The Shadow pinball machine repair guide

The Shadow Pinball Machine Repair Guide

Unfortunately, The Shadow suffers from quite a few niggling little problems. The aim of this guide is to familiarise you on how to keep this superb game running with the least amount of problems.

As in our other guides, this is not the work you should be expected to encounter after purchasing one of our games, it is for customers who have bought their game from elsewhere – you’ll know for next time!!


The Battlefield

The main problem with the Battlefield is the motor pinion that drives the ‘Coil/Slide assembly’.

When Shadows were released, the pinion was made out of nylon, which usually breaks. To repair this, you need to order the ‘Shadow pinion repair kit’ which consists of a brass pinion and all relevant fittings.

Other problems are the two coil slide shafts (P/N 02-4947), these are intended to run dry! However, technicians over the years seem to have liked lubricating these, this works well in the early days, until the heat of the machine dries out the oil and turns it into sticky gunk! SOLUTION – clean the shafts with any solvent.

Finally, the wires attaching to the solenoid (AE-25-1000) will break with years of left/right movement. You can either pull a few more inches out of the wiring loom to enable you to cut out the broken part, or cut out the damaged wire and use a terminal connecting block and attach new wire from the machine to the coil. Either way you should use a cable tie to firmly attach the wire around the body of the solenoid.

Ball lock and magnet

This is by far the most troublesome part of this game

The main problem is that for some god-unknown reason the micro-switches (Switch’s #63, 64 & 65), appear to become more resistant to the weight of the pinballs.

This results in the magnet throwing the ball into the lock but unfortunately they are not heavy enough to activate the micro-switches, this causes the balls to stick on the switches. Unfortunately, this causes the machine to think that the wall target assy. has become faulty, therefore marking it as bad and disabling it.

The solution to this problem is to lift the playfield up and rest it against the backbox, then locate the switches under the playfield (with the game turned off). With long-nosed pliers adjust the micro-switch arms, so that only a tiny amount of pressure is require to activate the micro-switch. Then using switch edges test (T.1) place the balls in the lock and test all the switches and ensure that they no-longer present too much resistance to allow the ball to pass.

Magnet – A huge oversight by Williams/Bally on this one? They must have realised that the playfield directly above the magnet would wear, but they omitted to cover it with mylar. This permits the playfield paint and wood to wear away, leaving a huge crater that the ball sticks in, again confusing the game into thinking that the wall target assy. has failed.

Sadly, the only solution is to use car body filler to fill the hole. Carefully sand down the excess and then paint over the filler, finally cover the repair with mylar. Usually, the mylar half circles supplied with a new game for in front of the slingshots is still inside the game, cut one of these down and cover the repaired area.

Magnetised balls

In some cases (depending on the materials used to make the ball bearings) the balls can become magnetised, this can cause the balls to stick in the ball trough.

Solutions – replace the balls with the proper Williams/Bally part and/or replace the trough for one of our modified ball troughs which significantly reduces stuck balls (Part # HM-001), we can supply our modified trough on an advance replacement basis from stock.

Phurba ramp divertors

These are only really subject to the grubscrews (P/N 4010-01186-04) working loose and the springs (P/N 10-320) breaking.

Best solution – use a flipper end stop bolt (P/N 4010-01066-06, which you can get a lot more torque on) instead of the grubscrew. With the age of the game now, the ‘crank arm assys’ (P/N A-18983) are showing signs of age, the part where the arm is joined to the solenoid armature (02-5135) is becoming prone to getting very worn and will break.


Shadow was originally fitted with the older style flipper ‘opto’ boards (black plastic opto interrupts), which can be unreliable. They are prone to getting dirt on the opto lenses and this causes a distortion to the infrared opto beam – keep the opto clean (switch off and squirt with glass cleaner and clean with a toothbrush every 6-12 months) The flipper bushings (P/N 03-7568) are frequently found broken, this will reduce the games’ play-ability if left.

Extended wall target assy

Due to a very poor design, this unit suffers badly from wear.

Basically, the target guide (not given a part number, but between item numbers 17 & 19 on page 2-23 of the manual) works loose.

Remove the coil (P/N 23-800), target (P/N 03-9210), bracket-bushing assy (P/N A-18778). Place the target guide face down on a brick or other hard surface and with the coil mounting side facing you, hit the exposed back part of the guide with a punch and hammer to spread the metal and therefore re-riveting the guide.

When the target fails to rise and latch (the machine will try 3 or 4 times to lift the target before giving up), the bracket pivot assy (P/N A-18778) and the bracket and plunger assy (P/N A-18752) are worn.

No unauthorised reproduction of this article is permitted without the written permission of Pinball Heaven.

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