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Old 17-08-2016, 11:06   #16
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Good point. Often these groves are filled with bedding compound.

I wonder what the effect of covers is on winches? I use covers based primarily on UV vs. plastic parts.
  • Less UV on the plastic bits.
  • No rain to washer the grease out.
  • No rain to wash the salt out. But on my boat the winches never see much salt spray (high cockpit, big hard top).
  • Slower to dry.
Pretty much all of the above, though I've never thought about drying time. But covers also go a long way towards keeping out airborn dust & grit, as well as pollutants which are in the air that can break down both polymers, & lubes. For example, half burned petrolium products & vehicle exhausts, microscopic ash & such, etc. And in some places dust is a biggie, like Africa, & places downwind of it in the Caribbean.

Also, lighter colored covers are like white dodgers or cockpit awnings for winches, it keeps the lube cooler. Ditto on keeping drying winds off of them. Plus, of course, the above. Including keeping some of the salt laden breezes off of them when docked or moored.


For example, the worst winch I ever serviced was on my neighbor's Hans Christian. He'd sailed down to Mexico, spent 2 seasons there, & sailed back to San Diego. Never having worked on them. And I think he called me because he couldn't get it apart, though he never said as much.

I spun off the retaining ring, & couldn't get ANYTHING to move. Not even with a winch handle. So to my horror, I asked for a hammer, & after 3 blows I was able to get the center spindle out. Along with it came a teaspoon of sand. The inside of the winch was the same. Though surprisingly the only damage was a bit of scoring. And after cleaning, plus some fresh grease, it worked great. However, it was definitely an advertisement for both servicing & covers. And I'm sure that the life of the bearing races was shortened by such mistreatment.

Re. galvanic corrosion, does it make sense to recoat ALL surfaces with something like Corrosion Block spray? Area = amps, and I'm guessing that corrosion is a major contributor to what looks like mechanical wear; even trace corrosion greatly weakens the surface and provides grit--after all, boats don't really see much grit in a marine environment, since there is no road dust.
LOL, I'd never coat ALL of a winches surfaces with corrosion block. That would make the drums Very slippery.
What I was referring to in terms of winch corrosion is that you have several different types of metal in them, & sometimes some carbon fiber as well.So for the most part, the winch's lube protects it's vital bits.

Honestly, bases aside, corrosion's not really a big issue. I mention it only so that people use common sense when choosing lubes. As galvanically, Moly's next to Monel, where as Aluminum's next to Zinc.
And if you're running carbon fiber drums on your winches, then the guys looking after them don't need supervision.


PS: A cleaning trick, is to cut a hole the size of the base, into a cardboard box, & then tape said box to the deck, around the winch when you're pulling off it's various parts. This helps to lessen the number of bits which go on swim call, knock on wood.
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:06   #17
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

My primaries need it every year or two but I am using them heavily in a salt water environment. The ones on the cabin top live under the dodger and dont get used nearly as much so they only need it every 3-4 years.
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:45   #18
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
LOL, I'd never coat ALL of a winches surfaces with corrosion block. That would make the drums Very slippery.
What I was referring to in terms of winch corrosion is that you have several different types of metal in them, & sometimes some carbon fiber as well.So for the most part, the winch's lube protects it's vital bits.

Honestly, bases aside, corrosion's not really a big issue. I mention it only so that people use common sense when choosing lubes. As galvanically, Moly's next to Monel, where as Aluminum's next to Zinc.
And if you're running carbon fiber drums on your winches, then the guys looking after them don't need supervision.


PS: A cleaning trick, is to cut a hole the size of the base, into a cardboard box, & then tape said box to the deck, around the winch when you're pulling off it's various parts. This helps to lessen the number of bits which go on swim call, knock on wood.
I meant the inside only. Outside would be pretty weird.

The testing I did was for Practical Sailor and included several wash-off tests, all using galvanically coupled ASTM corrosion bundles. Obviously aluminum is vulnerable when coupled to copper alloys, but the copper alloys themselves were often damaged as well.

I didn't mess with carbon fiber. As you stated, folks with carbon hulls should already know that it must be isolated. However, even common folk need to be reminded about graphite shaft seals.
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Old 17-08-2016, 12:34   #19
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

To be true full they are very easy to service once done a few times.
I normally try and take all apart about 2 yrs just to check and clean if needed oil bits as needed, bit of grease etc as directed by maker.
And as already stated if they are groaning telling you I need some love here it,s time to do.
If you have never done it before? YouTube has quite a few good videos to get you going. You will soon be a winch expert.
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Old 17-08-2016, 12:49   #20
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

Earlier, my fingers were moving faster than my brain when I was discussing lubricants. Part of what I meant to also caution about, is what one uses in terms of solvents, in order to strip the old lube. Since some of them can; eat, embrittle, or soften various plastics, including bearing races & self tailing assemblies, etc.
Not to mention melt your brain... through your rubber gloves, or while melting your gloves. As well as leaving ugly spots on some boat finishes. Which SUCKS with nice varnish jobs!!!

MEK was quite the devirginizer my first time with it, as it banana peeled my gloves in under 60 sec! Brain too. I was a cheap date at cocktail hour that day
And if you're chemically sensitive... you know what precautions to take, even if there's a nice breeze blowing.
I recall most of my first painting experience inside of a closed boat. I mean heck, it was dusty on the hard, & I didn't want that in the finish So, hatches got dogged. Oops
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Old 17-08-2016, 13:00   #21
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I meant the inside only. Outside would be pretty weird.

The testing I did was for Practical Sailor and included several wash-off tests, all using galvanically coupled ASTM corrosion bundles. Obviously aluminum is vulnerable when coupled to copper alloys, but the copper alloys themselves were often damaged as well.

I didn't mess with carbon fiber. As you stated, folks with carbon hulls should already know that it must be isolated. However, even common folk need to be reminded about graphite shaft seals.
I was referring to Carbon Fiber Winch Drums, & more rarely, self tailers & other small bits. Such as when we got to test said winches in the mid 90's on some high end racers. And other boats since.
Though, yes, if your cabin structure is Carbon, then both the mounting bolts, & the winch need isolating. There's even a current thread over on Sailing Anarchy Forums about that. As skipping these steps destroyed several winches on someone's boat.

In the tests you're doing on corrosion, was Boseshield T-9 one of the contestants? And if so, how'd it fair, & against what? I'd be VERY curious to see a raw copy of the testing, as well as the final report. Though I'll still keep my 23yr old can of T-9 regardless, that stuff rocks!

And yeah, Graphite seals can be "interesting". Such as when packing laced with Graphite is used to make dripless shaft seals.
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Old 17-08-2016, 21:12   #22
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

With regards water ingress (fresh & salt) and winches should I fit covers canvas / plastic to my deck winches when not in use? I've heard that this may make them sweat and cause corrosion so I haven't done it in the past. I'd be interested to hear others recommendations and experience?
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Old 17-08-2016, 21:36   #23
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
I was referring to Carbon Fiber Winch Drums, & more rarely, self tailers & other small bits. Such as when we got to test said winches in the mid 90's on some high end racers. And other boats since.
Though, yes, if your cabin structure is Carbon, then both the mounting bolts, & the winch need isolating. There's even a current thread over on Sailing Anarchy Forums about that. As skipping these steps destroyed several winches on someone's boat.

In the tests you're doing on corrosion, was Boseshield T-9 one of the contestants? And if so, how'd it fair, & against what? I'd be VERY curious to see a raw copy of the testing, as well as the final report. Though I'll still keep my 23yr old can of T-9 regardless, that stuff rocks!

And yeah, Graphite seals can be "interesting". Such as when packing laced with Graphite is used to make dripless shaft seals.
I recall Practical Sailor did some testing of wire corrosion ~ 5-8 years ago and Boseshield was on that list. Good stuff. I use it on non-SS parts of my propane system (in the locker) regularly. But this round of testing was only lube greases (winch, industrial, and vehical-types).
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Old 17-08-2016, 21:39   #24
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

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Originally Posted by Walaby View Post
With regards water ingress (fresh & salt) and winches should I fit covers canvas / plastic to my deck winches when not in use? I've heard that this may make them sweat and cause corrosion so I haven't done it in the past. I'd be interested to hear others recommendations and experience?
Yup, that was one of my questions. I have used them for many years and no, I have not noticed any negative effects. Bear in mind that they should be Sunbrella rather than something waterproof and air-tight. I'm mostly concerned about UV. It sure aint' for looks, they don't even match--I'm all about function.
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Old 18-08-2016, 05:09   #25
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

Short of finding an exotic lubricant, consider using water-resistant lithium grease when you do your tear-downs.
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Old 18-08-2016, 07:38   #26
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

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Absolutely right, my wenches tend to complain when they haven't be serviced in a while. Flowers, a bottle of wine, dinner out occasionally tend to keep the noise down and any roughness away. Applying before the wench starts to make noise is key for smooth-running ship, though. You'll have to determine your own schedule, depending on age and amount of prior use, your wench may need more or less frequent servicing than others, each one is unique.
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Old 18-08-2016, 11:55   #27
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When They Complain? Myth Busted

I service winches as part of the Sheen Marine "Total Yacht Care" program.

I have a display with a set of old Barlow 2 speed winches I take to boat shows and boat maintenance seminars.

I ask participants to spin both winches and tell me which one was recenty serviced.

Everyone points to the one opposite the one that does not spin freely.

I pull the drums off and show them that the free spinning winch has about 10 years of gummy bears (old grease) in it. The hard spinning winch is freshly lubricated.

The answer is, "ONE CANNOT TELL IF A WINCH NEEDS TO BE MAINTAINED BASED ON FEEL OR SOUND."

Every time I get asked to service a winch, I ask what prompted the user to call. The usual response is, "It's Been A Long Time" 9whhc likely means never). On occasion, I'm told, either it feels or sounds different". In every case, something in the winch has been damaged. On one occasion, the screws of the spindle assembly had come loose, and the spindle was near ready to let go. It had been loose so long that there were wear marks in the drum where it had been grinding on the side of the spindle.

If you have never experienced a winch "blow" before, it is a very violent action, sounds like a cannon, and the drum can end up being the cannon ball.

Frequent maintenance is imperative. Follow manufacturer instructions (usually annual recommendations) and modify as experience dictates.

"I bought the boat 10 years ago and have yet to do it", just means that the hardened grease will take 10 times longer to remove, than if you did it last year.

When one considers that the sum of the winches can be more expensive than the diesel engine, it pays to lubricate ones winches at least as frequently as the iron genny.
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Old 18-08-2016, 14:50   #28
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

Winch maintenance is a function of time and usage. When we lived aboard in the Tropics, full-time, and sailed on a regular basis, I checked my winches every six months for wear and lubrication. I used light machine oil on the pawls and springs and Lewmar winch grease for the gears/teeth and inner surfaces. I also very lightly coated the inner surface of the drum with grease on a soft rag/brush to protect the metal. Once cleaned properly, I would generally get 18 months-2 years on a full service. When we returned to the Great Lakes, the service schedule was the same. The difference being that the winches were exposed to greater amounts of dust when the boat was hauled in dry dock for the Winter and early Spring versus being in water for the year in the Tropics. My cleaning schedule after disassembly is:

1. Clean all surfaces/parts with paraffin oil and a soft, lint-free rag
2. Gummy deposits(if any) can be removed with a plastic scraper
3. lightly coat all gears and surfaces with winch grease--you can use
a brush to lightly coat inside of drum
4. lightly oil pawls and springs
5. reassemble sequentially and operate a few turns to check
proper function.

Winch maintenance is really very simple. They are made to last a lifetime of sailing. I have never replaced any broken/corroded parts and have never had a failure in 18,000 miles of sailing. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 18-08-2016, 21:53   #29
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

I enjoy servicing my 10 Lewmar winches so much ita almost a fetish. Easy access, simple solid parts. Soak in Diesel brush the salt crust with an old toothbrush grease reassemble and repeat. So many other boat systems that are confounding and require some higher power knowledge. Winches are easy Wenches much more complicated. Surprising to me the ones mounted vertically on the masts aways look great and the much larger cockpit winches get a lot of salt intrusion, so they get the once over every season. 35 years and still working sweet.
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Old 18-08-2016, 22:55   #30
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Re: Servicing Winches - Frequency?

Quote:
Wenches much more complicated. Surprising to me the ones mounted vertically on the masts aways look great
Mounting wenches vertically on the mast requires athletic ability beyond that of the average cruiser... sheesh, you could start a circus act with that! A sorta adult circus, I guess...

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