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Old 29-12-2010, 19:24   #1
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Best Winch Grease ?

I have to grease 5 large Lewmar winches. The toothpaste-size tubes of winch grease at the boating stores are very expensive and don't go very far. Anyone use anything else like white lithium grease? What is so special (expensive) about "official winch grease?"
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Old 29-12-2010, 19:33   #2
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Salt Water Wheel bearing grease for boat trailers.

The local ACE hardware store has it, cheap and good.
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Old 29-12-2010, 20:15   #3
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Expensive because it is water proof... and it's a baot store! Use White lithium grease and you will be okay for a few years depending of the usage. Water wheel bearing grease is very good too. I prefer pressurized lithium grease because you can spray it and rotate the winches at the same time. The solvent inside the grease will make it very liquid for about 30 seconds (the time it disolves into the air). This can assure you that grease penetrates everywhere it needs to go before it gets thick.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

Your winches are composed of many moving parts which can break down into two categories: Gears and Rachets

Gears will be very happy to be cleaned out and lubricated using pressurized white lithium grease.

Rachet need to be oiled every year (usually 2 per winch).

DO NOT USE ANY GREASE ON THE RACHET COMPONENTS
. It will have a very negative effect were the moving parts "stick" to the housing and do not release on time to lock down the motion. Grease is thick and slows down the "reaction" time of the rachet. The winch will miss latches resulting on a no-hold reaction when you need it. Use "3 in 1" oil that you can by in any hardware store.

Here is a picture of the rachet component (which are usually very small)


I do complete restoration of winches / compass... Let me know if you need a hand with your project.




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Old 29-12-2010, 20:16   #4
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Quote:
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Salt Water Wheel bearing grease for boat trailers.

The local ACE hardware store has it, cheap and good.
Thanks. I knew some frugal boater would have a good idea.
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Old 29-12-2010, 20:47   #5
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Quote:
The toothpaste-size tubes of winch grease at the boating stores are very expensive and don't go very far.
It really does last a long time and goes very far. It's not like greasing a pig. White lithium is just as good. You don't use much in any case. Use a tooth brush to apply it so you don't over do it. You brush it on the gear teeth.

Do NOT grease the pawls or the springs. They are inside the larger gears and won't fly out when you take the winch apart. Machine oil (not motor oil!) is cheap and only takes a few drops for each pawl / spring and inner notches. No grease on any of these parts!

Buy new springs for $1 per spring at West Marine. There are only two kinds and it matters. They are easy to lose them. They wear out quicker than the gears. Properly maintained a winch should go 30 or more years easy. The gears are solid machine cut bronze and a real work of art. When the pawls don't click click click sharply you know it's been too long.

The efficiency of a clean winch is SO much better that you'll feel it first time you use it. To really clean it in Kero, wipe out all the crud, and grease it and put it back takes about 45 minutes if you clean each gear tooth on a two speed winch. Three speeds take longer and singles less. 2 pawls per speed. There really is only one way to put them back together. All of them are similar except how you take the outer shell off.
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Old 30-12-2010, 13:22   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svcattales
I have to grease 5 large Lewmar winches. The toothpaste-size tubes of winch grease at the boating stores are very expensive and don't go very far. Anyone use anything else like white lithium grease? What is so special (expensive) about "official winch grease?"
We've been using Aquashield "Blue" as a fully qualified subsea grease in underwater oil&gas operations for the best part of 20years (ROVs/ROTs etc) Crystallization is avoided under large shearing forces in the presence of saltwater. As always, it's best to avoid/reduce and means with which grit/sand can enter the mechanisms, as all good greases have the unfortunate side-effect of being highly efficient sponges for any foreign objects which could accelerate abrasion.

It may look expensive but a bead of this runs into gears very fluidly and spreads well with only a sparing application.

The below link isn't necessarily the best place to get this - just the first useful link I found on google:
http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/...be_Grease.html
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Old 31-12-2010, 07:44   #7
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Thanks for all the great inputs. I already have some white lithium grease onboard so I'll try that. I've been greasing winches for years, but doing it wrong. I have used the grease on pawls and that's not too bright. The machine oil makes more sense and I'll do it right this time.
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Old 31-12-2010, 07:57   #8
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I find the wheel bearing grease is too viscous for winches, and makes them harder to turn. I think that the expensive stuff in the small tubes is probably white lithium grease. I have been using superlube multi-purpose grease lately--its synthetic and waterproof, and not very expensive in the cans.
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Old 31-12-2010, 14:00   #9
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I prefer the synthetic superlube. I will never forget the first time we did winch maintenance as the previous owner didn't use synthetic grease and we had to soak it and scrape it off every tooth of every gear.

ciao!
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Old 31-12-2010, 14:18   #10
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Lewmar sponsored an RYA rally with a series talks and demonstrations a couple of years ago. So I asked them if one of there experts could come and show me how to strip and service our 30s. An hour later a young girl in a short skirt appeared and stripped my winches down

She commented that they were in superb condition despite being 21 years old. This is all down to the previous owner who stripped them regularly.

The good news she left me a free tube of Lewmars grease and a hand full of spare pawls and clips.

Now that is what I call good service.

If you have a boat show nearby shortly it would be worth asking if you could pick up a tube of grease and some spare pawls and clips. If you don't ask.....

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Old 31-12-2010, 14:24   #11
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She must have been a winch wench! Regards, Richard.
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Old 31-12-2010, 14:54   #12
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Quote:
I will never forget the first time we did winch maintenance as the previous owner didn't use synthetic grease and we had to soak it and scrape it off every tooth of every gear.
It does not need to be that bad to need a service. It must have been an amazing thing to use them after you were done! Were they double or triple speeds?

The first time I ever took one apart it really was amazing how much precision machining is involved in making them. Back when I was 17 I studied drafting and we got into machine spec. gears. Blew my mind that it was even possible once you know how they really do it.
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Old 31-12-2010, 16:32   #13
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It does not need to be that bad to need a service. It must have been an amazing thing to use them after you were done! Were they double or triple speeds?

The first time I ever took one apart it really was amazing how much precision machining is involved in making them. Back when I was 17 I studied drafting and we got into machine spec. gears. Blew my mind that it was even possible once you know how they really do it.
They are Lewmar 2-speed. Some are electric drive which introduces an extra gear and pawl and even a "clutch" mechanism for the big primaries.

They were dangerous when we bought Jedi. Yes they ran like a dream after we were done

I also think many boat owners use too much grease. It's much better to use just a little and do a quick touchup if needed halfway the season. It also helps to use winch covers.

ciao!
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Old 31-12-2010, 16:56   #14
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It's much better to use just a little and do a quick touchup if needed halfway the season. It also helps to use winch covers.
I would agree. The covers keeps the heat off them in the summer more than anything else. The tooth brush makes sure you don't squirt the grease out the tube. Clearly not a more is better scenario.
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Old 31-12-2010, 17:27   #15
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Would Lanolin oil work on springs & pawls as good as machine oil. Only ask as I have lots of the for mer and none of the latter.
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