I keep a log of all my pinball repairs. This way I can go back and see when I replaced a part, or leave little notes for myself about how to dismantle things, or fix them, etc. etc. etc.
Back in May of 2011 I replaced all of the nylon sleeves on every coil in the machine. This was a great repair for a few reasons: 1) I really got to know the underside of my machine, because I had to remove every single coil 2) it was fairly cheap to get all of the sleeves, but it really made the whole game run a lot more smoothly - I highly recommend this repair if you own a machine! 3) it also helped me catch a few coils that were starting to swell. When a solenoid swells, that means it's getting close to dying, which can lock up the shaft, which can then fry circuits in the backbox. It's bad news!
The two coils I found that were in bad shape were the tower diverter and the left flipper. The tower coil had already burned through its paper covering so I replaced it right away. The left flipper seemed okay, so I left it alone and made a note to myself in my repair log to keep an eye on it.
So three years later, the coil finally seized up. Luckily I remembered that it was in bad shape and was able to shut the machine off before it fried anything upstairs. I decided to just go whole hog and rebuild both flippers, since I had never done that with this machine. I also ordered some other parts from Marcos to check off some "to-do" items from my repair log.
On a day when I was burnt out from traveling, I decided to do all my repairs. It had been a while since I had gone "under the hood." I remember thinking, "Here goes nothing!"
The first thing I did was replace the left troll housing. I had to take this off once to fix the switch behind the left troll and it was almost impossible! A previous owner had done some sort of spot weld on the bottom ridge of the bracket, which had messed up the threads in the bottom attachment. It literally took a hammer to get this thing off the solenoid rod! On the right, you can see the new, clean bracket with all the troll hardware moved over. This may seem like a lot of work for something that doesn't get used very often, but I'd rather just have the right part in there, so that future repairs are easier to make.
Here you can see the old (dead) flipper coil. This is only one of many pictures that I took, so that I would have some reference when putting the new coil back together. I wanted to make sure all the parts were facing the right direction and that all the wires got soldered back on in the right place.
Here is a photo after I replaced the left flipper, but before I replaced the right one. I guess I could have left the right one until it failed, but it seemed like a good idea to just replace them both. It was really cool, I was able to go into the diagnostics and see how many flips each flipper had flipped. The left flipper had 1,503,993 flips and the right flipper had 840,717. I'm not sure if the flippers had ever been rebuilt. You're supposed to do it every 500,000 flips or so.
I got the flippers back on and cleaned the playfield. My machine has never played better!