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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently no good deed goes unpunished. I elected to clean and re-grease the winches since I had no idea when the PO had done so. At the first sail after the cleaning, both winches began to slip back after winching in the jib sheets. I was even to do replicate the problem when they weren't even under a load. I opened and rechecked the assembly and everything appears in order. The one thing I did not do was replace the pawl springs with new ones since the existing ones appeared OK. Is it possible that the springs are the problem? I've purchased replacements but haven't had a chance to install them but wondering if that's even going to affect a change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Seems like the consensus is I got grease on the pawls. I used Lewmar winch grease for the gears and Lewmar oil for the pawls and thought I was using them sparingly. Apparently another disassembly is in the cards!

By slipping I mean the drum rotates backward. If I lift it a fraction of an inch, it catches and "sticks", so slipping pawls seem to be the culprit. They're in good shape with sharp edges.

Yup, grease on the pawls is a no no and could be the issue, if you did so. If you over greased surrounding gears, it may be slid into the pawls, I suppose. Winch grease only needs to be applied lightly with a brush.

Could you describe what you mean by slipping? I assume you mean the drum is rotating backwards, not the lines are slipping. Is it crunching and banging as the drum spins backwards, like the pawls are trying to catch, but miss the ratchet? Or is it not holding at all?

The pawls themselves wear out too, usually noted by a rounded edge that fits into the ratchet, rather than a nice square edge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I say "moved upward", I'm talking about 2 millimeters. It's a Lewmar 42 and I've attached a drawing of it's parts. The drum gear does not come in contact with any pawls--they're inside the smaller gears. I'll degrease them again and only apply oil to the areas touched by the pawls.

It's apparent to me that greased pawls on sailboats are as bad as greased palms in politics... (barum-bump) ;-)

You mean the drum will move upward? That doesn't seem right, but maybe it is for your winch. I'm not a winch expert. While I've serviced several models of Harken 2-speed, their drum gear doesn't even come in contact with the pawls. I'm sure others do. Still, one wouldn't think that moving the drum gear upward would suddenly cause a stuck pawl to flap closed. Could a bushing or other insert be missing that is causing misalignment? Just shots in the dark. What winch do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm frustrated to no end. I've cleaned and re-greased two other winches with no problems but I can't figure out what the hell is wrong with these. I've re-stripped one, completely cleaned everything again with mineral spirits, replaced the springs, and lightly oiled the parts using Lewmar's oil. I had also removed and cleaned the inner shart. Problem persists. With the drum off and cranking with the winch handle, all if the gears and pawls appear to be working smoothly. When put the drum back on, it turns correctly when I crank but it slips when I grab it and rotate it in the opposite direction. It catches occasionally. I went sailing today and it kept slipping. What really drives me nuts is that I have the same problem with the companion winch that I cleaned (these are my main jib winches). I'll be calling Lewmar on Tuesday in case anyone there has any ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I did replace the springs with new ones. Pawls can only be inserted one way ( I tried the other way--no go). Pawls have sharp edges. The irony is that everything was fine before I cleaned them!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'd agree with you but I've completely cleaned every nook and cranny. And why would it happen to both winches? I'm not a mechanical incompetent having working with my hands for many years, so I'm baffled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Contrary to the accepted wisdom, you can "fix stupid"--at least in my case. GMFL's comments kept nagging at me so with hope in my heart I went down to the boat yesterday and once again took apart the winch. Sure enough, I had installed one of the gears (#14 in the parts list) upside down. What had fooled me was the indentation routed in the gear that fit the pawl gear about it perfectly. Turns out that the indentation also fits the flanged bush (#13), too and that was its intention! Make the fix and the winch works like a dream. Ten minutes later did the same to the other winch.

One upside: I can strip down and reassemble these babies in no time with my eyes closed.

Thanks to all for your patience and advise! I will now take my tail and drag it off...
 
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