Lobster Ball Machine Pneumatic 201/301/401 Detent Part #P0338

gotwheels

Semi-Pro
I am looking for the Lobster Ball Machine pneumatic part called the "Detent", #P0338. Any assistance for this replacement part or how to rebuild the old part is appreciated. Thanks
 

M1n1fan

New User
Just tried to reorder that part. Their reply was “No longer available and no plans to remanufacture...”. But they would give me 20% off a new machine. Thanks, but no. Going to try a repair/rebuild of this one.
 

Raul_SJ

Legend
Just tried to reorder that part. Their reply was “No longer available and no plans to remanufacture...”. But they would give me 20% off a new machine. Thanks, but no. Going to try a repair/rebuild of this one.
How old is the ball machine? Parts already out of production?
 

M1n1fan

New User
Age dunno. Bought it used 10 or so yrs ago. I suspect that they ran out of NOS parts, esp the ones that wear out, like the detent. That said, models like this one out there in the world may be out of luck if something unique like the detent goes South. Motors and blowers may not be a problem since they're more " off the shelf" and not unique to the Lobster.
 

M1n1fan

New User
True. No bargains out there, even for “for parts only” machines. I’m attempting a repair of the detent. Not a lot to it, and may be as simple as a piece of a bicycle inner tube. Too soon to tell though. (I see a niche business opportunity here .)
 

M1n1fan

New User
Update on my attempt to repair the detent. After removal of the detent I noticed a small tear in the rubber tube at the inner edge of the steel detent tube. My assumption is that “leak” allowed the tube to fill with air when the blower was on, making it more difficult for the ball to pass through. Removed the tube by untaping the wrap, and removing the outer hose clamp which allowed the steel tube to spring open enough to remove the inner band that hold the rubber tube’s other end inside the detent tube. While I had the rubber out I measured it: appears to be 2.125” ID and 5” long. Reinserted the rubber and stretched it a little more toward the outer edge so that the tear was outside the detent tube and would be covered by tape. After completing reassembly and testing it worked fine. Ran a tub of balls through with no issues. I don't expect the fix to last forever though. So, knowing the concept of the rubber tube and detent fit, I ordered a 16”x 2.125” bicycle inner tube, which I suspect, when a piece cut to 5” long is used to replace the tube it should work fine. No guarantee though, but short of buying a used parts machine may the only way to salvage an otherwise usable ball machine.
Hard to described how the detent is assembled (should have taken a few pix) but its not brain surgery and anyone with a detent problem should attempt this repair before throwing in the towel and buying a new machine.
 

JoeWaind

New User
Update on my attempt to repair the detent. After removal of the detent I noticed a small tear in the rubber tube at the inner edge of the steel detent tube. My assumption is that “leak” allowed the tube to fill with air when the blower was on, making it more difficult for the ball to pass through. Removed the tube by untaping the wrap, and removing the outer hose clamp which allowed the steel tube to spring open enough to remove the inner band that hold the rubber tube’s other end inside the detent tube. While I had the rubber out I measured it: appears to be 2.125” ID and 5” long. Reinserted the rubber and stretched it a little more toward the outer edge so that the tear was outside the detent tube and would be covered by tape. After completing reassembly and testing it worked fine. Ran a tub of balls through with no issues. I don't expect the fix to last forever though. So, knowing the concept of the rubber tube and detent fit, I ordered a 16”x 2.125” bicycle inner tube, which I suspect, when a piece cut to 5” long is used to replace the tube it should work fine. No guarantee though, but short of buying a used parts machine may the only way to salvage an otherwise usable ball machine.
Hard to described how the detent is assembled (should have taken a few pix) but its not brain surgery and anyone with a detent problem should attempt this repair before throwing in the towel and buying a new machine.
I have the same problem but I can’t find anyone who sells a new detent. Did the bicycle inner tube work?
 

M1n1fan

New User
Haven’t had the chance to actually use the inner tube plan. Purchased one but the temp fix using the old piece - stretching it a bit so the slit was outside the area of air flow - seemed to work. But it doesn’t get a lot of use and then winter set in. I’d say that if youre in serious need of a fix and the old tube is too far gone, purchase of the bike tube is worth a try and is cheap.
 

JoeWaind

New User
Yes the old tube is really far gone (it has a large hole in the middle of it) I’ll give the bike tube a go. Thank you for your help!
 
Hi, I have a Lobster 301 and it is in good shape. Lobster does not sell the detent anymore which is very surprising and disappointing. Has anyone had any luck in finding the part or replacing the diaphragm that holds the balls in the detent? It is crazy that a $2000 machine does not have a $50 replacement part and is useless without it. Lobster should have made enough parts to last many years of replacement since in the manual it says replace every 3 years. Thanks for any help. Gary
 

M1n1fan

New User
I posted a possible solution somewhere else on this forum. Search for anything originated by my handle: M1n1fan. The “solution, admittedly unproven, involved a bicycle inner tube of the same size. (I was able to work around a small hole in the detent here but while it was out I measured it and purchased a tube just in case.)
 
Hi M, thanks for the info. What is the size of the tube's diameter? Were you able to get that inner metal ring in and out?
Lobster was very unhelpful and said it was an obsolete model. I told them it was really incompetent of them not to keep enough parts for the future.
Gary
 

M1n1fan

New User
It’s an ordinary tube - 20”x2.125”, available via Amazon. Search Oregon 71-106. $12.24. Again, I have no idea whether it will replace the OEM detent. But it appears to be the correct size. And I cant imagine Lobster Inc. designing and sourcing a custom piece of rubber. But I could be wrong. Try it; you only have $12.24 + tax to lose. As far as fit, looks like if the ID is too small, you stretch the piece tighter in the tube. I dont recall any serious difficulty with the process. Like you, I was put out with them, since the lack of detent makes the lobster worthless except for parting out. They were gracious enough to offer me a discount on a new lobster... Like I’d buy from them again.
 
Hi M, Thanks for your help and patience. I took out the inner tube and it says Kenda on it. the diameter seems to be 2.5 inches. You said 2.125. How did you get that diameter? It is a bicycle inner tube. Do you have anymore suggestions? Gary
 

M1n1fan

New User
I guesstimated 2.125 based on the unstretched shape. But I could be 2.5. Try either or both. You’ll become a pro at disassembling and repairing a Lobster throat.
 

M1n1fan

New User
It’s important to all us old Lobster owners (old Lobsters; not old owners) that you report back on the success or failure so others will know what to try (or not) if/when their detent fails.
 

TnsGuru

Professional
Any way to create a tutorial? Pics and instructions for the repair or a youtube video? I have one of these pneumatic machines and still works great but just in case I have to replace the detent and now that the part is obsolete this would be very helpful in the future.
 

M1n1fan

New User
Been too long since I had mine apart, but I don't recall it being hard to do. (I was able to “salvage the detent in mine; the hole was close to the edge of the tube. So a little stretch moved the hole out of harms way. But I suspect at some point I will have to replace it with the innertube I purchased at the time. If so, I’ll take notes and share.) But that is a good suggestion for someone doing one now. Take notes and share.
 
M, It worked. I got the bicycle tire and rebuilt the Detent. But I did not take pictures of the front pieces before I took them apart about 6 months ago. And I want to be sure I put it together right. Would you do me a favor and take some close up pictures of the front where the black house goes into the Detent all the plastic holders from several angles. You can text them to me at 917-509-2042. Thanks in advance so much. Gary
 

Penn02

New User
M, It worked. I got the bicycle tire and rebuilt the Detent. But I did not take pictures of the front pieces before I took them apart about 6 months ago. And I want to be sure I put it together right. Would you do me a favor and take some close up pictures of the front where the black house goes into the Detent all the plastic holders from several angles. You can text them to me at 917-509-2042. Thanks in advance so much. Gary

It worked? Was just on lobster website an they had a detent to order for $50.00. We ordered the bicycle tire this week- 8 or so dollars from Target. Doubtful that the detent will really ship form Lobster. Any advice on replacing?Did you glue the rubber? thank you
 
The Detent on Lobster website is and old Website. I called them and they said they did not sell them anymore.
So I bought a bicycle inner tube and replaced the old rubber one that was ripped. But I did not take pictures of the assembly before I took it apart so I need some close ups of all the angles of the plastic holders and the wide black tube that comes out of the machine. You can text it to me at 917 509 2042 or email it to me at gary@hurewitz.com. Iphone pictures would be great. Thanks so much. Gary
 
HI all you guys with the old type lobster ball machine. So I put my machine together and it all went well. The only problem now is that there is a flap the comes up to cover the hole that the ball drops down through the ball wheel that i guess created the suction to spit the balls out. That flap no longer comes up. Does anyone have any idea what is going on? Thanks so much. Gary
 
I tried the detent with a 2.5 inner tube and the ball spits out every 10 seconds which is not good. I think the tube is too wide and does not build up the air pressure. I am going to try using a 2.125 and let you know what happens.
 

beingstuck

New User
I ordered the 2.125” inner tube, but it appears way too small to put on the steel tube. How did you guys put it on?
Also, on the old tube took down from the detent, it seems has a word of 3.25, is that supposed to be the needed size? I have the picture on the phone, but do not know how to post it here (this chat seems allow inserting pictures from weblink only).
 
HI B. Yes that must be the size. My tube only had the manufactures name on it and no size. I guess it depends on what part of the tube they cut to make the tube. That is very helpful. Text the picture to me at 917-509-2042. I am out of town and I got a new tube but I think it is a 2.75. The fact that you saw 3.25 is the answer. I called Lobster many times and they could not tell me. So send a picture and also take a measurement of the width and see if it is about 3.25 in the narrowest part. Thanks. Gary
 

beingstuck

New User
Just a thought: the diameter of 2.125" was accurately measured at the detent by you guys. I think this is the inside diameter of the tube when the rubber tube was at its resting status (no air pressure to expand it). However, the normal bike inner tube's sizing is for the INFLATED status, eg. the 20”x2.125” means the diameter will be 2.125" when it in INFLATED (or I could be wrong, 2.125" could be the width when the tube is flatten. But, anyhow, 2.125" tube will not give 2.125" of insider diameter when it is held circular shape and not infrared).
Therefore, I think we should look at the rubber inner tube that gives 2.125" diameter when it is not inflated. I will order a 3.25" tuber to give a try, hope it will give 2.125" diameter when it is NOT inflated.
 
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beingstuck

New User
I measured the new 2.125" bike tube. When it is flattened, its outside side-to-side size is 2.125". When is held circular shape, the inside diameter would be only about 1.3~1.4".
 
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