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Old 28-01-2013, 22:04   #1
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Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

Hi, Has anyone else had problems with the Maxwell VWC 1200 gearbox failing?
Mine destroyed the gear teeth and after replacing these, brgs etc. it shows severe wear again after probably another 100 operations.
I contacted Maxwell who state they have never had issues with this gearbox. The reason i ask is when I tried to buy a complete replacement gearbox a few companies says they were out of stock, so other people must be replacing gearboxs?
Please let me know if you have experience with this windlass, good or bad, and please no discussions on how to anchor properly as it wasn't due to abuse.

Thanks, Niven.
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Old 28-01-2013, 22:23   #2
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

Hope your not using it to pull the boat forward before the lift. Most of the windlass that I've encountered is only designed to lift the chain and anchor that's specified. And that's it, no more, until one gets into those big hyd. on-deck mounted beasts.
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Old 28-01-2013, 22:30   #3
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

G'Day Niven,

Yes, we have had to replace the worm and wheel in our VCW1500 (identical to the 1200 as far as I can tell). About one third of the teeth on the worm had broken off and the wheel was badly worn. I replaced the bearings and seals with ones purchased for less than 20 dollars total at the local bearing and seal shop.

We are full time cruisers and live at anchor 95+% of the time, so the windlass gets used a lot. There was no specific precipitating event that lead to failure, but our chain often jams in the chain pipe which stalls the winch abruptly. This sudden loading may be the cause of our failure... dunno for sure. At any rate, it has worked normally since the rebuild and I hope that it continues!

I assume that you cleaned out the gearcase when you rebuilt yours, and that it didn't seem to be stiff or have any other abnormal action when used. Can't offer any explanation for your second failure. If you should discover something, I for one would be glad to hear about it.

Cheers and good luck,

Jim
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Old 29-01-2013, 07:13   #4
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

We just replaced the gear box on our six year old Maxwell 1200. An oil seal blew and the gear box oil drained out. The gear teeth, like yours, were destroyed.

You cannot order individual parts, you have to order the entire gear box. We are in Panama and ordered our gear box from New Zealand for about $600.

The 1200 is no longer in production, so if mine fails again, I am unpgrading to the 1500, which has the same footprint.
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Old 29-01-2013, 18:21   #5
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

Hi Jim and Tom, Thanks for the feedback, It sounds like these gearboxs can take a bit of abuse, a leaking oilseal is just hard luck I guess. I'll look at ordering a replacement gearbox for a 1500, maybe a bit tougher.
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Old 29-01-2013, 18:30   #6
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
We just replaced the gear box on our six year old Maxwell 1200. An oil seal blew and the gear box oil drained out. The gear teeth, like yours, were destroyed.

You cannot order individual parts, you have to order the entire gear box. We are in Panama and ordered our gear box from New Zealand for about $600.

The 1200 is no longer in production, so if mine fails again, I am unpgrading to the 1500, which has the same footprint.
It looks like the same footprint, but the silly buggers moved one of the mounting bolts about 0.5 inches.
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Old 29-01-2013, 19:06   #7
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
We just replaced the gear box on our six year old Maxwell 1200. An oil seal blew and the gear box oil drained out. The gear teeth, like yours, were destroyed.

You cannot order individual parts, you have to order the entire gear box. We are in Panama and ordered our gear box from New Zealand for about $600.

The 1200 is no longer in production, so if mine fails again, I am unpgrading to the 1500, which has the same footprint.
Tom, last August we had no difficulty i n buying just the worm and wheel gears from our local Maxwell dealer. Took two days for delivery, and then the wheel didn't fit... but the dealer had one that did and we swapped.

And as I said, the bearings and seals are standard parts available from normal industrial sources.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 30-01-2013, 04:39   #8
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox issues

I purchased mine the same month as you Jim....

Could not find individual bearings or worm gears anywhere in the USA or New Zealand.

Dealers were telling us that the 1200 is out of production and it is difficult to find parts.

Maybe they told me wrong or you got the last individual parts...
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Old 31-01-2013, 00:48   #9
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

Maxwell are telling me the gearbox for the 1500 is identical internals to the 1200, just the spacer tube is different.
Well not too many people have admitted to having issues without abusing the windlass so it seems they are fit for purpose and I'll just replace it.
I really didnt want to change the windlass as I had recently fitted and auto anchor which is a great piece of kit for singlehanders.
Thanks for the feedback all.
Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 31-01-2013, 02:21   #10
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacey16 View Post
Maxwell are telling me the gearbox for the 1500 is identical internals to the 1200, just the spacer tube is different.
Well not too many people have admitted to having issues without abusing the windlass so it seems they are fit for purpose and I'll just replace it.
I really didnt want to change the windlass as I had recently fitted and auto anchor which is a great piece of kit for singlehanders.
Thanks for the feedback all.
Thanks for the feedback.
Makes you wonder: Maxwell says that the gearbox and the motor are the same for 1200 and 1500, so where does the extra 300 lbs of pull come from?

Likely the sales office???

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 31-01-2013, 07:25   #11
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Makes you wonder: Maxwell says that the gearbox and the motor are the same for 1200 and 1500, so where does the extra 300 lbs of pull come from?

Likely the sales office???

Cheers,

Jim
I wonder if the maker of the motor has improved it somewhat but within the same casing. (Also, by the way, I believe the 1200 verses 1500 refers to the wattage of the motor itself.)

On another matter related to the motor itself, have any of you fellows had problems with the casing of the motor rusting? I installed our windlass in 2006 after a friend of mine, with the same boat, installed his. In 2009 he advised me that his windlass had failed completely and he discovered that the case had rusted through. Upon inspection, I discovered that our motor case was also badly rusted so I dismounted it, cleaned and treated it with Ospho and then applied a supposedly rust proofing paint. Unfortunately, I have found that the rust proofing wasn't and have had to repeat the process and will so again in the next few weeks. This time I'm going to try treating the case the Petit "RustLok" to see if that does any better. Have any of you had a similar experience?

svHyLyte
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Old 31-01-2013, 08:41   #12
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

My windlass mfgr (similar to Maxwell) recommends coating the under case with grease. So, I bought some spray-on stuff in a can, laid down some papers and gave it a shot.

It's a good thing too. When the chain runs free, for anchoring, crap gets thrown everywhere inside the locker. It's good too that I pointed the electrical terminals away from the chain side.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:45   #13
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

I sprayed the heck out of my windlass with T-9 Biosheild and the waxy film has held-up well. It's been on for about three years, but only in saltwater for the past 6 months. I guess time will tell.
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Old 31-01-2013, 11:32   #14
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

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I sprayed the heck out of my windlass with T-9 Biosheild and the waxy film has held-up well. It's been on for about three years, but only in saltwater for the past 6 months. I guess time will tell.
I used a product similar to Boeshield--Corrosion Block--and while I couldn't see into the space where the motor/drive were situated too well, I could get may hand and wrist in to give the motor a blast or two from time to time but that didn't seem to have made any difference. Frankly, considering the windlass, I can't imagine why they didn't spec stainless for the drive casing, eh? Otherwise, we've found it an excellent piece of gear.
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Old 31-01-2013, 12:34   #15
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Re: Maxwell Windlass Gearbox Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I wonder if the maker of the motor has improved it somewhat but within the same casing. (Also, by the way, I believe the 1200 verses 1500 refers to the wattage of the motor itself.)

On another matter related to the motor itself, have any of you fellows had problems with the casing of the motor rusting? I installed our windlass in 2006 after a friend of mine, with the same boat, installed his. In 2009 he advised me that his windlass had failed completely and he discovered that the case had rusted through. Upon inspection, I discovered that our motor case was also badly rusted so I dismounted it, cleaned and treated it with Ospho and then applied a supposedly rust proofing paint. Unfortunately, I have found that the rust proofing wasn't and have had to repeat the process and will so again in the next few weeks. This time I'm going to try treating the case the Petit "RustLok" to see if that does any better. Have any of you had a similar experience?

svHyLyte
No, the 1200/1500 refer to the max pull rating of the windlass. The wattage of the motors of the two models are the same.

Maxwell, in the installation manual, says to spray the whole shebang with CRC "Longlife" or similar product, and to repeat it each time you service the upper part. We've done that and not had a rust problem or corrosion on the terminals.

Cheers,

Jim
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