Gottlieb EM Broken drop target

One of the drop targets were broken on my El Dorado pinball game.  I looked online and really didn’t find too many sites regarding how to replace a single drop target.  At the time of this post, I didn’t want to buy new drop targets or rebuild the whole unit.  I just simply wanted to fix one drop target.

Here are the steps that I took in order to complete that goal.

  1. I took the playfield out of the game by removing the three jones plugs and placed the playfield upside down on a couple blocks of wood.
  2. Next, I unscrewed the legs (“L” brackets)  that hold the drop target onto the playfield.
  3. With the unit removed from the playfied, I could then remove the other screws attaching the legs to the plates.
  4. I then removed the screws holding the back plate and moved the back plate to the side.  This gave me access to the drop target and the two springs.
  5. The next step was to remove one c-clip from the shaft and remove the retaining ring (white stopper) that holds the shaft in place.
  6. Tip: You can remove the spring on the edge of the shaft, and use it to help install the drop target springs. 
  7. Grab the other end of the shaft and slid it down the other side.  I followed the shaft with another wire (a bent clothes hanger works fine, too).  This will keep all the drop targets in place.  Leave a gap between the wire and the shaft for the one drop target that you want to replace.
  8. Remove the top spring attached to the top plate.
  9. Unscrew the top plate, but keep the screws in.  Keeping this loose allowed me to tilt the top plate and slide the drop target out.
  10. With the drop target at a 45 degree angle, I removed the springs and the trigger (metal tab) that goes between the drop target.
  11. I then took the drop target out of the unit.
  12. To reassemble the unit, just follow the directions in reverse.  One note is that I used the spring that I removed earlier and lowered the top spring and used a needle-nose pliers and attached it to the trigger.  I then attached the top part of the spring to the top plate.  **Don’t forget to reattach the shaft spring when reassembling.

I do appreciate Pinsider, Pinjunkie16.  He sent me 3 used drop targets for free,and they cleaned up nicely!

2 thoughts on “Easy Method for Replacing a Drop Target in a Gottlieb EM Pinball Machine

  1. It’s interesting that you mentioned how you used one of the springs and used it to help you when you installed the drop target springs. When I was helping my grandfather clean out his attic, I found his old pinball machine that looks like it could be repaired, but I don’t think that I have the experience needed to replace the springs. It may be a good idea for me to hire a professional pinball repair service so that I can have the springs replaced by an expert.

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