Action Pinball Logo Pinball Machines

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Phone: (801) 272-0221 -
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
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Pinball Machines - Page Contents:
Click any link for more info:
Pinball Machines for Sale $$$Current listing of available games for sale, with pictures, prices, and details.
Our Reconditioning ProcessWhat we do on used games we sell. With pictures!
Service & Repair for Your GameAlready own a game? Here's what we can do.
Game Sales InformationLocal, Out-of-State, Delivery, Shipping, Warranty, etc.
Pinball Buyer's GuideWhat you should know, whether you buy from us, or someone else.
Signature Series Restorations"Over the top" restorations for some of those extra-special games!
Pinball in Salt Lake CityListing of locations and businesses in Salt Lake that often have pinball/arcade games in operation.

Our Pinball Reconditioning Process
PLEASE NOTE: The 40-hour-average reconditioning process described below is what we do on most used games that we have in our own inventory, which we restore and sell through our showroom and website.

We do not perform work to this extent on any "outside" games, so if you bought a game from someone else, and want it to be restored like one of our's, we cannot help you.

However, we can help with general service/repair and basic 'overhauls' to get your game running right. Click here for more information on what we can do to help your game!

What's different about us?
Our main goal is to provide our customers with high-quality pinball machines that look great, play great, and are as reliable as possible.

As a pinball customer, you surely don't want the pinball repairman out at your house every week. And as much as we like you, we don't want to be there either!

So we go the extra mile before we deliver a game to you- to make it the best it can be- in playability, and reliability. If you've ever seen all the moving parts inside a pinball machine, and all the parts that get hit by those big heavy metal balls flying around, then you know that this is no easy task! In most used games, everything has to be removed, disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt in order to make it work right, and be reliable. This requires dozens of hours of work on each used machine we recondition- something that most other pinball dealers simply are not willing to do.

Our pinball reconditioning process consists of an average of 40 hours work (at least 1 full week) on each game we go through. Most other dealers will spend only 8-10 hours per game, at the most. Our day-by-day process is described below, with pictures. We think you'll see the difference, and invite you to use the list below to "shop and compare" with other dealers.

HINT: Be sure to browse through our
Pinball Buyer's Guide for more information on why quality reconditioning work on a used pinball machine is so important, and why so very few people consider this important aspect when shopping for a pinball machine. Our Buyer's Guide will tell you what the other pinball dealers don't want you to know!

Day One:
Full Playfield Tear-Down:
Avg. Time: 2-3 hours
Before we begin any work, all parts on the playfield are removed- right down to the bare wood and paint. Parts on the top of playfield, and on the bottom side, too, are removed. This includes light bulbs, posts, ramps, pop bumpers, wireform ball guides, flipper assembiles, under-playfield ramps, drop target banks, bumper assemblies, lamp PC boards, ball trough and associated parts, and any other parts that are installed on the playfield. This takes an enormous amount of time, but is the only real way to get a game as clean as it was when it was new.
(Click for larger view)

Clean, Polish, and Wax:
Avg. Time: 2 hours
We hand clean, polish, and wax every square inch of the playfield surface. The only way to do this is to remove all parts from the playfield, and it's the only way to get the game as clean as it was when it was new! We use a special pinball playfield cleaner and polish, and protect our work with a full coat of hard Carnauba Wax over the playfield surface. This not only protects and makes the playfield look great, but helps the game to play faster, too!

Above is a game we bought from a local retail pinball distributor (one of our competitors). This game came right off their showroom floor after a full day's work by their technicians. This was their "sold and out the door" condition- would you want this game in your home?

 (Click for larger view)

Playfield Parts Cleaned:
Avg. Time: 4 hours
We take several hours to hand clean all playfield parts that we remove from the playfield, and often end up replacing many of them with brand new parts, as many parts can be broken or damaged from years of use, wear/tear, and neglect.
  • Plastic posts are hand cleaned with detergent and a small brush in order to get all residue and wax off of them. We replace any posts that can't be cleaned or that are cracked or broken.
  • Metal parts are cleaned and polished with steel wool, wire wheel, or refinished in our own proprietary in-house process (see below).
  • Playfield flat plastics are cleaned with detergent, then cleaned/polished with Novus brand plastic polishes, for cleanliness and shine.

(Click for larger view)

Playfield Ramps Cleaned:
Avg. Time: 4-6 hours
Any ramps on the top and bottom of the playfield surface are completely removed, and disassembled into all of their individual parts. All hardware is removed including nuts/screws, switches, light bulbs, and wiring harnesses, so that all individual parts can be properly and thorougly cleaned.

Most dealers will only clean what they can reach on ramps on the top side of the playfield, without removing them from the game. Rarely will a dealer ever remove or clean a ramp assembly under the playfield ("out of sight, out of mind"). If a ramp on the under-side of the playfield is left uncleaned, while the top of the playfield is cleaned, then all the dirt and grime from the under-playfield ramp will find its way back up onto the top of the playfield after only a few games, and the playfield will be dirty again!

All ramps on our games are hand-cleaned, then finished with Novus brand plastic polishes. We also often replace complete ramps (when available) when they are cracked, broken, or otherwise damaged.

It really makes a difference!

(Click for larger view)


Day Two:
Playfield Reassembly:
Avg. Time: 8-10 hours
Day Two and Three are spent reassembling the playfield- both top, and bottom sides, rebuilding, cleaning, refinishing, and replacing parts as we go.

We start with replacing light bulbs, then install cleaned and refinished metal parts such as ball guides and wireforms. Then we install overhauled pop bumpers and their rebuilt assemblies, cleaning parts, and replacing any broken or worn out parts as we go. Then we install cleaned plastic and metal posts, flat plastic pieces, and finally larger assemblies like ramps, toys, gadgets, etc. And install all-new fresh new rubber rings and parts as we go.

This is a lot of work and is basically like assembling a pinball playfield from scratch! But it's always worth it- and the only way to ensure everything is properly, and thoroughly, overhauled.

We think you'd agree that the used games pictured here basically look brand new at this point during the process.

(Click for larger view)

Refinished Ball Guides:
After removing and cleaning all of the metal (stainless steel) ball guides on the playfield, we refinish the surface of all of them with a special proprietary process, to give them a day-one "like new" look- just like when they came from the factory. This process takes an average of 2-3 hours, depending on the game, and is done entirely by hand.

Metal ball guides on all games will accumulate "ball marks" on them over time- unsightly marks made from the balls hitting the metal guides, or sliding along them over the years.

If left untouched, these marks really make any used/reconditioned game look unsightly- almost like something was overlooked during the overhaul process. Compare one of our restored games to another dealer's and we know you'll see the difference right away! When the playfield is fully reassembled, it really does make a big difference.
(Click for larger view)

"Their" work.
(Cleaned, but not refinished)

Our work.
(Cleaned, fully refinished)

New Rubber Rings:
ALL rubber rings and rubber parts on the playfields of our games are replaced with new, high quality rings, from one of our full rubber ring kits.

When we remove all parts from the playfields of our games, it makes it easy to replace ALL of the rings- especially the ones that are often covered by ramps or other large playfield parts. It's the only way to do a complete job, and have all the rubber fresh and clean so that they look great, work great, and last as long as possible.

(Click for larger view)

Day Three:
Flipper Rebuild & Assembly:
Avg. Time: 2 hours
Flipper assemblies on the game are completely removed, disassembled, cleaned, and then are rebuilt using brand new parts, where/when available. We use authentic manufacturer's parts to rebuild all wear components on all flippers on each game we restore. This doesn't mean just replacing what is worn out, but replacing EVERYTHING that is a wear part on the flipper assembly, whether it needs replacing or not. This is the only way to get the flippers to work just like they did when they were new, and to last as long as possible for you. On most games, we use flipper rebuild "kits", so that we can replace all the parts at the same time. This includes coil plunger sleeve, coil plunger, plunger linkage, plunger crank, coil stop, flipper bushing, plunger return springs, hardware (screws, bolts, and washers), end-of-stroke switch, and end-of-stroke switch supressor.

(Click for larger view)

Clean & Replace Light Bulbs:
Avg. Time: 1 hour
We remove all light bulbs on the playfield surface- top and bottom sides- and clean or replace as necessary- again, this is easy to do when all of the parts and assemblies have been removed from the playfield! We replace lamps with brand new ones- even the larger flashlamp bulbs on newer games! We also clean and replace all lamps on the under-side of the playfield, too.

(Click for larger view)

Clean Light Inserts (Lenses):
Avg. Time: 1-2 hours
This is probably the most overlooked step by an "average" pinball dealer, but it is crucial for cleanliness and to be able to see the lights under the playfield.

While replacing the light bulbs, we also clean the under-side of the plastic inserts, or "lenses" in the playfield surface where light bulbs shine through from underneath. These are often very dirty in used machines, and when dirty, they won't let much of the light through, and give a "dull" look to the game.

We clean these lenses with small brushes, swabs, and alcohol to get them completely dirt-and-dust-free. Cleaning these, along with cleaning and replacing light bulbs, helps add to the bright, fresh, new appearance of the playfield- it really makes a difference!

New Chrome Steel Balls:
We replace any and all chrome steel pin balls in each game with brand new ones! Why? Take a close look at a used pin ball- they develop thousands of tiny scratches on their surfaces over time from being shot around inside a pinball machine. These scratches not only make the balls look dull and hazy, but they also are abrasive to the playfield surface. Remember Fred Flintstone's bowling ball in the old TV cartoons? This is much the same look that a used pinball will get on it surface after being played in a pinball machine year after year. We replace the balls with new smooth shiny ones for that like-new look, and more importantly: to help protect and preserve the playfield finish.

Cabinet Cleaned- Inside & Out:
Avg. Time: 5 hours

We don't do a job halfway!

After our work on the playfield is done, we spend several hours cleaning the inside and outside of the game's cabinet- from top to bottom, and back to front!

Most games can accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and debris inside them from years of neglect. To further help return our games to "like new" condition, we spend the time cleaning them inside and out. The difference is really like night and day.

After cleaning the exterior of the game, we will often touch up small nicks, scuffs, and scratches in the cabinet finish, if present.

(Click for larger view)

Day Four:
Coin Door Cleaned/Repainted:
Avg. Time: 3 hours
Coin doors on most games we sell are fully removed, disassembled, and have all their individual parts cleaned by hand, as part of our overhaul process. Bare metal doors (stainless steel) are cleaned and shined up, and painted doors on later-model games will get a new coat of paint for that like-new look. We do this with all the parts off so that the job is done right, and looks neat- we never do a quick "mask-and-spray" job like many low-quality sellers do.

Most games don't use the coin mechanisms in the home, but we don't cut any corners on our work- we make sure the coin door is completely cleaned and fully operational, just like when the game came new from the factory. Some pinball sellers even try to sell machines without the coin mechanisms in them, or charge extra if you want them included! Not us- the game comes complete just like it did from the factory- from the leg levelers to the coin mechanisms- and at no extra cost, and all fully functional.

(Click for larger view)

Translite (Backglass) Assembly Cleaned:
Avg. Time: 1-2 hours
Backglass atwork on the game is removed and cleaned. Backglass assembly differs depending on the age of the game- early games had just glass/art, whereas new games have mylar translite as well as a plastic housing on the back that holds the lamps. All lamps are removed, as well as lamp sockets, for proper cleaning of both the front and back sides of the unit. This unit is a DIRT AND SMOKE TRAP on these games, and MUST be cleaned for a thorough job.

Legs Cleaned & Polished:
Avg. Time: 1 hour
We're not done yet! We clean by hand all four legs on every pinball machine, or replace them with brand new legs if the old ones are too worn out, or if we're doing a higher-end restoration.

Take a look downward the next time you're playing pinball in the arcade and notice how dirty the legs are on the machine. We take the time to clean the legs so that they are as clean as they were when they were new. This takes the better part of an hour, but the time spent is well worth the finished look. Some games use coated, or colored legs (black, gold, other)- on these, we will often have the legs refinished, or install brand new ones, so that they look their best.

New Leg Levelers:
We install brand new leg levelers ("swivel feet") on each leg on every pinball machine we sell. Most levelers have been damaged, rusted, gummed-up, or even broken off of many used, neglected machines. We install brand new ones so that the game has that brand new look, and so that the levelers won't harm or dirty the floor surface in your home.

Electronics Checked/Repaired/Modified:
Avg. Time: 2-3 hours
We thoroughly check all the electronics and circuit boards in the games we sell to make sure they are functioning properly, look good, and will be reliable for years to come. We can do most any repairs on most any kind of pinball circuit board, so nothing is ever "out of our hands".
  • We make slight "upgrades", or modifications to older pinball circuit boards to help them run better and be more reliable. (See our Technical Articles Page).
  • Batteries on main circuit board (used for memory retention) are replaced with new, fresh batteries.
  • We install remote-mount battery kits on older style games that originally used an enclosed board-mounted battery unit. This gets the battery off the board, and avoids damage to the board in the event that the battery were to leak (common problem on older games- see below for more info).
  • All fuses are checked for proper rating and replaced if necessary.
  • We also look for, and replace, any burned or badly-repaired wiring or connectors.

Remote-Mount Battery Kit Installed:
All games that we recondition get a new remote-mount battery kit installed for the MPU board. All solid-state games made since 1977 use a battery on the MPU board to keep the memory when the game is turned off (high scores, game settings, adjustments, audits, etc.)

Originally, all games came with batteries mounted directly on the MPU board. This causes a potential problem of battery leakage, should the batteries ever go neglected and unchanged. When neglected batteries eventually leak, their chemical contents inside will eat up and destroy the copper traces and delicate components (resistors, capacitors, microchips) on the circuit board, and in most cases will damage a board beyond repair.

We remove the original battery setup and install a remote-mount battery kit which locates the batteries off of the board, a safe distance away, where they cannot do any damage if they ever go neglected and leak. When most MPU boards for pinball machines are selling in the range of $250 or more, a $10 upgrade like a remote-mount battery kit is not only a good idea, it's good insurance!

Most pinball dealers never tell their customers that batteries are used in the game, and that they need to be changed every 2 years. We include 2 "battery tags", stapled in place, in each game we sell, which remind the customer to change the batteries every 2 years, with a note indicating the last date that they were changed.

Game Manuals/Paperwork:
We make a special effort to include game instruction and operation manuals (and any other paperwork/documentation) with each pinball machine we sell- just the way they came from the factory when they were new!

Most pinball dealers either keep the manuals, or never make an effort to replace them if they are missing. We've often special-ordered manuals and paperwork for many games, just to make them complete. While most customers will never need to use a game manual, we include them anyway, just in case they are ever needed for service work down the road, and to help keep the game complete, just like it was when it was new.

Coin Door & Mechanisms:
All games we restore come complete with fully functional coin mechanisms (or "coin testers" or "rejectors")- at no extra charge! While most games used in the home probably won't ever use the coin mechanisms, we include them anyway, just to make sure the game is fully complete and functional, just like when it was new from the factory. Many other pinball sellers (including one of our local competitors) actually charge extra for the coin chutes and mechanisms, or install them only if you request them! Many others actually remove and keep the coin mechanisms before they sell their games! Even many of the games we bring in ourselves often have the coin mechanisms missing, so we often special order replacement mechanisms and parts just to make them complete. We don't cut any corners on our work, and we're not going to sacrifice quality by leaving out inexpensive parts like these. We make sure the coin door is complete and fully operational, just like when the game was new.

Cabinet Restoration: Paint or Decals
Avg. Time: 100+ hours
Some vintage classic and collectible games will get part of our Signature Series restoration work- a full and complete cabinet repaint, or installation of new cabinet decals (later-model games).

We don't do this often since it takes an incredible amount of time and intricate work, but we have done collector-quality paint jobs on some of the classic pinball games we have sold in the past, including Black Hole, Dogies, Firepower, Road Kings, Bally Playboy, Six Million Dollar Man, Twilight Zone, and Xenon. Click here to see more information on these games.

Cabinet restoration such as this requires removing all parts from the machine, stripping the cabinet down to the bare wood, patching, repairing, and finishing the wood surface. Older games that were original painted at the factory will have their cabinets primed and sealed, then the painting of the basecoat and stenciled artwork. Later-model games that used silkscreen-printed artwork for the cabinet finish will have new "decals" installed. Both are meticulously-detailed procedures requiring extreme attention to detail and many, many hours of work.

A cabinet repainting process often takes well over 100 hours- several solid weeks of work from start to finish- and high quality is an absolute must in every step. Making the high-quality art stencil set alone takes upwards of 15 to 30 hours, depending on the exact game. Definitely a lot of work. But, this is as close to new as you can possibly get with a used pinball machine, and the results are absolutely outstanding! A classic, collectible piece of pinball history in pristine condition!

Find out more about cabinet restoration work on our Signature Series Restoration page.

The above is just a brief overview of our full restoration process.

In addition to these steps, here are several other noteworthy features that we include standard, as part of our full restoration process:

Ramps and Chutes:
All removed (from top and bottom of playfield), completely disassembled, and all parts individually cleaned/polished.
Flippers, pop bumpers, slingshot bumpers, kickers, and other gadgets are removed, fully disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt.
Playfield Flat Plastics:
(Screened artwork.) All removed, cleaned, polished, and replaced. Cracked, scratched, or broken pieces replaced with new parts, whenever available.
Drop Targets:
Any drop targets on the game are removed by fully disassembling the drop target unit, cleaned, replaced, and new decals applied (where available).
Stand-up Targets:
Stand-up targets are all fully cleaned and polished, or replaced with new parts if broken or worn out. New foam backing is installed (where required).
Score/Instruction Cards:
Correct cards are installed in game, and/or replaced if worn, missing, or dirty.
Glass Lockdown Bar:
Front bar on game is cleaned and polished, and new foam rubber strip is installed which holds glass in place.
Cabinet Touch-Up:
Most nicks and scuffs on cabinet are touched up and/or repainted for nice clean look.
Electronics Overhauled:
All electronics and circuit boards checked/repaired/modified.
Solder Joints:
On circuit board connectors are all checked and solder reflowed on any cracked or stressed joints to ensure reliable operation.
Used on "mother board" in all electronic games are completely replaced with brand new fresh batteries, in a remote-mount battery kit, and a tag with replacement date is added.
Remote-Mount Battery Holder:
Now installed in ALL electronic games to get batteries off "mother board" which prevents against damage if batteries should ever leak.
Playfield Glass:
Replaced with brand new scratch-free sheet of tempered safety glass on all mid-range and high-end games. Optional on lower-range games.
Play Test:
All functions of each game are fully tested to ensure proper adjustment and operation.

While the work we do makes our games look and play their best, it also serves to make them reliable, and that's what the customer wants when they have a pinball machine in the home. When you buy a machine that's been reconditioned to the extent that our's are, you can rest assured that your game will work better, last longer, and need less service down the road. Keep in mind that a pinball machine is not a zero-maintenance item. Each machine contains many moving parts (sometimes hundreds). So you should plan on having your machine serviced at least once a year, or possibly more often depending on how often you play your game.

Typically, the prices on our machines are at the higher end of the range, as should be expected with a pinball machine that has had so much work done to it, looks as close to new as possible, plays like new, and is made to be reliable as possible. We encourage our customers to shop around and compare the quality of our machines to the others that they find for sale elsewhere. We at Action Pinball offer quality and service that cannot be matched.

For more information, see our Pinball Buyer's Guide.

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