So, initial impression… This machine was not loved. This machine was out making someone money.
The thrashed playfield, mismatched rubbers, patched Mylar films around the pop bumpers, and plethora of blown lamps say that money was spent on maintaining this thing only to the degree required to keep quarters flowing into the coin box.
On top of that treatment, it was then stored in a fabulously dusty environment for years. Glass top or not, in a body shop dust is going to get everywhere.
With all that in mind there was really only one path forward. Competely tearing down the playfield elements and building it back up with every last part replaced or thoroughly cleaned.
I spent several hours removing almost everything above the wood on the playfield. I made an effort to meticulously photograph and bag parts in logical groups to keep everything organized, to avoid making myself a basket case by taking it all apart without documentation.
Once the playfield parts were removed I cleaned the entire thing, and then applied several coats of wax to protect the wood and art that remained and provide a smooth surface for play.
Reassembly went far more slowly than take down, as even the effort spent photographing and grouping parts as they were removed was not enough to completely avoid confusion. I also spent way too much time on those little red star posts with a nylon brush, as they have a ton of little spaces that attract wax residue, deposits from sparking switches, and metal dust from electromechanical mechanisms.
Progress so far is good though, with roughly half of the playfield repopulated. I swapped out the pop bumper caps for new transparent parts since I liked the look of them, and the originals are not reproduced so I’d rather not place them back in harms way. Also planning on doing the same for the original opaque upper lane dividers so I can get a consistent look going throughout the machine.
Still have yet to dive into the electronics, aside from testing the scoring displays in another System 9 machine I was working on a while back. Enough of the displays are damaged that a new LED based setup will be coming, and the power supply is another likely candidate for replacement. The System 9 main board itself will be repaired by yours truly when the time comes, as reproductions are non-existent, and working examples can set one back nearly as much as an entire machine would.
See the full gallery below for all of the reference pictures I took as I was disassembling the playfield: