recirculating ball bearing outhaul car rebuild

Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
The sail on my 331 is very difficult to pull out of the mast. I’m pretty sure it is the Outhaul car that is the problem because I can manually pull the sail out at the mast by hand but very difficulty using the control line. so I cleaned the ball bearings in the car and it got a lot better but unfortunately I made the mistake of pulling the car off the track to see if I could ”get it even better” and of course the ball bearings flew everywhere all over the entire boat.
Fast forward two weeks and I now have a bag of new balls I just need some help on how to get these installed without using a pre-loader tool, is this possible or do I need to buy this tool? Has anyone had any luck with this or should I go buy a tool for it?
 

Attachments

Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
I was thinking something like; taking one end cap off. Taping the car in place on the track and then carefully feeding the balls in from the open side.
 
  • Like
Likes: kloudie1

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,451
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
A thin piece of flat wood, such as a tongue depresser, with a raised rib in the middle to hold the bearings in place. Essentially, you are matching the profile of the track to the loading instrument. That's all the tool is. Why don't you ask around your marina, you might get lucky.
 
Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
You can do it without the tool! But you need two set of hands. One to hold it together while the other feed the balls in.
 

Attachments

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,250
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
Did you try it with an iPad?
That's special hardware ;)

I did this with my traveler which has the same type of car but is a Garhauer. I started by dabbing a bit of grease on each ball as I slid it in, just to keep it in the slot while the car was off the track. When I went to put the car on the end of the track I realized that if you hold the car just hanging off the end of the track you can slide the balls in without them falling back out, just a dab of grease on the end to keep them from rolling back out, or hold a finger over the bottom open slot. An extra set of hands would help, but doable with only two hands.
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,792
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Alongside kloudie1's suggestion, how about KY jelly?
Then you can rinse it away.
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,620
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
I was thinking something like; taking one end cap off. Taping the car in place on the track and then carefully feeding the balls in from the open side.
This is basically how the "prefeeder tool works. It is shaped like the track and holds the balls in place while you feed them in. Your method will work, but the advantage to the "tool" is that you can turn everything upside down and on end to let gravity help get the balls into place.
 
  • Like
Likes: sf34dtw

RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
247
Beneteau 411 Branford
Been there done that. Dropped a lot of balls handling the car with a piece of Harken track (close but not equal). Moved the track to one side and lost more balls. Finally had the opportunity to use a piece of the US Spars track to load the balls. If you are going to do this I would consider disconnecting the boom and inverting it - maybe even raising the aft end to help get all the balls in.
 
Jan 1, 2006
6,085
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
How much is the tool? I bought one many years ago but it worked and I didn't do the one armed paper hanger thing. There's not much worse a sound as ball bearings rolling away out of your life. The was an idiom in my 4 fours years of completely wasted Spanish language education that went (Translated to English) " Follow the balls bouncing down to the street." It meant don't sweat it. But if your bearing are rolling towards the scuppers, you might sweat.
 
Mar 20, 2016
499
Beneteau 351 WYC Whitby
You can do it no issues using a dab of grease then washing it out after as it will collect and hold dirt putting you back to where you were. Another way that is easy ,although involves work is to remove the boom and stand it up vertical ,now the balls drop in going no where, put the last few in the cap with grease ,put cap back on
 
  • Like
Likes: sf34dtw
Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
For those of you who have problems with your mainsail out-haul, before you start looking at the out-haul car take a look inside the boom where the control line runs. I just discovered that my boom was completely filled with Pine needles and other stuff from birds. I have so far pulled out more than a full trash bag with my shop vac and there’s still as much left in there that I’m trying to get out.
 
  • Like
Likes: fullbore
Jan 1, 2006
6,085
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
You would not believe how much nest and bird crap I pulled out of my boom one fall. I couldn't believe it. If you don't think stuff is in there, you haven't looked.
 
  • Like
Likes: sf34dtw
Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
You would not believe how much nest and bird crap I pulled out of my boom one fall. I couldn't believe it. If you don't think stuff is in there, you haven't looked.
They should have put an end-cap on the boom. Mine is completely open at the back end!
 
  • Like
Likes: shemandr

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
2,181
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
They should have put an end-cap on the boom. Mine is completely open at the back end!
Perfect solution…
Mine only cost me the Michigan 10 cent can deposit. Drink the contents and push the empty into the boom end. I only had a problem in the Spring when I removed the winter cover, and birds would begin to build a nest.
 
Jul 14, 2020
33
Beneteau 331 Lake Conroe
I did fabbed one out of sheet aluiminum ,not a good picture boom is hanging on wall in my garage drilled and tapped
I was thinking maybe some type of netting to get some airflow in there so the line doesn’t rot.