Sticky rods

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Sticky rods
« on: January 28, 2012, 08:31:21 PM »
I have a new Fireball Table and all the rods are fast and smooth except the goalie and 2-man rod on one side. These stick and grab and they don't seem to be getting any better with play. Brad told me there's a breaking in period but after almost a month of daily play I'm starting to get impatient. I've cleaned and lubricated the rods and even changed the bearings with the extras that were included with the new table, but nothing changed. If anyone here has any advice or suggestions on how to fix this problem, your comments would be appreciated.

Offline FOOZUL

  • 126
Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 10:05:59 PM »
Have you tried to rotate the bearings?

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 11:40:01 PM »
When I bought my brown marble Tornado, a few years back, it too had sticky rods/bushings. I took out the bearings and reassembled them while off the table. I then took tin-oxide, a lapidary (fine) polish and polished the bearing by using a wood dowel that had strips of cloth wrapped on the end, then getting the rags wet and dipping into the polish. By chucking the dowel on a 1/2" drill motor I was able to polish up the bearings nicely. The only problem I had was my table was always smoother than those in the bars so I always had to adjust. Fireball feels a lot more like mine as they are usually really smooth and fast too.

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2012, 10:46:08 AM »
Thank you Foozul and Oldmeister for the input.

I rotated the bearings but it didn't seem to have any effect. Next I'll try the tin-oxide polish. If that doesn't work I'll just keep practicing on that side of the table and hope the problem works it's self out. The strange thing is how all the other rods are so free and easy but just these two are sticky.

I hadn't touched a table since 1998 when I played one night in Bangkok on a Rene Pierre that had golf balls instead of foosballs! (It works surprisingly well, just don't try to pin the ball.) I haven't been to a tournament since 1992. Needless to say, my game needs a little work! Hopefully Fireball will have some tournaments in the Oklahoma / Texas region this year and I'll be ready by then. Practice, practice, practice....

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2012, 12:45:57 PM »
It might be just as easy to ask Brad for some replacement bushings. They shouldn't be sticky. Oops, I see that you have extras and tried that. That is odd. Have you switched the smooth playing bearings on other rods with those that are sticky? If the same rod is still sticking then it is the finish on the rods. If the previously smooth rod is now sticking with the suspect bearings then you have your answer, it is the bearing.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 12:51:34 PM by Old Meister »

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2012, 01:31:18 PM »
Did you also check the opposing 2-piece bearing? My only thought is a bearing is off center, but that could then be a manufacturing error with the table. Also, move the rod to another position on the table to determine whether it's the rod or it's the bearing or maybe just the hole where the bearing resides. Hopefully it's the rod. The rod is so much easier to replace.

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 05:50:09 PM »
Check to see if the rods are actually machined properly. I know that the latest Tornado rods for instance have had problems where the machining process left them slightly threaded. The result was of course rods that felt grippy, and after a few hours of play they looked spiraled black (or zebra'd as we called them). Tornado replaced them in this instance. Check that these rods are perfectly smooth before trying anything else.

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 08:06:42 AM »
Silent Sam, I tried your idea and moved the rod to the other side of the table. It still sticks so it's the rod and not the bearing. I'm going to give it a little more time to "break in" before I ask for a replacement, the problem doesn't seem to be as bad a it was when I first got the table. It used to stick anywhere along the length, but now it only does so when it's pulled all the way to the near wall. If I give it a little downward pressure it doesn't want to release from the bearing. Brad said that this would be the place on the rod that would take the longest to break in because it gets less wear. This makes sense so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he probably knows what he's talking about.

     Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for help.

Offline alaskan thunder

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  • 572
Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 11:28:18 AM »
I may know the answer to your problem. I had a similar issue w/ my Tornado when I first bought it. One of the 2 bars dragged really bad no matter what I did. Cleaning and lube did nothing. Swapped the bearings, no luck. Switched it with the other 2 rod, nothing. I was out of ideas and then a local old timer pointed out that it may be that the cabinet is slightly twisted. We adjusted and leveled the table again in a slightly different spot (turns out the floor was not exactly level). Voila! Table instantly played like it was supposed to.

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 01:13:37 PM »
I'm pretty sure that's not the case, since Buckshot switched the rod to the other side of the table that previously did not exhibit any signs of binding, and the issue still persisted.

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 05:32:20 AM »
It seems I tried to outsmart myself when I switched the rod to the other side of the table by just trying the goalie rod. I just switched the two-man rods and, viola, the 2-rod that had been binding now doesn't. The rod that had been smooth now binds, but very slightly compared to what the other rod did. Very strange. Methinks either Anderson is right, it could be the far wall bearing, or Alaskan Thunder is right that I need to re-level the table. If/when I figure this problem out I'll share the information on this forum. Whatever is happening on my table is bound to occur again on some other table.

    Old Meister, where can I find tin-oxide?

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 07:07:57 AM »
some tables got misdrilled in the wall where you put the bearings in and either may cause the rod to bind or scratch in the bearing or cause the bearing to deform as you tighten it which causes binding as well when its too tight
might look into this

Offline BradLaurine

  • 109
  • Fireball Table Soccer
Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 04:41:20 PM »

Good stuff on here.

The far wall bearing might be in at a slant or not screwed in correctly. I had to adjust a far wall bushing/bearing to make the rod feel the same. Plus, clean out the far wall bearing or see if the bearing itself has a problem.
Also check the tightness of the bearing against the rod.

Tighten the rods that connect all the way through the width of the table. It is a good idea anyway for consistent pressure along the outside walls.

Any "twist" to the tables can cause binding to a rod or rods. Tables on carpet is the most prone to this effect. It is also the hardest to detect. One set of legs are in place correct but other set or just one leg is angled or "twisted" on the carpet. Lift the ends of the tables and reset the position.

Call me if you want.


Offline MR.STEVE

  • 117
  • slowhand
Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 05:12:09 PM »
I used 2000 grit sandpaper and a AA battery wet sanded the bearings worked for me   

Re: Sticky rods
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 07:55:03 PM »
I've been moving the rods and bearings around and I've figured out that's it's the bearings. Things seem to be loosing up on the rods that were sticking so I'll give it some more time before doing the sandpapering, although that is an option I've been considering. Hopefully things will continue to improve with play and that won't be necessary. The "breaking in" period Brad told me about is probably what's going on. Thanks for the input.