• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Winch stress

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
So as some may know from other threads on SBO, I'm in the process of rebuilding all the winches on my 1977 Cherubini Hunter 30. The two single speed winches on the mast went smoothly enough and are now both functioning perfectly. Then I've moved to my 2 two speed winches at the cockpit. Got some difficulties with these - there will be more to do than simply cleaning. However, in this process, I'm thinking about long term maintenance and some questions are coming to mind.

So let me start with how these winches are mounted. There are 5 screws holding the winch in place. They are accessed from the top of the winch once you take the drum off. Those go through the fiberglass and on the undersize there is a washer and a nut. On the starboard side these are inside the back seat compartment. What a pain in the you a$$ to take off! OK, so this set-up is NOT going to get me real happy with maintaining these winches every year. You either need two people to take these off, or some crazy way to do it alone.

The photos below show how I figured to do it alone. So I have a really nice set of pliers that lock, but I was worried that once the nut was free, Murphy would place the pliers and nut and washer all in locations in-accessible deep in my bilge somewhere. So I used Gorilla tape (great stuff!) to hold the nose of the pliers and capture the washer if it fell off with the nut. Then a second piece of tape over the handle so that the whole assembly was suspended once the nut was free. Worked well. I didn't loose anything, winch is off.

So to do this, I had to go inside the back storage on the starboard side 14 times. Now, that compartment is large enough for me to get into, but only just barely. Doing it once isn't too bad, but back and forth for all 5 bolts is beyond my tolerance levels. Technically I will only have to do it 10 times in the future, but it took me some trials to figure out how to do everything on this first time. If anything is going to convince me I need to loose weight, it's going to be working on this sailboat...

Re-mounting is not going to go so easily...As I have a fair amount of time as one of these winches is destroyed and I need another one - just purchased off ebay - delivery will take some time. So in the meantime, I'm entertaining how to make this easier to work with.

My first thought (and my first thoughts are often more complicated than I typically end up with) is to build a stainless steel plate and permanently mount the nuts onto it, then glue/epoxy/bolt this plate in place on the underside where the washers and nuts currently reside. Then in the future, I can just unscrew the screws from the top of the winch and not worry about the nuts/washers falling off. However, the exact details of how best to do this are not coming to me very readily. Hence, I thought to post here and see what everybody's ideas might be on how to make taking these winches on and off an easy one-person job. Thoughts?

dj

winch-top.jpg
winch-bottom.jpgwinch-bottom-taped.jpg
 

MitchM

.
Jan 20, 2005
959
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
you have certainly developed a clever system for working on those winches with one person. on fresh water lake erie , with week end use, a few trips a year, and no racing, my 2005 harken 16T and 42 winches stay in fine shape. i get about 5 years between rebuilds. i clean , oil and grease them per harken specs , and i've never needed pawls or springs yet . larger winches do need to be taken off their mounts for service. i found harkens are easier to work on than than lewmars.
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
As Stu asked above...The only reason to take them off for normal servicing if is if you are afraid of dropping something in the drink. I've seen people that put a "collar" under the winch, with some elastic, tape, or a tie, which is tied to an upside down bag in which you've cut a hole. IF you drop a piece, the theory is that it's caught in the bag.

Then they dump the pieces into a plastic tub and carefully clean them.

Sometimes, if you're paying a shop to do multiple winches (by the hour), they'll send two people out and pull your winches off to take them to the shop.

Otherwise, most people service them "in-place".

P.S. -- I've always believed that there is an un-natural attraction that little pieces I'm working on have to "go for a swim". Winch pawls are among the greatest lovers of departing for the bottom.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Why are you bothering to take them off at all?
These specific older style winches require being taken off to service the gears and lower end pawls/springs. You can't do it with them in place. Otherwise I wouldn't take them off.

dj
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
I rest your case, dj. :^)))
Your method does seem to do the job.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
As Stu asked above...The only reason to take them off for normal servicing if is if you are afraid of dropping something in the drink.
Not this model. They have to be taken off to get to the lower gears, lower pawls and springs. There are two connectors that must be removed from the bottom side, accessible only with the winch off, that must be removed to service this model winch. Believe me, I have looked extensively and Lewmar actually send me the service manual for these winches - thank you VERY much Lewmar!

dj
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Sorry to hear about your reality. Good luck.
Hahahaha - Indeed!

So, any ideas for putting the darned things back in? Taking out was one thing. Putting back in - alone anyway - will be quite another exercise in wit...

dj
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I recommend making a plate, aluminum or stainless steel, and has threaded holes for winch attachment bolts, and an additional hole or two for securing it in the right position underneath. Aluminum would be easier. You could start by making the plate and the securing holes, and screwing it into place, then drilling and tapping from above for the winch securing screws.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
I recommend making a plate, aluminum or stainless steel, and has threaded holes for winch attachment bolts, and an additional hole or two for securing it in the right position underneath. Aluminum would be easier. You could start by making the plate and the securing holes, and screwing it into place, then drilling and tapping from above for the winch securing screws.
Great idea! Some of thoughts:

I'd need a pretty thick plate to get enough threads for what is considered "good" threading. You want 1.5 times the diameter of the bolt. These are 1/4" bolts so technically, I'd need a plate about 3/8" of an inch thick. Mighty heavy to work in stainless. However, using aluminum might just do the trick. 7075 would be a very good alloy to use for this application. I could use some relatively small diameter threaded rod to hold the plate in place, as you say, one or two locations. I could then take the stainless nuts/washers and put them onto the screws once in the plate, essentially having both the plate and the stainless nuts holding the winch. Ah, so then I can reduce the thickness of the plate.... Hmmm, yea, I'm liking this...

So service would be, go into the locker, remove all stainless nuts/washers. Come out, take out all screws, plate stays put. Service, put back winch using plate for securing screws, go back into locker, put on all stainless nuts/washers - I'm only in and out twice... Maybe just the 3/8" aluminum and forget the stainless washers/nuts...

How reliable to you feel the aluminum plate would be over time supporting a winch like this?

dj
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Gosh @dLj find or make a friend in the Marina or someone who has always wanted to step onto a sail boat. Grab a 6 pack of beer and work together on the winches. If the new friend asks arn't we going sailing? You betcha... But to protect your hands we need to reattach these winch things first. Then a beer. You ever done something like this before? Ok I'll give you the easy part... Let me show you how we insert and hold the screw while I tighten up the nut underneath.
It is a cinch when you get help.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
John,

I'm way too impatient...

Plus if you add alcohol, I'll likely just end up chatting and not getting anything done... I've never had good success fixing boats and drinking at the same time... And if there's plenty to drink around, well, let's just say I subscribe to the old saying "Botella abierta, botella muerta!" - translated - Bottle opened, bottle killed - (just doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well in English - same result in consumption however)... Hahahaha...

dj
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Ha... Maybe it is a NY thing... Good Spanish idea and it does have a ring. I think it was intended for wine. That is why I said a 6 pack among 2... After 3 12 oz cans I think you could still insert and screw 10 screws in place... Then if you guys are still talking... Be sure you get some of the "Bed-It Butyl Tape from @mainesail https://shop.marinehowto.com/products/bed-it-tape
Finding helpers is one of the best things about being the marina. They maybe may even work out to start out as swab.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,777
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Thanks for the link to the tape, I was going to get some of that for many reasons, this is a good time to pick it up. Just ordered a roll. That should do me for a very long time...

And yes, the expression is specifically for wine... But I tend to extend it ... :laugh:

dj
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,416
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
You only need a few minutes of someone's time to help re install. Position the winch, insert all the bolts... grab your socket wrench and go under the deck while your helper stays on deck with the big ass screw driver. Oh, and go with some larger fender washers, or make a backing plate.

If you're by your self, insert all the bolts go down get all the washers and nuts started. You should be able to get them hand tightened because the sealant will hold the bolts in place until you start tightening. A pair of locking pliers on the nuts will help, but two sets of pliers will make the job faster.

Btw, whenever I've had to relocate my winches, the sealant holds the bolts pretty firm so you can get the nuts on tight enough for the lock washer to hold it for final tightening.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
@dLj While your on his site, read the stuff about using the butyl and how to improve the seal of the fittings. Great stuff. Rod is a great writer explaining the why not just the how.
 
May 27, 2004
1,696
Hunter 30_74-83 Ponce Inlet FL
I had the same problem this year. I got some help with the removal and thought the same as you about the re-install. So...
I had a 3/8 plate made out of stainless steel at a local machine shop. Cost: $40.
I had the holes on the winch base matched on the plate and tapped them.
I used stainless to avoid the 'dissimilar' metal corrosion problem with aluminum and stainless bolts.
I attached the plate to the underside of the mounting position with JB Weld epoxy.
I used two smaller sized cap screws (bolts) to position the plate.
I don't think I'll ever have to see the underside of that locker again.
And I agree with DJL. Beer and work don't mix.
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I used stainless to avoid the 'dissimilar' metal corrosion problem with aluminum and stainless bolts.
This can be done with Tef-Gel. Aluminum is easier to work, and once a blank plate is fitted, the holes can be drilled and tapped in-situ.

I've done both. Stainless is tricky to drill, as if you let up on the pressure while drilling, you can heat the work excessively which will harden it and prevent further drilling.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,917
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
The threads in the backing plate do NOT need to carry the entire load, they only need to pull snug so you do not have to hold the bolt. Leave enough length on the bolts and then tighten nuts behind them. In this way the threaded backing plate is only the locking nut, with the load carried by the regular nut (yup, done this before, the engineering works). It is ALWAYS the second nut which carries the load, which is why the thin locking nut goes on first.