Join Date: May 2003
Location: Southold, NY
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FWIW, I was informed by a knowledgeable source that Lewmar does not support their older model or series winches when they come out with a newer one, such as the current Ocean Series winches. Thus, it can be difficult to find replacement parts for and older winch. I found this out while trying to find a replacement lower pawl gear when overhauling a friends older model winches he had recently purchased at a swap meet. In cases like this, you need to search out various vendors who may still have some old stock parts on their shelves or inventory, such as watom was able to do through Defender. Could this be Lewmars way of encouraging us to purchase their new winches? This is another good reason to take care of your winches and service them at least, at a minimum, of every three years. Yearly servicing, of course is best. Once you do it for the first time, subsequent servicing goes quickly and easily. single and two speed,including self-tailing winches are generally quite simple and straightforward to do, large three speed models do get a bit more difficult. Generally, the most time consuming part of the process is digging out and removing the hardened on grease from winches that have rarely ,if ever , been serviced, especially if too much grease was globed on the parts. Note that when greasing the gears, bearings, etc. you need only to apply a small amount grease, another case where "more is not better". Also, note that the pawls should not be greased, only oiled with a few drops of light oil like "3-in-one" or Marvel Mystery Oil.
I find it surprising, how little attention most sailors pay to their winches, as if as long as they can hear them "click" all is well. Unfortunately, by the time the clicking stops, and one finally pays them some attention, it is not unusual to find worn gears, or bearings, or spindles. When I think about how much time and attention one usually pays towards their engines (regular oil changes, filters, fuel additives, etc.) while barely even thinking about their winches, it makes me wonder if they have any idea of the punishment winches must take (high stress loads, constant soaking in salt water, dust and dirt) and yet the cost of the six or more winches on the average boat can cost as much if not more than the engine! Just something to think about the next time you count on these nearly always trustworthy and dependable pieces of machinery to crank in your genny, mains l' or whatever.