Gack. Got a Who Dunnit in great condition, not quite mint but almost no noticeable wear and tear. Got it home, set it up, it played fine. Utterly nothing wrong other than a single burned out light.
I let the kids play for a while, came back to it, and started up a game. As I shot my first ball towards the Phone scoop, I noticed a piece of gray plastic between a dime and quarter-sized on the playfield right in front of the hole. It was ridged, I think, and looked like a piece of that large grey wire conduit used to keep wires together going from the playfield to the head (I checked later, couldn't see a piece out of the one in his machine). All I can think is it was just a loose piece from the game or another one the previous owner had been working on that somehow came loose during transport.
In any event, here's luck: the ball carried the plastic piece of whatever right into the scoop. I stopped play right away, took off the glass, and couldn't find the plastic. I'm 99% sure it got swept into the hole. Shaking the balls out and wiggling the playfield did not produce the piece.
So I *know* it's in there - because every now and then a switch won't trip, and I get a different rotating switch error from the test report on startup. And the game may play fine for a while, but eventually you hit a ball down a hole and it doesn't come up and ball search doesn't produce it. About half the time I can lift up the playfield and shake the balls and put it down and the ball emerges; the other half I tilt it or it doesn't work until I do shake it and power-cycle it. I've even managed to get a four-ball multiball going (LOTS of action through the ball return system), played through, up to 3 or 4 billion, and then had the "can't find balls" lock condition come up.
Is there any technique to get this thing out of there short of unscrewing every part of the ball return system from below the playfield until I find it?