(Topic ID: 233735)

Stuck flipper


By newbieinKC

5 months ago



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  • 23 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by vid1900
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#1 5 months ago

I have a flipper that sticks up occasionally for mechanical reasons. A little touch gets it back to operational and sometimes just hitting the flipper button again does it. I understand that something is binding up and I have read a dozen things I shouldn't do (WD-40, graphite, etc) but precious little about what I should do. The spring on the solenoid seems strong (stronger than the other flipper for sure). I used compressed air to clean it out which worked pretty well for a while - seems like it spread a little bit of natural graphite all over. I can't get the flipper to stick by manipulating the flipper and other parts of the assembly, trying to bind it up. The travel seems to be appropriate and it never touches the playfield.

What has me concerned is that it has a little squeak/grind when I manipulate the flipper, like metal to metal contact. Should I take it out and polish/clean the metal parts or is something worn out? The squeak doesn't seem to come from the solenoid part of the flipper but I can't tell exactly where it is coming from in the rest of the assembly. If I do polish parts, I assume I can use some sort of polishing media that I would clean off after. There is a little bit of corrosion in my machine; it has probably dwelled in a basement for most of its 30+ years.

#3 5 months ago

Some parts you can clean til you’re blue in the face, but you can’t fix worn/broken sometimes.

I’d just buy the parts(Pinball resource) and rebuild your flippers.

#4 5 months ago
Quoted from Bowlingpin:

Some parts you can clean til you’re blue in the face, but you can’t fix worn/broken sometimes.
I’d just buy the parts(Pinball resource) and rebuild your flippers.

Thanks, but here's a curveball from Pinball Resource:

Flipper Rebuild Kits
"Bally Rolling Stones 5/80 To Truck Stop (Upper flippers) 11/88
Excluded Game: Eight Ball Champ (Unique Hardware)"

Guess which game I have...

I can find some of the parts (I may have to call Pinball Resource on Monday, as I can't figure out how to find stuff on their website). I am going to start with the bearing and the flipper and go from there.

#6 5 months ago

Pinball Life has the rebuild kit, no mention of EB Champ being unique. Product ID: 0580-0388

#7 5 months ago

Looks like it would rebuild with the older 03 kit

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#8 5 months ago

Thanks, guys. Looks like the switch on the right flipper is different than in the 03 kit pictured (double switch), but the other parts look like they match. I can probably get the switch somewhere or call Pinball Resource when they open Monday.

I cleaned it up in the meantime. There was quite a bit of gunk in the bearing that I got out. I cam at least play this snow day.

On another note, I cleaned the pot on my squawk and talk board and now it talks! Fun times! Looks like this auction sweetie is working out!

#9 5 months ago
Quoted from newbieinKC:

Thanks, guys. Looks like the switch on the right flipper is different than in the 03 kit pictured (double switch), but the other parts look like they match. I can probably get the switch somewhere or call Pinball Resource when they open Monday.

Show us a pic of what switch is installed right now.

Some switches are stacks, where the EOS switch (like the above) gets stacked on top of a low voltage "lane change" switch.

Normally, you only replace the EOS switch, the low voltage one sometimes lasts 30 years.

#10 5 months ago

Also, I think I remember EBC having 3 flippers, so make sure you get 1.5 kits......

#12 5 months ago

All of the above but make sure to maintain the gap between the flipper link and the flipper bushing when you are tightening flipper arm on the shaft.

If you have too much gap the plunger will ride too low in the sleeve can drag and bind inside the sleeve.

#13 5 months ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

All of the above but make sure to maintain the gap between the flipper link and the flipper bushing when you are tightening flipper arm on the shaft.

If you have too much gap the plunger will ride too low in the sleeve can drag and bind inside the sleeve.

Good call--here's a link to the flipper gauge Marco sells: https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/03-8194

#14 5 months ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

All of the above but make sure to maintain the gap between the flipper link and the flipper bushing when you are tightening flipper arm on the shaft.
If you have too much gap the plunger will ride too low in the sleeve can drag and bind inside the sleeve.

This might have been my problem. It appears that the previous owner already re-built the flippers, but they were a bit sloppy up/down and not *quite* aligned right. After cleaning the bearing on the right flipper and improving the alignment, I think I am back up and running. Strange thing that there are no "e-rings" on the lever arms to keep the plunger links in place. Seems to work without them, but I figure I should clean it up and install the little clips. The lack of e-rings might also be the culprit for the flipper binding up.

#15 5 months ago

I wouldn't call that a rebuild, but more of a band-aid. Too many posts on here about one's idea of a restored machine vs reality of enough repairs to get it out of the door for a sale. 12 cents worth of parts missing is now your headache.

#16 5 months ago
Quoted from Skidave:

I wouldn't call that a rebuild, but more of a band-aid. Too many posts on here about one's idea of a restored machine vs reality of enough repairs to get it out of the door for a sale. 12 cents worth of parts missing is now your headache.

Not sure exactly what you mean. I never expected this to be a "restored" machine. To your point, I AM dealing with a few idiosyncrasies and partial repairs by the previous owner and/or his hired technician. Which is kinda what I expected when I bought the machine at an auction with unknown provenance for $400. It was pretty clear from the start that I would have to fix stuff. There were a half-dozen blown fuses in the cabinet when I bought it and not everything was functional.

So far, I am happy to use this machine to learn about the hobby without much financial risk. This machine probably doesn't warrant a full restoration, but with a decent refurb it will be a very playable game. This is what I am working toward, and I feel like I am almost there. I doubt that I will sell this machine while I still own a home that has space for it.

Like I have said before, I appreciate everyone's help and guidance. I am definitely catching the bug.

vid1900, I am going to remove the playfield soon so that I can do several solder repairs. I will take a snap of the right flipper switch then. In the interim, the attached schematic from the manual seems to be spot-on.

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#17 5 months ago

Since I cleaned and adjusted the flippers, they work fine. I still don't have the "e-clips" but they are apparently not essential. I suspect they may actually contribute to the flippers binding up and that is why they are gone.

Like I said earlier, someone rebuilt the flippers at some point. My plunger and link assembly look like the picture of the rebuild kit above, but don't match the schematic above (or the one in my manual). I think I am dealing with a minor mod because the original parts would be very rare as it seems Bally only used that assembly on my machine that only 1500 copies were made. The rebuild kit seems to work, but it is not a perfect replacement.

I read somewhere that Eight Ball Champ has some wonky stuff because it was designed by Bally right before they merged with Midway. Bally was trying to evolve their mechanical and electrical systems but didn't work out that way after the merger.

#18 5 months ago

For 5 years, Bally tried to convince the ops that the Linear flippers were good.

But they weighed 2x the amount of a normal flipper plunger, and wore out into slop in just a few months of use; that made them slow and sloppy.

Your EBC actually did what all the ops did in the field - go back to the 70s style, super fast flipper mechs.

The Bally game before yours, Fireball Classic, came from the factory with the crappy Linear flippers. Had you had asked about that game's flippers sticking, we would have told you to rebuild it with the much superior 70s mechs.

#19 5 months ago
Quoted from newbieinKC:

I suspect they may actually contribute to the flippers binding up and that is why they are gone.

My guess is whoever worked your flipper assemblies before probably lost them. They do not contribute to your flippers binding. You are in KC. Go find a nice, large hardware store that stocks little bitty hardware items and get a couple of E clips.

#21 5 months ago

The best way to think of it is:

The flippers are THE interface between you and the machine.

They are the one place you DO NOT want to skimp.

They are the one place you DO NOT want to hobble something together.

They are the one place you DO NOT want to hope that past operators **maybe** did a partial rebuild.

Just completely rebuild all the flippers with the proper, matching, late 1970s "03" rebuild kit.

Then you absolutely KNOW the game is playing as powerfully and as responsively as it possibly can.

#22 5 months ago

I understand where you are coming from. At this point, the "03" rebuild kit is not exactly what I need from what I can surmise. I have 3 flippers and the right one has a double switch and the switch geometry seems to be different in the kit. The plunger link in the rebuild kit is also a different geometry than OEM. So, it looks like someone already installed this rebuild kit (perhaps without replacing the switches and probably forgetting the e-clips). If I were to do anything to the flippers now, I would replace the switches first as the flippers seem really mechanically sound after I adjusted out the up/down slop and cleaned the gunk out of the bearings. The lane change switch doesn't always register (after adjustment and cleaning) and it looks like the contacts on the flipper switches are getting a bit worn. I could probably also replace the return spring on the left flipper as it seems weak compared to the right flipper.

Like I mentioned, I intended to call Pinball Resource and figure out exactly what I need but I haven't taken the chance yet. I will also pick up e-clips next time I am in a hardware store.

Thanks, again for the advice!

#23 5 months ago
Quoted from newbieinKC:

I have 3 flippers and the right one has a double switch and the switch geometry seems to be different in the kit.

Don't let the look of the switches throw you.

Tons of pintechs use the Williams EOS switches in Bally & Classic Stern games, and have done so for decades.

A game from the 80s probably has had it's flippers rebuilt a dozen times by now.

The lane change is a low voltage switch (often gold plated contacts), the EOS is a high voltage (larger tungsten contacts) - that's all that matters. Everything else is just getting the insulation spacers lined up with whatever new switches you can get.

Call PBR, give them the # for the switches from the manual, they'll tell you the current substitution, don't expect them to look exactly like the picture.

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