for them to melt and cause big problems. Coils also are relatively pricey to replace, and if properly cared for you will almost NEVER need to replace them.
The score reels are guaranteed to be gunked up now. It happens. They’re almost 50 years old and they’ve been abused most their life. There should be several guides around here for rebuilding Williams score reels.
Forgive me for not digging as it’s 3am here.
I’m not sure which is the “pop” you speak of. Probably a chime coil? Maybe the knocker?
This is a great resource. Peruse through the glossary. Familiarize yourself with the terminology and we will be better able to help you. If you work on classic cars than you’re in good shape. EMs are very simple once you understand the theory of operation. No circuit boards to blow up. Just relays and point to point wiring.
90% of your problems will be dirty/oxidizes switch contacts.
EMs need to be played every day. The switch blades are self cleaning when properly adjusted, so the more you play it, it’s very reasonable that it will start working better and better.
The other 9% of your issues will consist of misaligned/broken contacts
filthy coils with worn coil sleeves
Gummed up stepper units (from old oil and grease that lazy people tried to use as a band-aid)
Hint: DO NOT “LUBRICATE” ANYTHING ANYWHERE AT ANYTIME ON A PINBALL MACHINE.
It’s all dry lubrication with nylon and metal on metal.
There is an exception that the wiper/spider blades actually do use a SMALL amount of dielectric grease.
Some collectors swear by Super Lube synthetic. Others will have a heart attack if you don’t use the old school natural stuff that Steve at PBR (Pinball Resource) sells. Your choice really.
Stuff you should do for maximum performance:
Rebuild the flippers mechs with new plungers and links (they’re worn out and operators almost never replaced them!)
Rebuild the slingshots, same thing
Rebuild the pop bumpers
Don’t skip the leg levelers. They’re so cheap and the old rusty ones on that machine are most likely worn through. New ones are awesome and you can nudge even better!
Don’t use a harsh file to clean contacts. It’s a bad idea. Use a flexstone file, business cards, 1000 grit sandpaper. Something gentle. They’re mostly gold plated so you don’t wanna ruin them.
That’s everything I can think of while nearly passing out tonight. Good luck! We’ll be here for you if you’re willing to learn. Don’t jump in too fast before doing your research, there’s a lot of things that seem obvious but once you learn more about these machines you realize it was counterproductive!