WICO Pinball Cart

I'm not a fan of these old pinball carts. I offer this page mostly as a comparison to some of the other hydraulically operated alternatives. I should note that this particular cart had a modified damper arrangement so my impressions may not reflect an accurate view of the cart as originally equipped.


Cart lowered.

I'm calling this a "WICO" pinball cart, but I don't actually know the origin of the design or the origin of this particular cart. I believe similar carts were manufactured by other companies over the years.


Cart raised.

What I don't like about the WICO cart is having to use my body weight to raise and lower the game. The cart may not even be usable by a small person or someone with agility issues. It feels clunky. And it seems like a slip could cause damage to the game and/or operator. About the only advantage I can see is speed. The cart may be the way to go if you wanted to move a bunch of games as quickly as possible. But as a hobbyist, speed is not important.

By contrast, hydraulic carts are slow but offer much more control and can be operated by anyone. In particular, they offer gentle decent control, which to me is their most important quality. By "hydraulic cart", I mean carts that are modified from hydraulic motorcycle/ATV lifts such as my Redneck Pinball Dolly or modified hydraulic table carts such as the 500lb models sold by Harbor Freight and the like.

This particular WICO cart came to me on loan from a friend who acquired it for free. It was inoperative, bent, missing parts and covered in random welds that made no sense. It was thoroughly worn and beat to shit. He brought it to me because I had purchased a welding machine and was looking for practice projects (I still suck).

Mainly the foot pedal release thing was bent such that the left and right latching link things were misaligned with each other and would jam if any attempt was made to raise the cart. I ground away some random welds that were interfering with the latching links. Then I cut away the pedal thing, straightened it and welded it back to the latching links. It worked!


Foot pedal release thing welded back to a latching link thing.

Next was installing a new damper. The original WICO damper was missing, but the cart included a GM SC2913 steering damper. I believe some previous person purchased this damper on the advice of an old RGP thread. The damper is shown below, but I had none of the included hardware. I ground away the old incompatible damper mounts and welded on new mounts made from 1½" angle, bolts and steel sleeves.


GM SC2913 steering damper.


New damper mounts.


Damper installed.

I have no idea how the original WICO damper may have operated. It seems to me that the damper should be unidirectional; that is, offering lots of resistance on the way down, but little resistance on the way up. The steering damper is obviously bidirectional and seems a bit wimpy for the task. It still requires body weight and careful attention to gently lower a game.

My friend was using the cart as just a painting stand. Now the cart is "functional". I suspect it will continue to be used as just a painting stand.

Update: He turned it into a bi-level playfield rotisserie contraption...