(Topic ID: 202217)

First Time Disassembling & Reassembling a Stepper Unit

By PinballFever

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 69 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 51 days ago by PinballFever
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders


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There are 69 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
#51 8 months ago
Quoted from PinballFever:

I decided these clean metal parts would look out of place against the dirty frame so it needs to be cleaned too.
I tried toothpaste with toothbrush, simple green and citrus degreaser but the frame still looks grimy as you can see.
Any tips? I may try Awesome or whatever that stuff is at dollar tree. There has to be a solution that will clean this grime off the zinc coating. (I want to clean around the labels so I can leave them original on the frame)[quoted image]

With most nickel plated parts I normally do an initial parts wash to clean off grime/grease then give a soak in evaporust. I find the evaporust gives a really nice original sheen on the whole part.

#52 8 months ago

I've been fighting a cold and am resting as much as I can to get well but in the meantime I wanted to share the video Pinballorama made on cleaning stepper units. You get to see the stepper unit being disassembled and cleaned.

#53 8 months ago
Quoted from PinballFever:

I have mineral spirits and also have fine steel wool which I was planning to use to smooth the posts and where metal rubs against metal. Will try both tonight.

Clay's guide recommends NOT using steel wool ...


Do NOT use steel wool for anything in an EM game, especially a stepper unit! (Those little steel wool "hairs" like to hang around and later catch on fire.)

#54 8 months ago
Quoted from chas10e:

Clay's guide recommends NOT using steel wool ...


Do NOT use steel wool for anything in an EM game, especially a stepper unit! (Those little steel wool "hairs" like to hang around and later catch on fire.)

I'd forgotten about that after reading Clay's guide! Thanks for the reminder.

This is an important warning: NO steel wool for anything in an EM game, especially a stepper unit. The little steel wool "hairs" like to hang around and catch on fire.

1 week later
#55 8 months ago

Hi—this is the first time I’ve seen this site. I currently own a Williams SHORTSTOP pin. I saw Steveintexas’ pictures of his restoration and wanted to pass on my admiration for all he did. If anyone knows how to get in touch with him, please kindly let me know. My normal email is glenntdallas@hotmail.com.
Thanks a lot,

#56 8 months ago

Hi @mrvoiceover , welcome to pinside!

You can send a private message to @steveintexas here

#57 8 months ago

HowardR——Thank you so much.

1 week later
#58 8 months ago

Replay Stepper Unit reassembly:

The weather warmed up to where I was able to clean the frame with naphtha out in the shed that has better ventilation.

markg Thanks for the tip. I can see some uses for mineral spirits.

wayner I'm happy with how this stepper is coming after using naphtha and the ultrasonic cleaner.

The cog gear wheel is back in the frame with a little teflon lube and it spins easily. Tomorrow the other parts go back together and I'm using the photos in this thread as a guide.

#59 7 months ago

Replay unit back together.

billc479 You're right about the shoulder bolts. It felt like I could easily strip the threads when I was threading the nuts, especially while tightening them. For the next stepper units on these games, I'll just leave them screwed in and clean around them unless they're really bad.

Naphtha and ultrasonic worked well for cleaning and I used a light coating of teflon lube where it's metal against metal.

Someone took the coil, coil stop and linkage from this game in the past. I used the replay unit on the other game as a guide for assembling the two arm linkages. I also have a new coil and coil stop from PBR ready to use with it.

The Replay Stepper Unit is done. Next is the Points Stepper Unit which is similar to the relay unit in that it increments and decrements.

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#60 7 months ago

Pictures to help me remember how the Point unit goes back together. That coil sprang apart like a jack in the box lol. I ordered a replacement from PBR.

I left the shoulder bolts and switch stack alone this time. I plan to clean the shoulder bolts and other parts with naphtha then lube and reassemble.

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#61 7 months ago

Two down. Three more to go. 10,000 Stepper Unit is next.

#62 7 months ago

It's getting easier after doing the second stepper. I'm seeing how they're supposed to go together and caught one small spring I'd hooked up wrong on the Replay unit.

#63 7 months ago

10,000 Unit done. Doing the Replay Score Unit now.

I'll post pictures after finishing the steppers. I only had to take a couple pictures of the 10,000 unit.

#64 7 months ago

So far so good. The 100,000 Stepper Unit (last one) parts are being cleaned and lubed and it's a big one! Will post photo of it soon.

I'm taking a picture of the assembled unit first. Then a picture of the disassembled parts in in separate groups. This makes it easier for me to put it all back together.

This Ultrasonic cleaner is by far the best way to clean that I know of. It cleans deep where you can't reach.

Naphtha is great for cleaning the steppers and parts before lubing.

#65 7 months ago

Five stepper units done. I'm getting the mechanical panel ready to put in the backbox.

Thanks to


for all your help and support with this endeavor. I put off doing this as soon as I found out the other game was available last spring so I can use the second game as a guide for disassembly/reassembly. I didn't have the confidence to do this otherwise.

I hope this helps others doing this for the first time.

Pictures of the rest of the steppers while I was working on them.

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#66 7 months ago

Looks great!

#67 7 months ago

Thank you. I'll post a picture of the board with all the steppers back on it after I replace the three burnt out coils with new ones from PBR.

5 months later
#68 60 days ago

Going to clean out my Big Deal (1977) Player stepper tomorrow. Thanks for the videos.

1 week later
#69 51 days ago

Here is a photo of the cleaned and lubricated steppers as promised. I just need to solder the new knocker coil in and it looks like I'll need to replace two other burned coils.

It's actually easy to disassemble these steppers. The only scary part is forgetting where the springs, screws, etc go when you put them back together.

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There are 69 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.

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