One of the biggest challenges with collecting toys from our childhood is finding them in good working and cosmetic condition. Fortunately plastic, unlike tin, doesn't rust. Unfortunately plastic does chip, break and fade with time and play. Most affected are components like gears and drive shafts. Ding A Ling Powerpacks rarely survive in a usable state unless one is lucky enough to find them mint in box. Age and the materials used in constuction tend to soften and crack the gears in the system. Most of us have seen how these poor bots labor to make their way up a Skyway incline. Fortunately, an enterprizing collector named Tony has designed a solution. Using his skills as a designer Tony can now machine a replacement gear for the motor drive shaft on a power-pack. The new gear increases power output by at least 40% enabling a Ding to smoothly and easily climb an incline. I've tried Tony's new gear myself. The modification took about three minutes to complete and to date I have not detected any problems with motor burn-out or excessive wear. I'm quite pleased with the results. If anyone is interested in contacting Tony you can use the Ding listserve with the term "gear replacement" in the subject line or directly via email at TONY.
King Ding Arms
A frequent problem King Dings suffer is his large arms tend to slip (not hold their position). A simple solution I found was to remove the arms by opening the body (4 simple screws I believe). You should find a blue post on the main body that the arms nest in (much like the joint and socket system of the human hip). The post is the problem (perhaps it wears or shrinks with age) so the goal is to increase the "joint' on the post by adding a thin disc of balsa wood or perhaps several layers of circular paper discs, etc. Test the fit by popping the arms back on and moving them about. If they appear to be snug and hold their position replace the front body panel, secure the screws and King Ding is ready for action.
Typically I use baby-wipes for most of my robots and other plastic toys. I've monitored the condition of the plastic over the years and have yet to see any problem.
The salesman promotional video shows a motorized Brain Ding-A-Ling traveling along the Skyway. Although this never went into production it is quite easy to modify a Brain to accept a power pack. I've done several. This link will take you to a PDF of step-by-step instructions.
Reproductions of Dings have surfaced occasionally on the web with varying degrees of success. A reproduction of the rarer robots would be ideal, however the risk of creating a mold from Banker or Detecto is unlikely to happen because casting requires the robot to be in pieces. Components like the windscreen and ramp from the Ding-A-Ling Mobile, Spy's glasses and control levers from King Ding's elevator have been created.