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Playfield swaps/restorations can be a daunting task to the beginner.  But if the process if documented correctly, *anyone* can do it.  My way is the following -

Starting on the top of the playfield start removing parts. 

  1. Take a digital picture of the part BEFORE it is removed from the playfield. 

  2. Once the piece is removed, write down what was removed, how many and what kind of screws/bolts/nuts/washers were used.  If a connector is diconnected to remove the piece, label BOTH sides of the connector with a letter and make a note of the letter used. 

  3. Place the items removed into a Ziploc bag and number the bag with a Sharpie to correspond with the number that was written down in the previous step.  If the piece is too big (like a ramp), place it in a large plastic storage box and place it's screws/bolts into a bag.

You should end up with lots of bags that look like this ...


... and a parts box that looks like this.  I store all of the plastic bags inside a cardboard box.  The entire contents of the playfield is stored neatly in one container, with the wiring harness to be removed later.  This is great if the playfield is being sent off to get clearcoated as you won't have to worry about losing parts while it's gone.

Once the top of the playfield has been stripped, the wiring harness from the playfield into the backbox must be disconnected.  There are two looms of wire that go into the backbox - one from the playfield and one from the cabinet.  Identify which is from the playfield.  As you remove the connectors from the circuit boards, use a sharpie and write the number of the board connector (like 101,203, 906, etc) on the side of the wire connector.

After the entire loom has been disconnected from the backbox, remove the playfield from the cabinet and place it face down on a packing blanket or towels.  Remove any parts NOT connected to the wiring harness (playfield slides), continuing to use the same list procedure from the top of the playfield.

Everything should now be removed expect for the wiring harness.  There will be three type of screws you will remove - 

  1. Machine screws, which are used for larger assemblies. 

  2. Silver hex head wood screws, used on a majority of the parts. 

  3. Gold hex head wood screws, used mostly on lamp sockets.

Note that the gold screws are SHORTER than the silver ones.  Do NOT use the wrong length screw when reassembling the harness or the screw WILL poke through the top of the playfield.  If you are unsure of what screws will go where, mark EVERY screw hole as you remove the screw using a different colored marker for each type.

With all the screws removed, the harness should still be sitting loose on the back of the playfield.


Using a thin board (or thick cardboard) cut slightly larger than the playfield itself, begin sliding it under the harness, lifting up parts and placing them onto the board.  Don't worry about keeping everything in its exact place.  It will be fairly obvious where everything goes when you put the harness back onto the playfield.


When you are done, the harness should be completely on the board.  You now only need to remove the few items left on the playfield, like pop bumper studs.  At this point, the playfield may either be swapped with a new one or the existing one may be touched up and/or clearcoated.


While the playfield is being swapped/repaired, this is a good time to do things like flipper rebuilds and target/switch replacement.  Also, replace all the bulbs at this time.  It's much easier to work on the harness when it in this orientation instead of back in the cabinet.  You'll have a few week if you send the playfield off to be clearcoated, so use the time wisely.

After the playfield has been repaired/swapped, reverse the process above.  Slide the harness off the board and back onto the playfield.  Screw everything back onto the playfield, ensuring you are using the correct LENGTH screw for the piece you are installing.  It will start taking shape as you near the end of this step.


When installing the pop bumper studs back into the playfield, use an old leg bolt on the head of the stud as you hammer it back into the playfield.  You'll be less likely to damage the playfield with an errant hammer hit.  And if you clearcoated the playfield, the last thing you'd want to do is smack it with a hammer.


After the playfield is placed back into the cabinet for re-assembly, just go back up the list you made during disassembly.  It should go together fairly easily as everything is numbered.  Refer to the digital pictures you took for each step should you have a question on how a part is oriented.