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.