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(Topic ID: 259583)

So all I need is Naphtha and a rag?


By MrBfromNC

10 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by edednedy
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 10 months ago

Hey y'all, I've been lurking here on Pinside for a few weeks and finally found my first EM yesterday. I guy down the road sold me a '73 Bally Hi Lo Ace for a little over $300. It seems to work fairly well, but there are a few small problems. First, the playfield is dirty as all getout. So I've been searching here (and YouTube) for effective ways to clean these old playfields without scrubbing the paint off. There are already several bare spots in the paint from normal usage I guess. And the lights behind the back glass don't work. So I figured I'd try to replace all the fuses to be sure that wasn't the issue.

Oh, and speaking of the back glass, it's got a huge crack smack down the middle of it. I guess I'll be in the market for a replacement if anybody sells those anymore. Other stuff like getting a new rubber set for it, replacing the bumper top plastic pieces, coin door replacement, etc will be on my agenda as well. But with the dozens of videos on YouTube with these guys showing everyone how to clean the playfield "the right way", how do I know what advice to trust? I've seen a few folks suggesting Naphtha so I'm sure I could find a quart of that if it's safe for me to try it.

Any help would be appreciated.

#2 10 months ago

Welcome from down South. Yep. Naptha evaporates quickly and shouldn't hurt to paint. Get it clean wax it and you should be good to go.

#3 10 months ago

Naptha, a rag, and a RESPIRATOR!

Added 10 months ago:

NAHPTHA, corrected for the spelling police!

#4 10 months ago

Guessing bad bulbs might be more likely than fuses re: the lights. I recently picked up an old Duotron game (my first) and needed to replace a lot of bulbs.

And a lot of times the socket itself is wonky and needs some attention.

Congrats on the new game!

#5 10 months ago
Quoted from JudeRussell:

Guessing bad bulbs might be more likely than fuses re: the lights. I recently picked up an old Duotron game (my first) and needed to replace a lot of bulbs.
And a lot of times the socket itself is wonky and needs some attention.
Congrats on the new game!

Thanks, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy playing it. But yeah, about the bulbs. I couldn't really find any info on exactly what bulbs I need to purchase to try to replace some / all of them.

#6 10 months ago

A 1 inch foam brush and a shop vac does wonders as a first step before solvent cleaning,I use Coleman fuel.

#7 10 months ago

For bulbs, the machine originally used #44’s. Most of us use #47’s as they run cooler, but are slightly less bright. All of the suppliers that you would get rubbers from will carry them.

#8 10 months ago

If naptha doesn't get the dirt out, try novus 2. I've never seen naptha do much actual cleaning beyond surface dust and old wax

#9 10 months ago
Quoted from phil-lee:

A 1 inch foam brush and a shop vac does wonders as a first step before solvent cleaning,I use Coleman fuel.

Yes, my first step will be with the aforementioned shop vac. Thanks.

#10 10 months ago
Quoted from FrankJ:

For bulbs, the machine originally used #44’s. Most of us use #47’s as they run cooler, but are slightly less bright. All of the suppliers that you would get rubbers from will carry them.

Thanks. Just ordered a set of #47 bulbs. I'll try them out. I just downloaded the 1976 Bally parts manual and saw the bulbs listed near the end of the book. I must admit I'm slightly confused by the listings though. I understand they call for No. 44 and No. 55 lamps but the first listing is called "Flasher" and just gives a part number of E-125-44. I cannot seem to locate that Bally part for sale anywhere. Should I even worry about it yet? I figured the #44s or the #55s would just simply flash on and off as part of their normal operation while the game is turned on.

#11 10 months ago
Quoted from zacaj:

If naptha doesn't get the dirt out, try novus 2. I've never seen naptha do much actual cleaning beyond surface dust and old wax

Yes, I've read several posts here about the wonders of Novus 1, 2 and 3. And yes, I know not to try Novus 3 on anything unless I'm slightly suicidal with my playfield. If the Naphtha doesn't work, it'll be my next step up.

#12 10 months ago
Quoted from MrBfromNC:

There are already several bare spots in the paint from normal usage I guess.

You probably know this but throw the old pinball directly in the trash. Buy a few new ones immediately.

#13 10 months ago

The #555 flasher bulbs are only used in a couple of places on the backglass. The on/off is just to attract attention to the game. I no longer own the game, so can’t speak to how many the game uses. Not having them does not affect game play, they are just cosmetic/to attract attention.

#14 10 months ago

Naphtha, naphtha, naphtha. Sorry, spelling police here. No one ever spells it right.
That being said, forget about that, and use 91% rubbing alcohol and gauze pads or
cheesecloth. If you have some really ground in dirt or swirl marks, use melamine foam
pads (like Magic Eraser) along with the alcohol. Rub gently, as excessive use can get through
the paint and into the wood. The fumes from the alcohol are not nearly as bad as those from
Naphtha, and it's probably cheaper as well. Keep wiping the playfield down with the alcohol, until
it's totally clean and free of dissolved wax residue. Then use Novus 2, followed by a good carnauba
wax, like Mother's (in the bright red tin). Your playfield will gleam.
"Hi-Lo Ace" is a fun game, but dirty, non-working and with a broken backglass, it's probably like a $150
game. Unfortunately, that backglass was not reproduced by any of the major players, but you could
go with a BG Resto copy (bgresto.com). I'm not sure if they have the art file for that glass, so you may
need to send them yours in order for them to make a repro.

#15 10 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

use 91% rubbing alcohol and gauze pads or
cheesecloth

I’ve had success using the 91% alcohol and a microfiber cloth. I made up for the lack of texture by rubbing harder, and it seemed to get a lot of the grime up. I also suggest using the alcohol alone first even if you plan to use a magic eraser. That way most of the surface grime is gone so the magic eraser doesn’t end up just pushing it around.

#16 10 months ago

I gave up looking for decent Hi Lo Ace, couldn’t find one with a nice playfield. Do they exist?

#17 10 months ago

Hi-Lo Ace uses #455 flasher lamps.

#18 10 months ago

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/cleaning-and-waxing-pinball-machines-vids-guide

I'd start here and work your way through a few more of Vid's guides (just search the pinside forum for "vids guides"). A lot of good info is in them (especially the changing the line cord one).

Welcome to the hobby especially on the EM side.

#19 10 months ago
Quoted from MrBfromNC:

So I figured I'd try to replace all the fuses to be sure that wasn't the issue.

Get an inexpensive volt meter and watch a youtube video on how to test a fuse. The volt meter will come in handy to troubleshoot many things.

#20 10 months ago
Quoted from Electrocute:

I gave up looking for decent Hi Lo Ace, couldn’t find one with a nice playfield. Do they exist?

I have one in the queue for repair. Playfield is roached! Backglass is nice. I am going to clean it up and make it a player's machine.

I saw one on Craigslist in California that had a decent playfield recently. Way better than mine, probably far from perfect.

#21 10 months ago

I've seen a couple of them for sale at shows. There was a pretty decent one that went dirt cheap at the one and only Ohio show I ever attended (the one in Niles a few years ago). There was a very nice one for free play and sale at the York show a couple of years ago.
Compare the playfield layout to Gottlieb's "Bank A Ball"/"Flipper Pool". There's a fourth bumper on "Hi-Lo Ace", but otherwise they're very similar.

#22 10 months ago

All good advice. Thanks again y’all. I’ve seen one of Vid’s guides already so I’ll go search for more. I definitely need to replace the power cord, ball, fuse holder/bracket thingee, and backglass. Oh well, I’ve never been scared of a good challenge.

I was able to get it powered on, start a game and play for a few minutes. Three of the four mushroom bumper work, so I guess that’s not too horrible. Although a couple bulbs are burnt up. Plastic overlay pieces look brand new! All the little red targets work, flippers work weakly but consistently, but no lights work behind backglass either. I’ve got more trouble shooting reading and videos to watch, for sure.

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#23 10 months ago
Quoted from MrBfromNC:

I definitely need to replace the power cord, ball, fuse holder/bracket thingee

You can see in the photo, the second fuse from the left is blown, and an automotive fuse was wired to it, and that fuse is blown too.

#24 10 months ago

Omg Jenn has NEVER seen anything like that ever..Seems a little scary and time consuming...Those little circuit breakers work really well for troubleshooting and save a fortune on blown fuses.

#25 10 months ago

Sorry, wrong thread. I was looking for ideas for an insurance job

2 weeks later
#26 10 months ago

Slowly making progress cleaning up my Hi-Lo Ace in my garage. Of course, I replaced the ball first thing along with cleaning the playfield with lots of Novus 2 and microfiber cloth. Thanks gsones for the advice on using Vid's guides. I've watched several of his tutorials now. And now I've got several pieces cleaned up from all the rust inside the lower cabinet. I've ordered my busted pieces for the lowest pop bumper from Game Room Guys (skirt, coil and body) and should be here tomorrow. I've also got a new set of pop bumper covers in yellow and blue from a dude on Ebay. Also replaced the fuse block with a new one AND replaced the cord with a three prong 15 ft cord from Wally World. Feel much safer with this thing turned on as it stands now.

I also wish I could find a replacement backglass for this beauty but I cannot seem to find any reproduction glass for sale.

For now, I'm going to try the Evapo-rust trick on my machine legs tomorrow. I've got a 3" PVC and will cut it slightly longer than the leg length. I know I'll never get this machine back into "show room" quality but it's fun to clean up and poke around trying to fix things that are broke on it. I wish retouching the worn out spots on the playfield were an easier job than it appears to be. I'm horrible at mixing and trying to match existing colors. And the detail on some of those cards on the playfield are pretty intricate. UGGGH. Pictures coming soon...

Mr. B.

#27 10 months ago

It’s great what a wire brush and can of paint can do for my cabinet parts!!

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#28 10 months ago
Quoted from MrBfromNC:

It’s great what a wire brush and can of paint can do for my cabinet parts!![quoted image][quoted image]

That's a very sound strategy for a player's quality game that you want to clean up, and make presentable.
I can tell you have a healthy passion for this game, being your first EM. It won't be long before you bring in another, then another......

#29 10 months ago

Beware: using alcohol with or without magic eraser will remove all or most of what remains of your clearcoat. Yes, it’ll be clean but the paint will be more vulnerable to wear. I usually don’t use any solvents other than naphtha on playfields (especially older ones like yours) unless I am planning on redoing the clear.

#30 10 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Beware: using alcohol with or without magic eraser will remove all or most of what remains of your clearcoat. Yes, it’ll be clean but the paint will be more vulnerable to wear. I usually don’t use any solvents other than naphtha on playfields (especially older ones like yours) unless I am planning on redoing the clear.

Why would alcohol affect the clear and not the colored layers below? If what you're saying is true, the clear is what's holding much of the dirt, being that it's the upper layer. If it's dirty, and likely compromised to begin with (I don't think it's very thick), it's probably better to remove it, and protect the remaining artwork with several coats of wax and a new ball. For home use, this should preserve the playing surface indefinitely, as long as it's waxed periodically.

#31 10 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Why would alcohol affect the clear and not the colored layers below? If what you're saying is true, the clear is what's holding much of the dirt, being that it's the upper layer. If it's dirty, and likely compromised to begin with (I don't think it's very thick), it's probably better to remove it, and protect the remaining artwork with several coats of wax and a new ball. For home use, this should preserve the playing surface indefinitely, as long as it's waxed periodically.

I am not a chemist and can’t offer an explanation as to the why. All I can tell you is what other experienced pinheads have reported coupled with personal experience. For a relatively slow moving em, you might get away with stripping off the clear (likely lacquer) for awhile if you’re REALLY meticulous about cleaning and waxing regularly, but eventually it may catch up with you.

Case in point: I took the alcohol approach with my first pin years ago before I knew what I know now. I cleaned a really dirty Space Shuttle with 91% isopropyl alcohol. It cleaned up really well, but also dulled it slightly. I was meticulous over the years about regular cleaning, waxing and using only new balls which I would change fairly frequently. For the most part, the playfield survived in its post-cleaning condition with the notable exception of high repetition ball travel areas. After roughly 4 years of home use, the paint in the pop bumper area, rollover lane exits and targets had worn to wood. Similar games which I have cleaned only with naphtha have not suffered this type of accelerated wear.

I do think that so long as nobody has stripped the original clear that you have to be careful about choosing between cleanliness that is prone to potentially accelerated wear or a dirtier looking playfield that will survive longer due to the additional sacrificial layer of dirty, thin, aged clear.

#32 10 months ago

Something to consider then. I would guess then, that using an abrasive such as a Magic Eraser with anything as a wetting agent would also remove any remaining clearcoat, correct?
I have used naphtha (Coleman fuel), and even charcoal lighter fluid to clean playfields, but it usually doesn't get the surface very clean.
I try to tailor my approach to the type of schmutz on the playfield, the condition of the surface, etc.
The least aggressive method is always the way to go, but as you've said, it all depends how clean you want it to be versus long term durability.

#33 10 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Something to consider then. I would guess then, that using an abrasive such as a Magic Eraser with anything as a wetting agent would also remove any remaining clearcoat, correct?
I have used naphtha (Coleman fuel), and even charcoal lighter fluid to clean playfields, but it usually doesn't get the surface very clean.
I try to tailor my approach to the type of schmutz on the playfield, the condition of the surface, etc.
The least aggressive method is always the way to go, but as you've said, it all depends how clean you want it to be versus long term durability.

I think that’s exactly right. I’m told that wet magic eraser is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 grit sandpaper in terms of abrasion. Naphtha will dissolve wax but not paint. That’s what makes it a good first choice for getting rid of the dirty wax layer and as a general rag lubricant since it contains no water. Water is your enemy here since the paint and wood are no longer fully protected against moisture absorption and water makes wood swell. Even with 91% alcohol, that other 9% poses its own risk. That said, it usually takes abrasion to get rid of ground in dirt because of all those micro fissures that have happened in both the paint and clear from expansion/contraction of the wood, UV light degradation and general use. It’s always something to think about when approaching a really dirty example and a deep cleaning that you don’t intend to follow up with a restoration.

#34 10 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

I am not a chemist and can’t offer an explanation as to the why. All I can tell you is what other experienced pinheads have reported coupled with personal experience. For a relatively slow moving em, you might get away with stripping off the clear (likely lacquer) for awhile if you’re REALLY meticulous about cleaning and waxing regularly, but eventually it may catch up with you.
Case in point: I took the alcohol approach with my first pin years ago before I knew what I know now. I cleaned a really dirty Space Shuttle with 91% isopropyl alcohol. It cleaned up really well, but also dulled it slightly. I was meticulous over the years about regular cleaning, waxing and using only new balls which I would change fairly frequently. For the most part, the playfield survived in its post-cleaning condition with the notable exception of high repetition ball travel areas. After roughly 4 years of home use, the paint in the pop bumper area, rollover lane exits and targets had worn to wood. Similar games which I have cleaned only with naphtha have not suffered this type of accelerated wear.
I do think that so long as nobody has stripped the original clear that you have to be careful about choosing between cleanliness that is prone to potentially accelerated wear or a dirtier looking playfield that will survive longer due to the additional sacrificial layer of dirty, thin, aged clear.

What php says here is very true...I'm silently shocked at the number of folks who seem to advocate using methods that clearly remove whatever CC remains, then don't replace the clearcoat with anything other than wax. But PHP's story is the first I've heard of someone only waxing and then experiencing accelerated wear afterword, so it's kind of vindication in a way.

I don't advocate following Vid's guides to the letter, read what other do and consider those options too, or a blend of all techniques that suits you. But there is a ton of great info in those guides presented very well...and specifically a great visual explanation of why alcohol and magic-erasers work so well at "cleaning" the PF - you are removing no only the surface dirt, but dirt that's embedded in micro cracks in the original CC by removing that old topcoat altogether. It's like, almost science man!! lol

You don't HAVE to use 2PAC auto-clear to CC your PF after removing the old topcoat...but you do need to protect it with something. I use Acrylic Lacquer in spray cans from Krylon...sure, it will probably yellow again someday, but all my games are old EMs with a patina that matches anyways. Other folks use equivalent products for various personal reasons, but most of those are less dangerous and more forgiving than the auto-clear, and to me, that's what binds these solutions together. I know you can get the 2PACs of the world to appear more like the original with the correct application, but this is a learning curve I personally don't feel I need...I'm happy with the results I'm already getting with my tried and true methods.

Enjoy! :0)

#35 10 months ago

I'm with Stoomer. Once you've stripped everything off of the top of a playfield to thoroughly clean it, you're most of the way there. Might as well shoot it with a few coats of acrylic lacquer, especially if you've done any touch up.

I use Rust-Oleum Specialty Clear Gloss Lacquer Spray. 4 bucks a can.

#36 10 months ago
Quoted from edednedy:

I'm with Stoomer. Once you've stripped everything off of the top of a playfield to thoroughly clean it, you're most of the way there. Might as well shoot it with a few coats of acrylic lacquer, especially if you've done any touch up.
I use Rust-Oleum Specialty Clear Gloss Lacquer Spray. 4 bucks a can.

Can you post some pics of the process using the lacquer, before and after?

#37 10 months ago
Quoted from edednedy:

I'm with Stoomer. Once you've stripped everything off of the top of a playfield to thoroughly clean it, you're most of the way there. Might as well shoot it with a few coats of acrylic lacquer, especially if you've done any touch up.
I use Rust-Oleum Specialty Clear Gloss Lacquer Spray. 4 bucks a can.

Right out of the can how do you deal with the orange peel that results from this?

#38 10 months ago
Quoted from RWH:

Right out of the can how do you deal with the orange peel that results from this?

I've never experienced any orange peel. I don't really do anything special. I spray multiple light coats. One coat up/down, one coat left/right, one up/down, one left/right etc. 4 or 5 coats. It tends to get glossier as you add coats. I keep the can at least 12 inches away.

The only problem I've ever had is occasionally you may get the can too far away and end up with a finish that looks more satin than gloss, but it still looks nice. If you wanted more gloss you can get it by adding another coat.

#39 10 months ago

Thanks for the advice on clear coats. I’m not averse to spraying to protect the PF after I touch it up with some Createx. Although I’m really apprehensive about removing all the bumpers, targets, etc to have a completely empty playfield to spray. I’m just trying to figure out to to rebuild a single pop bumper this weekend. It can be a little overwhelming looking through the lower cab.

#40 10 months ago

You probably should remove the pop bumpers, it seems daunting at first but it's not too bad. You will be amazed how much dirt you'll find under that skirt when you lift it off.

You could mask each pop bumper off and spray around them. The problem is getting the paint to spray evenly as you go around the bumper. I would remove one pop bumper and see if you think it's worth the trouble to do all of them. It usually is.

You really don't have to remove much else.
For exposed lamp sockets, I put old burnt out bulbs in. For upright switches, I place Bic pen caps over them. Perfect fit.
I shove pieces of blue paper shop towels in the rollover slots to seal it and hold the rollover wire down.
For upright targets, I lean them back and tape them to their mounting bracket. Anything else I don't want to spray, I mask off with tape.

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