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Old 16-10-2014, 10:50   #16
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
So for those big winch degreasing jobs, you know, where the grease has turned into the texture of old Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, what's your favorite solvent to soak them in and why? And please don't suggest anything that'll melt the plastic bucket or tray which I plan to use to soak & clean them in ;-) That, anything requiring a hazmat suit, or will literally unravel my DNA.

And, Yes, I DO have friends who'd happily suggest the latter. Great folks; in regular times, & when your back's up against it. Devious as all get out, which is why I like'em.

Thanks
I cleaned my Lewmar winches this past summer with good old spray degreaser from the hardware store with a bucket and brush. I understand Spray Nine make a biodegradable, non toxic degreaser that works great.
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Old 16-10-2014, 11:57   #17
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

If the grease is petrol based then a petrol based solvent. I think kerosene, turps, etc.

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Old 16-10-2014, 12:25   #18
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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If you're on land, as bizzare as it sounds, a dishwasher works well as a parts cleaner. (Redneck 4x4 folks figure this crazy stuff out)
I'm sure that the other half would LOVE that. Just toss in a drum or two along with several sets of bearings, & the nice china.

Talk about sleeping in the dog house. LOL Hey, wait a second, I do own a 4x4.
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Old 16-10-2014, 13:38   #19
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Obviously, you don't use the dishwasher while the other half is there. Wait till she goes out.

Or just buy a new one and use the old one as a parts washer. Often they're free on trash day.

In my case, SWMBO would not be happy to come home and find a coupla cylinder heads in the dishwasher - so it's an old one for me.
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Old 16-10-2014, 14:36   #20
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Last time I cleaned my winches (last year) I used an environmentally friendly (Green water based) paint thinner (can't remember the name) but i bought it at Home Depot. it worked great. Just a litttle soakingg nd the grime and old grease came right off of most of the parts. for the tough stuff i added the use of aparts cleaning brush. This stuff was so froendly you hands actually felt soft after using it to do the winches. No PPE required, ad no noxious fumes.. I used to be a Gasoline and or Varesol guy in the past. but the new stuff leaves no mess in the cockpit and can be cleaned up with a little soap and water i have recommended this type of product to others and they have also had great results..
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Old 16-10-2014, 15:10   #21
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Lamp oil/Paraffin oil with a tooth brush.
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Old 16-10-2014, 15:16   #22
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

We use one of these (Safety Kleen Solvent) and a portable washer. Too big to sail with but great ashore!

Model 14 | safety-kleen.com
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Old 16-10-2014, 15:22   #23
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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And when I asked my friend how he used said winch, he got a thoughtful look on his face & then offered me a cold beer.
That doesn't sound all bad. But I always worry when people get thoughtful looks on their faces.
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Old 16-10-2014, 15:45   #24
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Yeah DeepFrz, I'm with you. One of the first & most important thing which I learned in the Military is that "Thinking" is known as "The DANGEROUS THING". And as the quote goes, "Don't think. Thinking weakens the Team".

Or as The Outlaw Josey Wales said: "When you're in a room full of men who want to kill you, you shoot the first one that moves. Because he's thinking".

As to this thread. Thanks guys! In addition to some good laughs, some of these suggestions are REALLY helpful. And almost as much fun as cleanin' winches, or car parts, etc. with (Moon)Shine. That's a blast, um, as long as you remember to keep telling yourself to clean the Parts with the Wood Alcohol batch. And to ONLY drink the stuff made out of cane or sour mash.

Although either way it's kinda' like MEK, you absorb so much of it through your skin that not much bothers you at the time... or for several days afterwards either ;-)

I still recall my first experience with MEK. And looking down at my gloves after 30 sec. of wiping, & noting with a detached perception, that they were now fingerless... like my sail trimming gloves, as the vertigo began (kidding, er, mostly).
I can't say exactly what's in that stuff, but STAY AWAY from it, like 1/2 mile upwind minimum away. It makes Jaeger Meister look like water with a slice of lemon!

NOTE:
As to any newbies who've actually bothered to read this far in the thread, if you are crazy enough to run expensive boat parts through the dish washer, I'd avoid things like bearing races (the plastic part which holds the bearings in a circular pattern) or any other bits which could have the slightest chance of melting. And or coming loose, & heading for the dish washer's drain.
Pawls may be little, but on some brands of winches, they're damned hard to replace. As at times you have to send half way around the world for them, literally. That, or custom machined, & then run through some proprietary (highly secret) 8-step hardening process.

Oh, & I'd avoid using MEK also (seriously). Not just because of what it can do to you. It can also melt winch parts, holes into your work bench or boat deck...

- Also, the use of hammers on winches is highly discouraged !!!!! I've taken apart several hundred winches, some as big as dualie truck wheels, & that was a first & only experience for me. Kinda' scary too, given the $$$ of winches & parts for'em.
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Old 16-10-2014, 16:11   #25
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And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Used to wash aircraft parts with Acetone barehanded in the Army, then it was no longer allowed once it was proven that it caused cancer or brain damage, we switched to MEK which of course is worse, but not proven to be, once MEK was outlawed, we switched to MIK, which I think is the worst of all, but I Retired before MIK was proven to kill you slowly.
God only knows what they are using now
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Old 16-10-2014, 16:28   #26
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Brake Cleaner.. No soaking required, it will melt that nasty grease easily.. Probably require 1 can per winch..
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Old 16-10-2014, 16:28   #27
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

White spirits work fine.

We did 8 cockpit winches while motoring slowly through the Kiel Canal on a lovely sunny day in August. One of the people who posted in this thread was there and helped. It was pleasant and fun -- a winch servicing party.

I have to make an awful confession that that was the first time I ever serviced my winches in five years of ownership, and they were way overdue. In fact, it was the first time I ever serviced winches, period. I have to say that it is a really pleasant job, fondling all those beautiful bronze parts, which come apart much more easily than I imagined. A bit like cleaning a gun, I would think.
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Old 16-10-2014, 18:04   #28
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Well now since we have brought guns into it, masterfully played by the way.
How about some Hoppes?
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Old 16-10-2014, 18:07   #29
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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Well now since we have brought guns into it, masterfully played by the way.
How about some Hoppes?
Indeed, and who doesn't love the smell of Hoppes?

Anyone cleaned a winch with it? I reckon it would be major overkill. So to speak.
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Old 16-10-2014, 19:13   #30
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Jim Cate and I agree (on this one thing anyway). Old diesel fuel is the best. A bronze or brass fine wire brush and some Q-tips does wonders. Don't let the parts stay in the diesel fuel too long like a couple months because it also will let things get gumbed up it you do.

Good luck. It is a messy job and it is really weird how that old winch grease turns into solid caked on junk.
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