What to look for when buying a Funhouse pinball machine?

 

Playfield Wear / Discoloration

The playfield on Funhouse seems to wear in the loops as well as around the downholes and where the ball lands when launched from the downhole. Although wear such as this can be touched up, it's a fair amount of work to have it done and can get costly. The Funhouse playfields also typically get discolored in the areas that are not mylared. If you can remove the mylar on the rest of the playfield, great, but the unmylared portion will be discolored.

You have a couple options here if you have or buy a Funhouse with a beat playfield: playfield repair and overlays.

Bill Davis or Playfield Renovations can fix your Funhouse playfield. It won't be fast or cheap, but the results are amazing. Here is an example of a Playfield Renovations Funhouse Playfield Repair job. Typically, the clearcoat alone is $200 and touchups are extra. Expect to spend 2-3 months or more waiting on the touchup and clear job. I've used both services in the past, and both are top notch companies who yield excellent results!

You can get a playfield overlay from Phoenix Arcade. Cost is $180 + S/H. Darin from Phoenix Arcade has an awesome product here, although some purists might say the overlay plays differently. Some of the game restorers actually install these overlays and clearcoat over them. My thought would be that the game would play the same as a clearcoated game, but of course, we don't know how a mylar overlay with clearcoat applied over top of it wears over time. It's definately a great way to save a worn playfield, though. Arcade Grafix has a playfield overlay, but I'd recommend staying away from it, it's an inferior product when compared to the Phoenix Arcade overlay, and Arcade Grafix has a bit of a shady past.

Darin has also mentioned he may produce complete reproduction Funhouse playfields in the future! What a great idea!

 

Cabinet Wear / Fade

This is pretty much a no-brainer. The cabinets fade pretty heavily in the reds. A funhouse with a nice, original red cabinet with no fade is difficult to find. It's even harder to find such a funhouse with no hasp holes on the front panel of the machine. You could touch this up with an airbrush or brush, depending on how bad it is, or just install reproduction sideart. Again, Phoenix Arcade is your best choice here. Reproduction cabinet artwork is $229 + S/H. Installation of this side art is not for the faint of heart, but isn't really that bad if you take your time and do your research. 

 

Broken Plastics

Broken plastics can get costly to replace, if you can even find them! Action Pinball has reproduction plastics by Alan Meyer, a whole set runs $150 for all 38 pieces. Alan Meyer's work is second to none, and the plastics are actually more durable than original. Ray @ Action Pinball is a great guy, and has a great product. 

 

Rudy Not Working

There are lots of moving pieces in Rudy's head. Typically, his jaw may stop opening and closing, his eyelids might stop working, so it looks like Rudy is asleep all the time, or his eyes might stop following the ball. Again, these are fixable, but can add up. The little coils that control the eyelids and eye movement are also difficult and sometimes costly to source. Your best bet here is to contact your pinball parts suppliers and ask if they have the pieces you need, a few of them show up every now and then.

 

Trapdoor not working

It can be hard to find pieces for the Trapdoor assy. Your best bet here is to contact your pinball parts suppliers and ask if they have the pieces you need, a few of them show up every now and then.

 

Ramps are broken

This is simple enough to grasp, the plastic ramps take a beating. You can buy high quality, reproduction ramps from Pinball Inc. These ramps are engineered to be stronger than the originals, yet retain their original crystal clear clarity, and don't interfere with any parts of the game. The STEPS ramp runs $119 and the main ramp $129. Whether you are installing the Pinball Inc ramps or have perfect originals, you should buy Cliffy's Ramp Protectors. At $55 a set, they are a bargain! Hand made, fit perfectly and Cliffy is one of the nicest, most helpful guys you'll ever meet in this hobby. Support his efforts and help him help us save more games! 

Outholes are blown out

This one is tough to fix. You can have your outholes fixed by Bill Davis or Playfield Renovations as part of a complete playfield reconditioning, or just buy Cliffy's protectors for the Eject Scoop ($20) and the Mirror Hole ($25). Heck, if you get your playfield reconditioned, you should install those anyways so your refurbished playfield looks as nice after a thousand games as it did the day you installed it!

Electronics Are missing or non-working

Replacing missing boards and displays can get expensive quickly! I'd rather have a game with non-working or faulty boards than a game with none. Almost all problems with boards can be repaired cost-effectively. For board repairs, I recommend Coin-Op Cauldron. If your displays are faulty or missing, you can always install Pin Led's for $240. Although the price is hefty, it's an entire replacement part that should not need replacement or service ever again. The US Distributor for Pin Led is Marco Specialties.

 

As you can see, the resources are out there to restore a dead Funhouse to a knockout. However, your average pinball collector may not care about a lot of this stuff, a faded, worn Funhouse can still be a fun, challenging game to play. Reconditioning a dead, worn game is typically more costly than just buying a nice used game in the long run. Keep that in mind.

If you are interested in purchasing a completely restored Funhouse, you do have options. If you want to go this route, drop me a line and I'll put you in touch with some great restorers who recondition pinballs for their living. Their work is second to none, but you will pay a price for that.

 

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Page last updated Wednesday June 13, 2007

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<johnwartjr@johnwartjr.com>