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Old 16-10-2014, 01:04   #1
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Question And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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
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Old 16-10-2014, 01:14   #2
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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
Well of course the logical answer is - Service your winches before they reach that state.

I service my winches once a year - so I haven't seen that on mine. I helped a friend who bought boat a couple of years ago. We used regular gasoline. Just dumped everything in and let it soak then used a toothbrush (messy, messy messy).

Some parts had to be soaked a couple of times.

There is probalby a better solution - but that one works and is cheap
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Old 16-10-2014, 02:46   #3
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Kerosene is the old standby for soaking and cleaning the old grease out of winches, much safer than gas and very effective. Get an old stiff paint brush and after soaking them for awhile this makes a good tool to do the final cleaning. If you never learned take a moment to look up how to properly pack a bearing with grease and you'll be good to go.
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Old 16-10-2014, 03:09   #4
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Thanks fellas, I've used both of those to good effect. Might there be something out there akin to a 'Roided Up version of Simple Green?

And as to letting winches go between cleanings, I've had friends ask me for help on winches which have seen 2 Ha, ha, ha rallies, with sailing in between, & ZERO TLC for their winches. I literally had to take apart a mid-sized winch with a Hammer (for the first time in my life). 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.
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Old 16-10-2014, 04:21   #5
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

When we use a Baja filter to strain suspect fuel there is always some left in its "sump", often containing some crud or other. so, I keep a 4 litre jug and pour that dirty diesel into it. It is too dirty to put in the tank, but just fine for cleaning winches. Not as aggressive a solvent as petrol, but a lot safer to use when you might get a visitor with a smoke going!

Nasty job, but someone's gotta do it!

Jim
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Old 16-10-2014, 04:51   #6
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

As Jim said...

I use diesel for almost every degreasing job...
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Old 16-10-2014, 05:16   #7
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Brake Clean
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Old 16-10-2014, 05:39   #8
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

White spirits / mineral spirits worked well. We also found that a citrus based degreaser worked well for subsequent years.


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Old 16-10-2014, 06:21   #9
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

I would try the citrus cleaner, chemically this is d'limonene. About as safe and natural as you can get since it's extracted from the peal of citrus fruit, mainly oranges.

Have not used it on ancient winch grease but did a great job cleaning old caked on grunge on the chain on my motorcycle so think it might do the job.
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Old 16-10-2014, 06:58   #10
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Stoddard solvent / mineral spirits / white spirits all the same name depends on where you are. Try asking for white spirits in Florida AKA paint thinner.
If your safety conscious Safety Clean has a solvent that is a much higher flash point or something not sure, gasoline scares me, Diesel smell is hard to get off of my hands.
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:03   #11
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

What about using an ultrasonic cleaner?
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:05   #12
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Kerosene.
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:12   #13
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Lamp oil--aka parafin.
I use it for all 10 winches, (Barients), on my boat. It's pretty safe to use and store.
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:19   #14
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

Just last week I had the pleasure of tackling this on a few winches that are likely twice as bad as yours.

I had a few gallons of eco-friendly paint stripper (klean-strip) which did a surprisingly excellent job and left very little residue / smell (which is what i dont like about diesel and kerosene).

-steve
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Old 16-10-2014, 10:30   #15
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Re: And your Favorite Winch Cleaning Solvent is?

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)

Paint Thinner is just as easy though.
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