It is, of course, very fitting that I have a pinball machine with working Ferris wheels. I should say had working Ferris wheels. The drive belt was slipping and the belt tensioner had even been modified to stretch the belt even further out than originally designed.
Why would someone do that rather than replace the belt? Well, as I have discovered, it is because it requires breaking down most of the playfield to do the job properly. The Ferris wheel assembly was not designed with servicing in mind. It wouldn’t have been that hard to have it attached from the bottom of the playfield so you could drop it right out, but that’s not how they did it.
So time to shop it out. This is one of the trickier teardowns I’ve done, so I’m documenting my progress for anyone else who is going to attempt this. Also taking reference photos for re-assembly that I’m not posting here.
Now that the belt is replaced. I’ll probably remove and replace playfield plastics one at a time to replace all the rubbers, and also get that center steel ramp out of my way. I’ll be able to reach 99% of the playfield this way, so I don’t think I need to do a full disassembly.
I had already filled and sanded the small dings on the playfield with JB Weld Kwikwood, but now I’ll use some touch-up paint on those spots. I did a full LED conversion about 6 months ago, so that’s already done. I did find new slingshot plastics online, so I might buy just bought those as the left clown is a bit messed up. There are a couple other plastics I’d like to replace, but I can’t find them, so repairing and flattening them will have to do. But all that is for another day.