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Old 09-01-2011, 09:18   #1
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Question Simpson Lawrence Sea Tiger 555 Windlass: Hauls in but Doesn't Let Go

We have a Simpson Lawrence Sea Tiger 555 windlass on our Alberg 37. The windlass works well for getting the anchor back in: both speeds work without any problem. Letting the chain out is however not working. According to the manual the clutch nut needs to be released after taking the gipsy pawl off. That seems to work and the clutch nut moves freely, however the shaft doesn't turn. Hauling in is effortless so I concluded that the shaft and other innards run well. My temporary solution is to lower the anchor by hand and then haul back in with the winch but this is not a safe solution in other than fine weather.
I guess that something may have gone wrong with the clutch cone but not sure how to address that. I do have the original manual but appart from now knowing all the names of the parts there is no trouble shooting part in this Zen like document...
Any ideas??
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:36   #2
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Contact John McMaster at SL Spares, who, I understand, is very helpful:
Tel/Fax: 44 (0) 141 589 6287
Web: Homepage | Simpson Lawrence Yacht Parts & Spares

The exploded diagram has a parts listing (cat # & descriptive name):

Manual (see Veering 6.2) ➥

Good luck!
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 09-01-2011, 12:42   #3
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SL Sea Tiger Windlass problem

Not familiar with the SL Seat Tiger 555 windless, but we have a SL Hyspeed 510 which has a similar clutch arrangement on the chain gypsy. What your problem sounds like is that the cone clutch is seized to the gypsy (the clutch is a metal-metal cone type - the male cone on the output shaft mates with the female cone on the gypsy). I would suggest that the unscrew the clutch nut all the way off the threaded shaft, apply some penetrating oil (something like WD-40) to the inner side of the gypsy, and lightly tap on the side of the gypsy to free it from the cone which is keyed (or part of) the output shaft. The gypsy should come free. Additionally, there may be a grease fitting on the end of the threaded shaft. When reassemble the gypsy/cone/nut assembly, make sure all parts are clean and lubricated with grease (red wheel bearing grease) will work fine. Once you have everything free'd up and clean, and lubricated, the windlass should work fine.
The illustrated parts breakdown ( ) shows the clutch nut assembly as "Item 11"; the Gypsy as "Item 7"; and the Clutch Cone as "Item 8".

Let us know if this works.


Tom in Kinsale, VA
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Old 09-01-2011, 14:07   #4
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SL 555

This is a terrific windlass but it does need a bit of lube from time to time.
As said in the previous post east the chain gypsy off, you may need some dismantling agent (wd 40, diesel oil), avoid tapping the gypsy with a metal tool use a wooden mallet.
I think that you will find that the face of the cone clutch is sticky with dried salt or possibly a metal to metal seize.

To remove the gypsy unscrew the clutch nut and the gypsy should be free to remove.

Clean it well with a nylon brush and diesel. Clean thoroughly paying attention to the inside of the cone within the body of the 555 chain gypsy.

Hope that this helps,

Talisman of Fambridge
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Old 09-01-2011, 14:15   #5
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I think tomj & Simes have excellent advise here. I have the same windlass as yours and I've had an occasion when the cone-clutch was sticking, not frozen. Removing, cleaning and lubricating did well.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-01-2011, 17:49   #6
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Don't forget....

If you are going to remove the gypsy, there is a small stainless pin that must be removed first. It's function is to prevent the chain from riding back under the gypsy when hauling in the anchor. This little item can be very difficult to remove sometimes as the stainless will cause the aluminum housing it is installed in to oxidize and seize the pin in place. Mine is so tight I cannot press it out and I will have to cut and machine it, then replace.

Good luck!
Fred Guy
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Old 09-01-2011, 19:16   #7
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Yeah, I see the 'chain stripper' on the IPB. My HYSPEED 510 has the chain stripper bolted on (the deck - not the windless), and it also must be removed to completely remove the gypsy. Even with the stripper in place, one should be able to move the gypsy sideways at least enough to shoot some cleaner into the clutch mating areas to clean any gum/etc. from the cone surfaces. Several good shots of "Brake Clean" which is available at any auto parts store should clean this up without completely dis-assembling the cone/gypsy assembly. "Never leave home (or port) without 'Brake Clean'!!

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Old 13-01-2011, 09:39   #8
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I have an SL 555 also -good old winch except it's manual! I'm getting old and I want to push a button.
Anybody ever heard of one of these being modified with a hydraulic or electric motor?
I'm going to braze on a 3/4 drive socket and see if I can drive it with my angle drill motor.
When the clutch freezes up, back off the nut and smack it with a dead blow hammer, wood or rubber mallet or what ever you've got -frying pan, winch handle, etc.- squirt some oil on it once in a while. I loosen mine up before I tie up for a long period.
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