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Old 28-10-2020, 10:59   #1
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Why is my furler so stiff?

Harken Cruising 1 furler turns fine but is super-tight on the foil. It's been fine for the last 13 years and has done about 50,000 miles and lots of sail changes. But last year I arrived back from an extended cruise and the same sail sat on the headstay for a year. Really struggled to get it down.

Halyard is fine. I've lubed the foil, lubed the furler, still no luck. Pictured is one shot of the whole unit and another with the outside drum and bearings removed. That inside bit is the problem. What has changed to make this happen?! I'm out of easy options. Really don't want to have to remove the whole headstay. This should be a simple fix!Click image for larger version

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Old 28-10-2020, 11:31   #2
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

If I had to guess I'd say that the anodizing has worn off on the inside of the swivel and you have aluminum corrosion tightening things up. Could also be dirt, but I suspect that is less likely.

If you slide it up or down by one length or so do you see any "white powder"? Even just a few flecks of it would indicate corroded Al inside the swivel. Or do you see a few new scratch marks on the foil?

Maybe someone else knows of a magic goo/penetrant, but when it comes to aluminum oxide my experience is that you would have to take the swivel off the foil to really clean the inner surface. And then you have to keep it from happening again.

On our foil there might be just enough exposed stay up at the top that we could slide the swivel off at least for inspection, don't know if that's an option for you.
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Old 28-10-2020, 12:37   #3
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

Harken customer service is first rate. I'd ask them!
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Old 28-10-2020, 13:25   #4
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Harken customer service is first rate. I'd ask them!
Honestly I hadn't even thought of that. Customer 'service' with most companies these days seems to be anything but!
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Old 28-10-2020, 13:29   #5
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
If I had to guess I'd say that the anodizing has worn off on the inside of the swivel and you have aluminum corrosion tightening things up. Could also be dirt, but I suspect that is less likely.

If you slide it up or down by one length or so do you see any "white powder"? Even just a few flecks of it would indicate corroded Al inside the swivel. Or do you see a few new scratch marks on the foil?

Maybe someone else knows of a magic goo/penetrant, but when it comes to aluminum oxide my experience is that you would have to take the swivel off the foil to really clean the inner surface. And then you have to keep it from happening again.

On our foil there might be just enough exposed stay up at the top that we could slide the swivel off at least for inspection, don't know if that's an option for you.
Thanks. Unfortunately I don't think so. No white powderiness. No scratches or scraping. It doesn't feel like metal on metal. I get a bit of black stuff. Wondering if there's a plastic insert which has degraded and is binding. I've been very careful not to use petroleum-based solvents/lubricants but still......

Good idea about taking it off at the top. I can make more space by dropping the foil a few inches. I'll have to winch the swivel up there though......
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Old 28-10-2020, 13:33   #6
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

Well, that could be,

Click image for larger version

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Looks like there's even a chance it could be replaced in place if you can get bits and pieces out.

https://www.harken.com/uploadedfiles...1partslist.pdf

If getting the unit up the top is difficult to impossible, I hesitate to suggest this because it inevitably opens a can of worms, you could break the first joint in the foil and use a halyard to pull it up however far you can, then you could try to work the swivel to the gap down at deck level or at least near deck level.
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Old 29-10-2020, 06:04   #7
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
Well, that could be,

Attachment 226041

Looks like there's even a chance it could be replaced in place if you can get bits and pieces out.

https://www.harken.com/uploadedfiles...1partslist.pdf

If getting the unit up the top is difficult to impossible, I hesitate to suggest this because it inevitably opens a can of worms, you could break the first joint in the foil and use a halyard to pull it up however far you can, then you could try to work the swivel to the gap down at deck level or at least near deck level.
Thanks again. I tried that. Lifted the foil up until it hit the stopper, dropped the bottom section down by un-doing the set screws. Unfortunately it only gave me about an inch of clear wire. Not enough to have a detailed look in there but enough to see that it really looks ok. Pretty clean and smooth, no corrosion that I can see. I'm stumped.

I wrote to Harken as suggested. Nothing back yet but hopefully they'll respond soon. In the meantime it's back to doing things the old-fashioned way with no furler.
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Old 29-10-2020, 09:31   #8
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

Have you tried to flush the swivel. I had mud wasps build a nest and jam mine once.
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Old 29-10-2020, 11:02   #9
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

Has your forestay tension changed? Could sagging be causing binding?
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Old 29-10-2020, 12:34   #10
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

As SRQsailor pointed out,
I Just tensioned my stern stay and the Genoa halyard because the for stay must have stretched from some over zealous afternoons on a 20+ knots on the sound trying to break my personal record for terminal velocity on my 2010 Jeanneau SO 44i ....(9.7 knots). The binding/tension from my Facnor LS 200, increased gradually over the season.....the tension was actually greater with the Genoa past 100% deployed.
There is no “aft stay adjuster” so we had to turn the turnbuckles evenly (count the exposed threads ) the stays stretch unevenly but ya got start somewhere.
You may want to go over all the rigging after that.

Not sure if this is your issue, if you have not tuned your rigging in a while it’s worth a look.
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Old 29-10-2020, 13:32   #11
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Not sure if this is your issue, if you have not tuned your rigging in a while it’s worth a look.
Not likely... the upper swivel is stiff even when no sail is bent on.

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Old 29-10-2020, 14:25   #12
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

Have you tried using a solvent like alcohol to clean a lower extrusion and then test the swivel in that area?

Do you know if the top cap is intact?

Did you use Maclube?
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Old 29-10-2020, 19:26   #13
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Have you tried using a solvent like alcohol to clean a lower extrusion and then test the swivel in that area?

Do you know if the top cap is intact?

Did you use Maclube?
Yes. Acetone and WD40. Little difference. Yes to dry lube (McLube) too.

Thanks everyone. This is why I love cruisers forum. Always a willing pool of bright brains to troubleshoot stuff!

By moving the swivel to the point where there is a gap in the track I was able to get a decent look at the bearing surface. There's an insert on the inside bearing surface of the swivel and it looks fine. Harken responded to my query by asking me to remove the unit, post it to them and they'd press in a new insert for me for the price of the parts, which is really great. I'd like to do that but I'm in Bermuda so postage will be expensive and there are big problems with postal delays at the moment.

My working theory is that there is some corrosion between the aluminium body of the swivel and the plastic insert and that that is restricting the aperture. I can't see any but it's about the only thing I can think of. In the meantime I have sanded out the bearing surface of the insert and it's now loose enough to slide on the foil, albeit stiffly. It's serviceable for now and I'll take Harken up on their offer in the near future.

I've learned several things by doing all this. I hope it's of value to you too, even if I have ultimately failed to find the cause of the problem in the first place!
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Old 29-10-2020, 19:31   #14
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Re: Why is my furler so stiff?

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Have you tried to flush the swivel. I had mud wasps build a nest and jam mine once.
Yes I did. I also learned from another cruiser that the little holes in the lower unit are apparently flushing holes? Apparently you stick the straw of a spray can in the little hole, let her rip and it flushes out the gunk. Not much use for my current problem but a good lesson learned for the future.
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