Think I'm starting to get how it all works now.
So am I right that these fingers represent each symbol ?
Are these fingers in order like "9" starting at the back, then "10", "7" , "8" , "jack", "queen" , "king", and so on ?
It sounds like all of your major issues are down to excess dry grease, you're probably going to end up dismantling most of it bit by bit to clear it all out.
Rig a 4 Queen play then look at the vertical fingers.
There should be one that lines up all the holes on the payout discs.
Has it a weak spring? Lazy action? Been removed?
Or has it been rigged by having blanks fitted to the payout discs filling in the holes?
I had another look before reading your reply .
The queen finger drops into the first reel disc only, then I checked the second reel. It has 2 queens and one has a blank insert. Why would that be there ?
To stop it paying out.
They were only one type of bugs available to the operator to rig the machines payout %
Get a long thin screwdriver down between the discs and prise the bugger out.
While you're at it look for anymore, but before you remove those check the symbols on the win line. It was more usual when fitting a slug to stick a non winning fruit like a lemon over the one being altered.
Just make sure they shouldn't be there before you remove them, sounds like the one in the Queens hole was a con but others might correspond to changes made to the reel strips as BP says, reducing the payouts but not conning you on the reel readouts, run through ALL the payouts possible listed on the payout card and see if they pay correctly.
I found 3 blanks and needed to remove 2 of them. That part of the payouts works well now.
Next : Sometimes the handle will jam because the coin will slip up and to the left when the handle is pulled instead of dropping straight through into the carousel. Jiggling the handle will allow it to drop.
I found that the double ball ended rod behind the coin mech was bent, so I straightened that out then adjusted it a bit longer so that the coin drops on to the lever I mentioned earlier requiring a spring.
So, that's fixed now. No handle jam.