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  #21  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

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Originally Posted by Me and Boo View Post
Take yours apart and see what they look like inside. Have springs and pawls handy because those are good at jumping overboard. As someone who has been doing automotive and truck mechanics all my life, this girl was surprised at how grody the winches on Sisu were. Some solvent, some small parts cleaning and careful lube and oil all the winches now sound and feel great. But, I have the feeling that you were looking for more than that with your winches. Buy new, however, I prefer the old winches myself.
My guess is that the winches haven't been serviced in a while. It was on the hard, outside, for a year when I bought it. So I imagine that you're right, a good cleaning will probably help.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

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Originally Posted by steve77 View Post
The boat is new to me so I haven't really had a chance to see for myself (haven't even sailed it yet). The winches work, but the rigger said they are a bit stiff and recommended replacing them. As I mentioned, there are 3 different brands among the 4 winches. I think Arco part are hard to find (from what I've seen) so I will probably replace those at some point regardless. I'll have them serviced and then see how it goes. But as I said, I think eventually I'd like to have all four winches from the same manufacturer.
The only reason I know of that would make a winch stiff is neglect - dried grease & dirt in the works. I think someone is trying to make a sale.

Service them yourself - it's easy & satisfying. There's lots of info on this forum about doing it - tips & tricks.

Arco is in business in Oz AFAIK - they also bought the remains of Barient.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

If you own the boat, and can get to it, take them off NOW so you can have them ready for April/May before you launch. It's a LOT easier to find a dropped pawl in a parking lot than it is to find a spring or pawl under a mooring or a slip (DAMHIK).

Should you need to order a special part for your Arco winch, you can do so now, and may still have the winch ready before launch. Finally, if you take them apart now and decide that they are trash (I doubt this) you can order new winches, and have them ready to go.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

Yup, winches don't get stiff with age. They get stiff because they have not been cleaned and re-lubricated.

If you want new ones, you're in the right place for encouragement to spend money on your boat. However, they are going to be very very expensive. I would think about getting in there and seeing what the problem is first. Maybe you only end up replacing a couple of them.

Pull the drum off and I'll bet you see all sorts of junk in the gears. Snap a few pics, pull them apart, clean everything in mineral spirits, grease the gears and oil the pawls and put it all back together. Your first one will take a couple of hours, the rest will then be easy. I bet there are as good as new, unless something is actually broken.

The internet is a great place to download the manual for just about every winch ever made.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

Realistically I probably won't be able to spend much time at the boat until the weather warms up. It's about 2 hrs away up in Maine so between the cold and having to drive up and back in one day I'm not planning to do any work on it until March or April.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

If new is still what you are looking for, I recommend Lewmar just for the Customer Service and Support alone. They are very supportive of all their products.
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Re: Which winch?

Here's an old post about the process. For some reason I can't copy the link to the whole thread - it works fine when I test a reply but when I post it, it no longer works? Do they get too old to copy at some point?

Edit: You usually don't have to dismount them but if they are old it can't hurt - that way you can service them at home and re-seal and re-mount them PROPERLY which is seldom done at the factory.

To do them in place, cut a winch sized hole in the bottom of a cardboard carton and tape it down over the winch. That way if you drop anything during disassembly it won't go over the side. A lot of people think that little springs and such will go BOIIING over the side when they slide the drum up & off but I've never experienced that. Keep a container on hand, on the cockpit seat, NOT on the deck, to put the parts in. Plug the cockpit drains in case "somebody" kicks that container over.

I've done it lots so now I just spread an old towel around the base of mine - it's easier than working down in a box albeit less safe for a first timer.

If you have old winches from out of business companies, I have found that springs & pawls - the most commonly needed replacements - work between manufacturers. I use Lewmar springs & pawls in my Barients. You MUST replace them ALL in a given winch if you go this route though because there are very minor differences in size that will result in one of them carrying all the load while the other gets a free ride. In my case the Lewmar pawls were a hair shorter than the Barients, just enough that the Lewmars wouldn't have pressed tight against the ratchet if they were mixed together. So far I haven't noticed any difference between springs from different manufacturers.

Lastly, winches are usually pairs so only strip one at a time, that way you have the other as a reference if needed for reassembly.

It's an easy and satisfying job until you get into big 3 speeders - those things are like an automobile transmission inside. Of course, by the time you are stripping them, you should be experienced. Start on single speed winches, assuming you have them - they are very simple. If you are nervous, have a digital camera on hand and take lots of pictures from different angles. When I popped the drums off my 3 speeders for the first time I stood back and took a breath and then took a couple of dozen photos first. I had no problems after that. The smooth movement and precision sounds they made afterwards were worth all the work.

One last thing - I can't speak from experience on this one though, since I've never needed them. If you should need replacement bearings for a winch from a long gone manufacturer, don't lose heart or immediately replace the winch at the usual great expense. Track down a large industrial bearing supplier in your area and make friends with their counterman. An old friend of mine was an inside salesman for a large bearing supplier and my uncle owned a large competing bearing supply business. They carry or can source the most incredible array of bearings. I doubt the winch manufacturers make their own - they probably use something stock which a good supplier can source for you. They might even be able to find something better - non-plastic races for example. Winch bearings aren't exotic, they are simple roller bearings - you just need the right inside & outside diameters and close in length - a LITTLE shorter can be shimmed between the top & bottom bearings.

Considering how much it costs to replace a winch, it's worth a fair bit of searching for parts first. My three speeders would cost me nearly $10K EACH to replace so needless to say, I'll move mountains if I ever need any "unobtanium" parts.
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  #28  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

I agree that the likely just need to be serviced. I also have a 1986 boat and the Lewmar 40ST and 16 winches that appear to be original are in fine shape. I had the 40ST winches apart recently for service and everything is in great shape, they were just gummed up.

I find Lewmar winches to be easy to service, I'm not sure what would make them easier. My boat has two speed winches and they are still easy to service.

If I were buying new I'd go with Lewmar. Parts are probably going to be easy to get long into the future because they are so common. I know that there are better (or equally good) winches out there, but I don't want to try and track down parts in 20 years when I accidentally drop a drum bearing into the water (which I've done).

I agree with fixing them on the hard. While the boat is on the hard you should also be inspecting and lubing all through hulls, checking the cutless and stuffing box, and doing other "hard to do in water" jobs. You could do all of that in one long day and it's worth the 4 hours of driving.
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  #29  
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Re: Which winch?

If you don't want to make the trek to ME to service the winches, you can usually find someone at the marina that will do it for you. It should cost <$50 to have an experienced person service a winch in the winter.

Another tip; after servicing, cover the winch with a gallon size plastic bag to keep water and dust out of the winch. I put the plastic bag on and then put the winch covers on.

Again, I am a firm believer in doing this NOW so that you can sail later.
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  #30  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Which winch?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
If you don't want to make the trek to ME to service the winches, you can usually find someone at the marina that will do it for you. It should cost <$50 to have an experienced person service a winch in the winter.

Another tip; after servicing, cover the winch with a gallon size plastic bag to keep water and dust out of the winch. I put the plastic bag on and then put the winch covers on.

Again, I am a firm believer in doing this NOW so that you can sail later.
Yes, the rigging shop will do this for me. I suspect that the reason they recommended replacing them is not so much that they're shot, but that in case they need parts it might be hard to find them for the Arcos and Maxwell. Most likely this is what I'll do for now. At some point I think I will probably want to replace them with winches from one source, since I do plan to keep this boat for a long time.
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