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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-19-2012
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Roller Furler Repair

My Harkin Roller Furler has become exceedingly difficult to furl, particularly if there is any wind and pressure on it. We sometimes need to apply a winch to it. To make it easier to roll up, we've even reduced pressure on the halyard. I guess this means that my 25 year old furler has probably reached the end of its life and is on life support but I was wondering if we can give it new life and replace the ball bearings? We cannot afford a new furler at this point as we've had much too many projects of late but I also don't want to be throwing money away by doing a project that won't have any effect on my desired outcome. Anyone replace ball bearings on their furler and did it work to create an easier experience?
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Old 07-19-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

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Originally Posted by Gladrags1 View Post
My Harkin Roller Furler has become exceedingly difficult to furl, particularly if there is any wind and pressure on it. We sometimes need to apply a winch to it. To make it easier to roll up, we've even reduced pressure on the halyard. ...
You dont want to use a winch on a furler, you may end up busting the system. If you have difficulty furling due to wind pressure, bear off and furl the jib when its sheltered behind the main.

You should not ease the halyard as that increases the chance of wrapping it when furling.

Most furlers require some annual servicing, what does your Harken need?
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Old 07-19-2012
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Roller Furler Repair

Make sure you're not wrapping the halyard. That can cause failure of the forestay.
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
You dont want to use a winch on a furler, you may end up busting the system. If you have difficulty furling due to wind pressure, bear off and furl the jib when its sheltered behind the main.

You should not ease the halyard as that increases the chance of wrapping it when furling.

Most furlers require some annual servicing, what does your Harken need?
Understood. We don't like using a winch and it is only under "desperation" that we do so, carefully looking aloft. We head up, into the wind, to reduce pressure but it doesn't seem to help completely. In fact, we have a tough time rolling it up under mild conditions. This worsened when the forestay was removed and reattached to replace the bowsprit. However, we just got new sails and this sail is a 110% Yankee when the old one was a 100% Yankee. That works against me as there would be more resistance. The forestay seems tighter now so that should have made it easier to furl the sail. Regarding maintenance; what maintenance is called for? As I understand it, these units are pretty self contained and need an occassional fresh water wash to get the salt out.

So... back to my original question; do you think replacing the bearings would solve my problems? Anyone experience what I am seeing?
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

Have had the same problems you have stated ... here is what I did to cure them .... first I took down the sail so that I can get to the top swivel ... when I disassembled it there was a large amount of salt crystals in it, which is common. I used boiling water to clean the salt out and disolve it, then lubed it up very good. BTW the bearing were ok when I disassembled it.
So far no problrms scince then. My system is a hood system and has been on the boat scince 1980 ... with just a little minor maintenance they can last a long time ... now every 6 months I drop the sail and do the boiling water and lube the top swivle just to be good to it ...
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

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Originally Posted by Gladrags1 View Post
...

So... back to my original question; do you think replacing the bearings would solve my problems? Anyone experience what I am seeing?
You need to find the manual for your particular Harken system, check what routine maintenance is called for, and then perform it.

My Furlex unit called for annual greasing of bearings in the drum and swivel, but other makes have their specific requirements.
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

Thanks for the comments. My furler is an older furler (1987?). Unfortunately, when buying the boat, I did not get a manual from the PO and am having some issues identifying the correct model from the Harken site on-line. I will look more closely at the furler to see if I can locate some more identifying info.

From the manuals I did read, they pretty much state that the bearings need a fresh water wash and spray with McLube. I was just doubtful that this would make a dramatic difference but it is worth a try before more invasive and expensive routes. Sounds like it provided a dramatic difference to Safira. Thanks again!
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

Mclube is amazing stuff.
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

if you replaced the forestay and know it is worse until you lossen the haylard and new sail then check that the upper swivel is not going to high and draging on something at the end of the travel. also the bearings are torlon balls and can be replaced if need be. try putting Mclube One Drop on the bearing balls. if it is an older one then it may have the old Delrin balls bearings and they should be replaced with torlon bearings. http://www.harken.com/pdf/4414.pdf near bottom of page is the bearing part numbers
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Last edited by overbored; 08-03-2012 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: Roller Furler Repair

Great help! I will look up to make sure that the swivel is not too high - somehow didn't consider that! To replace the bearings, do I need to disassemble the whole unit and remove from forestay (particularly getting to the swivel)?
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