(Topic ID: 135990)

Removing side rails

By goldenboy232

6 years ago

Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 11 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by goldenboy232
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 6 years ago

Hi guys, is there a good tutorial, or can someone just describe for me, the process to remove side rails from an EM? How do you get the nails out without destroying the rails? And do you just hammer them back in or is there a special tool needed? Sorry if these are dumb questions -- it's one (of several!) part(s) of my EM education that remains lacking. Thanks!

#2 6 years ago

Use tape or beefy paper like a Manila folder to protect the stainless steel. Get a tack puller under the head. You may have to coax it with a hammer. There you go.

Here is the tool I use.
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.PinWiki.com - The new place for pinball repair info

#3 6 years ago

Thanks, Chris, I appreciate it. Do you typically re-use the same tacks, or new ones?

#4 6 years ago

I use two thin steel putty knives.
I carefully tap the first putty knife blade under the rail until it contacts the nail closest to the edge.
Then I tap the second putty knife blade under the first.
If the two blades provided enough force to move the nail then I'll pull out the putty knives and grab the nail head with a pliers or old dull side cutters and pull it out.

If the two putty knives don't move the nail sufficiently then I'll drive a medium sized flat blade screwdriver between the putty knives until the screwdriver touches the nail, and twist if needed. The outer putty knife blade protects the rail and the inner one protects the wood by distributing the pressure more evenly.

Put a glued toothpick or a wood sliver in the nail holes once you've removed the nails.

Get new nails from PBR.

#6 6 years ago

Boilerman posted a video of him removing side rails, so you can search for that.

The basic trick is to get the spiral nail head raised up enough to get a grip on it with something else. You need to get them started by flexing up the side rail underneath it with a putty knife. Once the nail head is pushed up a bit, then you can grab it with another tool. A tack puller is good, if it's flush and thin enough. I use a really old wire cutter that happens to have a flush side to it, so I can get under the nail head without much clearance.

Then the other trick is to twist the nail counterclockwise as you pull, and it will basically unscrew its way out. You can pull it straight out with a tack puller if there's enough clearance, but twisting it makes it work when you only have a little grab on it.

Cover any surfaces that could get scratched in the process.

#7 6 years ago

On my High hand project, some of the holes were hogged out & some were drilled crooked so that the nail heads did not sit flat.
So, I drilled each hole out to a 3/8" diameter & filled with epoxy. One cured, I laid the siderail in place & marked hole locations, then carefully drilled STRAIGHT holes of the correct size & reattached the siderail with new nails using a brass drift so as to not mar the heads.
Worked great!

#8 6 years ago

Im a Putty knife and then twisting pliers guy. Takes 5 to 10 minutes to remove a set of rails. After the paint job toothpicks with wood glue in each hole. NEW spiral nails from PBR. 400 grit and 600 grit wet/dry sand paper on the rails while they are off to clean them up, remove minor scratched, regrain them so to speak.

Good luck.


#9 6 years ago

Lots of good methods noted here. Nice!
Like Ken, above, I buy new nails from PBR. Old ones will be unfit once removed, and new ones aren't that pricey.
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://www.PinWiki.com - The new place for pinball repair info

#10 6 years ago

Thanks, guys! As always, a wealth of information and now I've learned another new restoration process. Now to TRY it on my next acquisition.

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