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Old 20-03-2011, 04:51   #1
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turnbuckles life span

Hello,
can anyone tell me the durability of bronze turnbuckles. I am refitting/re-rigging a 12m steel ketch and I am evaluating the neeed to change the bronze turnbuckles that look massive. On visual inspection some minimal deformation (fraction of a mm) of the eyes of the forks has occured. No apparent cracks, should I dye test them (turnbuckles and pins?)
Thank you all in advance
Wizz
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Old 20-03-2011, 05:42   #2
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Re: turnbuckles life span

I don't think there is a definitive answer on lifespan, just too many variables. My husband the left brain, thrifty Scot engineer would say test them, then retest them again. I would say if there is deformation and you are in any way unsure about them, change them out. Your going to have to do it one day, might as well do it now so you know exactly what you've got.
So I think its just a matter of which side of the discussion points your personality falls on.
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Old 20-03-2011, 13:51   #3
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Re: turnbuckles life span

Selden recommends replacing the studs (they are SS on many bronze rigging screw systems) and holding on to the bronze parts unless they are rotten.

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Old 20-03-2011, 15:50   #4
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Re: turnbuckles life span

By rotten I meant BAD - too much free play, cracks, etc..

Sometimes the studs will be part of the new wire (and they will be new each time you change the wire) but at other times there may be forks, etc. . In such cases replace the forks, which will be SS in many 'bronze' turnbuckles. At both ends.

But there are also bronze/bronze turnbuckles sure thing.

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Old 20-03-2011, 16:01   #5
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Re: turnbuckles life span

I'm on my third set of shrouds and swedge fittings since buying my current ketch in 1985, but I've had the same bronze turnbuckles for these 26 years. I do not pursue harsh days of sailing, but I get caught in an occasional squall or leave too much sail up sometimes,- don't we all? I'm not saying this as a claim to making a wise choice, but this has been and will continue to be my behavior. Sure, I look at my turnbuckles. They're looking fine, but I'll tell you if they fail!
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Old 20-03-2011, 20:12   #6
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Re: turnbuckles life span

I'm in fresh water, but I'm still on my first set of Merriman chromed bronze turnbuckles. Considering I tension to spec (also known as 1/3 more than a lot of cruisers) and I service them with a brass brush and then a lithium greasing every year, I have to say I'm satisfied in how they've held up.

Frankly, they are 38 years old, and I will replace them at 40 or before "just because", but I will probably salvage those turnbuckles just because they are obviously good, durable kit.

I am aware I'm getting a "price break" in fresh water, but that doesn't mean we don't inspect our gear or occasionally lose rigging due to corrosion, age or lack of proper sail management in heavy weather. Rod rigging from the '80s seems prone to problems here...not surprised it didn't persist.
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Old 20-03-2011, 20:57   #7
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Re: turnbuckles life span

Clean the turnbuckles throughly, dis assemble.

Soak in transmission fluid for 12 hours... remove and dry throughly with paper towels.

Dust with talc. look for cracks were they don't belong.... if none found, they are probably ok to return to service.

Aircraft NDI tech trick passed along to me... works well on all but the threads.
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