(Topic ID: 93285)

Tackling my first EM - Williams Aztec - Finished! w/ PHOTOS

By dtown

5 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 31 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by WeirPinball
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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There have been 15 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

Relay:Motor Board Before.JPG
Relay:Motor Board After.JPG
Chime Unit.JPG

#1 5 years ago

First off, I'm 35. So, when I was born in 78, EM's were on the way out. My guess is that I'm pretty young in the EM field. Though I do enjoy certain EM's, they're not my first choice when it comes to pinball. However, when a guy tells me that he did permanent damage to his back getting a particular one and he want's it fixed, I told him I'd do my best. A guy my father knows tells me that he's had some pinball machines for over twenty years. He got most of them as payment for carpentry work he'd do for an operator back in the 80's. Basically, when some kid would f*ck up a cabinet (arcade or pinball) this guy could fix them. He's a craftsman but not very mechanically inclined. However, this guy came across a William's Aztec sitting along Franklin St. in Reading, PA back in the early 90's. A house had been cleaned out and a bunch of stuff was sitting along the curb for the trash including this pin. The guy has a truck but no help and he had to park about a half a block away. The Aztec is standing on all its legs with the back box on. The guy tells me that no one is around and he's not sure how long it would be till the trash truck gets there. Sooo...he picks the WHOLE machine up and CARRIES it a half a block to his truck where he had tools to break it down and load it up. Needless to say, it screwed his back up.

Now I'm pretty hardcore for a free pinball machine but I couldn't even fathom carrying an entire machine for such a distance. Anywho, he never played the pin but put it in his barn along with a couple others he'd received as payment for work. Now, he wants it fixed. My payment for such a task? Well, he has a working Gottlieb High Hand in his finished basement (my first choice buy, alas, he does not wish to part). No, my payment would be one of three non working pins. One of which he doesn't wish to part with. A Gottlieb Soccer because his grand daughters like Soccer. That's OK because the cabinet art is a mess and I don't really care for soccer. The other two are a Gottlieb King Rock or a Williams Liberty Bell. The King Rock has a kick a$$ backglass but, to me, that's about it. It's also missing a spinner which can be a pain to get the art for. The Liberty Bell is in good shape with some paint wear around the pops. Solid colors so easy to touch up. One thing to note is all these backglass's are in excellent shape with little to no flaking. My choice...the Liberty Bell. I like the layout better on it over King Rock. Plus the wife digs the Americana Stars and Stripes theme.

Now, on to the Aztec. It's in really nice shape despite being VERY dirty along with bird poop on the playfield glass. The back glass is PERFECT. I mean, NO flaking or fading. The playfield has some minor planking along with wear from the left flipper where someone did not adjust it high enough. Other than that it has perfect plastics and almost no paint wear. The cabinet is decent too with not much more than typical fading.

I have never really done much with an EM before so my first task was to watch some of Clay Harrell's videos along with Ray from Gameroom Collectibles. This along with some common sense has helped me tear this thing apart with confidence. I only started last weekend and my progress so far has been to clean and adjust everything in the back box, take the playfield out along with relay/stepper assembly in the bottom of the cabinet.

After cleaning and adjusting all the score reels and stepper units in the back box I attached it and, thought "well, let's see if this f*cker will start." Surprisingly it did. Everything in the back box worked correctly and all score reels reset to zero. i didn't get much farther than that. A single switch hit made the game lock up. Like I said it's very dirty and I had to adjust several switches in the back box so, I'm sure, some in the cabinet need it too. Here's some pics and I'll keep you up to date.


#2 5 years ago

Fortunately the underside of the playfield is not a whole lot different than my Firepower.

#3 5 years ago

As clean as it's gonna get.

#4 5 years ago

Taking this stepper motor apart was...interesting.


#5 5 years ago

Aztec is is great 4 player game.

Have fun with it!


#6 5 years ago

Thanks Ken. To all, any Williams EM advice would be much appreciated as I will be working on my Liberty Bell once I'm done with Aztec.

#7 5 years ago

Search for Steve Fury's topics. He explains his steps very well.

#8 5 years ago

Aztec was my first EM as well, it's the fastest EM I have ever played. Those DC pop bumpers really wake it up.
Don't sell the King Rock short - it looks pretty bland, but it's a fun player. I have the 2-player version King Kool, was a real POS when I bought it - did not work & smelled like cat piss. Rebuilt everything, varathane cleared the playfield & repainted the cabinet. No longer smells like cat piss & plays great.
In the middle of a restore of a well worn High hand too!

#9 5 years ago

This really is the ultimate guide;

Typically, I will go through every stepper, score motor, score reel and switch if a machine that has been sitting for a long period of time.

It's actually good news that the game resets. The ball kicks out too?

There is no "secret" to fixing an EM if they've been sitting. You'll see many posts in the EM sections where the issue can only be found by the guy standing in front of the pin (chewed wiring harness etc.). Not to say there isn't top notch help found on this site. There are some very sharp people here that are willing to spend their time to help others.

You just have to take the time and make sure everything is operating properly visually, usually done with your hands to actuate the assembly without power on the game. Taking the time to do this will result in a rock solid player.

If the ball does kick out and you hit a playfield switch, trace that switch through the schematic. Is it any switch, pop, kicker that causes this issue?

I have an Aztec as well. It's a fun game and William's of this era also provide plenty of table speed. While not a hard pin to rack up points, spelling A-Z-T-E-C and lighting the special isn't an easy task to complete.

#10 5 years ago

Yes. the ball did kick out. After a switch hit on a random one in the bumper area I heard one of the switch coils under the playfield lock on. It did score the 10 points but I got what I wanted in that everything in the back box was working correctly.

Another thing was the tooth lock riveted to the right most switch stack on the score motor had come loose. Meaning one of the rivets had free'd so it would spin around. Fortunately, I was able to press it back together in a vise.

Also, yes, I've used Clay's guides for a while and consider them the gold standard.

1 week later
#11 5 years ago

Little update. Relay/Motor Board has been cleaned and reinstalled. Game has also been tested minus the playfield to see if it could be manually scored. Everything is working fine so far. New line cord installed as well. As of today I am almost done with the underside of the playfield. Once the flippers are finished I just need to remove everything from the top, clean, wax and reinstall. Then we'll see if she works. Couple pics of the motor/relay board, before and after.
Relay:Motor Board Before.JPG
Relay:Motor Board After.JPG

I also added a photo of the reinstalled chime unit. One of the retaining holes (closest to the coil) for the largest chime had broke which, I've heard, is a common problem for Williams. Fortunately, the owner of this game can weld and repaired it quite nicely.
Chime Unit.JPG

Please be kind (or at least constructive) with comments as this is my first EM.

#12 5 years ago

One thing I'd like to mention a little off topic. My father bought a 1968 Gottlieb Four Seasons for $350.00. Now, it "works" but has some issues with scoring. Basically, scoring would be done on player one while game play was active for that player and, all of sudden, the hundred point score reel would advance for player four while player one was still playing. I cleaned and adjusted some of the score reel contacts and it has been ok but....here comes the rant...Gottlieb's are SOO overbuilt and much more complicated than Williams. I've never touched a Gottlieb (solid state or otherwise) before and, wow, are they different. A Williams score reel mechanism is so easy to take apart to clean and adjust. A Gottlieb is....not. Really, I gotta take the plastic score reel out to remove the coil? Wah?

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely impressed that this absolutely filthy table is still operating. Truly a testament to Gottlieb build quality. And, if I buy any other EM's they would probably be a couple Gottlieb wedgeheads like Top Card or Abra Ca Dabra. But, man, Gottlieb's are so...different.

#13 5 years ago

yes, decagon score reels are an example of creative engineering...

#14 5 years ago

Great game - my first EM - loved it!

#15 5 years ago

Playfield is back in the game. I'm having an issue with the game advancing to the next ball if the double bonus relay is on. Game will advance no matter how much bonus I have BUT if double bonus is on it just keeps awarding bonus and, of course the score motor keeps running. I have re-cleaned and checked the double bonus relay but don't see any loose wires or misadjusted contacts. Some advice on where to look would be appreciated.

#16 5 years ago

Clean the contacts well with a business card. Sometimes contacts that appear to be working really aren't. Also, check the bonus stepper and make sure it resets all the way. I had a problem with a Williams 4-player EM that ended up being related to the stepper no getting all the way round.


#17 5 years ago

Ok. I fixed it. Misadjusted switch on the score motor. I wondered why the "E" in AZTEC had been lit at the start of each game. This is now corrected too.

#18 5 years ago

Pics, or it didn't happen.

Aztec.jpg Backglass.jpg
#19 5 years ago

Two more.

Chief.jpg Spinner.jpg
#20 5 years ago

Hopefully the guy will be happy with the job.

#21 5 years ago

Great work dtown. Cool close up pics too.
Now crank the spinner shot on that Aztec.

#22 5 years ago
Quoted from Kolchak357:

Great work dtown. Cool close up pics too.
Now crank the spinner shot on that Aztec.

Thanks. The ball closeups were not easy. My biggest gripe with EM's is...no attract mode, so no strobing lights to help illuminate the ball.

#23 5 years ago

Delivered the Aztec today. The guy was ecstatic. He couldn't believe how fast it played. He ended up giving me the King Rock as well.

I also won a 1974 Gottlieb Top Card off ebay and picked it up yesterday. It's complete and the playfield is really nice but the backglass needs some serious sealing and touch up. Paid $351.50 which was the most I'd drop though I do really like this game because of how fast it is for an EM. Wide open playfield with three pops and FOUR slingshots.

Man, I got a lot of work ahead.

#24 5 years ago

Nice going...Top Card is a great player and i just added it to my collection of 25 wedgeheads.
Is there anyway you can send me a close up detailed picture of the match unit in the Aztec? Hopefully you already have one.

#25 5 years ago
Quoted from Vic_Camp:

Nice going...Top Card is a great player and i just added it to my collection of 25 wedgeheads.
Is there anyway you can send me a close up detailed picture of the match unit in the Aztec? Hopefully you already have one. I have a beautiful Blue Chip that is missing the match unit and a person in NH is selling a match unit from a Aztec.

#26 5 years ago

Just picked up a project Aztec today - not as nice as I hoped, but still has potential.

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Just picked up a project Aztec today - not as nice as I hoped, but still has potential.

I feel a little like that about the Top Card I recently bought. Playfield is really nice but the backglass is a mess and the coin door has pry marks on it.

#28 5 years ago

Man that Aztec looks great, I'd love to get one someday.

I'm looking for a project Aztec. Well, I should say I'm looking for a home for my Aztec playfield.

I bought this pin at a local pawn shop, All the mechinicals are gone except for the playfield, no legs, no backbox. I originally bought it to make a Virtual Pinball table but the playfield is in really nice shape and after playing the game on a simulator I really want to get it working, or at least get it to someone who can use it.


#29 5 years ago

With DC pops and slings Aztec is pretty fast for an EM. I set the switches fairly close to be really sensitive. The look on the owner's face after a sling shot the first ball into an outlane was priceless. Williams made a lot of Aztecs so it shouldn't be too hard to get one. If the art is nice on that cabinet it would be a shame to turn it into a virtual pin. If not, then save that playfield till you get one. Or sell it to somebody with a whupped one.

#30 5 years ago

Yea dtown, That what I want to do. The cabinet is in decent shape considering it was someone's spare parts. Best case is I can find a junker with a bad playfield that I can fix up. There's no way I'll trash the playfield, it's too nice.

#31 5 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

Yea dtown, That what I want to do. The cabinet is in decent shape considering it was someone's spare parts. Best case is I can find a junker with a bad playfield that I can fix up. There's no way I'll trash the playfield, it's too nice.

If you want to drive to Dayton, I'd let you have the project one for $275 - unfortunately the bg has some flaking but all the parts are there and it could use a bit nicer pf.

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