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Old 24-11-2008, 10:58   #1
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Experience with ABI Horizontal Manual Windlass?

Up until about 1995 ABI made a clone of the Simpson Lawrence 555 Sea Tiger windlass. Does anyone have experience with the ABI version? I think it is model 800 or 1000.

When I took it apart it wasn't working very well. The internal springs that control the ratcheting gears were bent and broken(one bent, the other broken). Now with new springs I'm not confident that it's working any better. Specifically the windlass should turn each time the operating lever is moved. Sometimes the windlass only turns with aft motion of the lever. Sometimes the ratcheting mechanism disengages entirely and the windlass does not turn with lever motion in either direction.

I could get springs and fittings for a Sea Tiger but I'm not certain they would fit or make the windlass function better.

Should I keep trying or is this a nice lump of bronze, steel, and stainless steel?

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Old 24-11-2008, 11:22   #2
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ABI’s beautiful bronze horizontal manual windlass was designated the 1000BR; and is still available under the new number 200012.

Welcome to ABI / Precision Lighting

Click on Hardware, then Anchoring & Docking, then Windlass; where you'll find the parts list.
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Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 24-11-2008, 23:06   #3
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Thanks. ABI does indeed continue to make a single speed horizontal manual windlass. And they still stock some parts for the older two speed clone of the SL 555 Sea Tiger. After purchasing new springs for the ratcheting gears from ABI, I am still not able to get this windlass to function properly.

Incidentally Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, 2nd Edition, has great drawings and an explanation of the workings of the SL 555 (and the ABI clone).

The questions remain:
Does anyone have any experience with the older 2 speed windlass?
Is this windlass worth keeping? (Did it die off because electric and hydraulic windlasses have made manual windlasses dinosaurs, or was it a turkey from the start?)
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Old 26-11-2008, 05:33   #4
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I have ABI's electric that looks like Gord's pic without the slot. I am installing a used 1000br chromed on my project boat (needs a gear, still available) when I bought My electric I picked up a 555 clone for my friend. I knew Ron Amy and Bob Burke. I had an account with ABI. I had Ron oversee the construction of my previous double ender Formosa 44/ Spindrift. My friend still has the 555 clone and has been through it. It is certainly rebuildable and worth keeping. If you have specific q's I will put you in touch. The one thing I recall is that that winch is oil filled, if you are running it dry it could be your problem.
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Old 10-08-2009, 17:37   #5
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I have an old AVI series 800 2 speed which I just love but shaft bushings and seals now all leak and need replacing. Has anyone found parts for this winch? wtaylord
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:16   #6
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ABI windlass parts

I overhauled a two speed ABI 800 windlass this year. Some parts are available from ABI. I just did an internet search but couldn't find their phone number. However I did talk to ABI (search for ABI Precision Lighting) when I needed parts about 6 months ago.

If the bushings have no serious slop or free play they are probably OK. All the sealing is done with O-rings. I found O-rings at Shucks (our local mega chain auto parts store - try also Pep Boys, AutoZone, etc.) and at an industrial fastener and tool supply house (in the Seattle area -- Tacoma Screw). Take the old O-rings to the store to match the sizes. O-rings are sized by the cross section diameter, the inside diameter, and the outside diameter. Be sure to get Buna-N or nitrile rubber. It is the oil resistant polymer for this application.

If the bushings are sloppy and ABI can't replace them, you should be able to find a machinist to make new ones.

ABI provided me with new springs for the ratcheting gears in the windlass. If you install them make sure the springs pull in line with the slot in the gear carrier. I had the springs perpendicular to the slot and that was my problem in my first post.

The windlass I overhauled hadn't been used in many years. I found that it had water inside. I bought gasket material for the plate on the bottom either from a NAPA auto parts store or from McMaster Carr on-line. I also bedded the gasket in Permatex #2.

You can get replacement oil from the auto parts store as well. I think it took about 1 1/2 quarts of 80W-140 gear oil.

Good Luck,

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