I took the cover off the electric motor (as Philsboat suggested on the AS site), removed a lot of dust and checked the brushes. The brushes look good with lots of life left on them (I think). I can only image that the ton of dust that came out was from an older set of brushes. The PO probably changed brushes without removing the motor from the windlass, so he couldn't shake it around like I did to remove the dust. Looking at the smoky color of the inside of the motor case, and the lack of any discoloration on this motor, I'm thinking this may not be the original motor. See the 6th picture in this thread. Anyway, when I removed the cover a pile of dust fell out. Here are some pictures. There was probably 10x as much dust that came out total.
Removing the cover
Here's a movie of me vacuuming dust (for those with a lot of time on their hands, I imagine). At this point, the 2 screws were still in the pan.
Click here for video (7 Megabytes)
Here's the shot of the 2 screws after I was done vacuuming. Oops.
I got the screw back, by digging into the really full vacuum cleaner bag (did it outside). It would have been harder if the bag wasn't almost completely full.
And then I got to experience that again, after I vacuumed both screws up.
Here's a shot of one of the brushes. All the brushes looked about the same. I didn't take it apart any further. There was a lot of tension in the spring and, frankly, I didn't want to mess with it. If anyone thinks these brushes need to be changed, please let me know.
I noticed there was a lot of rust around parts of the O ring that goes between the cover and the rest of the motor housing. I scraped some of it away (with the vacuum catching the scrapings) to help the O ring get a better seal. Not sure what to do about this. Option 1 is to wire brush it and paint it with rustoleum (or something else). Option 2 is to use some waterproofing grease around the O ring (like when you seal an underwater camera housing). Option 3 is to do nothing, simply put it back in place as-is. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I have a long list of project yet to do this spring, so I'm opting for option 3 if option 2 isn't practical.
Rust around the O ring
I didn't mention this previously, but the shaft for the brake is a bit bent. Rather than getting a new one for $134 IIRC, and then attaching it to the little "steering wheel" at the top of the shaft somehow, I'm going to try to straighten it myself. The though goes something like this. "Wow that's a lot of money. Hey, I have a vice. I'll straighten it myself." I guess I'll have to post my results with that. The brake still works fine, but it's a little annoying that the "steering wheel" moves from side-to-side as you turn it.
In other news, I went to Ace hardware and got 2 new bolts like the bent one and the exterior one that got a bit stripped. $1.30 each. That's much cheaper than getting the bolts as part of "Kit B" from Lofrans ($74 IIRC). I also got a couple of nylon washers to replace some very worn ones that protected the outer housing that covers the motor. The nylon washers were $0.20 each. The washers are twice the thickness of the Lofrans ones, so I'll have to see how they work, and maybe go to a different hardware store to get thinner ones.
I got the CLR. It says on on the bottle to not use it on aluminum. So I'll try it on a out-of-sight part of the aluminum case and see how it looks. I think there's a lok of gunk that needs to be scubbed away with dishwashing soap first. So I'll don my rubber gloves, grab the green scubby pads I just got, wash, rinse, apply the CLR, then rinse again. At least the work sink in the basement will look clean.
Finally, I got a nearly identical spring from the hardware store. $1.10. Then I brought it home, looked at how the wire guage was much thinner and how it was shiny instead of dark (maybe less carbon) and I chickened out on using it. Bock Bock Bock! This way I don't have to listen to CD and Dog telling me about how foolish I was for choosing a small spring that gave out when I really needed that latchy thingy to keep the anchor chain from going into free fall in 400 feet of water, with the broken spring jamming in the worm gear of the now useless motor. (And they'd be right to say so!) Instead, I just spent the $30 plus shipping on the Lofrans site. Anyway, all these costs seem pretty small when you consider that I'm getting a $4865 windlass back in operation. (Check it here on the Defender site.
That's it for now.