Action Pinball Logo Williams Flipper Rebuild Tips (1979-1985)

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Williams Flipper Rebuild Tips (1979-1985)

NOTICE: For some very important information, please read the Technical Article Notice and Disclaimer, found on our Technical Articles Index page before performing any of the work described below. The information given below assumes you have read the Notice and Disclaimer first.

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This article describes some of the aspects of using a later-model (1985-1992) Williams flipper rebuild kit in earlier Williams games from 1979-1985, which were the first to use the one-piece flipper baseplate unit, where everything was mounted on the single flipper baseplate (Firepower and later games). One flipper rebuild kit contains parts to do two flippers- one left, and one right.

This article discusses only a few aspects of the total flipper rebuild process. For a comprehensive overview of flipper rebuilding, please see the web site, where you will find step-by-step instructions, pictures, and helpful tips on rebuilding the flippers on your game. As of the date this article was posted, there have not been any flipper rebuild kits designed for any games earlier than 1985 (Williams, or any other brands), so to use one of the later-model kits in an earlier Williams game will require replacement of, or a modification to, the plastic flipper linkage, and there will be some parts leftover from the kit which cannot be used on the earlier style flipper assemblies due to their design.

The flipper rebuild kits designed for Williams and later Bally games were made for those games that used the single flipper baseplate, but with a removeable (replaceable) coil stop, and taller EOS switch mounting tab that would accomodate the side-mounted plunger return spring.

Early and Late Style Flipper Baseplates:

The early (left) baseplate design had a built-in coil stop (non-replaceable), and a short mounting tab for the EOS switch. The late (right) baseplate design had a removeable (replaceable) coil stop, and taller mounting tab (not shown) for both the EOS switch, and also for mounting a spark suppressor capacitor and side-mounted flipper plunger return spring.

So the two coil stops in the kit will not be used on earlier baseplate designs. In addition, there are a few other parts that may, or may not be used, depending on your personal preference:

  • Flipper Return Springs: Games from 1979-1985 used tapered coil springs around the flipper coil plunger to return the flipper to the down (rest) position. As an option, these springs can be done away with, and the smaller side-mounted springs can be used in place. The side-mounted spring will attach at one end on the flipper crank side-tab ("B" in the picture below). The other end of the side-mounted spring will have to be attached to the EOS switch mounting tab. On early games with the short tab, the best thing to do is mount the spring end under one of the EOS switch mounting screws. Later games (1985/86-up) had a slightly taller tab for accomodating the EOS switch spark suppressor capacitor. On these games, a hole can be drilled right above the EOS switch, in the mounting tab, where the side-mount spring can then be attached (this is how later games (1992-up) mount the spring).
  • Flipper Crank Side-Tab: A tab is included on the new flipper crank in the rebuild kit (see "B" in the picture below). If you are not using the side-mounted return spring, you can remove this tab and discard it.
  • EOS Switch Spark Suppressor Capacitor: If your game has taller EOS switch mounting tabs, you can mount the yellow spark suppressor capacitor to this tab, using the nylon tie-wrap included in the kit. Each lead of the capacitor goes to each solder lug on the EOS switch (the capacitor bridges the switch). Using this part will help reduce the spark when the EOS switch opens up, and extends the life of the switch contact points. On games that use the short EOS mounting tab, there will be no room to mount the capacitor, but it can be attached to the EOS switch, and left to hang free from the unit.
  • Screws/Hardware: Each kit contains a set of screws and washers for the coil stop bracket, which won't be used. There are also some small #6 machine screws for holding the coil plunger guide bracket at the front end of the flipper coil. These can be used to replace your old screws if so desired.

The gray plastic link that goes between the coil plunger and the flipper "crank" assembly on both left and right flipper plunger/link/crank units will have to be modified slightly to allow it to work with the early style flipper coils and coil stops. Either this, or it can be replaced with the earlier style tapered link, Williams #03-8050.

Flipper Plunger/Link/Crank Unit: (Right side unit shown)
Early flipper linkages (original bakelite type, or the plastic 03-8050 type) were tapered on the end that attaches to the coil plunger (see "A" in the picture above). This allowed the plunger to go farther into the coil sleeve when it was pulled in, and make full contact with the metal coil stop at the back end of the coil. This is essential for strong, crisp, proper flipper action.

If used without being modified, the newer (non-tapered) linkage will not allow the plunger to travel far enough into the coil, and it will not contact the metal coil stop. This results in shorter flipper travel on the playfield (flipper does not go as high as it should), and a considerable loss in overall flipper strength.

To remedy this problem, the earlier 03-8050 linkage must be used, or the newer style linkage must be ground-down on a bench grinder, or with a file, at the end where it attaches to the coil plunger. The two areas sectioned off by the green lines in the picture above ("A") are the areas that need to be removed, or ground off, on both sides of the plastic link, and on both left and right plunger/link/crank units.

With the linkage ground down, the plunger should be able to travel farther into the coil sleeve, and you should be able to hear the metal plunger contact the coil stop at the back end of the coil with a firm "click".

If replacing the newer link with the older 03-8050 tapered link, removal of the roll-pin that holds the link in the coil plunger is necessary. Remove roll pin, remove old link, install new link, and replace roll pin.

If you are using the regular tapered coil plunger return springs around the coil plunger, you can remove and discard the crank side-tab ("B" in the picture above), which is used only for the side-mount return spring used mostly in newer model games. (See above for more info on return springs).

If you need any further help or information on rebuilding the flippers in your game, please see the web site, which has comprehensive step-by-step instructions, with pictures, on how to rebuild your flippers from start to finish.

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