eBay Impulse Buy? Willliams Love Bug Caveat Emptor?

This is a story about an impulse buy off eBay for a pinball machine. It perhaps may be a cautionary tale of how sellers can hide the true condition of a machine. This also explains why it’s important to really “low ball” unknown sellers of games. There’s a very good chance what you see and what you get are two different things… here is my story of an eBay purchase of a Williams Love Bug (the add-a-ball version of Williams Doodle Bug).

First Look: 1968 Gottlieb Target Pool – looking over a new game before turning it on

This is a first look at a 1968 Gottlieb wedgehead electro-mechanical pinball machine “Target Pool”. I unloaded it and what you see is what I see in real time as I take a look at the machine and what needs to be done with it. This video goes over a few things that I typically do before I even try to turn a game on.

A most unusual glitch in an “A-List” EM game

I’ve been very excited about one of my latest acquisitions. A much-coveted Bally 4 Million BC pinball machine that I drove almost 1200 miles to acquire. The game is in great condition but was having a very unusual problem whereby it would kick out extra balls into play constantly. After going after the most obvious places and cleaning relays, then looking at the schematics and expanding my search, then finally going through every relay in the machine and cleaning contacts, the problem still persisted.

Here’s a description of the issue:

Then finally, it dawned on me. How obvious the solution was! But a very rare thing to see in an EM: a glitch that was the result of the logic design of the game and me being careless when I went to wax the playfield!

EM game gets stuck on one ball and does not advance? How to fix it.

Today I finally got a chance to set up a game I purchased last year and brought back from Houston. A 1976 Williams “Space Mission” EM game, the theme centers around the Apollo-Soyuz link-up in 1975. This game exhibited a somewhat common problem, of the ball not advancing and being stuck on “ball one” over and over, so the game would never end. In this series of videos, I illustrate what causes this and how to fix it.

How to level inserts in old pinball machine playfields

Nowadays, it’s hard to find any pinball machine made before 1980 that don’t have certain issues with the plastic inserts in the playfield, shrinking and becoming concave and affecting gameplay. Almost all electro-mechanical games suffer from this, as the forces of time, heat and other factors have caused the plastic inserts to change shape. In this series of videos I go over a process of fixing this to make your playfield level and play like new. In this case working with a Gottlieb Jet Spin (aka “Super Spin”)

First step is safely removing the inserts:

Now that they’re out, let’s go over what’s involved in getting them smoothed over:

While the inserts are out, now is the time to touch up parts of the playfield and the black rings around the inserts:

Now we are ready to put the inserts back in the playfield:

And here’s a look at the end result: