MMM Restoration - Space Crawler by Rob Stone

Submitted 2024.04.12 by Rob Stone

Repairing the two crawlers and the Unitred for a friend of mine who is on here too. Replaced a battery compartment lid with one from eBay. That same unit has loose terminal inside the body. Motor tested good. Going to adjust the lower battery terminals and gently clean the crawler up. The Unitred sounds like it is slipping. The other crawler works, but needs the tether string and the red tether hook. It also needs the seat stickers and a few other stickers. I may need to offset the feet on a crawler.  Both sides are lined up with each other.

2024.04.21 MMM Fan Rob Stone Added

Working on my friend’s second Crawler.  This one actually works but has the gummed up gear squawl.  It needs stickers and may need the satellite dish lever replaced that activates the wench if I can’t get the bleached out red color to come back to normal.

Rob's Notes:

  • What are you using for grease (removal)? Used Dawn dish washing liquid and water to cut the grease. Cleaned with a tooth brush. Rinsed with water. Towel dry, then used hair dryer.
    Will use lightweight sewing machine oil for lube when I reassemble….
    • You need to be sure to use plastic-safe lubricants. You might want to do your own research, but as I recall, white lithium grease is a good choice for the gears. If you need a light oil (I'm not sure you would here, except maybe the motor bearings), 3-in-1 oil should work. Using the wrong lubricants can damage the gears and/or the rest of the plastic parts. Good on you digging in to repair these things. I love to see cool old toys brought back to life. - so far the oil I used on the first Crawler is not harming the plastic. You are right though! Some oils can harm plastic…..
    • Wouldn't it be safer to use a silicone grease ?  Probably, but I am trying lightweight oil used sparingly to avoid gumming up in the future.
    • I started useing olive oil as it has no petroleum in it as the plastic is 60 years old petroleum degrades it
  • Is there a way to make the red plastic pieces not look so faded? Have you come across anything to help bring the color back? All of mine have a faded red color, like it sat in the sun a long time. I have not, but this is my first time working on MMM toys.
    • There are only two ideas I can think of. The first would be retro bright, which is a method commonly used to remove yellowing on white and clear plastic. Look it up. There are a ton of videos on YouTube. But I have the feeling that once the color is faded, that might make it more visible, but it won't bring it back. My other thought would be to try dying the plastic using clothing dye. I've experimented with it to "depink" some fashion doll toys, but results can be unpredictable, plus there's risk because you're putting the parts in hot water, and they might deform if overheated. But Ive never tried to restore a color that was already there, and that seems more likely to work (or at least not make things worse).
      Anyway, things to consider.
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