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Ball return Help


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  • Ball return Help

    Hello all, I am confounded!!
    In brief:
    Ball idles in & out of ball hole. All kickers, no PBL's. Ball will not go all the way in to the lift belt. Paddle pushes ball back out, kicker rolls it back in but not far enough.

    I have replaced all new items; segments (both),
    fillers (front & rear), kicker w/new rollers, centered!!!! , ball lift height.
    What am I missing??
    Any thing with the backends? bubble level?? tilted??
    What else could it be to get the ball into lift belt. With a little push, ball will return.
    Thanks in advance
    If its SIMS, its only a game.
    Just hit reset.

  • #2
    Re: Ball return Help

    1. Check the ball lift height. Raise it by the rubber bumpers.

    2. Check the starter pad to see if it is sticking out too far in the ball exit. The stop on the pad rests against the lift rod cover and it could be wore allowing the starter pad to come too far into the exit. Shim the pad in by gluing a bumper to the metal pad that sits against the lift rod cover.


    • #3
      Re: Ball return Help

      Probably the bushings are worn in your starter unit. Also the starter arm is probably slotted and the long ¼” bolt is worn.



      • #4
        Re: Ball return Help

        a Mickey Mouse Method: the problem is the starter pad is sticking out too far. the solution is to place some thin shims of wood or some cardboard wrapped in duct tape between the starter pad arm, and where it rests behind the even lane ball lift rail.


        • #5
          Re: Ball return Help

          I'm voting for raising the bumpers too...when leagues start, I watch practice and see who's balls are 'flotaing' in the hole....I'll tweak the bumper up or down depending on what the ball does. The belt should just touch the ball when it is sitting in the exit. I've noticed that if the belt is too low, lighter-smaller balls will not have enough ooomph to get in under it. The only ball calls I ever have on league nights are a single lane with a carpet and bounce plate that need to be replaced
          Failed safety course.Question #1:In case of fire what steps do you take? Apparently 'Friggin long ones!" is the wrong answer.


          • #6
            Re: Ball return Help

            We also go in and scuff up the rooftops and starter pads with a little sandpaper once a week or so. At the same time we inspect filler plates for loose bolts and wipe everything down with a little alcohol
            Failed safety course.Question #1:In case of fire what steps do you take? Apparently 'Friggin long ones!" is the wrong answer.


            • #7
              Re: Ball return Help

              Also check if the starter pad is centered. If it's to close to the filler pad it cant be depressed very easy as it will hit the filler pad on the way down. The tention on the kickers might need to be increased. If the paddle is catching the ball before it can fully enter the exit. You might want to put in reduction pulley's. Give the ball ALOT more time to enter.

              This is things to look at if it isnt the height of the belt causing the problem.
              Even a old dog can bury a bone


              • #8
                Re: Ball return Help

                Being that you say the ball goes in and then gets batted out by the paddle is telling me your kickers aren't getting enough pressure to "kick" the ball in. We rubber cement small strips of distributor belt to the saddle legs to allow more pressure on the ball and allow the kicker to better "kick" the ball into the lift. Very often for us, when we get that call it is because one of those pieces we glue on fell off. I would definitely give it a try if you have done what the other mechanics here have recommended.


                • #9
                  Re: Ball return Help

                  Some of our machines were installed so poorly that they are too close/too far apart, or higher/lower... lining up the exits very close is damn near impossible.

                  A few tricks we have used:

                  Got rid of the 'ramp' rubber in the lift saddle, and installed a piece of ball lift belt in it's place (using short screws and contact cement on the v of the belt to secure it in the saddle). It makes a much wider and softer gripping area to get the ball into the lift.

                  Use good kickers... if they are worn down or oily, they won't pull worth a damn. Ed has a good one, as does Vantage (the red blaster works good, but they have to be kept pretty clean or they'll slip). I've found that oblong kickers seem to work a little better on our machines than round ones... I think it lets the ball slip a little farther behind the kicker when the 'flats' come around, so it can get a better pinch on the ball and push it in.

                  Make sure the filler pad is centered and tight, and that the starter pad is secured so it can't slip.

                  Use a turnbuckle/spring/chain mod to allow for finer adjustment of the kicker tension.

                  Use fatter tube on the lower part of the lift rails... it won't help pull the ball in faster, but it shortens the time that it sits under the lift before it's grabbed and rolled up the rails.

                  Some machines seem to pull better when we added a piece of carpet, glued to the bracket under the ball exit to add a small amount of height to the carpet where the ball rolls into the lift... we also added a 1/4" shim to the opposite side of the bounceplate... it gives a bit more 'tilt' to push the ball toward the exit.

                  No matter how you slice it, kickers are finicky animals, which is why most houses get rid of them... the rest of us either keep grumbling curses and pulling off magic tricks to keep the balls exiting, or the pinchasers get very good at pushing balls out with a pin hook.
                  <span style="font-style: italic">Educatio est omnium efficacissima forma rebellionis</span>


                  • #10
                    Re: Ball return Help

                    You could use a more kicker-friendly lane oil.


                    • #11
                      Re: Ball return Help

                      I know nothing about kickers, but i thought maybe your carpets were getting shot on the edges.
                      The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.


                      • #12
                        Re: Ball return Help

                        Make sure your rudder shock is good.Is this happening with all balls or just light ones?The most ignored area is the starter pad assy. Take it out and clean and lube it.Put a new bracket on it or a new pad. We remove ours every 5 years or so just to make sure everything is in good shape. Its really an easy task but most places ive been to dont do that. We are using red footballs from Amf and the majority of our kickers have 1 spring on them.You should never have to use a turnbuckle and chain on them all that will do is have you going through belts like crazy.We change the kicker belts every year I havent had 1 break in a long time. this is my opinion only but its worked very well for me for years.good luck.PS. to add too monkeys wise suggestion be sure your bounceplate is secure.


                        • #13
                          Re: Ball return Help

                          In addition to all the other suggestions, check to see if the bounce plate ass'y is at the proper height. Sometimes you need to put a couple washers under each vibration dampener on the ball door side only, to raise the bounce plate so the ball is being brought horizontally into the door, beacause if the bounce plate is too low, the kicker must "lift" the ball into the door. This lifting not only puts more stress on the kicker and shortens its life, but can also exaggerate any other problem(s) that may exist.

                          Percentage wise, how much of the ball goes into the door before it gets stuck ? Does it even touch the starter pad ? Does the ball spin when it is stuck or does it sit still ?

                          Let us know.


                          • #14
                            Re: Ball return Help

                            Make sure you use the grey AMF starter pads which are made of rubber, which is more flexible. The harder urethane ones are less forgiving. You can also try adding a thin spacer to your rear filler bumpers to bring your kickers back a bit to allow the ball to get in better. Just some small suggestions [img]/content/btubb/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif[/img]


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