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Old 08-21-2013
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WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Hi All,

I recently came across an issue with a set of Lewmar Ocean Series self tailing winches that leads me to post this. The winches in question had the pawl pockets so worn, stretched or sloppy that the springs jammed in-between the bronze gear and pawl and finally both pawls failed to operate. In my 40+ years on the water I have seen worn and sloppy drums, failed pawl springs etc. but have not seen pawl pockets this badly worn out.

This failure caused a dangerous situation which meant the winch would no longer stop the drum from spinning backwards. A winch handle on a loaded drum with no pawls can easily break and arm or worse.

Also, when it spun backwards, and failed to lock, it broke the line stripper off causing the line to jam under the feeder arm when the sheet was cranked back in.:cussing:

These winches are not very old, a current series, Lewmar's top of the line winch and had been cleaned and lubed religiously using Lewmar brand grease and Lewmar Speed Lube for the pawls & springs..

Please check on your Lewmar Ocean Series winches!

A Lewmar Ocean Series ST Winch



How loose the pawls were fitting. New pawls in this gear fit exactly the same:


One of the pawls can simply slide out of the pocket !!!


This is what the new pawl gear looks like. There is little to zero slop in the fit. This is how it SHOULD fit.



Please, for the safety of you and your crew at least inspect your pawl gears. Yours may be fine but it is always better safe than sorry... It takes about 10 minutes, at best, to inspect these pawl gears...


If yours are worn the replacements are NOT inexpensive. At 40% off list I have about $400.00 into the parts to repair these not very old & very well cared for winches. I replaced both pawl gears, 4 total, (there are two in each winch), the line jaw kits, because a line stripper was broken due to this failure. The line jaw kit was not much more than a line stripper kit so why not do it right....
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-23-2013 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Thanks, Maine. Any sense on closer inspection whether the sockets were worn, wallowed, deformed, or simply mis-cast from the foundry? I presume these recesses are milled after casting to provide a smooth bearing surface -- is it possible someone got too enthusiastic with the milling machine?

ETA: In your professional opinion, are the winches in this case sized correctly for the loads they experience?
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Last edited by bobmcgov; 08-21-2013 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

It is hard to say what happened but it is clearly in the bronze that "gave" as brand new pawls fit the same.

These winches are sized properly for the boat and the line approach angle is spot on at about 10-12 degrees.

Apparently I am not the only one to be having this issue:

J105 Forum - Worn Pawl Gears
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-21-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Thanks, Maine. Any sense on closer inspection whether the sockets were worn, wallowed, deformed, or simply mis-cast from the foundry? I presume these recesses are milled after casting to provide a smooth bearing surface -- is it possible someone got too enthusiastic with the milling machine?
I had the same thought, the pockets look so uniform that a manufacturing defect seems likely. With the 1000s of these winches out there, and your's being so new, I would think that if it was a wear problem we would know more about it. The design has been around for a long time. This would have implications for repair as Lewmar should cover it.

Last edited by Faster; 08-24-2013 at 01:36 PM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

This sounds like a materials problem. The alloy they used must be too "soft". Lets hope Lewmar steps up and fixes this.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

What size Lewmar winch? They appear to be 46.

I agree with baboon and bobmcgov in that it appears from the photos that they were machined incorrectly. I believe that the pawl gears would be specific to the size of the winch, and the concern may not apply to other size winches.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimsCAL View Post
This sounds like a materials problem. The alloy they used must be too "soft". Lets hope Lewmar steps up and fixes this.

This was posted on the J105 forums by gbourne in regards to the same winches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbourne
Post #1
I have had 2 failures of the small pawl gear in the primary winches (Lewmar 44). Both winches failed in the same way: the 'pocket' that the pawl sits in wore out to the degree that it won't hold the pawl any longer. This was not due to lack of lube or service. Anyone else had this problem?

Post #2
Thanks to Andrew for the info. The Lewmar part # for the 'std.' gear is 15000397. It should be available through any Lewmar dealer. My boat is a late 2000 launch & has not been abused at all. I replaced the part in one winch 2 years ago & now this one. Not what you would hope for in quality gear...

Post #3
To complete the loop on this subject the upgraded parts are available from Florida Hydraulics & Rigging 1-800-718-1649
Hardened bronze version is #45000364
stainless version is #45003039
These are Lewmar part #'s.
The entire thread can be seen here:

J105 Worn Pawl Gears



It would appear that Lewmar has some upgraded parts and now offers sturdier parts for these winches? I however was not offered them nor made aware of them.

I was told, by Lewmar, this has not happened before and they alluded to these winches being "over loaded". If I am to believe Lewmar's sizing recommendations this would be impossible due to the sq ft sail size, LOA of the boat and the line feed angle. Their own sizing recommendations for these winches puts them smack dab in the lower middle of the range.. They are well within the safe sizing range according to Lemar's suggestions..

It is often frustrating to be told one thing then to go on the internet for more information only to find out what you were told may not have been the whole truth........

I suspect I know how a company like Harken would have handled a situation like this but each company does things differently... Do I feel this should have happened to these winches with the care and age, certainly not, but it is what it is. I simply suggest inspecting your Lewmar ST Ocean Series winches for the safety of you and your crew.....

It would have been much easier to swallow if they just said. "Well yes we have seen this occasionally but we consider it a wear item." No problem I'll buy new parts, as I did. But to say this has not happened before and I then read that it has. A tad un-cool.....

FWIW I have no problem paying for the parts as the winches were technically out of warranty. I did not expect Lewmar to step up on this. Based on past experience I would guess Harken may have but all companies treat things differently.

What I do have an issue with is the potential for safety issues that can result from a situation like this. I would hope a company like Lewmar would at least post something to their site suggestion folks check pawl gear sockets occasionally and perhaps show them how.

This is why I made this post, because they have not, and they do not feel this is an issue. Farr 40's with reported problems, multiple J015 owners and these winches make this a non-isolated case, IMHO, hence the warning post....
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-24-2013 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
What size Lewmar winch? They appear to be 46.

I agree with baboon and bobmcgov in that it appears from the photos that they were machined incorrectly. I believe that the pawl gears would be specific to the size of the winch, and the concern may not apply to other size winches.
They are ST-44's which are now the ST-46's with a simple gear ratio change. The small pawl gears show in the pics are used in both the 44's and the 48's.....


This is an interesting read from the Farr 40 site and shows the "upgraded" parts and talks about why the hardened gears are necessary with regards to "pawl pocket distortion"...


Farr 40 Upgrade Pawl Gear Parts (Scroll To Bottom)



This may not be a common problem at all but it is easy to check and inspect and certainly beats a broken arm....
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-23-2013 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 08-24-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Customer service 101: "You are the only person that's ever had a problem. It must be you." The fact they offer a SS & hardened bronze replacement gear definitely implies prior deformation issues. The hardened bronze should be standard.

Do you run a spinnaker guy to these primaries, Maine? Some people use their primaries with the guy twinged off the toe rail; on a hot angle with no reaching strut, I could easily see overloading a winch sized for a genoa. (Still something Lewmar should acknowledge.)
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Old 08-24-2013
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Re: WARNING - Lewmar Winches Please Inspect

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Customer service 101: "You are the only person that's ever had a problem. It must be you." The fact they offer a SS & hardened bronze replacement gear definitely implies prior deformation issues. The hardened bronze should be standard.
I tend to think I should have at least been offered or made aware of the more durable pawl gears... I was not made aware of them by Lewmar and it was not until I discovered the information on the net that I even knew they existed..

Course if they told me of more robustly built gears then I could not be the only one with this issue because why would they have sturdier parts if this has never occurred..... A real Catch 22.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Do you run a spinnaker guy to these primaries, Maine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Some people use their primaries with the guy twinged off the toe rail; on a hot angle with no reaching strut, I could easily see overloading a winch sized for a genoa. (Still something Lewmar should acknowledge.)
These winches have never had anything but a genny on them, which is not over sized at all......
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-24-2013 at 12:49 AM.
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