(Topic ID: 268610)

What Causes Ball Trails? How To Prevent?

By sataneatscheese

2 years ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by SUPERBEE
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

What causes ball trails? I have a new (to me) TSPP with a playfield that glosses up to a perfect shine, but after a dozen or so games I start to get ball trails. I have cleaned the machine to the best of my ability, replaced the balls, and still have this symptom a day or two after wiping down. Most of my pins have this issue, but not all and I can't figure out why it seems worse on some machines than others. It is particularly noticeable in my TSPP due to the bright playfield but it shows up in other games too. Worse, over time, I've noticed in my older machines that after a few decades the ball trails seem to get ground into the paint and become permanent. Are there any tricks to avoiding this?

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#2 2 years ago

Dirty ball trough

#3 2 years ago

Use Titan silicone rings instead of rubber. That will help somewhat, but coil dust is also a culprit.

Really you just need to clean and wax regularly following vids guide. You’ll still get ball trails, but they’ll wipe up, and they won’t grind in over time if you have a cleaning schedule.

#4 2 years ago

Metal on metal contact.

#5 2 years ago

What I do is novus 2 & then P21 wax & never get trails anymore. Do not let this wax dry completely & wipe off with Microfiber cloth. Any trails that come up after that come off easily. Your game is picking up dirt somewhere. This wax also leaves NO white residue. Well worth $40 on Amazon. John

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#6 2 years ago
Quoted from 0geist0:

Dirty ball trough

and dirty subways. most people will take the time and clean everything on the top side of the playfield but forget to take things like the vuks and subways apart and clean those as well

#7 2 years ago

Dirt.

Don't play.

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

Metal on metal contact.

Def the more metal on metal on a game, the quicker the dirt returns.

#9 2 years ago

Take everything off the game from the top, and the bottom and clean everything, that game is 30 years old. Put it all back together clean, use Titan silicone or white rubber, or clear rubber, Every six months, wipe down everything on top of the playfield and rewax all of the contact surfaces that you can reach without taking things apart, this will help you out for several several years.

17
#10 2 years ago

You cannot prevent ball trails, and anybody who says you can is lying.

A brand new game will present ball trails within a few days of moderate play.

If you don’t want ball trails, clean your playfield every day or do not play your game.

Worrying about these is absolutely pointless, and a gateway to probable insanity. May as well ask how you can keep the sun from rising.

#11 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

You cannot prevent ball trails, and anybody who says you can is lying.
A brand new game will present ball trails within a few days of moderate play.
If you don’t want ball trails, clean your playfield every day or do not play your game.
Worrying about these is absolutely pointless, and a gateway to probable insanity. May as well ask how you can keep the sun from rising.

I would agree with this; the only way to prevent ball trails to my knowledge is not playing. Cleaning helps, maybe silicone "rubbers" help, but really if your goal is "no ball trails" you may as well sell your games unless you just enjoy turning them on and staring at them.

#12 2 years ago
Quoted from BC_Gambit:

unless you just enjoy turning them on and staring at them.

Come on ....we *all* do that

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from Nokoro:

Use Titan silicone rings instead of rubber. That will help somewhat, but coil dust is also a culprit..

I'm ready to go all Titan in near future, just installed a new rubber kit on Laser War and the amount of white dust after a handful of games is ridiculous.

What the hell are they making some of these kits from now? Recycled tires?

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

You cannot prevent ball trails, and anybody who says you can is lying.

Don’t forget the full $100 Cliffy set!

#15 2 years ago

vacum the pf and cab.

#16 2 years ago

Seriously though, ball trails are great indicators of when it’s a good time to give a decent cleaning.

If you look hard enough at the right angle you’ll always see them, even after the first game played on a new machine.

But when you see dirty lines forming under the slings that’s when it’s time to wipe things down a bit. And yes, if you never clean them they will get more ground in and harder time remove over time.

-2
#17 2 years ago

put a playing field protector on it!

#18 2 years ago
Quoted from wdennie:

put a playing field protector on it!

This is not the answer, it will completely change the way the game plays for the worse

#19 2 years ago
Quoted from Jrotten:

What I do is novus 2 & then P21 wax & never get trails anymore. Do not let this wax dry completely & wipe off with Microfiber cloth. Any trails that come up after that come off easily. Your game is picking up dirt somewhere. This wax also leaves NO white residue. Well worth $40 on Amazon. John
[quoted image]

Agree on the ps21. I've waxed 40 plus machines over 2 years and have half to 2/3 remaining. Good investment!!

#20 2 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

This is not the answer, it will completely change the way the game plays for the worse

Correct. And you get ball trails on the protector, and they don't buff out. THE HORROR!

#21 2 years ago

This kit is absolutely great for vacuuming around pf and getting into small places.

amazon.com link »

Clean trough, subways, scoops, ball guides, etc - everywhere the ball goes. Stuff under pf especially get dirty. Novus2 helps get some of the stubborn ball trails out. Best thing is just clean the easy to reach places and rubbers now and then. Waxing probably helps but that's a lot of work and mess to deal with.

#22 2 years ago

Would using ceramic power balls mitigate ball trails?

#23 2 years ago

If it’s a new stern with their stock black rubber, that causes a lot of dirt. Switching to another type of rubber or silicone that doesn’t shed so much makes a big difference.

But it’s a game to game thing. Some just generate dirt more than others. I have to tear apart my GOT premium every few hundred plays due to the dirt from the upper playfield.

Stranger things I haven’t had to touch in over 700 plays. No dirt anywhere.

#24 2 years ago
Quoted from Eightball88:

Would using ceramic power balls mitigate ball trails?

No, as they are still balls and will be rolling around the game.

Using no balls at all would be a perfect solution to this non-existent problem.

Likewise, removing the flippers, or unplugging the game from the power source would also mitigate.

#25 2 years ago

Maybe someone could come up with a way to install a magnet system like in Bram Stokers Dracula mist multiball but over the entire playfield and under all ramps. That way the ball can just hover the whole time and never touch the playfield. Problem solved !!
God im such a genius !!

#26 2 years ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Maybe someone could come up with a way to install a magnet system like in Bram Stokers Dracula mist multiball but over the entire playfield and under all ramps. That way the ball can just hover the whole time and never touch the playfield. Problem solved !!
God im such a genius !!

I’m my experience, magnets attract dirt too!

#27 2 years ago

Cleaned and waxed her again. Only really dirty thing I could find was post sleeves. Cleaned ball trough for good measure. Just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something basic.

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#28 2 years ago

you can't avoid it. That's why you have to clean your games every year or so. Every VUK gets solenoid dirt in them. Every metal to metal side rail creates mirco dust. Standup rubber posts shed. It will happen no matter what you do unless you stop playing. If you want to collect pinball, you have to learn how to do maintenance. no other way around it.

#29 2 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

you can't avoid it. That's why you have to clean your games every year or so. Every VUK gets solenoid dirt in them. Every metal to metal side rail creates mirco dust. Standup rubber posts shed. It will happen no matter what you do unless you stop playing. If you want to collect pinball, you have to learn how to do maintenance. no other way around it.

Totally agree, but im getting dark black lines like in the first picture in a dozen games or so. Hopefully the latest wipedown will help.

#30 2 years ago

nope, because the dirt is in the areas you can't reach. like in the VUK for the garage door. In the subway tunnels. Ball through. Saucer kickout. Locks. Pops. All those little areas have dirt built up. As soon as the ball goes there, it picks it up, little by little and spreads it through the game.

#31 2 years ago

Dirt contains covid-19.

I might be able to sterilize your machines and make them safe to play again. PM me for shipping details

#32 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

No, as they are still balls and will be rolling around the game.
Using no balls at all would be a perfect solution to this non-existent problem.
Likewise, removing the flippers, or unplugging the game from the power source would also mitigate.

Thanks for the chuckle, Levi! To be honest, one of my favourite things to do on my pins, other than actually play the crap out of them, is to clean and wax them. Ball trails don’t bother me in the least, but then again my pins are in solid-playing players condition!

#33 2 years ago
Quoted from sataneatscheese:

Just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something basic.

Clean the balls ?

LTG : )

#34 2 years ago

I recommend: No black rubber anywhere. Several coats of Carnuba wax, repeat that twice a year at lest, clean and wax all subways and troughs. Buy new balls, polish them in a vibrating polisher, swap the two set of balls every six months or less.

Don C.

#35 2 years ago

Did you remove the garage mech and the up kicker to the upper playfeild and clean both of them?

#36 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

No, as they are still balls and will be rolling around the game.
Using no balls at all would be a perfect solution to this non-existent problem.
Likewise, removing the flippers, or unplugging the game from the power source would also mitigate.

Cut the cord. It's the only way to be sure!

#37 2 years ago

Clean it and uninstall the three prong plug from yer wall outlet. You’ll never see a ball trail again.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, just play the game man, pins gonna get dirty.

#38 2 years ago

I have noticed more ball trails if you over wax. I think a lot of people have a tendency to lay the wax on too thick because they want to really buff it up and make it shine. It can create a situation where small amounts remain that are hard to buff out. Once per year, ultra thin layer of wax is all you really need.

#39 2 years ago

Hey, dont listen to all the haters. When it bugs me, I pull glass and clean. Takes 1 minute. Sounds like you're a neat freak. Like me haha

#40 2 years ago

Yeah. all kidding aside, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Just pull the galss and clean the trails and rewax if it bothers you. I fully restored a High Speed The Getaway machine and put in a new playfield. With the supercharger ramp being all metal , ball trails show up within a day two of playing. Never ends.

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