Just completed a resto of this wonderful machine which has been the pride of my collection-for sheer engineering excellence and visitor interest and play.
The machine had significant cabinet bumps, bruises & gouges, and at some point the pin head had been painted a non original colour, so a full repaint and re-stain was deemed necessary. The operational mechanisms also needed a preventative refresh.
The comparison to restoring a pinball machine is quite stark. There is a significant amount of work involved. But I want to give sincere acknowledgement to Chris Pfleger of St Louis Ball Bowlers. He has provided great support with his guidance and fantastic historical perspectives. At one point I thanked him for the immediacy and strength of his support and his reply was: “If its good enough for you to restore the machine its good enough for me to help you”. That is the calibre of a man for which our hobby should be so grateful.
First task was to dismantle the machine and produce stencils of the cabinet and the pin head cover (both mirror reversible).
Various aspects of the cabinet, lanes and pin reset board required structural remediation using pva wood glue.
Concurrently I started work on cleaning and adjusting the score reels-24 in total and a big task. These are notorious for the ratchet levers becoming seized with solidified grease and mine were no exception. Indeed I am surprised any of these score reels actually worked given the level of seizure. But I am very impressed with the design of the United score reels. They are very easy to remediate and operate very precisely.
All stepper units and relay banks were cleaned, adjusted and checked for discrete operation.
All stained cab areas were re-stained and cleared. Cab and pin hood were resprayed.
The bowling lanes were removed, cleaned, waxed and switches cleaned and checked for adjustment. A slight warping of lanes was resolved by inserting a support brace after clamping the lanes.
The bowling pin area was in a poor state with a couple of bowties broken and every pin split.
This area was completely rebuilt. At some point connectors had been inserted during a pin reset motor service. I decided to leave those connectors but serviced the motor armature. This area came up quite nice.
The pin head metal shield was badly dilapidated from years of ‘hits’ and was replaced using a local sheetmetal supplier.
The cabinet included a hack which had sought to bypass two burnt out jones connections. This had apparently occurred due to ‘dual’ power fuses being wrongly inserted at some point. The male and female 12 point jones plugs were replaced and the wiring wax lace taped. Always so good to remove hacks!
The ball elevator motor and complete mechanism was removed, cleaned and serviced.
All rubbers were repaired, replaced, serviced.
At the completion of the resto I found during testing that frequently resets would not take place after a second ball. Checking the bank reset column 1-10 switches and the 1st & 2nd ball relay switches confirmed all ok. The problem was a detached soldered wire on one of the seven switches at the end of the playfield which signals 1st or second ball played. This must have occurred on re-assembly.
Final pics of completed resto. Machine plays and looks quite nice.