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  • Looking at a new center!

    Hey everybody! So my father and I are looking at buying a Bowling Center, he is a manager at a 46 lane house right now and I've been working there for as long as I can remember. So, the problem is, the place has been sitting empty for about a year, and it has 82-30s, and I have been around Brunswick A's all my life. We're going over tomorrow to take a look at the whole place, anything to check out on the pinspotters or to look for in particular? My father has been there once and said all but two of the machines came on (24 Lane House) but didn't get much beyond that. I know next to nothing about AMF Pinspotters and we will be getting a guy over who knows AMF machines in the next few weeks, we just want to get a feel for them until we can get him over. Any help you guys can give is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Post some pics, that helps us judge their condition. Rule of thumb, if they are clean, they were well cared for by the last mechanic.
    Dirty 30s show a lack of interest and a 'Just keep them running' attitude.

    Also let us know...
    -what type of chassis they have? (pics will help us ID them for you). The chassis (brain) controls everything on an AMF.
    -What type of ball lift? (again, pics help us help you), vertical or the 70s style lift.
    -Magnetic pinwheel clutch or toggles? (toggles are a little finger that holds the pin in the pinwheel)
    -sweep (rake) movement smooth or jerky?
    -Smooth spotting action?
    -respot cells picking up all pins?
    -general condition?

    The 8230 is a wonderful machine. Easy to learn and maintain. Definitely bowl on them, watch the distributor as it runs around the track, look for mis-feeds. If a 30 mis-feeds, it poops pins on the deck.
    After sitting for a year, they may be a little cranky to re-fire and perform well, but worry not, they are easy to get going again.

    Going from Brunswick to AMF.... throw away all your big hammers and buy yourself a really good multimeter. While the A2 is a very mechanical machine, AMF's are very electrical in nature. A flaky switch or a bad crimp at a terminal, can cost you hours of !!!
    Lucky for you... there are many 8230 guys here on BT ready to help you get them back to 100%.

    Good Luck,
    We leave our greatest mark on this earth with the quality of our craftsmanship.


    • #3
      There are plenty of folks on here with expierence on the old 30s. They CAN be made to run as well as any other machines. Previous maintenence will be a plus, but don't expect it. If you buy the center, get a few cans of WD40 as the respot cells will need it to get them loose again, and OIL every joint that you can get to. The machines may not run well at first, but they should run better as they loosen up. Ask questions and post pics and we can help you guys out.
      Gene Simmons for president!!!


      • #4
        Thank you guys! I will be going over there in the afternoon tomorrow and I will be sure to take plenty of pictures, and throw at least a few balls on each machine. I'll post everything tomorrow afternoon-ish, also luckily I'm a computer engineer with a little electrical engineering background so these should be easier for me than Brunswicks! Also I'm friends with one of the old pinchasers that worked at this center for a few years and he said the Head Mechanic took really good care of the machines, so that is a plus!


        • #5
          I had 30's one time and was told that it didn't matter how much money I put in them they would still have no value in the end. Parts are getting tougher to find and your fps are going to suffer in the long run unless you plan on upgrading. JMHO

          David Bolt
          Champaign, IL
          USBC Silver Coach
          IBPSIA BOD
          IBPSIA Advanced
          Technical Certified
          Pro Shops


          • #6
            Originally posted by Drillmn300 View Post
            I had 30's one time and was told that it didn't matter how much money I put in them they would still have no value in the end. Parts are getting tougher to find and your fps are going to suffer in the long run unless you plan on upgrading. JMHO
            Okay I will keep that in mind! I should also mention I haven't been to the bowling alley yet, so I'm just going off second hand information here, for all I know they could be 82-70s in there! My father checked the place out a little bit but he knows even less about AMF machines than I do (he went to Brunswick mechanic and Management schools, and managed a few Brunswick houses... he's a Brunswick guy at heart )


            • #7
              Drill is right to an extent, no matter how much money you put into 30s they will not go up in value if they are not setting pins up and you have bowlers knocking them down. But if maintained, they can set pins up for bowlers just fine. BTW, when Drill pulled his 30s out, I got LOTS of parts from them. The parts that I bought are all alive and working just fine. To keep the 30s running, you will need to go out and find centers that are either closing or updating to newer machines. But they CAN be kept running, but finding complete machines is much cheaper than trying to find specific parts when you need them.
              Look at the chassis. The best upgrade by far is the Omega Tek chassis conversion. If you have a stepper chassis giving trouble and you can't fix it, convert it. The conversion is very easy to do, but the first time is intimidating.
              Gene Simmons for president!!!


              • #8
                It takes way more man hours to maintain a 30 vs a 70

                And the pinchaser has to be much higher skilled on a 30 vs a 70


                • #9
                  yeah I'm sure, unfortunately we wont' have the money to upgrade the pinsetters to 82-70s or anything newer haha, but I went there today, took some pictures, unfortunately my phone died half way through so I didn't get to take as many as I wanted, I will be posting them shortly, and I will be going back later this week once we get the AMF Boss Passwords to log in, to see if everything is still working


                  • #10
                    I somewhat disagree with the above statements.
                    At recent auctions I've been to... 82-70s went for $150 each!! (and they just took some parts and left the rest for someone else to haul off.)
                    So, holding value really isn't the issue here. Getting the machines to a reliable condition is the real concern.

                    Take for instance Ken-Cliff Lanes. When his 30s arrived they were barely more than scrap. Most here wouldn't have touched them. With a bit of detication and a chit-ton of elbow grease, they run better than some 70s I've seen (cleaner too!). Glen keeps a sharp eye out for centers replacing their 30s and now has a handy stockpile of parts. Many parts are dirt cheap or free (if you go get them).

                    I took over an 8230 house in Oregon, who's 30s had suffered 10 years of 'just keep 'em running' attitude. Duct tape and bailing wire holding them together. Gobs of grease on the sweep brakes, hacked wiring, dirt and filth everywhere. After only three months of intense labor and roughly $500/machine, I had them singing a pretty tune. No more misfeeds, double feeds, broken dizzy tracks, fall over spots, or re-spots. If it weren't for the kickers, I'd have had no calls at all!

                    Can we say the same things about the Brunswick A? Too expensive to repair, too old, never will be reliable or valuable...ect. I think not.
                    Any pinspotter/pinsetter is just as good as the mechanic who works on them. A low FPS (on any type of machine) says one of two things to me, a so-so mechanic, or an owner who won't let go the purse strings to replace worn parts.

                    Sure, I love my 90XL's, they run great. But, if I had a house full of 8230s.... they'd run great too.

                    We leave our greatest mark on this earth with the quality of our craftsmanship.


                    • #11
                      Well said Pincup!! BRAVO!! My 30s run Omega chassis, PBLs, and clutches on the pinwheel. When I got my center in 2002, they were just barely installed. Most of the time they stood the pins up and sent the balls back. I had 3 machines that if you wanted to use them you had to go turn them on in the back, bad switch up front, mask switch off, wire in the wrong spot in the J box. Just all kinds of stupid stuff. My 30s run better than most 70s that I have seen, but as PinCup said, it comes down to how good (dedicated) at keeping them in proper working order.
                      Gene Simmons for president!!!


                      • #12
                        ^^^ Yeah. Whut toon30s said about what Pincup said. I've bought a ton of parts off machines [which were then headed to the dump] which looked 110% better than what was unloaded on my parking lot. I started with such crap as baling wire instead of X washers, rubber bands instead of springs on the distributors, broken bounceplates, tables in such bad shape I ditched 'em for better ones, and that's just the short list. Even my masks were a big challenge, having come right off a junk heap. My stops are so insignificant now I don't bother keeping up with such stuff. Was it easy? NO Was it worth it? To me, YES - but there was the bigger goal of opening a completely working retro bowling alley. (I do not call this place a 'center'). Even the Kickers work great now. It does take some $$ to get abused/neglected machines back in dependable operation. And it takes time & patience. The payoff is well worth the effort.

                        Omega-Tek chassis upgrades are money definitely well spent.

                        Based on personal observations, there's not much of any used bowling equipment that has anything near good 'market value'. Chances are, I'd have to just pay somebody to haul mine away should I close or upgrade. Auctions are a good indicator of the old 'willing buyer-willing seller' scenario. The true value is had when the equipment runs and bowlers aren't constantly waiting for somebody to fix something.

                        Looking forward to seeing your pix, MikeN300! If your 'spotters were well maintained, you're way ahead already.


                        • #13
                          Okay everybody, here is the few shots and video I got before my phone died, I was going to go back today but we ended up getting a hit a little harder by the Hurricane than we originally thought so we were out all day getting ready for that, I'm hoping to head back over there tomorrow or the next day, so if there is anything more specific you would like pictures/video of, just let me know, and I appreciate everybodies help! We couldn't get into the BOSS system at the desk (we didn't have the UserID and PW) so we had to use the switches at the desk to turn on the pinsetters, and not all of them worked, so there were a few machines that wouldn't go on. Also there is a few machines that had the rake down and forward, not sure if thats a bad thing or how they were left when they closed the place up, we couldn't get those machines on so we couldn't tell. Also the Video is of Lane 2, I threw a game on it and it seemed to run really well, also they are really quiet... at least coming from Brunswicks let me know what you guys think!


                          • #14

                            And if I am not mistaken those are 4400 chassis, wow these are real treasures!

                            This pic here is interesting. Here you see each machine has a 4400 chassis then in between them are two more chassis, they look like 5850 or 6525 chassis or maybe for pindication?

                            Also in this pic, can you take closeup of those plywood things hanging from the ceiling near the curtain wall to see what is mounted on them? I think I see something interesting but can't really tell, looks like it might be a Sparemaker chassis.

                            Judging from the video they look like they are in very good shape and run nicely and quiet, a giant plus. Personally, I would love to see long videos of operation from the front (bowler view) and back as well as more of the chassis and vertical ball lift.

                            Those are some real rare classics you got there, that is so awesome..... I love these things!
                            Last edited by Tablejam; 10-30-2012, 12:20 AM.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tablejam View Post
                              OMG VERTICAL BALL LIFTS AND CLOSED PINWHEELS!!!

                              And if I am not mistaken those are 4400 chassis, wow these are real treasures!

                              This pic here is interesting. Here you see each machine has a 4400 chassis then in between them are two more chassis, they look like 5850 or 6525 chassis or maybe for pindication?

                              The 2 chassis between machines are Sparemaker. These look the same as at old K-C, except those had 5850 chassis.

                              Amazing looking place!! Are those above ground ball returns I saw in the video?


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