(Topic ID: 231817)

United 1962 Tropics 16ft ball bowler-resto notes


By wayner

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by heatwave
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 6 months ago

    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).

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    Various aspects of the cabinet, lanes and pin reset board required structural remediation using pva wood glue.

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    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.

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    All stepper units and relay banks were cleaned, adjusted and checked for discrete operation.

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    All stained cab areas were re-stained and cleared. Cab and pin hood were resprayed.

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    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.

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    The bowling pin area was in a poor state with a couple of bowties broken and every pin split.

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    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.

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    The pin head metal shield was badly dilapidated from years of ‘hits’ and was replaced using a local sheetmetal supplier.

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    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!

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    The ball elevator motor and complete mechanism was removed, cleaned and serviced.

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    All rubbers were repaired, replaced, serviced.

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    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.

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    Final pics of completed resto. Machine plays and looks quite nice.

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    #2 6 months ago

    Damn, that is just some awesome work.
    Really nice. Hope you get many years of enjoyment from the game.

    #3 6 months ago
    Quoted from dhutton:

    Damn, that is just some awesome work.
    Really nice. Hope you get many years of enjoyment from the game.

    Thks for your kind comments dhutton

    #4 6 months ago

    Beautiful work Wayne! The only downside is it makes me want another bowler. They are so cool. There can't be many in Australia?

    #5 6 months ago

    Great job! Thanks for documenting it and posting! You will enjoy this for many years to come!

    #6 6 months ago

    I finished a 1957 United Team Bowling Alley restoration in March. Took me 2 years. Damn they're a lot of work but I must say they are a blast to play. We started our first winter bowling league 3 weeks ago. I'm ahead, but just barely

    #7 6 months ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    Beautiful work Wayne! The only downside is it makes me want another bowler. They are so cool. There can't be many in Australia?

    Thks Alex. I am not aware of any others over here but they must be somewhere!

    This machine was imported to Australia by a car/parts importer-it actually came out of Ca. Worked well because he was only about 90mins from me. He wanted to fill a container so that also worked out great for me.

    It was so enjoyable to undertake this resto. I have great admiration for the design & capability of these EM bowlers- 6 player and 7 different ways to play is to me amazing. But I have also developed great respect for the United design & calibre of components which I believe are top notch.

    1 week later
    #8 5 months ago

    Great Job!!! So I am picking up a 1959 United League Bowler and have some dumb questions.....what tools do I need to take it apart? I have to drive an hour or so to get it and I want to make sure I have everything I need. I have seen a bunch of pictures of guys removing and restoring the pin deck. Does this come out easily? I want to get it in as many pieces as possible because of course it is in a basement. I will start a new topic for the restoration. I can't wait to dig into this little winter project!!! Any and all help around taking this thing apart would be appreciated!!

    #9 5 months ago

    Sweet bowler - nice work!

    Big ball bowlers are the BEST! Really wish I had the space to set mine up again.

    #10 5 months ago

    Beautiful job, a wonderful bowler!!!
    Congratulations and enjoy that nice game

    Quoted from wayner:

    But I have also developed great respect for the United design & calibre of components which I believe are top notch.

    Same for me when I was restoring my Aquacade UNITED

    #11 5 months ago
    Quoted from RedRhyno91:

    Great Job!!! So I am picking up a 1959 United League Bowler and have some dumb questions.....what tools do I need to take it apart? I have to drive an hour or so to get it and I want to make sure I have everything I need. I have seen a bunch of pictures of guys removing and restoring the pin deck. Does this come out easily? I want to get it in as many pieces as possible because of course it is in a basement. I will start a new topic for the restoration. I can't wait to dig into this little winter project!!! Any and all help around taking this thing apart would be appreciated!!

    I am not conversant with that specific machine or your machine length but a socket set alone should do the trick (to remove the cabinet) apart from removing the male jones plugs and the in-lane connectors. But to be sure take along some other basic tools ie pliers, screwdrivers, shifters. I would really recommend you obtain Clay Hurrells' ball bowler Top 8 DVD. It really gives a great orientation to ball bowlers and shuffle alleys if you are doing a resto.

    #12 5 months ago

    Wow Wayne, just wow. Very nice work!

    #13 5 months ago

    Thanks Wayne. I was able to completely disassemble with no issues. It is going to need a little more TLC than I initially thought regarding the cosmetics but nothing wood glue and some paint can't fix. I was able to get into the mechanical aspect of it and I think it just needs a good cleaning and getting rid of 50yrs of gunk. The lights in the pin head are gone but the wiring is all still there so that will be an easy fix. I def own Clay's DVD. It has already been worth the money.

    Thanks

    #14 5 months ago

    I’m am in the middle of a referb(not a full restoration) of a 1969 Chicago coin bowler that will be going in a brewery that I supply. I have done quite a few pinball restorations but I must admit I have a new respect for those of you who have spent countless hours on these beauties.

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    #15 5 months ago
    Quoted from Skypilot:

    am in the middle of a referb(not a full restoration) of a 1969 Chicago coin bowler

    That's a nice start on your restoration. What C.C. doing you have, Top Hat?

    #16 5 months ago
    Quoted from Mopar:

    That's a nice start on your restoration. What C.C. doing you have, Top Hat?

    Champagne

    #17 5 months ago

    Beautiful work. And I can second that Chris at St Louis Ball Bowlers is a great guy.

    No room for a ball bowler at my current house. Someday.......

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