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Always learning...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had previously googled around for some information on maintaining my old Lewmar #3 blocks, and didn't find much. I figured I would drop a post here in case anyone else is poking at the interwebs about these older blocks. They are otherwise unmarked, but I believe these to be Lewmar Ocean #3 blocks, but their older series of Ocean hardware; these date to the late 1980's. These were in service for the mainsheet: One single on the deck, three singles on the boom, and one fiddle attached to the traveler car. They worked, but between an aging, stiff mainsheet, and these blocks adding a lot of friction, trimming the main was sometimes a pain. In lighter airs and especially downwind, the sheet would sometimes take a set, and I'd have to really encourage it to sheet out.

I was replacing running rigging today, including the mainsheet, and had just started to reeve the new line, and thought wow, these things are pretty noisy, and some of them are downright stiff. I haven't been able to find a whole lot of information, but they are simple enough--I'm going to take one apart and see if I can do anything!

Unsurprisingly for old Lewmar kit, these are simple and pretty straightforward, and seem to be designed to be user-maintained. After removing the shaft, hold the block cheeks together and slide off the metal frame with the shackle pin. Be careful not to lose the small spring underneath the pin, or (unless it has already been removed to enable free rotation) the small metal pin that allows the shackle pin to lock either perpendicular to the sheave or parallel wth it.

Once the metal frame is removed, the block cheeks can be pulled slightly open to remove the sheave. Use caution, as the sheave assembly has plastic keepers on each side of the shaft about which the sheave spins. Some of the keepers were fall-off loose on mine, whereas others were a little more firmly attached. I managed to only have one bearing incident, and it was after I was done and went to reassmble the thing, and forgot to get a finger underneath to secure the keeper when I picked up the sheave. Oops. Anyway, the bearings are simple cylindrical bearings. Remove the keeper from one side to access them.

I found the bearings in most of the blocks to be in good shape. One of them had some obvious corrosion on the bearings, but I didn't really have anything to effectively clean them. In all of them, the bearings were pretty much devoid of any useful lubricant. They showed some signs of some really lightweight lubricant at some distant past. I had Lewmar winch grease, light oil, McLube One Drop, McLube Sailkote, and WD-40 on board. I picked the One Drop, as the Lewmar grease seemed heavy for these small bearings.

Lubed up and given some spins to distribute, the blocks went silent! And smooth! Even the one with some corrosion on the bearings ran well. Assembly follows in reverse. Support the sheave on both sides so as to not lose either keeper. It fits into a recess in the cheeks, so once it is there and the cheeks are pressed together again, it is secure enough to carefully handle and move aorund. Be careful to orient the spring the right way (big end towards the sheave), and again use caution to not lose any of the shackle pin parts.

The fiddle I have (partially visible in the top of the photo below) has a full-size sheave constructed identically to the single blocks, but the small sheave is some sort of plastic or composite and just rides bare on a smooth shaft. I also One Drop'ed this shaft. It was dry as a bone and I had no idea what would have been appropriate for it.

Of course, I lost the stupid split ring for the fiddle while I was trying to reinstall it. I had to make a temporary one from some stainless seizing wire. My big chunky hands hate those little things. And, of course, I clipped my nails Friday, so there was zero joy getting it off, and negative joy trying to get it back on. Ugh.

Guitar accessory Wood Everyday carry Tool Knife


I am well aware that these have probably served past their use-by date. Replacing them is going to go on the near-future projects list. But, if I can get another year or three out of them, that will let me concentrate on other priorities.
 

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Beneteau 393
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Great. Nicely done.
Mine don't come apart.
And you won't be replacing yours early when you see the price on them!

So you've saved a stack of money 😊😊😊

Mark
 

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You can say that again @MarkofSeaLife! Though the maintainable hardware costs more…. they can be serviced. I like that. The cheaper, non serviceable hardware I find never lasts.
Glad you’ve got good gear @jwoytek .

I still have two more winches to service on mine. They feel and sound horrible compared to the ones I recently serviced. Ditto for the few blocks and organizers I serviced. And though the sheaves show wear, just cleaning and lubricating the retaining pins makes everything work again.
 

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Always learning...
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126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I have two Lewmar snatch blocks used for the jib sheets. They have snap shackles to secure them to the deck, and our jib is hanked on, so they get removed and stowed when we leave the boat. I’ve thought about what I would do if we were out and one failed, or if I dropped one overboard while rigging it, so I went to look at getting a spare… $400-something for one. Not quite a boat buck, but enough to make me even more careful when rigging them!

The line for the new stays’l sheet arrived this week, so I’ll be cleaning up the two blocks that make up that system this weekend!
 
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