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Old 12-08-2022, 06:41   #1
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Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

I am getting ready to replace all of my standing rigging and my roller furler, Harken MK2, is now 24 years old. It works OK, but if I am going through the trouble of replacing the forestay, should I bite the bullet and replace the furler too? If I keep it, how many more years could I get out of it considering moderate usage? So there's the dilemma, keep it and save $$$ to be replaced at a later time or spend it now and have everything new?
What would you do???
Thanks for your opinions,
Tom
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:04   #2
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Just replaced a 30 year old Selden because it was not possible to change the bearings. If it can be serviced you'll save money. I'd check with Harken to see if new bearings are available.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:19   #3
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Well how does it work? When we sold our previous boat it had the Harken Mk3 which was installed 15 years prior, and certainly it did not need to be replaced. The boat came originally (well, to me) with a ProFurl which I hated and should have been replaced day one because it was junk.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:19   #4
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOffice View Post
Just replaced a 30 year old Selden because it was not possible to change the bearings. If it can be serviced you'll save money. I'd check with Harken to see if new bearings are available.
Good idea about the bearings. I wonder if new ones are built better or cheaper?
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Old 13-08-2022, 07:19   #5
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

It is not easy to rebuild a furler (at least a ProFurl, I have no experience with Harken but imagine it's similar). I would not attempt it unless you have a large tool selection and patience available.
An "inspection" might make more sense than a rebuild. Take apart that which looks easy to put back together, look at everything closely, and feel if the bearings are smooth when you spin it by hand.
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Old 13-08-2022, 07:59   #6
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

My Schaefer is 20 years old and works fine BUT both upper and lower furling drums have been replaced. The lower at 10 years due to a design flaw because of lack of holes to flush the bearings and the upper at about 12. The cost to replace was 1/3 to 1/2 of the price a new furler. Harken generally has a better reputation for the life of bearings and races.
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Old 13-08-2022, 15:03   #7
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

What kind of bearings are in roller furlers? I've never played with one, so maybe I am being over simplistic in picturing ball bearings (fairly universal).
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Old 13-08-2022, 15:15   #8
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

I'll through out a recommendation for the Schaefer Marine 1100/2100/3100 furlers.
Mine is probably 20+ years old. It has 35,000 miles on it. I would be comfortable completeing another circumnavigation with it. Parts and support is still available, and the model is still in production. It is easy to teardown and work on.

Last year I changed the forestay, and tore down the furler to rebuild it. I drilled out the rivets in the foil to replace the linings(bushings) inside. The linings turned out to all be fine, and other than replacing them and a few parts damaged by drilling, nothing else needed replacement. Just a good cleaning, some tefgel on the screws, and it still works as new.

I am constantly hearing of problems with roller furling, them jamming, bearings wrecked, needing replaced, etc. The Schaefer is bulletproof.

The bearings in the Schaefer are large, 3/8" torlon ball bearings. They are partially exposed with a hole for a hose to rinse them. No lubrication needed, and they last in my experience apparently forever.
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Old 13-08-2022, 15:32   #9
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

My last boat was a 1979 Sabre 34. It had an original Hood SeaFurl. It was identical to the one we put on my parent's boat in the mid-70s, so I assume it was original to the Sabre. Bearings were conventional industrial sealed ball bearings, I had to replace them twice during the 12 years I owned the boat. $100 or so in parts, and a day of (my) labor.

My point is that few things ever actually are "too old," and continuous attention to maintenance can keep them going for many many years.

I'll second the endorsement for Schaefer. Our 98 Saga has a pair of them that have been across the Atlantic and back, to the Caribbean a few times, and the log has 22,000 miles on it.
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Old 13-08-2022, 15:54   #10
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Generally, an old furler can be rejuvenated by installing new bearings. We had one we'd never liked very much on our boat, and gave it to a friend, who had a local rigger refurbish it, and he is enjoying it quite a bit on his present boat. Meanwhile, we have what we think is a better engineered piece of gear that works fine, too.

Ann
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Old 13-08-2022, 17:17   #11
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

I replaced the bearings and seals in a 35yr old pro furl lc42. It cost $100 in parts with spare bearings, and took 4 hours. Buy the bearings and seals from industrial supply houses if you can, bearings are very standardized.
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Old 15-08-2022, 07:21   #12
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

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Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
I'll through out a recommendation for the Schaefer Marine 1100/2100/3100 furlers.
Mine is probably 20+ years old. It has 35,000 miles on it. I would be comfortable completeing another circumnavigation with it. Parts and support is still available, and the model is still in production. It is easy to teardown and work on.

Last year I changed the forestay, and tore down the furler to rebuild it. I drilled out the rivets in the foil to replace the linings(bushings) inside. The linings turned out to all be fine, and other than replacing them and a few parts damaged by drilling, nothing else needed replacement. Just a good cleaning, some tefgel on the screws, and it still works as new.

I am constantly hearing of problems with roller furling, them jamming, bearings wrecked, needing replaced, etc. The Schaefer is bulletproof.

The bearings in the Schaefer are large, 3/8" torlon ball bearings. They are partially exposed with a hole for a hose to rinse them. No lubrication needed, and they last in my experience apparently forever.
Thanks, my previous boat had a Schaefer 2100 series, and yes, I would buy it again!
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Old 15-08-2022, 07:29   #13
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

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I replaced the bearings and seals in a 35yr old pro furl lc42. It cost $100 in parts with spare bearings, and took 4 hours.
This is in contrast to my experience, where I drilled out 6 fasteners, some titanium and some stainless steel, which were severely corroded. I broke three allen key sockets clean off, broke 2 picks. The ease of this job depends heavily on the amount of corrosion.
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Old 15-08-2022, 08:18   #14
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Love and Lube it’s one of the best pieces of hardware of a boat.
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Old 15-08-2022, 09:12   #15
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Re: Life Expectancy of a Roller Furler?

Are there still parts available for your furler?

We have a MkI and is still going strong, but purchased the last available foils pieces from Harken many years ago. If these foils get damaged, would need to replace the whole system.
Haven't priced any new furlers lately, but would consider another Harken if they last >30yrs and only need the bearing rinsed with fresh water to clean them.
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