(Topic ID: 294302)

Year 4: Taxi Full Restore - it’s a rough one!

By Aeolus7

18 days ago


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  • 29 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 days ago by Aeolus7
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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  • Taxi Williams, 1988

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#1 18 days ago

Hard to believe I bought this game in 2017, spent a few weeks working on it, completely lost steam for restoration, followed by pinball itself. I sold most of my arcade & pinball collection last year to refocus on writing music, getting my company through a pandemic, payoff a car & student loan, and to make space for a work from home office.

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The Before Photos

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Taking a step back was the right move for me at the time, but two games remained in my collection despite trying to get rid of them as well. I couldn’t sell my Taxi (since it was in 1 million pieces) and I received no bites on my AMH listing, so it also stayed.

The Mando announcement made me wonder “that’s cool, what else has happened in the last year in pinball?” As it turns out, quite a bit! What started out as casual research turned into lurking on Pinside threads, listening to Podcasts, watching YouTube, getting back into restoration group the Taxi, and playing AMH a lot more (having a blast with it)

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There are many great Taxi restore threads on Pinside involving some very talented artists. The Skypilot Tale of Two Taxi’s story is a personal favorite, and always love to drool over some HEP restores, including his blacked out Taxi. The motivation for posting this is really to resuscitate the hobby from the clutches of obscurity in my own life and to share a strange journey. Hopefully, you find something worthwhile here for you.

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What a hot-glued mess this game is (literally, but I’ll get to that in a moment) Let’s finish this thing!

#2 18 days ago

Here’s where things get interesting with this example...

Exhibit A: Glue or Ramp?

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Exhibit B: Can you guess the origin of the following Franken-Plastic?

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Exhibit B: Man vs Glue Vs Topper

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#3 17 days ago

Yo Taxi!! Looks like you've got a bunch of work ahead of you, I restored one a couple of years ago, so pretty when all dolled up. Definitely go for new ramps, they are such a dominant feature on Taxi, and look great when sparkling. Good luck!!

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#4 17 days ago
Quoted from Flynnyfalcon:

Yo Taxi!! Looks like you've got a bunch of work ahead of you, I restored one a couple of years ago, so pretty when all dolled up. Definitely go for new ramps, they are such a dominant on Taxi, and look great when sparkling. Good luck!!
[quoted image]

Oh yes, completely agree. Here’s some new stuff on deck. I’d show the cabinet decals, but those are currently getting flattened underneath the gray rug

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#5 17 days ago
Quoted from Aeolus7:

Oh yes, completely agree. Here’s some new stuff on deck. I’d show the cabinet decals, but those are currently getting flattened underneath the gray rug
[quoted image][quoted image]

Ahh wonderful!! I can smell that new ramp smell from here

#6 17 days ago

On the rotisserie. Lots of labeling and photos. Here’s my system for ID’ing harness locations:

A, B, C... for coils
F1, F2, F3... for flashers
L1, L2, L3... for lamps
S1, S2, S3... for switches

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The full view

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#7 17 days ago

Dirt! Cleaning the filth is the most satisfying part of this for me.

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#8 17 days ago

Going through a game myself right now. I agree, getting the gunk off is so fulfilling!

I can't believe this project didn't sell, , ,

#9 17 days ago

Glad to hear you’re back at it! I lost steam myself on my xenon project. Just burnt out on it at the moment. I’m about to move and the new place has a workshop in it so I’m banking on that being the spark I need to go head first into the project again.
Following to see how this game turns out.

#10 17 days ago
Quoted from RonSS:

Going through a game myself right now. I agree, getting the gunk off is so fulfilling!
I can't believe this project didn't sell, , ,

I know, right!?

#11 17 days ago

More discoveries

off-white lane guide
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Spinout switch wired to nowhere
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Requisite bottom-of-cabinet junk
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Strange wiring hack on the flipper. Some kind of black box connected with speaker wire. What is this?
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#12 17 days ago

WTF, never seen anything like that before. Maybe a bootleg cap to replace the 2.2uf 250v cap on the flipper switches?

Good luck with your restoration, I finished mine a few months ago. It's such a great game!

#13 16 days ago
Quoted from Bellagio:

WTF, never seen anything like that before. Maybe a bootleg cap to replace the 2.2uf 250v cap on the flipper switches?
Good luck with your restoration, I finished mine a few months ago. It's such a great game!

Yup, miss my Taxi. Sadly, I don't have room for them all!

#14 12 days ago

Happy Saturday. As I am stripping the playfield, I get some insight into all the improvement opportunities. Wear spots, t-nut damage, inserts destroyed, grime worn into the shooter lane. We’ll work to amend as much of that as can when we prep for the hard top.

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#15 12 days ago

Removing the mylar (heat gun & slow pull) reveals some new challenges. Several raised inserts on the triangles and arrows. We lost some art when we pulled the mylar around the green advance lit values. Since we are going hardtop with this one, I’m not concerned, but just showing how System 11 playfields can react to mylar removal (spoilers: not well!)
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#16 12 days ago
Quoted from Aeolus7:

We lost some art when we pulled the mylar around the green advance lit values. Since we are going hardtop with one

“We?!!!”

#17 12 days ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

“We?!!!”

Haha. I’ve either lost my mind or want everyone to feel included in the process. You be the judge!

#18 11 days ago

After the great mylar pull, inserts are removed and leveled and the playfield gets sanded. Given the condition of this game, this part was particularly satisfying. I was also able to bondo some of the damage underneath the playfield.

I carefully used a heat gun on the underside of the Playfield for removal while tapping slightly from underneath. Some of them I was able to level without removing. When inserts are free, they were sanded with increasingly finer grit and Novus’d for a final shine. A hammer and a flat wood block gets them level again, and a touch of glue underneath the insert holds them in place.

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Back on the rotisserie for some additional shining followed by a few light layers of clear to seal the wood, and future proof the bare wood spots. A final sanding and good dust cleanup is my prep for the hardtop

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#19 11 days ago

After this, I spent some quality time on the shooter lane (sanding, clearing, shaping).

Skipping ahead, the hardtop install was fairly smooth. The registration of the art and holes isn’t a perfect match, and I had to trim some of the lanes, pops, etc in order to line the artwork up as best as I could. The final result though is excellent. I was somewhat skeptical how I would like this vs a screen-printed repro playfield, but it looks very sharp and feels like a tank. Plus having fought with new, clear coated playfields a handful of times, I feel it reduces the chance for error during re-assembly as you have the safety net of the holes of the original playfield.

On the downside, it was at this point where I realized I made an error prior to the Hardtop assembly. It may take a true Taxi purist to spot it! I could call this a design choice, as I personally like the final result...

My process is ultra sonic cleaner for everything that doesn’t have artwork. Metals are tumbled and/or hand polished.

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#20 11 days ago

Looking really nice... very satisfying each step of the way.

#21 11 days ago
Quoted from Aeolus7:

Requisite bottom-of-cabinet junk

I always refer to that as "cabinet gold"

#22 11 days ago
Quoted from PinballAir:

I always refer to that as "cabinet gold"

Indeed, Your description sounds much more enticing.

#23 10 days ago

Bouncing around on the timeline, uncovered some additional, relevant process photos

Initial reassembly of the less fun parts: T-Nuts, Pop bumper nails, and ground braid.

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Mechs!

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Before & After Drop Target assemblies. Brackets and metals cleaned then tumbled for 24-48 hours. Boards are checked for cold solder joints and reflowed if needed. Boards and drop plastics were sprayed with simple green and rinsed in warm water. Repeated this process until clean, then quickly dried. The harnesses receive the same treatment. The drop target decals are still in great shape for a game in this condition, so I left them as is. The coils get a strong dose of the ultrasonic cleaner then re-wrapped with new sleeves.

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#24 6 days ago

Reassembly update. I found the stacked plastics to be a little tricky, but overall went smoothly. The post locations can be a little challenging on Taxi as well, but a ruler and lots of photos ahead of time made things easier.

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#25 6 days ago

One hang up. I don’t recall where I got this repro ramp, I believe i purchased it 2nd hand from someone who didn’t end up needing it, but the bracket holes for the wire form were way too small. Of course I discovered that after assembling. I was able to drill it out with gradually increasing sizes of titanium screws bits. Drilled each hole out slowly, put a cloth underneath in case of a slip and to catch metal pieces, and had no issues.

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Both new ramps were a little on the cloudy side for my taste, so they received the Novus 1 & 2 treatment

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Much better than what I started with…

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#26 6 days ago
Quoted from Aeolus7:

the bracket holes for the wire form were way too small

My ramps from Starship Fantasy were the same way. The bracket was installed backwards and I didn't have rivets to fix it myself but Larry replaced them for me quickly although it sounds like you’ve got it figured out!

#27 6 days ago
Quoted from BriPin:

My ramps from Starship Fantasy were the same way. The bracket was installed backwards and I didn't have rivets to fix it myself but Larry replaced them for me quickly although it sounds like you’ve got it figured out!

Nice. It was a panic moment, but I learned a new skill, so silver lining! Ramp is actually great quality overall.

#28 6 days ago

Good idea replacing the ramps. The repro ramps are much thicker plastic than the originals so they should hold up a lot better over time.

Many original ramps I’ve seen on Taxis are cracked at the curve where the ball is thrown by the Drac catapult.

#29 5 days ago
Quoted from Bellagio:

Good idea replacing the ramps. The repro ramps are much thicker plastic than the originals so they should hold up a lot better over time.
Many original ramps I’ve seen on Taxis are cracked at the curve where the ball is thrown by the Drac catapult.

Definitely. The repro ramps, at least the ones I’ve worked with in the handful of restores I’ve done, are built like tanks. In this case, I had no choice as both ramps were completely blown out. Worth noting that the decals included on this ramp in particular are also excellent quality. Has a textured finished of some sort.

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