My Rave Racer cabinet is a ‘grail’ item in my collection. I’ve owned three of them now and none of them have been in good condition. Each has had parts missing on been slightly damaged in some way. My latest Rave Racer cabinet is a 33′” DX model – the DX is short for deluxe. I’ve had the machine at work now for a few years. In that time, the original Rave Racer board developed the common System 22 graphics glitch and has since been replaced with a Ridge Racer 2 board that I had sitting around.
I’ve been holding out for a nice Japanese DX 33″ cabinet, but I don’t think I’ll ever acquire one so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and do a full refurb on this machine as well as change it back to Rave Racer and retrofit Force Feedback and a better sound system. This post is the culmination of a months worth of work on the seat-base section pictured below.
As you can see from the pictures, the machine was looking a bit tired. The artwork and the paint on the machine were poor. I knew this would annoy me when I bought it, but as this machine has been at work and “out of sight, out of mind” I’ve avoided trying to rectify it.
Before I even considered a cosmetic restoration of the base, I had to be sure that the stickers could be re-produced (or NOS sourced). Given that I had been scouring international auctions for 5+ years and still hadn’t found a set of NOS stickers, I contacted Noodleshirt to see what he could do.
Carson from Noodleshirt was awesome to deal with. I spent some time taking measurements of all of the stickers and sent them through to him.
A few days later I was greeted with the following proof in my inbox…
Shorty after approving the proofs, the final product arrived at my door. I can’t recommend Carson and his work enough. I am extremely happy with his work and customer service.
There are a couple of stickers that I couldn’t measure. Luckily, I had taken copious pictures of the Rave Racer cabinets that I had previously owned. The rear seat decal and gear shifter decal will be done at a later date. The two pictures below show the these decals which were on other versions of this cab that I have owned over the years. I’ll get Carson to do these at a later stage.
Once I knew the stickers could be replaced, I was ready to commence the most labour intensive part of the resto, stripping and repainting the seat base.
Above, you can see the lower section of the seat base, part-way through the process. I used a power drill with flapper disc heads to remove the lose paint after hitting it with some paint stripper. Surface rust had caused pitting in the surfaces near the scuff plates and where each section bolted together. The flapper disc was able to remove these areas of corrosion which was lucky as I don’t have a welder to do anything more substantial.
After applying a metal etch primer, I used thick coats of rust-proofing paint from a rattle can. The surface area is too big for rattle cans, but due to not having a proper workspace I couldn’t use the air compressor setup. The rust proofing paint takes about 24 hours to dry and about 8 hours before you can touch it. Not ideal for spraying outdoors, but I had intended to sand this layer back for a different top-coat.
I left the rust proofing paint for a week before sanding with 400 grit, wet sandpaper. The top coat was a quick drying paint (touch dry in 20 minutes). Although not my first choice, the quick dry paint allows you to put down very heavy coats with a reduced risk of paint running. As I was painting outdoors, the quick dry paint meant that contaminants were less likely to get stuck in the top coat.
Here is the final product with the new stickers applied, as well as a reconditioned gearbox installed. The top-coat was buffed to get rid of any dry spray before applying the stickers. Wax and grease remover was also used quite a bit throughout the painting and sticker application as it had been sitting outdoors.
If the machine was not going back to a public space, I would have used a hi-fill primer along with spray putty to make the surfaces as flat as possible. As the machine will get a lot of use, I decided not to go to this extra effort as it will no doubt get dinged and scratched fairly quickly.
The only trouble with fixing part of a cabinet is that it further emphasizes other bits of the cabinet that need attention. Here is the machine as it currently stands. In terms of further aesthetic work, I’ll be,
- Replacing the side plastics with Rave Raver ones that I’ve had in storage.
- Re-spraying the coin doors with crinkle coat.
- Re-spraying the speaker grills.
- Talking to Carson about the remaining decals that need to be made.
Here is a collage of videos and images that I took during the restoration process. Enjoy!