Ever since I became interested in pinball, I had always wanted to play and own a Getaway: High Speed II (Williams, 1992). The Getaway is a popular machine and over 13,000 were made. As a result, I had played a few in private collections, and had a blast each and every time. It's an incredibly fun game that has wide appeal.
Having only just finished restoring my first machine, I was game for another. I contacted a seller in northwestern Sydney who was selling a Getaway. She and her partner had had the game for several years, but it had never been set up. Her husband had purchased it from his place of work, where it had been sitting around and was no longer wanted. The couple originally intended to have it repaired, but now they were moving house and needed to get rid of it.
Above is the only picture I saw of the game. There's not a lot of information to glean from a photo like that! This was a tricky machine to inspect for a couple of reasons. First, it only had two legs. Everything had to be done with the machine flat on the floor. If you ever need to inspect a machine like this, wedge something under the front of the cabinet so you can still get to the power switch. Second, there were no keys for the cabinet or backbox. I wasn't able to get into the machine to actually inspect it. Here is what I saw from the outside:
Luckily, the owner had told me about the missing keys before I arrived, so I came prepared. I brought a drill to drill out the lock and get into the coin door. I followed the basic instructions from this video guide, which explains how to drill out a coin door lock. However, don't do what I did and bring standard steel drill bits. As much as coin door locks look like poor quality locks, none of my steel bits could actually penetrate through the tumbler. I had to borrow a titanium bit from the owner to punch all the way through. So remember to bring a good battery-powered drill and strong drill bits! Once I got into the coin door, I found the backbox keys, so I then had access to the full machine. The owner didn't know much about the history of the machine, but I could tell that the machine had been sited at some point in the past from the instruction cards.
Initial condition report (click on sections below to view details)
Average condition overall.
Average condition overall.
Average condition overall.
Externally and internally, the machine looked okay. The cabinet decals were faded, but I have never seen a Getaway with the original red colour fully intact. The two missing legs were a little odd. How does a pinball machine lose half of its legs? Who knows. The playfield looked like it would clean up nicely and most of the parts were there. The biggest issue was that the machine would not turn on. I tried a few different things to get the machine working on the spot, but none of them worked. I was stumped.
I had no idea what was wrong with this machine and, for all I knew, the fix may have been totally out of my league. Luckily, the seller acknowledged this and offered me a good price. I bought the machine knowing full well that it had potentially massive faults requiring repair. If you find yourself in this situation and you're unsure if you can fix the machine or not, just buy it! The worst case scenario is that the fault is major and you will have to pay someone more experienced to fix it. If that's the case, you'll just end up paying the same amount in repairs as if you bought the machine fully working. The best case scenario is that the fault is minor, and you just saved some cash. Win! We paid the owner and brought the Getaway home to tear apart and have a closer look.
The Getaway is a nice machine to tear down because it has a fairly simple, single-level playfield with only the supercharger and two ramps coming down either side of the playfield. Take these off first, and removal of other playfield components is self-explanatory. The trickiest part of disassembly is the supercharger. This tutorial is helpful, and has pictures that guide you through the process.
After disassembly, the game went through my standard restoration process to get it playing and looking like new. During the restoration process, I dealt with a number of issues, described below.
Tips & Troubleshooting (click on sections below to view details)
Machine would not boot
The first issue was that the game would not boot. I replaced the EMI filter in the main filter box, but later determined that this wasn't necessary. The issue was simple; one of the wires attached to the power switch in the filter box had a flaky connection. These wires are connected to the power switch and EMI filter via quick-connect terminals, which can be troublesome when not crimped properly. I soldered the wires directly to the power switch. While you're here, it is a good idea to check the condition of the varistor and thermistor, which are important parts of the game's surge protection circuit. Pinwiki had a good explanation of how to check them. After that, the game booted!
Blown capacitor on the sound board
Unfortunately, the excitement from getting the game to boot was short lived. During the boot sequence, I heard an almighty POP! sound, followed by smoke in the backbox. Uh oh! I turned the machine off and followed the smoke and burning smell to the sound board. It took a while to finally see which component had failed, but the culprit was capacitor C47. This one was a pain to replace as it is wedged in adjacent to a heatsink in the corner of the sound board. These tantalum capacitors have a habit of failing catastrophically when first energised after a long period. So if you have a game that's been in storage for a while, check the capacitors and replace any that look dodgy. Note that the manual specifies tantalum capacitors with 'TANT' in the description, so they're easy to locate.
Supercharger was slow
After successfully starting the machine and playing a few games, I was bummed by the sorry state of the supercharger. Balls were struggling to get through it and circled around the supercharger track relatively slowly. Time for a clean! The supercharger can be a pain to remove from the playfield because it's wire connector is rectangular in shape and has to squeeze through a circular hole in the top left corner of the playfield, which is also partially obstructed by a ball guide. It was a very tight fit on my machine, but it can be wiggled through with a bit of force. It helps to have something to rest the supercharger on, such as a plank of wood, or somebody to hold it for you, while you wrangle with the wires.
The supercharger is the main playfield toy on the Getaway, so make sure you give it a proper clean. Wipe down the metal runway and guides, the three magnet assemblies, and service the coil assembly that controls the diverter (a good clean and a new coil sleeve at the very least). If you don't clean the coil assembly, you might find that the diverter is too slow to open or close, which makes balls skip the supercharger entry, or pushes them out too early. After a thorough clean the Supercharger was working like new again - balls were whizzing around faster than I had ever seen on any other machine! You need to pull the supercharger entirely apart to clean out the accelerator tray, which is where the magnets sit. Polish the supercharger as much as possible with a metal polish to really make it slick.
Here's a video of the supercharger speed test once I got most of it back together. It was bottoming out at around 70 ms - super fast!
Diverter fasteners too loose
One mistake I made when putting everything back together was not tightening the diverter shaft to the crank assembly. After a while it came loose, which resulted in the diverter refusing to open. Tightening it up again was all that was needed. Another potential problem to be aware of is that the diverter may sometimes close after the ball has completed only two or three loops in the supercharger. This is usually because the low power coil winding of the diverter coil has failed, or a wire has come loose from the coil lugs. This causes the diverter to close straight after the high power coil winding is turned off (which is how long it takes for a couple of loops).
There's one other problem that seems to plague most Getaway owners and robs the supercharger of a lot of speed. The diverter (part no. A-15801 on most supplier websites, but listed as A-15586 in the manual) was originally riveted together with two rivets. The bottom rivet was recessed into the diverter face, allowing it to sink into the diverter and not protrude. This allowed the balls to whizz past at full speed. The diverters commonly break at these rivets and are often fixed using screws and nuts. This holds everything together, but often the screw head will stick out and will nick the ball as it comes past. This will rob the ball of some speed, depending on how much of an obstruction the screw head is. My diverter was repaired in this way and the top screw head was sticking out so far that it impacted the ball's speed. Screwing it back in tightly gave enough clearance for the ball to pass cleanly. If your diverter is beyond repair and you aren't able to rivet it together, brand new ones are available (PSPA).
Diverter pushing balls out of the supercharger early
Even after speeding up the supercharger and tightening the diverter up, I found that it would sometimes push the ball out of the supercharger just as it was exiting the supercharger loop. The ball would then fall onto the playfield plastic or bumper cap below, which is a fair drop. The diverter seemed to be a bit sluggish even after the rebuild. I replaced the compression spring in the diverter assembly and made sure the plunger moved back and forth smoothly. There is a bit of leeway in how the mounting bracket (part no. 01-10225) can be reinstalled for this assembly, so make sure it don't cause the plunger to bind during it's stroke. This rebuild made the diverter much snappier, and balls stopped running into it and falling out of the supercharger.
Supercharger ramp entry plastic broken
Almost all of the game's plastics were intact, except for the supercharger ramp entry plastic. This piece gets a hammering from balls entering the supercharger, vibration from the ramp, and air balls. I haven't bought a replacement for it yet, but have reinforced it in the meantime with a support bracket (Homepin). This extra bit of reinforcement is a must-buy if you have an intact ramp entry plastic!
I was curious as to how this plastic could get broken as I never seemed to see balls hitting it. I set up a slow motion camera (actually an iPhone 8) and recorded the area to see what would happen. Sure enough, after a few hits to the standup targets, I saw exactly how this piece gets broken. Airballs from these targets get sent right into the side of the supercharger ramp where this plastic sits. No wonder it got smashed!
To stop the airballs, I bent the supporting brackets behind each of the standup targets downwards slightly. This deflected balls downwards towards the playfield instead of upwards like before. The airballs stopped after that.
Tunnel saucer worn
The tunnel saucer was worn from repeated ball impacts. I filled this with wood putty/filler and then protected it with a Cliffy protector. Unfortunately, the filler I used started to chip away over time, and probably wasn't the best product to use. I now use Selley's Knead It for these kinds of repairs, which sets hard and can be sanded to shape. Below are images before repair, after repair, and after the restoration was completed.
Some playfield inserts raised, some with worn decals
The inserts around the tachometer in the centre of the playfield are usually all slightly raised on the Getaway as there are a lot of lamps in this area that create a lot of heat. Mine were no different, and some of these inserts were worn slightly at the edges. Fixing the insert decals was easy enough with black paint and they turned out nicely. The slight raises in these inserts were annoying, but would be levelled easily by a playfield protector. The worst affected inserts seemed to be those in the right orbit. The freeway insert here was raised about 1 mm above the playfield surface. With the playfield protector on, you could hardly tell it was raised at all.
Missing orbit ball guides
I have no idea how some games lose parts like wire ball guides. There's rarely a reason to remove them from the machine and they are an important part so you'd want to replace them. On my machine, I was missing the ball guide to the left of the supercharger and the two guides alongside the right freeway orbit. I ended up using thick paperclips temporarily, but this was not a long term solution.
Luckily, I found two of the ball guides for sale by two retailers in the US. I grabbed these while Fiona was visiting family in the US and she brought them back in her luggage. Saved a bunch on postage! However, I was still missing one ball guide for the right freeway orbit. I found a few miscellaneous ball guides in a bunch of used parts I ordered from Pinball Spare Parts Australia, including one that was approximately the right size. It was a tiny bit too short, but with a little bending with pliers, it inserted into the holes on the playfield just fine.
If you find that ball guides are being pushed out of their mounting holes, use a dab of glue on the ends of the guides as you insert them into the playfield. Often, the wood is damaged when the guides are removed from the playfield, so the glue helps secure them in place.
Various ball hangup issues
Another issue I encountered was a ball hangup in the left freeway orbit. About a third of the time, a ball shot up this orbit would snag something in the top left corner of the playfield and come dribbling back down the left orbit instead of completing the loop. At first I thought that the rollover switches needed adjustment. I adjusted them but saw no improvement. I noticed that the diverter assembly coil lugs were pointing downwards towards the ball. Perhaps they were snagging it, so I rearranged the assembly so the coil lugs pointed sideways. No effect.
The only other thing in that area is a small screw that holds the metal ball guide to the back panel. I removed it completely and the hangups stopped. Turns out, the ball was going airborne after it came around this loop, bringing it into the path of the screw head.
Funnily enough, I then had this exact same issue in the right freeway orbit. Balls coming from the left orbit at speed were getting launched into the air, hitting another screw that fastened the ball guide to the cabinet, and coming to a halt. This screw was in a position amenable to filming so I brought out the trusty slow motion camera again to see exactly what was happening. Like before, removing the screw fixed the issue.
Incorrect ball return from the right freeway orbit
Ball plunges from the shooter lane, and kickouts from the tunnel saucer, should hit the lower right flipper if allowed to roll past the upper flipper. However, balls on my game were hitting the post at the bottom of the shooter lane exit, bumping it towards the left flipper or slingshot. Fixing this required adjustment of two things: the metal ball guide above the upper flipper and the upper flipper itself. Pushing the ball guide as far out (towards the centre of the playfield) as possible helps to push the ball past the post. Adjusting the flipper so that, in the rest position, it pushes the ball away from the post will also help. In fact, the upper flipper is not meant to be in contact with the metal ball guide behind it at all; it should be offset. After making those adjustments, the ball started to return to the lower flipper consistently. The video below shows the issue before adjustments were made.
Broken rollover switch actuator
One of the freeway switches was not registering properly, so I tried to adjust the switch actuator. I failed miserably, and snapped the wire in half. The annoying thing about this switch assembly (part no. A-12688R) is that it is not a typical, straight rollover switch. It has a longer switch wire that protrudes out at an angle due to its position under the playfield. I only had basic rollover switches on hand, so I installed one of those until I could replace the damaged switch wire. This was a huge pain in the ass, as this spot under the playfield is not designed for a normal rollover switch. Using a normal rollover switch means you need to shave off a part of the switch bracket so it can fit closer to the playfield slide assembly. This is why the original switch has a protrusion. Not only that, but you need to make two new holes in the playfield to mount the switch bracket in a position closer to the switch cutout in the playfield. Long story short, the switch did not sit nicely and did not actuate reliably either.
Thankfully, a friend of mine was able to fashion a new switch wire and attach it to the switch. Then it simply needed to be bent into shape and installed. It worked great! Thanks Daz!
Up/down ramp clearance issues
After playing the machine for some time I noticed that the ball would sometimes get trapped underneath the up/down ramp at the very back of the playfield. This wasn't a big issue, as it would get released after a few moments. However, it started to bug me when I would be in the "zone" and I'd have to wait 10 seconds for the ball to be freed. The ramp is clearly not meant to be snagging balls, so I lifted the playfield to see what was going on.
The up/down ramp causes a lot of issues on many Getaway machines. A search on Google shows heaps of forum topics asking for help with it. I found a great video on Youtube that explains how the up/down ramp works and the components in the ramp assemblies; well worth a watch if you haven't worked on this assembly before.
The important thing to note about this assembly is that the lift crank assembly (part no. A-12577) that lifts and lowers the ramp is held in place by a lift crank lock armature (part no. 01-8390) which "grabs" the lever underneath the playfield when the ramp is raised. The issue on my machine was that the crank assembly was raising the ramp, but then falling back down slightly before coming to rest. Balls would snag the ramp whenever they passed underneath, so I had to raise the ramp a tiny bit. I tried adjusting the bar that holds the ramp, wedging rubber or tape under the ramp to give it some lift, and rebuilding the coil assembly underneath the playfield, but nothing seemed to give the ramp the extra bit of lift it needed.
I determined that there was just too much slop between the lift crank assembly and the crank lock. I had to reduce this gap somehow. I resorted to sticking some plastic to the crank lock, effectively thickening it. The lift crank would therefore stop a little earlier, holding the ramp slightly higher. This adjustment worked for a little while, but I found that the piece of plastic would keep coming off. So my good friend Daz made up a new crank lock part, making it thicker. This worked well, and now the ball flies under the ramp with no contact at all. For such an important assembly, I was surprised there was so much slop in its movement. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Getaways actually have this issue, but it goes unnoticed.
Incorrect shooter lane switch
I noticed that the shooter lane switch actuator seemed to be a thicker wire than all of the other switch actuators on the playfield. Looking under the playfield I found that the regular microswitch and bracket had been removed and replaced with an older style leaf switch and lever actuator assembly. I guess this was just an in-field repair by someone who didn't have the correct parts. It was obvious that this was an unoriginal switch as the screw holes from the original microswitch mounting bracket were underneath it! I replaced the entire assembly with the correct microswitch and bracket (part no. A-12688). The result was much neater and the switch activated more reliably than the old one.
Topper beacon jamming
I was pretty happy with how the beacon reflector came up after a clean and tumble polish. Shiny! However, I made a serious mistake when reassembling the topper. The beacon reflector attaches to the motor shaft and is held in place by a grub screw. Be careful with the positioning (height) of the reflector. I originally reinstalled the reflector too low, and not thinking anything about it, I turned the machine on to have a game. When the beacon motor turned on, it spun for a fraction of a second before seizing up. It only took me a second to turn off the machine, but I already could smell the motor burning. Uh oh! Thankfully, the motor still works, but I am surprised a fuse didn't blow before I turned off the machine.
When I took the dome off to have a look at what happened, I saw that the reflector assembly was hitting the motor plate and lamp assembly as it had been fastened too low on the motor shaft. So I loosened the grub screw and raised it slightly. But be careful - if you secure the reflector too high on the motor shaft, it will hit the lamp support at the top, too! So install the reflector and move it manually through its full range of motion before tightening the grub screw. You might just save your beacon motor! If you do ever destroy the beacon motor, replacements are available (Marco).
This was one of the easier things to address with this machine! I managed to pick up a set of legs from a fellow on Aussie Arcade. The legs that came with the machine cleaned up pretty nicely themselves.
Extra screws under ball trough kickout assembly
There were two wood screws screwed into the playfield with washers on either side of the ball trough eject assembly. It looked like they were holding the eject assembly in place, but it was already screwed into the playfield using the screw holes on the mounting bracket. I didn't see a need to have these screws when they weren't meant to be there so I took them out. The assembly was still securely attached to the playfield and I could never figure out why the extra screws were there. It remains a mystery to this day!
Extra general illumination lamps
While looking under the playfield I noticed a couple of holes with dimples adjacent to them. This is pretty typical of how a playfield is prepared for lamp installation - a hole is cut for the lamp socket and a dimple is made to guide the screw that holds the socket. For whatever reason, Williams decided to do nothing with these holes, which are above the upper right flipper. This is pretty common and a lot of games have holes drilled into the playfields for features that were then removed from the game. So I decided that, as the holes and screw dimples were already there, I may as well install a couple of lamps to light the area up! I already had a bunch of old lamp sockets from other games that I could use, and I just needed to hook the sockets up to a nearby general illumination socket to get power. As I was installing LEDs, I wasn't worried about overtaxing the general illumination circuit as LEDs consume very little power.
The wiring was a little fiddly as I was daisy chaining both sockets from a socket above, past a flasher socket. I had to cut one of the socket brackets down slightly so it would fit next to the flasher socket without shorting against it. Then it was just a matter of soldering leads to the sockets themselves and the socket tabs. Unfortunately, I did not clean the surfaces of the sockets well enough and the solder didn't grab onto one of the socket bodies. So I soldered the leads to an old alligator clip instead and clipped that to the socket bracket. This setup works well and lights the area above the upper flipper nicely. Definitely not the most significant improvement I've made to the game, but a good way to use otherwise empty playfield holes!
Plunger stopped working
This was one of those issues caused by my own stupidity, but it was actually a good problem to have as it showed how thorough troubleshooting can be helpful despite errors in the game manual.
After reinstalling the power driver board after checking it for issues, I reconnected everything and started a game. However, the plunger didn't work. I checked the usual suspects including transistors and fuses, but they were all good. So I dove into the manual to see where to go next. I checked for power at the coil lugs and got no reading. Definitely a wiring problem, then. So I started to check for continuity from the power driver board to the plunger.
According to the manual, the plunger is supplied power through J107-2 and the transistor is connected to the coil via J127-5. I had good continuity from J127, but none from J107. I checked all of the other coils connected to J107-2 and all of them were getting power and working normally. This is weird, because all of the coils are daisy-chained together and the plunger sits right in the middle of the group. So a non-working plunger coil should knock out others in the chain.
The wiring for the plunger coil has been a source of confusion for many and there are plenty of threads on Pinside that discuss it. The problem is that the solenoid wiring diagram in the manual is actually incorrect. The plunger is not supplied power by J107-2. Instead, 50 volts is supplied via J109-7; the only wire on that connector. It seems that this wiring change was done at the factory and went undocumented in the manual. References online to J109 made me go back and recheck my work. Sure enough, I had forgotten to plug J109 back into the power driver board as it had gotten stuck behind the board. This explained why the plunger did not have continuity to other coils in the same group; it is serviced by a different circuit entirely. The fact that the plunger was the only coil not working also indicated this. This was a stupid problem to have really, but it was good for forcing me to learn more about solenoid wiring in the game.
Insert lamps lighting up at random
This was an intermittent issue which caused various insert lamps to light up and stay lit. It was always the same lamps that would light, including the yellow light on the traffic light, a couple of inserts on the tachometer, the 6X multiplier insert, and a couple of others. Strangely, when the lamps were lit, there would also be a quiet, but noticeable hum from the speakers.
I noticed that the issue would come and go during the same game and that moving the machine slightly could make it come and go. So I suspected some kind of connectivity issue. Looking under the playfield, I couldn't see anything amiss, and started to probe around with the affected lamps and sockets. All of the lamps were working properly; they were just lighting up at the wrong time. While inspecting some lamps near the bottom of the playfield, I realised that moving the wiring loom would cause the issue to start and stop. I followed the wiring loom around and traced some of the controlled lamp wires to find the issue.
The wire for one return row of controlled lamps had been rubbing against the service rail under the playfield. The wire insulation had been worn through so that the bare conductors were in intermittent contact with the service rail. This was grounded, so whenever the wire touched it, the connected lamps would light. Neat, huh! Some electrical tape on the wire and the service rail in the location that they were rubbing put an end to the issue. I'll cut the wires and heatshrink them properly at some point.
Display driver board voltages out of spec
The display on Getaway seemed to be working fine, but as a matter of course I tested the voltages being produced by the display driver board to check they were OK. I'm glad I did, because they were way out of line! The anode at pin 1 was hovering around 140 volts instead of 110! Way out of spec. So, it was time to rebuild the high voltage section of the board. Check out the separate blog post about rebuilding the high voltage section. Once that was done, voltages returned to normal and the display worked fine.
I originally installed yellow Cliffy post sleeves in the Getaway, but it didn't look quite right. I then installed a set of red sleeves, and these seem to fit the playfield colour scheme much better. This Getaway had two yellow (bottom) and one white (upper right) flipper bats when I purchased it. I replaced them all with new white bats and fitted them all with red Super-Bands. I went for white rubber rings which look quite nice, though I can understand why some people prefer the look of black rings on the Getaway. I also trialed some Super-Bands slingshot rubbers in red (PSPA). One thing I did notice about these rings is that they are super tight - ordering one size up from what is specified may be a good idea as the bands put a lot of pressure on the posts that support them. Other than that, they look good, and on the slingshots there isn't a noticeable change in bounce.
LEDs were installed throughout the machine. For feature lamps, I colour matched all of the inserts. For the LEDs under the playfield, I used quad-LEDs from Luke's Pinballs, which have four individual diodes (instead of the single diode types I normally use). I figured a little extra brightness would look better. However, the quad-LEDs are exceedingly bright, and I'd recommend sticking to single-LED lamps (at least for the inserts). However, some people like their playfields to be bright, so to each their own!
The general illumination was replaced with white 5+1 LEDs, with frosted white LEDs in the backbox. The Supercharger and Red Line Mania lamps on the supercharger ramp entry were replaced with yellow and red frosted LEDs, respectively.
I made up a spreadsheet to make ordering and organising the LEDs simpler. Feel free to download it and use it.
I also installed a Makrolon playfield protector (Precision Gas Springs). The fit of this protector was quite good, but brushed slightly against the edge of the lowest rollover switch in the upper loop (switch 73). It didn't impact on switch actuation, but the hole can be enlarged if ever it becomes a problem.
Finally, I downloaded some fantastic custom instruction and pricing cards. There are heaps available for The Getaway. I use two sets; one from Pinball Boy and another form Pinball Cards. If you download a set, consider donating!
Getaway is a game that there are heaps of mods available for, particularly decals. One which I decided to get was the donut shop decal for the ball lock area. Thanks to Wade at Aussie Arcade for the decal! This is a cheaper mod than ordering the 'real' 3D donut shop (by Mezel Mods) and is simpler to install. I like it!
The Getaway is a personal favourite machine of mine and I can't see it ever leaving the collection. It is a super fast game with an awesome theme. The supercharger never gets old. While the gameplay isn't as deep as other machines, getting super jackpots consistently can still be tough. In my opinion, the Getaway is great for long jackpot-chasing sessions or short, casual games alike.
What we learned during our Demolition Man restoration definitely came in handy during our Getaway restoration. Knowing what type of posts usually went where, and what components to expect in certain places made reassembly much easier, even when we forgot to take some specific photographs. Just goes to show - the more you practice, the easier it gets!
Here you will find logs of our pinball machine restorations, repairs, discussion about general pinball topics, and recounts of our random pinball adventures.
Check back regularly for updates!
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