Ok, don't know how many are still interested but I have now stripped a VWC right down and can pass on the essential hints in case they are useful. As already known, one has to remove the bottom part of the windlass in order to change the oil.
But first regarding my previous post-
Originally Posted by MidLandOne
As far as I know the easiest (sic) way is to drop the gearbox (complete with motor) off the spacer tube which is under the deck - I have not done this myself though...
It is wrong, wrong, wrong. I got this off a forum and given the tripe many post in these places I better than anyone should have known that I should have personally validated it before passing it on so
Everything is pretty easy so I'll just pass on the useful bits.
It is best to remove the worm box and the main shaft out from under the deck all in one piece. This means most will have to take the motor
off - just undo the motor
to worm box flange bolts and the motor pulls straight out.
Take all the above deck stuff off the main shaft down to and including the emergency
crank collar. If the emergency
crank collar has not been exercised it may be stuck to the shaft and I find it is easiest to check this out and break it free with the clutch
lever before starting disassembly.
Also, the clutch
cones tend to stick in the chain wheel
if not recently greased and exercised - I always break these free before dismantling by releasing the clutch and powering the windlass against the anchor
jambed against the bow roller.
One can then just drop the worm box, spacer tube and mainshaft all in one piece down and out from under deck by removing the 4 bolts that go through the deck plate. If one does not intend replacing the seals
then the oil can be drained and topped up through the sight glass and all reassembled again. All that should be no more than a 30 minute job assuming no seized fastenings.
Maxwell recommend replacing the seals
and I would agree, certainly the main shaft ones - you will see why when you clean all the grit and mud off their exposed sides
. Maxwell provide a seal kit which is reasonably priced here making it hardly worth while breaking the flow of the job up by having to measure up the seals and going off to buy them. The kit also includes a new sight glass, o'rings, circlips and a couple of spare top caps. If buying
the separate bits in I would recommend replacing the sight glass o'ring too, but the big o'ring between the worm box and the spacer tube you may decide is fine after inspection
as it may not be so easy to find a new one of.
To replace the seals the worm box can then be separated from the spacer tube by undoing the 4 socket head
screws revealing the innards. For the windlass I dismantled I had to grind a little of the aluminium casting away where chain whip had burred it over a little onto the top of 2 of the screws. A Dremel did this fine - if that or a small die grinder is not available a small file would do it. Note that when removing the main shaft from the worm box you do not have to undo any of the circlips on it including the bottom one, as the only purpose they serve is to restrain the worm wheel
from sliding along the shaft.
The main seals do not have easy access to drive them out and the worm shaft seal
has no access at all to drive it out. As well, you are likely to find the main shaft seals a little difficult to remove as there is likely light corrosion
in the recess they are mounted in. Note that the worm shaft cannot be driven out from the sight glass end taking the bearing and seal with it as it is restrained by circlips behind the seal.
In case not known, an easy way to remove seals when no access to just drive them out is to drill a pilot hole in them and screw a self tapping screw into that and use that to pull the seal out. Have a light touch if drilling a hole for such in the worm shaft seal
as one doesn't want the drill to plunge through into the bearing behind.
However, it is difficult to get a drill down into the spacer tube to get at the top mainshaft seal so I drove that out from the bush side with a soft drift so's I would not damage the bronze bush that hides it. There is not much of the hard part of the seal accessible to do this on but it eventually moved - in the end if that hadn't worked I may have been able to get a Dremel down to it with a drill in its chuck.
If for some unlikely reason you do not have enough room to drop the worm box together with the mainshaft out from under the deck (I say "unlikely" as after all this would be how most builders would have installed it up from under the deck in the first place) then you are in for a job. You may get a bit more wriggle room if you drop the worm box off the spacer tube but otherwise one is probably best to drop the worm box off the spacer tube, lift
the deck plate from the deck (and then have the breaking of the sealant
and remaking the sealant
problems) and pull the main shaft and spacer tube up through the hole in the deck. If doing so be ready for spilled oil from the worm box when you drop it off the main shaft.
During reassembly I gunked up all bolts and screws with industrial grade Lanocote.
Hope that is of help to some - seems to be a question that comes up from time to time and I have yet to see a correct answer.