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Old 04-01-2014, 17:24   #1
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dismantling a Harken roller furler

I recently bought a 1984 used Harken furler, series 1, very cheap. The lower bearings are stiff, but I figured I could dismantle the unit and refurbish it. I easily took the outer bearing off the lower swivel after removing the circlip, and was surprised to see the ball bearings appear to be nylon, or plastic or something similar.
But I’m completely baffled as to how to get at the inner bearing races. There doesn’t appear to be any retaining clips, only two little oil holes in the housing.
Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 05-01-2014, 16:02   #2
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

I had no replies to this post, but over the weekend I solved the problem myself.
I will give a little background for those who might be interested:
This furler is for my foremast staysail, (Brigantine schooner), and I wanted to utilize a long turnbuckle top stud—which cost an arm and a leg—to carry the gooseneck of the staysail boom. The thread sizes between the Harken shaft, and the turnbuckle stud were different and left handed, and I couldn’t turn that on my lathe, so I turned the stud down to fit snug into the shaft and welded it to the shaft. I immediately knew something was wrong when the bearings started to smoke, but I didn’t for one moment think they would be made of plastic!!
Anyway, they melted themselves to the shaft, hence the stiffness in rotating.
I removed the two ½” diameter “oiling plugs” by screwing a self tapper into them and pulling with a claw hammer. These turned out not to be oiling plugs at all, but holes just big enough to pop the bearings in and out of their sockets, which are either Delrin or Torlon—some sort of plastic material.
These two pieces can be seen on the photo, including the “garden pea” bearings, 12 balls to each bearing.
This all started last Friday night, and there is absolutely nothing on Harken’s site or anywhere else I could find on the web which explained how the inner shaft was fitted inside the one piece outer furling housing.
The uppermost ring of bearings dropped out of the hole easily enough, but not the lower balls, which were next to the welded joint and fused to their grooves. These had to be individually drilled and waggled out of the hole, which took three hours for twelve balls.
Then the last of these was waggled out, the inner shaft came out of the outer housing to reveal all.
I damaged the inner bearing surface with the drilling, but nothing which can’t be cleaned up with my needle files.
So this is where I stand, and tomorrow I phone Harken to find out why the fitted plastic bearings on a headsail furler, instead of stainless balls, which I will probably use as replacements.
So I guess the moral is: “you live and learn” and that’s why I’ve taken the trouble to write this, to hopefully save someone else making the same mistakes.
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Old 05-01-2014, 17:18   #3
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Jolly, I'm surprised that you didn't know that Harken, and many other furler mfgs, use Torlon balls in their bearings. It is mentioned in many of their ads and in catalogs. They are rated for the anticipated loads, and most folks don't have issues with them.

Since the races appear to be anodized aluminium, the use of s/s balls may cause the surfaces to deform and break down... seems a dicey thing to do IMO. If you are now through welding on the thing, why not just replace the melted Torlon balls and be done with it? They work for thousands of other users!

Cheers,

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Old 05-01-2014, 17:26   #4
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

You should not use anything but the balls that are sold by Harken. They are not that expensive, and designed for the unit in question. They do not rust, or tanish, and the maintenance is to simply wash them off. Much better then stainless in that application, where they are exposed to salt continuously.

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Old 05-01-2014, 17:29   #5
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Torlon bearings work very well in the Harkens. Just flush with fresh water once in a while. I have a 26 year old unit that works like a charm.
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Old 05-01-2014, 17:31   #6
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All of the good units use the "plastic" bearings. Metallic bearings are almost universally troublesome.
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Old 05-01-2014, 19:15   #7
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Isn’t it strange how all the know-it-all’s come out of the woodwork after the event?
I plan to reinstall the correct “balls” if I can get them from Harken, but it would have been decidedly more helpful to know how to dismantle the damn thing beforehand.
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Old 05-01-2014, 19:26   #8
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Isn’t it strange how all the know-it-all’s come out of the woodwork after the event?
I plan to reinstall the correct “balls” if I can get them from Harken, but it would have been decidedly more helpful to know how to dismantle the damn thing beforehand.
You said the bearings appeared to be plastic in your initial post yesterday evening. Nothing in your post indicated you were going to take a welder to it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 19:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Isn’t it strange how all the know-it-all’s come out of the woodwork after the event? .
Didn't know you were in such a rush!!
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Old 05-01-2014, 20:07   #10
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Yes, the bearings last almost forever unless you torch them!

What hull of that boat made of? Reinforced plastic?
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Old 05-01-2014, 20:13   #11
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

My question was how to split the inner shaft from the outer housing.
The simple answer is to remove the plugs and tip the bearings out, then draw the shaft, but I didn’t know that.
Threads get sidetracked enough without complicating them why the thing was actually binding.
I guess I could have waited over the weekend to speak to Harken, but I can imagine their reply when I told them I had welded a shaft to their furler and melted the bearings. “We can’t approve that. You need to buy a new furler” comes to mind.
If I had known the bearings were susceptible to heat I would have obviously found out how to remove them first, then welded the bare shaft.
As I said, “you live and learn,” and if I can get enough balls I'll change them all out, because they all show signs of wear - not surprising since 1984.
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Old 05-01-2014, 20:30   #12
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

The little Harken balls are not cheap, but they will last 25 years if you don't heat them.

The Harken manuals are on their website, but you need to know which furler your have.
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:18   #13
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

It depends what you class as, not cheap. Harken want a dollar each, plus shipping. I'm happy with that, because it will get me out of the mess I caused in the first place.
Does anyone have a spare foil they could sell me. It's the type with roll pins holding the foils?
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:42   #14
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

Wow, sorry that we were not here, sitting in front of our computers, waiting for your request for help. If you want meaningful help from folks here, you have to exercise some patience. And never EXPECT it.

And a crappy attitude will most likely turn folks off from helping in the future.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Isn’t it strange how all the know-it-all’s come out of the woodwork after the event?
I plan to reinstall the correct “balls” if I can get them from Harken, but it would have been decidedly more helpful to know how to dismantle the damn thing beforehand.
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:44   #15
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Re: dismantling a Harken roller furler

There are less expensive places to buy the balls than directly from the manufacturer, such as pyacht.com

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