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Broken Nintendo 64 Controller Joystick Repair/Replace

October 29, 2013

Thanks to Mario Party and a few other joystick destroying games, the joystick on your N64 controller may be completely messed up. If so, you have a few options. You can buy a new/used controller with a working joystick, buy a joystick replacement for your broken controller, or you can attempt to fix your broken/loose joystick.

Buying a Controller

There is not much to say other than to make sure you buy an original controller and make sure the seller states that the joystick is working (or is stiff, not loose, etc.). A lot of these have had joystick replacements so if you want one with an original joystick make sure you ask about that too. They run from about fifteen to twenty-five dollars on Ebay.

Joystick Replacement

Replacing the joystick on the controller is very easy to do. The replacements are around eight to ten dollars on Ebay. These replacements feel fine to me. If you have an original controller with an untouched joystick in one hand and an original controller with a replaced joystick in the other then you might feel a tiny difference. If you are a hardcore Nintendo 64 player and want the joystick to feel exactly how a new original controller would feel, then you should probably buy an original controller with a perfect joystick.

Fixing Your Joystick

This can be a bit of work depending on how bad your joystick is. Since you need to let epoxy fully dry, it can take a few days to complete. If you don’t already have most of these items, it is actually cheaper (and faster) to just buy a replacement joystick.

Once you take your controller and joystick apart, try to remember how everything goes together or take a quick picture.

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick

Depending on how bad your joystick is, you might notice white dust everywhere. The majority of that is from the white bowl with the two gears on it. When the stick rubs around in there it wears it down quite a bit. The thicker the dust, the worse shape your joystick is in.

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Bowl with Gears

If there is a significant amount of dust, the worn part of the bowl will need to be filled in with epoxy. The easiest way to do this is to poke or dremel a hole through the center of it and put a little bit of epoxy in the bowl. Put too little and the spring will be loose, put too much and the black piece with the gear won’t be able to swing freely. Try to use that black piece as a gauge on how much you need before doing it. If you put too much, try to get it out before it hardens. Tape this piece to the corner of a table or book to help the epoxy dry flat.

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Bowl Poked Hole

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Poked Hole Bottom

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Bowl Filled with Epoxy

Now that you have put epoxy in the bowl (I put way too much in), and taped it to a corner so the bowl is flat, let it sit overnight.

In order to put the now epoxy filled bowl back in the joystick when it dries, you will have to cut or dremel the center nub on the light grey piece.

Broken Nintendo 64 Controller Piece

Now for the swivel pieces with the gear on them. If yours are not worn or have little wear, I would just leave them be. If they are really worn down then put some epoxy where they are worn. It is a good idea to score the section that is worn with a razor blade before putting the epoxy on. Once you do this to both pieces let them sit overnight.

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Loose Swivle Pieces with Gears

Nintendo 64 Broken Joystick Loose Swivle Pieces with Epoxy

After everything has dried, use a razor blade or the dremel (recommended) to shape the swivel pieces into its original shape (or close to it). It is much easier with a dremel. There needs to be enough room for the stick to go through them. If it is close, don’t force it. Just keep cutting away at the epoxy. Trying to make it a tight fit is extremely hard so make sure the stick can easily go into them.

Once you shape the swivel pieces, make sure the large swivel piece can swing freely in the bowl without hitting the epoxy. If it hits it, you need to sand down the epoxy in the bowl or use a dremel. I used the dremel to make the epoxy more bowl shaped.

Broken Nintendo 64 Controller Fixed Pieces

Once it all looks good, put it together to test it. It will feel rough but if it isn’t loose, go ahead and take it apart again and put some of the white lithium grease in there. Make sure that every piece that will be rubbing against another piece has some of the grease spread on it.

Now put it all back together and enjoy some Mario Kart!

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