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Power Lift from Hell 2018


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  • Power Lift from Hell 2018

    We've got Brunswick LS series power lifts, the only original equipment in our house from 1963, and one of them has recently started giving us a LOT of trouble. It started showing when the PBL in back on that pair had trouble with multiple balls stalling out on the rails, when they would finally finally catch, or a mechanic clears them, several balls will head into the subway like a freight train, hitting the power lift in rapid succession.

    If two heavier balls go into the power lift one behind the other, it will seize up. No belt slippage - everything stops, even the motor.

    Pushing the two stuck balls through by hand reveals that there's huge amount of pressure in there.

    About 8 weeks ago, way before this problem started, I replaced the poly-V belt, idler and bracket/tensioner. Idler bearing was shot, belt was old, bracket was bent etc.

    Other than that nothing in the power lift has been replaced/changed and it had run fine.

    Across the house, we're running the Brunswick brown/black pneumatic tire 53-520060-000 in both lower and upper hubs.

    I replaced the tires, as one of them had a 1-inch crack. The problem became worse with the new tires. Kind of expected. Except now 1 ball would seize the lift.

    I replaced the 1/4HP Century motor (guessing original, and no known recent rebuild history, probably was rebuilt at least during our remodel 16 years ago when we installed synthetics and new pinspotters). Figured it was getting tired. Old motor had some bearing noise. New motor is a Baldor Reliance 1/4HP. New motor didn't fix the problem.

    I rebuilt the lower hub. No clutch on that one, and none visible across the house. All are running the same bearings/shaft as the upper hub. In the shop, a pile of newer and older clutches that the previous lead mechanic had removed I guess when finding the magic combination. I decided to try a clutch. Clutch is installed correctly for proper rotation. That didn't fix the problem.

    C-tracks were a combination of the brown flexible track on one side, hard red non-flexible urethane on the other. Replaced one of the two red tracks with brown. Pressure was reduced, but balls still seize up. Replaced the second red track with brown. Pressure further reduced but still seizing.

    Rebuilt the upper hub. The one that was in there seemed fine, a tiny bit of play in the bearings but still smooth and quiet. That didn't fix the problem.

    Shimmed the frame on one side to increase spacing. Pressure further reduced but still seizing.

    Found a smorgasbord of tires in the shop. Tried one black V-tire on the lower hub. Balls made it through, although slowed down to almost seizing around halfway through when reaching the black/brown tire.

    Replaced upper tire with black V-tire as well.

    Single balls go through now, and the lift appears to operate as it normally would.

    Two balls can go through, albeit very slowly once the second ball enters the lift.

    Two heavy balls in the lift at the same time will seize the lift. No belt slippage, everything comes to a stop.


    Everything involved in the mechanical operation of the lift is new at this point. I measured the frame width and it is comparable to other lifts across the house. The only thing left on my checklist is to try a 1/3HP motor, but unfortunately we don't have any on hand.

  • #2
    You mention the HP but not the speed of the motors. If you are running a 1725 motor with a motor sheave made for an 1140 motor you will have too much speed and not enough torque. If that isn't your problem shim the other side of the frame. Some mechanics always shim both sides of the frame equally. I add one washer to one side then one to the other side so they are never more than the thickness of one washer from equal.

    The clutches are needed if the balls arrive too fast at the power lift. I see from your profile you have AMF pinspotters so I have no clue how fast your balls move. If they are slow enough you may not need clutches.


    • #3
      Forgive my ignorance, but what is the LS series power lift? I know Gold Crown, Astro, System 2000 and Framworx, not LS.

      Assuming its essentially a Gold Crown or similar, you can remove the top most brace. It's not required and is a safety hazard. It will also allow the upper portion of the lift to spread as needed.

      I'm stuck on when you say no belt slipage; you're saying even with the new motor the motor is stopping with the lift? That sounds like you have a tremendous amount of belt tension. If you have the poly V belt conversion and tensioner there shouldn't be that much tension that the belt could stop the motor.

      In situations where the belt slipps on the hub pulleys, a common problem is with poor tracking you eventually lose the fine etched grooves on the hub pulleys which causes a loss of traction. Aside from sanding them rough or machining them, some techs glue gasket material to them.
      Factory & Converted A-2 (US, Ger, Jap)
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      • #4
        Sorry - the Brunswick nameplate on the side of the frame says "Model LS". They are Gold Crown power lifts.

        The sheave on the new motor is the same as the sheave on the motor that was pulled and same as used across the house. 1-5/16" diameter. Motors are 1140RPM 1/4HP.


        • #5
          I had same problem. New equipment (balls) sometimes will cause this. I agree with Kanga scrap the top bracket or shim it way more until pressure is reduced. My preference is go-kart tire on top and orange V-tire on bottom with the quality blue C-tracks and 4 washers of shim on each side


          • #6
            I didn't have much luck shimming out the frame as suggested, heavier balls started slipping on the tires once they got oily. My coworker found another old style Century motor here in the shop and replaced the Baldor Reliance I had installed. It had no trouble lifting the balls, but then it shorted out. The wires inside were all cracked due to age. New motor arriving today!


            • #7
              Having the same issue with two of my power lifts here. Adding gator tape to the two outer wheels and it's helped a little. still slowing up with two 16 lb'ers in the track at the same time. both of the brackets are welded onto the powerlifts so i don't think shimming is an option?


              • #8
                Originally posted by Radloffuf27 View Post
                Having the same issue with two of my power lifts here. Adding gator tape to the two outer wheels and it's helped a little. still slowing up with two 16 lb'ers in the track at the same time. both of the brackets are welded onto the powerlifts so i don't think shimming is an option?
                You could pull the power lift out, cut the weld, and reinstall the bolts. Or you could experiment with different types of tires. If the lift turns too hard with balls in it you might try the old golf cart tires top and bottom.


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