I bought this 1976 Gottlieb Sure Shot EM pinball from a friend of mine to repair. He started to shop out the game and noticed a few electrical problems with it. Over time, he lost interest in the project and ended up selling it to me. When I get a new game to me, I usually go through a very thorough check list (Strange World, Home Run, Fire Queen). This allows for fewer problems when I power up the game for the first time. However on this game, I wanted to try something different and troubleshoot each problem as they came up during the repair. Here are the problems that I came across when I powered on the machine for the first time. I did create a video walking through each problem, and it can be found at that end of this post.


  • 10,000 point score reel sticking
  • No playfield lights
  • Rollovers not scoring and creating odd scoring with stand-up targets
  • Game over light flash on power up, but not after a game has been played. The ball in play lights are also not working
  • Bonus not counting correctly
  • 4000 instead of 3000

10,000 point score reel sticking

This was a fairly easy fix as the switches on the score reel needed adjusted. I find these switches to be a pain to adjust. Usually one of the score reels is adjusted correctly, and a person can look at that one for a working model.

No playfield lights

This was another easy fix as there is only a fuse and one switch to power the playfield lights. I checked the fuse (and fuse holder) and then cleaned and adjusted the Hold Relay switch. This brought the lights back on the playfield.

Rollovers not scoring and creating odd scoring with stand-up targets

This was caused because the E Relay was not calling the score motor. Without the score motor spinning, the E Relay stayed engaged. When the stand-up target was hit, it called the score motor and turned off the E Relay. This caused some odd scoring. The problem was fixed by cleaning and adjusting one switch on the P Relay.

Game over light flash on power up

The game over light flashes at the start after a powering up a game, but wouldn’t turn on again after the last ball was drained. The ball in play lights would not light up either. This lead me to clean adjust two switches that provided power to the Ball Count Unit.

Bonus not counting correctly

The bonus count would be inconsistent at times. The problem was a combination of a few things. The first problem was the screws on sequence bank weren’t in the correct position. The second problem was dirty contacts on the sequence bank. I clean these with isopropyl alcohol and then zip through them with my Dremel tool [affiliate link] and 443 attachment [affiliate link]. The last problem was the Bonus Unit was off by one position. I don’t know if the previous owner did this, and I just matched it during re-assembly or if I if it was my fault. However, I moved the home position of the unit so it is on the first rivet. All of these steps brought the correct count to the bonus at the end of each ball.

4,000 instead of 3,000

I didn’t catch this as a problem at first, but did think it was odd that 4,000 was being scored. This turned out to be a timing issue with the score motor. I checked the switches on the score motor, and they checked out fine. Further investigation found that the cam follower was in the wrong position. It should have been in the “L” position and not the “S” position. Switching this then gave the correct count of 3,000 points.


This was a different way to repair the 1976 Gottlieb Sure Shot EM pinball machine. I think if I went through my normal checklist, it would have resolved four out of the six problems. I don’t think I would have caught the Bonus Unit problem along the 4,000 points being scored.

If you enjoy these type of post and want to learn more about repairing EM pinball machines, I have created a course with over 50 lessons.

Here’s the video of me troubleshooting each problem.

4 thoughts on “1976 Gottlieb Sure Shot EM Pinball Repair

  1. Bank Shot EM pinball starting in game over mode. The first ball kicks out plays then once the ball drains, the game is not playable after first ball. Any recommendation

    1. What happens when the game doesn’t work? Does “Game Over” light up? How is the ball count unit? Is it moving freely and resetting at the start of a game?

      1. My apologies on my late response (starting a new job) when I press start, everything resets, and the ball is kicked out and goes right into game over mode. But when I adjust ball counter I am able to play (full playfield / score reels) and once the ball drains it goes into game over mode; but when I move it over one notch ball one was lit and was able to play.

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