Quoted from EMsInKC:
They still suck. Spawn of the devil.
I might also say that about decagons, but I'd have to duck quickly. So I'll be nice and say they simply were an overly complicated design that is inferior to other score reels of the period.
That's an interesting observation. The last few days, I have been working on resurecting a Jacks Open with an orphan head I aquired over 20 years ago. Not only were the Ball Count and Replay units totally frozen (typical pivot and ratchet follower freeze) but one score reel didn't want to end the reset sequence. But all 4 still stepped and advanced to 0 and functioned fine in play. But in my hand, it also didn't want to pass from 9 to 0 without some help so I tore it down for a rebuild.
As I looked it over, I marveled at how ingenious the Engineers at Gottlieb were when they redesigned the decagon unit noticing how the plastic slide moved out to stop the inside triangles of the reel drum and how smooth and solid things still were (although gummed up a bit) after some 30+ years of just sitting. Mind you, we never had these kind of freeze up problems when we were shopping these 70's games out in the late 80's and 90's. So, I guess the grease was good for at least 10 years!
Yes, I have worked on Williams and Bally mechs and yes, I will admit they are simpler in their approach but they also seem to experience more wear than a similar Gottlieb unit. I find it easier to tweek and lube a Gottlieb than for me to have to hunt down less-worn or new parts and replace them on B/W games.
The argument has been going on for years and will continue until the last EM finally falls but I still enjoy working on a Gottlieb any day over a Bally or Williams EM. (I won't even include Chicago Coin in the same sentence).
What I found on the one I was working on was someone had increase the tension of the 9 Carry over and run out switch blades so much that it put extra resistance on the rocker arm that reads the score reel position. Softened up the blades as they should be and everything worked smooth as silk.
More evidence that the Gottliebs were engineered better than B/W EMs came from a conversation I had with Tim Arnold at the PHOF. He stated that the Row of Gottlieb Wedge Heads gave him almost no problems years after the initial shop jobs. He couldn't say the same for the other EMs in the joint as his head was buried in another Bally game.....