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Reassembling Old Bronze Winch
My boat has a pair of small bronze winches that are probably the same age as my boat - 42 years. From their design, I believe they are Wilcox - Crittenden winches. I didn't lose any parts when I opened them up, but I'm not sure about their proper reassembly.
Each winch comes with four cylindrical pawls, two for the upper and two for the lower portion of the winch. Each upper pawl is linked to a lower pawl by a cylindrical spring which passes vertically through the winch. The spring pushes the pawls into divots in the upper and lower portions of the winch. The shape of the divot lets the pawl glide smoothly if the winch is turned one direction, and lock if the winch is turned the other direction.
Here's the weird thing -- there are five (not four) divots in the upper and lower portion of the winch. That means that any given time, two pawls are extended into divots and two pawls are cocked back. For certain, one of the upper pawls and one of the lower pawls is extended at any time. What I can't figure out is if the pawls extend simultaneously on either side of a spring, or if one side of a spring is always compressed and the other side extended, with the compressed side alternating up and down as the winch rotates. I think the proper configuration is the latter, because if both sides of a spring extend at the same time, the pawls are not locked in place as strongly as when one side is always compressed. This would mean, though, that the locked upper and lower pawls are never directly above and below each other. That seems a poor design, since the side to side rocking motion would encourage the winch to loosen up. With a little play in the winch, they could slip.
I would appreciate it if someone familiar with these winches could resolve this question for me.