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Old 28-07-2017, 16:35   #1
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Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

I have an older (20+years) profurl furler that is jammed with the sail furled. Can't move it either way. I climbed the mast to check for halyard wrap, but there is no wrap. Can any one suggest the problem and a possible fix? Thanks
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Old 28-07-2017, 19:12   #2
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

ProFurl uses regular steel ball bearings in their furler. Claim that the steel balls make it possible to furl under heavy loads that a plastic bearinged furler can't handle. Unfortunately, if the seals leak, the bearings can rust and jam up the furler. If the bearing races are still good, they can be rebuilt with new seals and bearings. Believe Pacific Offshore Rigging in San Diego can help you with a rebuild. You'll have to pull the headstayfurler to disassemble it. Can't remember whether you can remove the furler without removing the wire end terminal. Know you have to do that to get the luff extrusions off.
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Old 28-07-2017, 20:38   #3
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

I'm not a profurl guy, but i seem to remember that the screws that hold the foil sections together can work their way inward and jam against the stay. If that is correct, it could be the cause. Easy enough to fix, but I fear that you will need to drop the furler, sail and all, unroll the sail and inspect the foils to find the errant screw(s). Possibly could unwrap the sail with the foil standing and do the inspection from a bosuns chair.

Question: did this happen suddenly, or has it been getting harder to furl for a while? If it was sudden, the bearings are likely not the cause.

Oh... have you tried easing off all tension on the halyard and seeing if that changes anything?

Jim
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Old 29-07-2017, 04:40   #4
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

It's rare, but sometimes the individual sections of the foil will come apart at the joints, & can bind up a furling system. The only way to know is to unwrap the jib manually.
And when you're inspecting things, keep an eye (ear) out for the possibility that the wire is coming unlayed inside of the foil. That's one which can jam things up as well. And of course is quite dangerous.
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Old 29-07-2017, 05:53   #5
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

This sounds like an issue in the bottom drum. As noted the bearings may be rusty and stuck. Had this on a cat we helped restore.

Open up, inspect, clean. The unit should be fine otherwise. New bearings are peanuts, they are stock item.

Let us know what you find.

Cheers,
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Old 29-07-2017, 06:23   #6
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

Mine has jammed several times both with the sail in and out.

Once coming in with about a twenty knot wind I had to go forward several times with the boat on autopilot and work on it in pretty rough conditions.

Monohull sailing was new to me at the time so I was about to blow chunks while working on it having to go back and forth to the cabin for tools etc

Have you oiled yours lately both drum and top swivel?
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Old 29-07-2017, 08:48   #7
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
...
And when you're inspecting things, keep an eye (ear) out for the possibility that the wire is coming unlayed inside of the foil. That's one which can jam things up as well. And of course is quite dangerous.
Yeah, for that reason I would seriously consider pulling the furler & head stay...for piece of mind if nothing else. Not a big job really.

I pulled mine this year after 16 years. All was in pretty good shape, no problems with head stay or extrusions. Wire is getting replaced anyway though.

ProFurl metal bits are not well isolated and are notorious for bimetal corrosion. All the set screws in my drum, cage, and bottom tube were galvanically welded into place...no getting them out without a machine shop.

Only issue was slightly rough bearings....that was till the machine shop squashed my swivel. 😡

So, if you are going to rebuild, I suggest working with someone who has done it before. Those large diameter bearings, circlips, and seals can be a pain to work with.

OP: how old is headstay wire?
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Old 29-07-2017, 08:49   #8
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Mine has jammed several times both with the sail in and out.

Once coming in with about a twenty knot wind I had to go forward several times with the boat on autopilot and work on it in pretty rough conditions.

Monohull sailing was new to me at the time so I was about to blow chunks while working on it having to go back and forth to the cabin for tools etc

Have you oiled yours lately both drum and top swivel?

No oil. Grease. Oil will dilute grease and help it to exit the assembly...bad.

Problem is, there are no grease fittings. Both swivel and drum are pre-greased and pressed together during manufacture. Excess grease pushes out holes which are then sealed with a single ball bearing.

Not field serviceable without at least partial disassembly (good thing they are typically very reliable).
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Old 29-07-2017, 09:07   #9
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
No oil. Grease.
Maybe on his Profurl.

I was mistaken about mine being a Profurl. It's actually a Furlex.

I finally oiled the drum and swivel (top part) with synthetic lightweight oil and it's been working great.

I didn't take anything apart. There are small holes for lubrication .......so I used what I had.

Bicycle chain oil.
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Old 29-07-2017, 09:10   #10
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Maybe on his Profurl.

I was mistaken about mine being a Profurl. It's actually a Furlex.

I finally oiled the drum and swivel (top part) with synthetic lightweight oil and it's been working great.

I didn't take anything apart. There are small holes for lubrication .......so I used what I had.

Bicycle chain oil.
Maybe on the Furlex. Dunno. But dont oil a ProFurl. It may help temporarily (if you can even get it in there), but ultimately its a bad thing.
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Old 29-07-2017, 10:17   #11
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

Quote:
Originally Posted by billburr View Post
I have an older (20+years) profurl furler that is jammed with the sail furled. Can't move it either way. I climbed the mast to check for halyard wrap, but there is no wrap. Can any one suggest the problem and a possible fix? Thanks
My advice o customers. It has reached life expectancy. Any time spent is likely time wasted. Replace the head stay and furler with a Harken MkIV. Problem
solved for once and for as long as next 3 owners will have the boat. Have never had a customer regret it. Demand a price premium of 50% of retail price, at time of sale, if within next 10 years. (Yes, they are that good, and anyone who knows anything about furlers will gladly pay it.)

Swallow the pill and buy something decent, instead of forever dicking with a furler that was kinda crappy to begin with, and you just can't count on anymore after it starts acting up.

I learned this after a customer balked at cost of complete replacement and had me replace the lower bearing, just to have the upper bearing fail the following year. He ended up spending 20% more and having another season of furler difficulties, and then total loss of use for a couple weeks until he could get the furler replaced.
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Old 29-07-2017, 11:22   #12
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Maybe on the Furlex. Dunno. But dont oil a ProFurl. It may help temporarily (if you can even get it in there), but ultimately its a bad thing.
If his unit is sealed and not easily lubricated, then he'll have to take it apart and service it.

This old Furlex I have is open to the elements and for about 10 years all it got was water for a lubricant. (5 years on the hard, unused but out in the elements and stored 30' from saltwater)

Since I put this synthetic bearing oil in the grease holes and rotated the units, they have worked great. I did it a couple times during the Winter and will again this Winter.

My first four sailboats didn't have furlers so it was a new bit of maintenance that simply didn't get done.
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Old 29-07-2017, 11:50   #13
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I'm not a profurl guy, but i seem to remember that the screws that hold the foil sections together can work their way inward and jam against the stay. If that is correct, it could be the cause. Easy enough to fix, but I fear that you will need to drop the furler, sail and all, unroll the sail and inspect the foils to find the errant screw(s). Possibly could unwrap the sail with the foil standing and do the inspection from a bosuns chair.

Question: did this happen suddenly, or has it been getting harder to furl for a while? If it was sudden, the bearings are likely not the cause.

Oh... have you tried easing off all tension on the halyard and seeing if that changes anything?

Jim
Hi Jim, no, the screws are holding the 2 sections but they are screwed to a aluminium inner conector. There is no way a screw can reach the wire...
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Old 29-07-2017, 14:39   #14
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

I had this happen to me on a 25 year old Profurl. I took it apart and found the steel housing for the seal rusted and bits of it fell down into the bearings on the drum. I cleaned it up and installed new bearings and seals. Works great now.
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Old 29-07-2017, 15:19   #15
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Re: Jammed older Profurl headsail furler

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
Hi Jim, no, the screws are holding the 2 sections but they are screwed to a aluminium inner conector. There is no way a screw can reach the wire...
thanks Neil... wasn't sure! But I still wonder if it was a sudden failure or gradual decline (like my memory!)

Jim
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