Pit Cushion Maintenance

With electronic triggering becoming more and more popular in the bowling industry, A-2 pinsetter mechanics and proprietors are neglecting the pit cushions and linkages of their pinsetters. Now, most think that the only purpose of the cushion and linkages is to make sure the ball gets stopped. This is not the case.

Worn, broken, and loose linkage and cushion assembly parts should not be neglected. Here are a few troublesome problems that occur if pit cushion and linkages are not maintained properly.


  • Deadwood – When the ball impacts the cushion without dropping the rake, increased deadwood occurs in the bowling center.
  • Worn Pit Carpets – If the rake is not lowered from ball impact, the cushion remains in the down position. The ball then sits in front of the cushion until the signal is received from electronic triggering to cycle the pinsetter. This continuous friction of the ball moving back and forth will create a wear spot in the middle of the pit carpet.
  • Black spots on bowling balls – This will occur if older rubber cushions have become soft and sticky. If there is no cover on the cushion, bowlers will notice dark black spots on their bowling balls when returned.
  • Machine Downtime – Lack of maintenance on broken pit cushions and linkage cause long repair downtime.


  • Replace pit cushions that are broken or have oval mounting holes from the linkages.
  • Replace worn shocks or bearings. Replace worn or broken spacers and follower links.
  • Replace the cushion cover with a urethane material cover. Urethane covers may be more expensive, but are worth every penny. The material lasts much longer and will not develop holes from repeated ball impact, eliminating black marks on bowling balls.