(Topic ID: 241485)

RD’s Evel Knievel Restoration

By rotordave

32 days ago

Topic Stats

  • 41 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 14 days ago by rotordave
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders


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#1 32 days ago

I’ve been posting up the progress pics of this restore on Facebook - and I’ve had a bunch of messages with questions so I thought I’d just do a thread - hopefully it should help out a few people, and maybe inspire some to get into restoring their old pins.

I landed this Evel Knievel from Boston a few years back for the grand sum of $550 bucks.

The cabinet was a “tidy survivor”, the backglass was very nice, but the playfield was beaten. If you look closely, you can see some of the art is drawn with markers.

Mechanically, everything was there and it sort of worked, it would reset during games. I’ll sort that out later.

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#2 32 days ago

Really fun game imo. I redid mine and have a great time playing it. Will be following.....

#3 32 days ago

What red blooded American kid from the 70s didn't like Evel, I'm definitely following.

#4 32 days ago

First step - strip the cabinet back.

Nothing exotic here - rip out the sander and get it back to the wood.

First off - everything has to come off the cabinet. Those twist nails are a pain in the ass! But I have new rails so I could butcher them off. Picture shows the cabinet isn’t as white as it once was ...

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I roped in a sucker .... errrr helper ... to wield a sander. Thanks Riley!

The cabinet was in really good condition, with only a couple of small defects that were filled with Bondo and sanded flat.


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#5 32 days ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

What red blooded American kid from the 70s didn't like Evel, I'm definitely following.

Red blooded kids from anywhere.

Evel and his crazy ass stunts were watched around the world.

I remember when I was a kid, he jumped the double decker buses in England. That was shown in prime time TV here in New Zealand. Don’t know if it was shown live or not, but it was a couple of hours long from memory.

Evel was big news ...


#6 32 days ago

This thing ROCKED.
Sorry, please proceed.

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#7 32 days ago

I used to paint my own cabinets - I can make a pretty good job in my “garden shed spray booth”

But with this one (and the Led Zeppelin retheme) I sent the cabinet to a proper car painter. My son-in-laws brother just bought his boss out so I have given him some jobs to do ... and costwise, it doesn’t work out that much more than me buying the paint and doing it myself. Quality car paint is expensive! Plus all the thinners and shit you need.

With a proper booth, the job is always going to be better. He turned the job around in 3 days for me.

I went with a gloss white this time - Led Zeppelin is a satin white.

And the gloss looks stunning! Like a mirror when you see it in person.

Note I didn’t do all the inside of the cabinet, the new paint stops at the glide rails. This pin had a cool patina in there, some cool original overspray and original labels. I like to keep that all there. If it was all beaten, I’d strip it all out and gloss the lot! So this one got a very very light sand to tidy it up and I left it original.


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#8 32 days ago

While the cabinet was away, I made a start on the playfield.

Can you pick which is the new one?

This is a CPR playfield. Can’t remember what grade, but anything is better than the old one. Lol


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#9 32 days ago

Are you planning on doing the speckled paint over the white?

#10 32 days ago
Quoted from timab2000:

Are you planning on doing the speckled paint over the white?

Nah ... I had an idea in my head for a nice clean look - like a new motorcycle if you like ...

The speckle was to hide fly shit out on location - hopefully my fly situation is better than what they had in the 1970s and I’ll avoid that problem.


#11 32 days ago

Cool yeah I did not do the speckled finish on mine I think it looks great plus I didn't want to take a chance screwing it all up and resanding it all back down

#12 32 days ago

Playfield swap on these old ones is pretty straight forward - certainly made a lot easier with a rotisserie if you have one.

Just make sure you take A HEAP of photos of both sides - even when you smash them out in a couple of days, you forget where stuff goes.

With these pins, you can pretty much release the old stuff from the old playfield, and lift the whole lot straight over to the new one. I cut off the stapled ground braid, and then I hand wire point-to-point wiring on the bulbs, a trick I learnt from the HEP threads. Shout out to HEP!

When you take your photos, you want them to be clear enough so you can see wire colours etc in case there is a stuff up later. I start at the left bottom of the PF and take photos in overlapping sections so they are easy to scroll through on the iPhone.

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#13 32 days ago

The original plastics were in good condition. A couple had sagged so into the oven they went to be flattened out.

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I will use the originals for now - maybe I’ll get a new set down the road, but living in NZ has its drawbacks, you can’t just order new ones and they show up tomorrow. Takes 3-4 weeks and costs $$$ postage to get stuff sent here. So generally I’ll have things sent to my buddies house in LA and bring them back in my suitcase when I am there. Thanks Nimblepin!

Some of the metalwork had surface rust - I pop it into my ultrasonic cleaner first for 10 minutes, and then hand polish it with a polishing kit in my big old drill press.

It’s always gratifying when the piece of wood starts to look like a pinball machine again ..

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#14 32 days ago

Back to the cabinet.

I got some Pinball Pimp stencils when I was in LA last Xmas (bought back in the suitcase, natch ..)

First time using them, and they were very good.

Easy to use, good instructions, etc etc.

Hopefully pinballpimp likes my good reviews and hooks me up a deal on some more sets cause I have a lot of cabinets to restore. I could be a Pimp endorsee!!

Actually, no .. now I remember, these didn’t come back in my suitcase, I strapped them to the side of the Trident I bought, and they came back in a container.

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#15 32 days ago

First up - the red layer.

I did one side of the head and one side of the cabinet.

Did most of it solo, it was easy to do.

Just make sure that everything is aligned, because when it’s stuck down, it ain’t that easy to get it back up, and the chances of it going pear-shaped are very high.

PinballPimp has a good video on YouTube showing you how to do it. It’s the same way I do my cabinet decals as well. Pretty straight forward.

As you can see in the picture, I lay down the Pimp stencil, then mask everything else with newspaper so there is zero chance of red shit going all over the rest of my nice cabinet.

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I have tried the Rustoleum spray cans on a different project - I didn’t like them. The paint went on unevenly and it took ages to dry. Maybe I’m just not used to them. So I reverted to Dulux spray cans that I’ve been using for years. It’s probably a NZ/Australia only product, but it is excellent. Dulux are a big house paint manufacturer over here.

The trick with stencils, you want to paint a medium amount. Not too thin - not too thick. If it’s too thick, you get those awful edges which look shithouse! You’re better with too little than too much IMO. Always keep your spray can the same distance from the object - don’t “fan” when you move it, or you end up with a heap in the middle of the fan and none on the edges. Practice your technique on some newspaper before descending on your $$$$ pinball machine. You can see in the photo that I have done exactly that on the masking newspaper on this machine, so I knew what the spray pattern was before I coated the stencil.

After I’ve sprayed (as per that photo above) I immediately remove the newspaper and masking tape, then wait a few minutes for the paint to “flash” - the gloss disappears and it starts to look matt at the edges. Then the stencil comes up.

Don’t drop the stencil in the wet paint. That’s not good. With bigger ones like the side one here, I make little tears along the side of the stencil about 6” apart, so it can come up in sections if needed. This way it is less likely to go pear-shaped.

You need to move pretty quickly, as you don’t want the paint to dry on you. You have a few minutes in that “flash” zone ...

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#16 32 days ago

I let the red dry overnight ... Now on to the blue.

With the patented PinballPimp registration process (don’t know if it’s patented or not but it sounds good ...) it’s pretty easy to line up the second layer. Make sure the little square from the red layer is in the hole on the blue stencil. The masking newspaper came off straight away ...

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My old lead singer from my 90s band came around for a coffee and I sucked him into holding the end of the stencil when I applied it. He approved the result.


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#17 32 days ago

So that all came up pretty good!


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#18 32 days ago

Last year I secured a few sets of reproduction side rails from Railways in Australia. I got a bright steel set for Evel.

These ones have no nail holes - you use the bolt at the front and tape them, like WPC side rails.


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#19 32 days ago

Pretty cool looking. Nice work!

#20 32 days ago

Of course, if we are going shiny, everything needs to be shiny.

These bolts have 40 years of wear ...

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Let’s polish them up! I use a metal polishing wheel in my drill press along with some polishing paste.

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Then I clean them and hit them with a blast of clear to stop them rusting again.

The coin door and it’s surrounds were also polished .. they are stainless, so I use AUTOSOL metal polish (from Germany) and then use my buffer to polish them up.


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#21 32 days ago

Awesome job. Love the chrome. Did a full restore on mine last year.

#22 32 days ago

Let’s get it back together!

I also resprayed the light board and tidied that up. Evel has the backglass and light board in the swinging door like some of the other early Bally SS games had.

Evel is supposed to have grey painted legs, but I went with chrome. I had a tidy chrome set on another pin, so I hand polished them up nice and shiny and stuck them on.

I have a new chrome channel for the backglass I need to find and install.

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#23 32 days ago

Is the power cord white too?

#24 32 days ago
Quoted from timab2000:

Is the power cord white too?



#25 32 days ago

That's awesome

#26 32 days ago

Right - that’s where we are at now, I think I covered off most of the questions that people asked me. If I think of anything else I’ll add it in.

I’ll update the thread soon when I get the playfield all finished up.


#27 32 days ago

Simply awesome work. So love to see contributions like this. Thanks!!!

#28 31 days ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Simply awesome work. So love to see contributions like this. Thanks!!!

Thanks for the kind words. .

I’m very pleased how this one has come up.


#29 31 days ago
Quoted from rotordave:

Thanks for the kind words. .
I’m very pleased how this one has come up.

Nice work and I like you didn't over do it. Looks incredible.!!!

#30 31 days ago

Dude, that thing is tits!!! Nice job!

#31 31 days ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Nice work and I like you didn't over do it. Looks incredible.!!!

Thanks man. I like to keep things mostly original where possible, and make some 2019 improvements.

Like for example, I like to remove all external bolts in the cabinet - generally don’t need them, and they look ugly. Like on WPCs, all those external bolts in the headbox - take em out, screw/glue the joint, fill the holes. Looks way cleaner.


#32 31 days ago
Quoted from JayDee:

Dude, that thing is tits!!! Nice job!

Tits are good.


#35 30 days ago

Fantastic job. The kind of "restore" that I think is "better than new". Makes me want to find a beater EK and get after it! Well done rd

#36 30 days ago

Awesome job bro! Looks Rad glad you Love my stencils.

#37 29 days ago

great old game, looks killer!

1 week later
#38 21 days ago

Got the playfield 98% finished today - just had to repaint the spinners so have to wait for the paint to dry.

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Also have to order some new pop caps from the states too.

Went for red pop bumper skirts, matches up with the red background I thought. And looks good with the caps on.

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#39 21 days ago

Nick will want to buy this now.....

#40 21 days ago
Quoted from PinballNZ:

Nick will want to buy this now.....

And keep it for 4 weeks ....

We were joking about that yesterday ... 30 days is the max for a non DMD at the Figures household


1 week later
#41 14 days ago

New playfield - meet restored cabinet ...

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It’s sure come a long way from this ...

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Still a few things to do ...
- apron is off being powdercoated white
- need some spinner decals
- need some new pop bumper caps

Think that’s about it.

Just about to leave the workshop for a few weeks, when I get back I’ll get it all plugged up and fire it up and see what happens.


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