Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Maintaining Your Mini-Crab Dolly

Greeting's Mini-Crab Dolly owners!

Here below is a reposting of some helpful tips on maintaining your crab dolly that we originally posted back in 2012. Also, please consider sending me your story about your mini-crab dolly. Email your story and pics to:

Thank you, Greg Zaryk


Recently, Adam and I performed some maintenance on #157. We took the lower panel off to do a 'lube-job' on #157's chain and gears.

Please note, when performing any maintenance below the deck, and you're planning on flipping your Mini-Crab over, be sure to position the wheels as shown above (in full-crab mode). This provides the least amount of stress on the wheels/trucks. It also helps to have a good amount of foam underneath as to not inflict damage to the aluminum wall.

When oiling your Mini-Crab, use a lubricant to oil all the gears and lightly oil the entire chain. Don't try to spray everything in sight, then end up having lubricant dripping everywhere. In fact, if you get overspray onto the aluminum undercarriage, I would recommend wiping it off as quickly as possible. Otherwise, some lubricants can have a tattoo effect on the aluminum. Click on any image to enlarge, once enlarged, click again to super enlarge.

Also, it doesn't hurt to lubricate all bolts, Allen screws, strap screws, etc., to keep them from rusting. Remember, some of these dollies are approaching 50 years old, so they will need a little extra TLC.

I'm still quite fascinated on the design and build quality of this dolly. The inventor, William Sargent, is to say the least...a mechanical wizard! No one but Sargent could have pulled-off this sophisticated yet 'portable' design. 

Take a look at the above're really looking at perfect harmony! Compact hydraulics, 360-degree crab steering, precision bearings and gears all self-contained inside an aluminum shell that was designed some 50 years ago. Way ahead of its time! My hats off to you, Mr. Sargent!

Keeping the Well for the hydraulic lift clean from oxidation and the build-up of old grease helps with easier installation and removal of the hydraulic lift when needed. At almost 1" thick, the Well area has the thickest concentration of solid-aluminum on the dolly.
Once the Well is clean and shiny, I'll apply a thin layer of grease inside. I will also put a thin layer of grease on the hydraulic lift. The white nylon blocks you see here are the brakes that you apply against the hydraulic lift once it's in-place inside the Well.
Lightly lubricate the entire chain. Remember...once a chain gets's worthless.
Lightly lubricate all gears and other metal items.

Originally, I thought there were only 2-factory stampings of the serial number #157. Well, lo and behold, I found a third #157 stamping that's on the bottom of the Well for the hydraulic lift. 

So this dolly has a total of 3-factory stampings of the serial number and 4 if you're counting the DL Wolper ownership stamp. I haven't seen this many stampings on one particular item since admiring a vintage Luger pistol, where every piece imaginable on a Luger is stamped!

If you have any questions on maintaining your Mini-Crab Dolly, just email me at: