Addams Family: Installing a Cliffy Protector for the Electric Chair

After nearly 30 years of having a heavy metal ball being slammed around in it, a pinball machine starts showing some wear.

Knock wood, my Addams Family playfield is in great shape overall. There are some areas that wear more than others, though. The one showing the worst wear on my machine was the scoop under the electric chair. Luckily, there's a way to not only cover up the damage, but prevent further wear and tear in these high-traffic areas.

Cliffy protectors have been around for as long as I can remember. They're metal parts that not only protect the playfield and plastic ramps. They're custom made for a huge number of games. My Star Trek: The Next Generation had

Electric Chair Wear
Electric Chair Wear

You can easily see the significant wear round the electric chair scoop. It was only going to get worse if I didn't address it.

The Cliffy Electric Chair Scoop Protector
The Cliffy Electric Chair Scoop Protector

Cliffy protectors are sold individually or in complete sets. I got my electric chair scoop protector from Pinball Life.

Finished!
Finished!

After the protector is in place, screw the posts back into the playfield. Re-install the nuts under the playfield (again...easier said than done--a magnetic nut driver is your friend!). Then screw the electric chair in place.

Electric Chair Wear
Electric Chair Wear

You can easily see the significant wear round the electric chair scoop. It was only going to get worse if I didn't address it.

1/8

a full set installed, and so did my Stern Star Trek Pro. I noticed that my Addams Family also had Cliffy protectors installed on the ramps--just not on the playfield itself. 

You can get individual protectors or full sets. They're available through Cliffy's Passion for Pinball, as well as most pinball parts suppliers. I only needed one protector, so I got mine at Pinball Life.

The level of difficulty for installing these protectors varies with the game and the individual protectors. Installing the Addams Family electric chair scoop protectors is one of the (relatively) easy ones. I documented the installation in pictures (above), but here are the step-by-step instructions.

  1. Remove the electric chair. Super easy. It's held on by two screws that screw into the tops of the posts that support the chair. Simply remove the screws. No need to disconnect the electric chair--just lift it off the posts and move it out of the way.

  2. Remove the post nuts under the playfield. This is one of the hardest parts of the job. There are only two nuts, but they're not easy to get to. You'll want to use a long, magnetic nut driver for the job. Hold onto the post on top of the playfield, and remove the nut and washer on each post. 

  3. Remove the posts. Once the nuts are removed, you should be able to easily unscrew the posts from the playfield. I say "should" because, in my case, one of the posts was incredibly difficult to unscrew. It eventually came out, but it took me a good half hour to make it happen. Be patient! you could damage the wood on the playfield if you get too rough when removing the posts!

  4. Put the protector in place. The protector is custom-made for this scoop, so it should fit pretty easily. I had to bend the tab in the front down slightly so that it fit under the playfield. Tilt the protector forward and slide it into place. It should align perfectly with the post holes and sit flush with the playfield. Make sure the side tabs of the protector are outside the metal scoop.

  5. Re-install the posts. Screw the posts back into place.

  6. Re-install the post nuts. Replace the nuts and washers. This is even harder than removing them. Unless you have tiny hands  (which I don't) there's no way to start them by hand. Again, a magnetic nut driver is your friend. It's really hard to keep the washer in place as you start the nut.

  7. Re-install the electric chair. Place the electric chair on the posts and screw it back in.

And, you're done! I really shouldn't have let the wear get so bad on my machine...but the protector covers it nicely in addition to eliminating the possibility of additional damage.