(Topic ID: 258371)

Stern Stars Flipper Upgrade or Rebuild?

By QuietEarp

58 days ago

Topic Stats

  • 9 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 58 days ago by slochar
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


Linked Games

  • Stars Stern Electronics, 1978

Topic poll

“Stern Stars Flipper Upgrade or Rebuild?”

  • Rebuild Classic Stern Flippers 7 votes
  • "Upgrade" to newer Williams/Bally style flippers 4 votes
  • Other? 0 votes

(11 votes)

#1 58 days ago

Hi! I was going to do a flipper rebuild on my Stars. I usually only replace the parts that are worn. In this case I definitely need new flipper bats, plungers, coil stops at the minimum. I was pricing out the full rebuild kit and PBL has it at $50 + $20 for the 2 new flipper bats.


So that is about $70.

I saw in Vid's guide he recommends upgrading to more modern williams/bally style flippers https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers/page/3#post-773618

I get the two full kits for about $80 + $10 for the new flipper bats and I am at $90 and have all new more modern super snappy flipper mechs. One of the flipper plates in my machine is cracked, but screwed into he PF so it seems to work, but getting rid of that is a plus as well.

So the question is will this game play weird or feel too different with the more modern mechs? Am I better off just rebuilding the current flippers?

#2 58 days ago

The game plays just fine with original mechs. The Sterns aren't loose like some other early ones...

#3 58 days ago

I'd rebuild the Stern mechs to keep it original. Vids guide was likely written before Stern flipper parts became readily available at PBL.

#4 58 days ago

gott_lieb May have flipper plates

#5 58 days ago

The flipper plates like to crack on these, but if they’re not broken, just rebuild them. Or upgrade to the ‘80-82 style available from Pinball Life.


#6 58 days ago

Changing to WPC style parts is not an upgrade. It's a hack designed to replace previously unavailable parts.

Beware of the PBL parts, they aren't 100% correct and need some modifications to work with the proper stroke. Also, at least on the ones I tried a couple years ago, the baseplate gets magnetized very easily which has adverse effects on the flipper (usually it will stick up because of residual magnetism).

Unfortunately other people just don't make the parts.... I scavenged a lot of parts off of junker playfields years ago so I have a stock to choose from, (ah, the days of picking up $10 populated playfields from shows, I miss those....). The pop bumper and slings provide plenty of the proper copper colored coil stops to use in flipper rebuilds, and years ago I bought a ton of some random coil plunger from gottlieb via marco for $2 each that were the proper length (although they aren't the stepped kind....)

You can swap your sling coil stops to your flippers and usually be ok, the solenoid pulse for the slings on stars is so short I doubt you'd bottom out on the (presumably) hammered coil stops you have in the flippers now.

#7 58 days ago
Quoted from slochar:

You can swap your sling coil stops to your flippers and usually be ok, the solenoid pulse for the slings on stars is so short I doubt you'd bottom out on the (presumably) hammered coil stops you have in the flippers now.

I like that move! I usually try not to replace stuff before it is time but these flippers need some love. I will check that out later today.

Quoted from dothedoo:

Or upgrade to the ‘80-82 style available from Pinball Life.https://www.pinballlife.com/full-flipper-assembly-for-classic-stern-machines-031980-to-021982.html

What makes this style better?

#8 58 days ago

that style (type 2) lift the plates off the playfield a bit.
For sure just rebuild, Stern flippers are great.

#9 58 days ago
Quoted from QuietEarp:

What makes this style better?

Parts availability, mainly. As a disadvantage, I don't think you get get the proper flipper bat with the metal plate running the whole length of the flipper though, so your flipper will feel/perform differently. Not that you can't adjust to its feel of course, some people like that the moving mass of the flipper is lessened. I have a mix of parts in mine.

Oh, the other disadvantage of the pinball life parts is the flipper link while similar in look, isn't made of the same near indestructible plastic that the original stern type 2 links are made of. Pinball resource may still have the original ones available but last time I ordered them was Jan 2017 so they might be sold out of them by now.

The biggest issue with used parts is when the plate is so hammered that you can't get the coil stop mounted correctly (lots of drilling bigger over the years....).

The gen 1 plates can take nuts on the backside if needed, but it makes it a PITA to take the flipper apart since you have to remove the bat for anything.

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