Gottlieb logo System 1 Drop Target Replacement Gottlieb logo

On this page, I'll show you how to replace drop targets on a Gottlieb System-1 pinball machine. I'm using my Joker Poker as an example and I replaced the entire bank of King targets. Although I replaced them all, the same principles apply if you're only changing 1.


To begin, here's a before picture. You'll notice only one target is broken, but what you can't see in this photo is how yellowed the targets are due to age (you'll also notice the target color does not match the color of the card on the playfield). A new target is nice and white and would look funny next to the yellowed ones, so I decided to replace them all. I bought them at The Pinball Resource, $4.00 each.


Playfield is raised up and all the way forward on the brackets, so I can lean it against the back box


Remove the Assembly

The easiest way to replace a System-1 drop target is to first remove the entire assembly from under the playfield.
  1. Remove the single switch from the drop target cage (picture)
  2. Remove the screws securing the cage to the playfield (2 on front & back) (picture)
  3. Remove the 4 screws securing the back plate (2 have mounting brackets) (picture)

Remove the Target(s)

The targets are held in place by a lever that moves them up and down, and spring that pulls the target forward. To remove a target all you have to do is remove the spring and disengage the lever.
  1. With the back plate removed, you can see all the parts (picture)
    Notice how the lever moves the target up and down and the spring from the lever to the target
  2. With small needle nose pliers, grab the spring off the target tab and remove it (picture)
    you may be able to reach it from behind w/ your fingers and disengage it that way too
  3. Now lift the target up until the bottom of the stem clears the cage (picture)
  4. Then tilt the target so the lever falls out of the slot on the target stem (picture)
  5. Once the lever falls out of the slot, you can simply lift the target out of the cage (picture)

Install the New Target(s)

Just do the above procedure in reverse.
  1. Here's my new set - order matters since the playfied has cards of the same color (picture)
  2. Insert the new target into the cage, tilt it as before, and insert the lever in the slot on the stem. (picture)
  3. With the lever in place, tilt the target back and guide the base back into it's hole on the cage (picture)
  4. Here it is, back where it belongs (picture)
    Notice the spring hanging on the leve
  5. r

  6. This is where I wish I had 3 hands - Reach behind the target, feed the end of the spring through
    the hole in the stem, grab it w/ the pliers, and place it over the tab on the stem (picture)
    Sometimes you can simply place the spring over the tab w/o the pliers
  7. Here's a close-up showing the spring in it's proper place (picture)
  8. I replace the whole bank, here's what it looked like with them all installed (picture)

Put It All Back Together

All done, so mount the whole assembly back on the playfield.
  1. Put the backplate in place w/ with the slots oriented so the round holes point to the target heads (picture)
    Notice the two mounting brackets are keyed so the little stud fits in the small hole
  2. Put the whole assembly back in place on the playfield (picture)
  3. Replace the 4 screws (2 in front and 2 behind) (picture)
    Note: I position the assembly to place as much distance between the back of the targets and the
    rubber ring behind them, to prevent the ring from keeping the targets up when hit
  4. Again - 3 hands! Before I finish I like to check the coil adjustment (picture)
    Push the plunger all the way into the coil and make sure the bottom tab of the drop target (by my thumb)
    does not bottom out on the cage. If it does, you'll break off the base of the target. Just loosen the coil
    housing and move the coil up or down until you're happy with the position of the targets (about 1/4")
  5. Replace the single switch assembly (picture)
  6. Make sure it does not look like this on the top of the playfield (picture)
  7. It should look like this, you want the switch leaf BEHIND the rubber ring (picture)




And finally, the after picture



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Created 8/24/02 - Last Modified 8/24/02 - Steve Kulpa Mail Icon Nolensville, TN
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