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Old 23-01-2013, 11:08   #1
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Location: Seattle, WA
Boat: Catalina-Morgan 440, 44ft
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Harken electric winch - leaking oil, loss of power

Hello folks -
New member here, and new boat owner. While out recently, I noticed that there was oil leaking from a headliner panel in my aft cabin.

Unscrewing that and investigating, I found that the motor/gearbox assembly for the Harken 44 2 speed electric winch was leaking oil. I also noticed that on last hoist of my main it really appeared to struggle with the last few feet, seeming to lose "umph."


I've called Harken and asked them about it. They believe that the seal between the gearbox and motor is bad. They recommend removal of that assembly, installation of a new seal (they're sending me one), and bench testing of the motor at a local shop they recommended to me. It all sounds great... if I could actually get the thing apart.

Here's the deal, after disassembling the winch and removing the bolts that are *supposed* to hold the motor/gearbox assembly to the mounting plate the darned thing doesn't want to come out. When investigating, it appears that during original installation there *may* have been a sealant used to prevent water leaking in - which makes sense. The concern I have is could that sealant actually be strong enough to bond and hold a 20+lb motor assembly in place by itself? When I say it is stuck, I mean it is really stuck there - muscling it hardly even wiggles the thing. Do I need to take some kind of blade to the sealant around it and cut it out, or am I missing something!? Someone recommended that I take a hammer and give it a good whack to break it loose, but I'm extremely hesitant to pound on something that has moving parts and is really expensive to replace.

Does anyone else have this same model, and have you run into a similar issue? What did you do? Please don't tell me that I have to buy a whole new electric winch... that would drive me to drink, if I wasn't already a drinker. Perhaps "it'll drive me to tears" would be better.

Here's hoping you all can help!


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Old 24-01-2013, 06:31   #2
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Re: Harken electric winch - leaking oil, loss of power

Do you have the manual?

It's possible that the installer used an adhesive sealant, such as 3M "5200", which is very tenacious.

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Old 25-01-2013, 15:08   #3
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Re: Harken electric winch - leaking oil, loss of power

The 5200 adhesive reply makes sense. You might have to do some serious cutting/chiseling to get it off. How old is the winch. I have 2 electric winches and after a decade don't use the electric power cause of screw-ups... Too much power so things get ripped up. I even pulled a winch off the deck when a line jammed ... How big is the boat? Frank
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Old 26-01-2013, 10:35   #4
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Re: Harken electric winch - leaking oil, loss of power

Neil, you could consider applying a steady vertical pull with a tensioned halyard while you reach at the sealant with a blade. I did it to remove a deck organizer bedded in silicone.

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Old 26-01-2013, 15:50   #5
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Re: Harken electric winch - leaking oil, loss of power

Try this.....It really does work. Sounds like it's held by 5200. Good Luck.

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