Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: New to Lewmar Winch Maintenance
What the video does not say is that when a winch is not "perfectly clean", cleaning the winch can be a very messy process and the parts can sometimes stick together and then seemingly randomly pop loose. Because of that when I service a winch, I typically will cut a larger than winch diameter hole in the bottom of a large-ish cardboard box, put the box over the winch and tape it to the deck. I then work from within the box.
I also put a little diesel oil in the bottom of a gal. milk jug and use the oil and an old toothbrush that to clean the old grease off the metal parts. NOTE: I do not clean plastic parts with diesel oil. I don't know whether the diesel oil will damage the plastic, and assume not, but prefer not to take chances on that.
I typically do one winch at a time, but do the winches of the same type one after the other so that I remember the lessons of that winch type when I do the next. The only problem on my boat is that I still have two really ancient Lewmar geared, single-speed, self-tailers which I have not figured out how to disassemble. I rarely use these and the good news is that they work about as well as really ancient Lewmar geared, single-speed, self-tailers can, but one of these days I will ideally replace them, or at least figure out how to get the things apart and lube them.
I must say that I am never 100% sure what to use for oiling the pawls. For many years, I used a machine oil that was made for lubing machine tools parts. When that ran out, I started using the same motor oil that I use in my boat's transmission. I am not really sure that it matters, except that you don't want to use the thicker grease used for lubing the rest of the winch.
Lewmar is pretty good about selling rebuild kits for their winches that include pawls, springs and many of the smaller parts. The good news is that I can typically do all five of the modern winches on my boat in about an hour. That said, the whole process takes almost 2 hours since the set-up and clean up takes almost as long as the cleaning.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay