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Winch servicing lubricants

5596 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  pdqaltair
I come from the Mercedes enthusiast community into sailing, and take my service procedures and research methods with me. I'd like to begin by saying that I've found some nice products that I use on our low RPM roller bearing assembly and pawls of sailboat winches. (Barient 22, two speed with self tailing)

If you have a particular selection of lubricant I'd be interested in hearing them, the usual advice for "boat trailer bearing grease" or "3-in-1" doesn't seem complicated enough to me so I researched a few;

I'm using Fuchs Silkolene Pro FG2 as was recommended to me by OpieOils of the UK, over other options I asked about for sailboat winches. It's water resistant bearing grease used for it's low rolling resistance on high speed automobiles, motorcycles, etc..

Pedro's and Phil Woods bicycle grease is also available, but havn't use it.

Swepco 101 is a another fantastic Moly-rich grease with much of the properties above and feels like a buttery cream.

My pawls are doing great with Ardent Reel-Butter fishing reel lubricant, designed for salt environments and light action.
Other light weight oils are Mouse-Milk, used by turbo engine guys to lubricate the pivot point of the wastegate actuator.

If anything is rusty or corroded, I soak it in a mix of water and Esprit Rust Remover over night. Great for spraying down parts assemblies to prevent rust.

Reassembly goes great with a dab of 3M Marine Grade ant-seize on the right threads (If using a torque wrench, remember to always remove 20% of the final torque rating of anything using thread lubricant to account for the additional bolt stretch, but not a concern on winches and hand tools.)

I may seem overboard on my selections, and maybe when I have a wife and kids and a lot less time I'll think different, but I currently order engine and hydraulic fluids in up to 5-gallon containers so I can't imagine how a person could find satisfaction at Walmart or Ace/TrueValue hardware. It's been 8 years since I've stepped foot in an autoparts store for anything but PowerService or oil disposal, and hope to find another forum roamer who has gone the extra distance to find good lubricants. Anybody?
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5 gallons is a lot of lube. The yard I work in doesn't buy it those quantities.

For bearings on winches and furlers I use the Lewmar bespoke product in tubes (150 gr?) partly because my winches are all Lewmar and partly because I keep ending up in places where it's being given away. For pawls I use a spray lube like that from 3-in-1 (which is a brand here in the US). No issues. At work we use Synco Super Lube - the grease for bearings and their synthetic spray lubricant for pawls.

The fishing reel lube for pawls is a good idea.

For anti-seize I use the Permatex high-temp product. High-temp isn't an issue on winch fasteners - I carry it for outboard engine spark plugs and prefer to carry as few products as possible.
I have read elsewhere that Lewmar Winch Grease (100 grams $16.99 at WM or $14.99 at Defender) = Super Lube Synthetic Grease with PFTE (3 oz 85 gram tube $7.11 at Home Depot), and I believe is in fact the same tube.
Right - but if you hang out in the right places they give the Lewmar grease away like candy. *grin*
Where are your hangouts?
I've gotten tubes of Lewmar grease free at boat shows after chatting up the folks in the Lewmar booth, at SSCA Gams, at an HR Rendezvous, and at a reception offered by a boat broker.

I repack LOT of winches. A tube of Lewmar grease & the pawl oil lasts me YEARS. Most folks OVER GREASE.....
I definitely agree. Too much grease just gums up and collects dirt. As the old Brylcream commercial said, "a little dab will do ya." *grin* The bearings and gears should glisten but you should not see any globs of grease. Pawls should shine but there should be no drips.
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