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Old 04-04-2007, 22:26   #1
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I have very limited experience with sailing hardware. My Profurl roller reefing seems to be quite 'stiff'. I have removed the sail, lifted the drum so that there is no possibility of it dragging on the drum arms, while there is no tension on the foil it does not turn smoothly when I twist it by hand. (perhaps the bearings are completly siezed because the feeling is that of gritty friction?)

I have no idea what model this Profurl is: my 34' boat was built in the late 1980's so I would suspect that the roller was put on at that time. I have no literature about assembly and I can not seem to find an exploded view of a drum assembly so before I take this thing apart and drop something in the water -how likely are the bearings to be the problem? Is there something else I should be looking at first? Where would I find a model number on this roller reefing (I have looked closely at the drum assembly and can't find anything)? Is there something that I should be lubricating? I see that sells Profurl parts- is it cost effective to replace parts on these things or are they another case that when one part fails others are ready to go too?

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Old 04-04-2007, 22:53   #2
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Profurl uses standard industrial sealed steel bearings. They are probably shot. Face seals like they use have a finite life. Good news is that they are cheap to replace. Yellow Pages under Bearings in any big city. Take the old bearings with you. A good counterperson will be able to find a replacement bearing for them in 5 minutes

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Old 05-04-2007, 01:55   #3
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Goto ProFurl Support < PROFURL - sail reefing systems for boats (headsail, mainsail) > then click on “Technical Manuals” then “Manual Headsail Systems” and etc.
All the manuals are there.
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Old 05-04-2007, 17:26   #4
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Thanks for the advice and the links. I will try and get down to the boat on Monday and take the thing apart.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:10   #5
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I'm certainly no expert, but...

I, too, have a ProFurl system (my third) and before you go to trying to remove and press the bearings apart... try adding more tension to the headstay. I have found that even new drum & foil sections can be difficult to turn smoothly and make a popping rattling noise when turning by hand if the foil sections are loose and drooping around a sagging headstay.

And the manual is not very clear on how to go about tensioning the headstay.

What I had to do was:
  • remove the sail and furling line.
  • remove the two lower allen screws holding the link plates to the drum.
  • mark the foil where it enters the top of the drum section with a fine Sharpie pen.
  • use your halyard to take tension on the foil with a rolling hitch.
  • loosen the straight slot screws found on opposing sides of the plastic drum. This should now allow you to raise the drum assy enough to reach the lower wire terminal.
  • secure the drum assy up & out of the way with the rolling hitch tail.
  • lubricate the terminal threads.
  • remove securing pins from studs.
  • hold the base of the wire terminal with a wrench and use a large crescent wrench to tension the turnbuckle.
  • when satisfied with the tension replace cotter pins and carefully lower the drum assy until you see the mark on the foil.
  • tighten the drum screws and reassemble in reverse order.
You'll know right away if this did the trick when you're rolling the furler line back onto the drum.

If the difficulty and grinding noise persist... then the bearings are the most likely problem. As mentioned above - the bearings are carbon steel with plastic seals and if seawater gets inside the bearing it will corrode and eventually seize the drum & swivel assemblies.

I have yet to personally try to remove the bearings from my drum and upper swivel assemblies - but have helped several friends try on other boats and I have come to conclude that the old bearings are next to impossible to remove without further dammage... even at a talented machine shop... and it is most cost effective (and far easier) to simply purchase & install new drum & upper swivel assemblies.

ProFurl systems are about half the cost of all the other popular systems and their spare parts are equally affordable.

But try tuning the rigging first before going through the hassle of removing the headstay & furler.

Good luck,

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Old 06-04-2007, 10:07   #6
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Thanks Kirk: I will certainly give that a try! It sounds a whole lot simpler so I will cross my fingers
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:08   #7
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Hi Bob:

Good luck with the repair on the Pro-Furl. I have one myself and will be looking at it when I come up to your neck of the woods in May. Am going to cruise the San Juans in May and then theGulf Islands in June July. Let us know how the repair came out.

Kirk: thanks for the insight on Profurlers. I have one as well and will look at it in May.
Fair Winds,


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Old 10-04-2007, 23:45   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I followed Gallivanter's advice and put a bit more tension on the fore stay.
Now I don't know if it was my imagination that the foil was turning roughly, if the increased tension worked, or if it was my last kid at home getting 'picked' to study in Japan for the next school year and the consequent flatening of my wallet; but when I put the head sail back on it furled just fine thank-you.
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Old 27-04-2008, 09:45   #9
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bearing replacement

Hi sundown and forum'ers
We were in the middle of the Indian about as far as you can be when our profurl bearings went belly up. I didn't know what to do, so in the immortal style of men everywhere, I cracked it open and hammered out the very broken bearings. I caused so much damage that when I returned to the land of the mostly free the new bearings wouldn't fit.
After I took the old bearings out I just stuck the top and the bottom part of the lower furler together. The weight of the foil keeps the two together. It seems to still work fine, we furl by hand on a 41' ketch and that was 8 years ago--- or else we have become stronger? No, not a chance, except my rum drinking arm.

What to know more?

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