Al's Garage is a rare pinball made by Alvin G in 1992. The company was short lived (1991-1994). Parts are hard to find. General knowledge of this game is scant. When this came to our shop we almost turned it down. It turned out to be a difficult repair that had the risk of not being completed. Unfinished repairs are very costly for us.
The service notes below explain most of this repair project. Check the pictures for more info.
The cabinet issues: The front lock bar was stuck, had to lift front right cabinet corner to get the glass off. The playfield was hanging inside the cabinet, wedged in place. The left rear playfield support bracket/hinge had pulled the screws out of the wall. Rigged ropes to lift the playfield up without breaking anything, then repaired the rear bracket. Put longer screws on both rear brackets. The bottom of the cabinet had broken playfield glass everywhere. The cabinet was loose and would wiggle like a belly dancer. The right front leg had to be lifted an inch for the cabinet to twist into place so the glass would line up to put the lock-bar on. We lifted the right leg to "straight mode" then installed wood triangle blocks on the lower inside cabinet, sides and rear. These braces are in all pinball games. These were glued and nail-gunned then dried for 2 days. Now the cabinet is very firm with only the normal twist expected. The safety latch on the back of the backbox was missing. The backbox bolts were missing. The backbox T-nuts were stripped, replaced them, installed new bolts and safety latch. Two of the legs had frozen/rusted levelers, one was badly stripped, re-tapped it's threads. Cleaned the legs in surfactant solvent and oiled them. The backbox light panel was hanging down, replaced some hinge screws. Backbox glass lock and lock-plate were missing. Replaced it with a Williams style.
Power supply issues: The game would run for 1 minute then reset or lockup, mainly when the flippers or the shooter lane coil were energized. The 5 volt regulator (LM350) was running very hot. Replaced the regulator and the problem went away. It still ran very hot. After a few hours it failed again. Looking at the circuit - a 16 volt filter cap for an unregulated 10 vdc input, really? A 4 amp bridge rectifier for a 5 amp circuit? Replaced the 15k uf 16vdc cap with a 35 volt, had to modify the regulator heat-sink to make it fit. Replaced the 4 amp in-line bridge with a 10 amp VJ248 with a heat-sink. Installed a 120mm 12 v cooling fan (slow/quit type) under the power supply, pulls air from the bottom cabinet. Now the game plays all day but the regulator is still too hot. Found the cabinet transformer was wired for 110 volt line voltage. Re-wired the adapter plug for 120 volt operation. This was running everything in the pinball about 10% too high. Now the regulator is o.k., a little hotter than it should be. In my opinion this power supply is insufficient on the 5 volt circuit. We tested this 48hrs at 4.92v running with all glass on and the door closed, 82 degree room.
Other Issues: The game would end prematurely, with a ball still on the playfield. Found the ball trough assembly was missing 2 of the 3 wire-forms on the switches. These are impossible to find. Hand made them from piano wire, made a soft iron wire prototype first, then did the bends on the hard wire. Please note, these wire-forms were missing completely. No broken pieces in the cabinet or trough assembly, just missing. There was no pattern to make these from. They are different from the remaining wire-form.
Both VUK (Vertical Up Kickers) were inop. The ring shaped wire-forms were getting stuck in the down position. Lubricated the wire-form, it is a goofy design that pushes a wire straight down onto a 1" blade sub-microswitch. Replaced 1" with a 4" blade switch. The long switch has a stronger spring to push the wire-form back up. Just cut the 4" blade to 1".
The Sound Volume would drop down to nothing while playing the game. This turned out to be caused by 2 stuck switches. The "Tour O" and the right drain switch were both stuck, intermittently. If the ball goes into the lower right VUK and kicks it out the sound goes down. Sometimes a little, sometimes all the way. Replaced the drain switch, adjusted the "O" target and it works (hair falling out...).
The Playfield was disassembled, cleaned, waxed and rubber-ed. Bulbs replaced as needed. Cabinet vacuumed. Locks replaced. Game tested.
During testing the metal cap fell off the shooter coil plunger. The cap was rigged/hammered in place by someone else. Brazed it back on.