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Old 07-16-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
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Windlass Failure

Right on cue... As soon as we were settling down for a summer stretch of minimal spending for boating, we have had another failure.

While on the hook in the Cape Lookout bight in a pretty good blow, the windlass failed and I was forced to pull up 120' of chain rode by hand... And I have to say that it sucked.

Knowing what I know about the previous owner, the first thing I suspected was the wiring. Unfortunately, it, and the solenoid, checked out ok. So the last step was to pull the windlass and bring it home to bench test it. Low and behold, it appears that the case has been intruded by water. When I cracked the case open, a fair bit of water came out, there was visible corrosion, and all the white grease was brown and dirty. It appears that the caulk seal failed.

It is a Lewmar Pro Series 1000 and part are available. Not sure from where yet, but I'll start looking today. The motor is toast for sure as it was sitting in water. The needle bearings are falling apart and the gears have some surface rust. Luckily, windlass' are pretty simple devices and I think that if I can source the parts, a rebuild should be straight forward.

Anyone done this before? Should I take the gears out for media blasting to remove the surface rust?

Sorry I didn't take any pictures.

Tom-
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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"As soon as we were settling down for a summer stretch of minimal spending for boating, we have had another failure. "

HAHA yea I have been trying to get that to mythical place also!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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Lewmar Pro Windlass Parts

Motor's less than $200.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:22 PM   #4
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Yea. I've found a parts place in Florida that has parts in stock. There are several failures inside. The bearing kit is only $45 and the motor $150. However, my delima now is whether or not to spend another $250 and replace all the gears and drive shaft (they only come as a kit). The drive shaft has a machine surface that was scratched up when the bearing failed. While I think it might be ok to reuse, it does give me pause to decide if I should just replace that too. I don't really want to, TBH. The whole unit new is about $800 (that's the deck unit only without all the stuff like switch and solenoid that I already have)
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoF1 View Post
Yea. I've found a parts place in Florida that has parts in stock. There are several failures inside. The bearing kit is only $45 and the motor $150. However, my delima now is whether or not to spend another $250 and replace all the gears and drive shaft (they only come as a kit). The drive shaft has a machine surface that was scratched up when the bearing failed. While I think it might be ok to reuse, it does give me pause to decide if I should just replace that too. I don't really want to, TBH. The whole unit new is about $800 (that's the deck unit only without all the stuff like switch and solenoid that I already have)
If you can't feel the scratches with a finger nail then the shaft should be good to reuse.If there will be bearing needles riding directly on the shaft,then I would replace it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:42 AM   #6
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While on the hook in the Cape Lookout bight in a pretty good blow, the windlass failed and I was forced to pull up 120' of chain rode by hand... And I have to say that it sucked.

Most windlasses (except hyd) will fail if asked to hold the boat or drag the boat up to the anchor and then break out and retrieve the anchor.

DRIVE up to the anchor , and recover the slack, engage the chain stopper, and drive over the anchor to brake it free , then recover.

If the boat is not equipped with a chain stopper , use the location ball/trip line to bring it aboard , then bring in the loop of chain.

EZ ,

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Go new, Tom. Skinny-Dippin' will love you for it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #8
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I know I am going to catch a little shit for this, but I have decided to go with the least expenditure possible and only ordered the motor and bearing/seal kit only. I was easily able to disassembled the entire unit. That says to me that service is simple. (BTW... Didin't know it needed annual lube.Added to "The List"). When I extrapolated the math I decided that in the next few years, we would possibly use the windlass only about 20-30 times (I know it's not much compared to some of you guys). Running out the $250 bill for parts puts each time at about a $10 cost per anchor event. Buying new, the $800+ dollar cost would be $40-$50 per event. It's just not worth that to me. We hope that before then, we either upgrade to a slightly larger boat for cruising, OR upgrade the windlass to something with dual spools.

There you have it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:41 PM   #9
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If a piece of equipment still does the job we need it to do and it can be repaired to provide the same reliable service it did in the past we don't believe in replacing it, either.

The only time we replace stuff on the boat is if it a) has failed and can't be fixed, b) still works fine but no longer does the job we need it to do, or c) works as advertised but this has proven to be not good enough for what we need.

An example of (a) is obvious. An example of (b) is an old VHF radio that is so old it doesn't contain all the weather frequencies in use today. An example of (c) is an anchor type that, while it performs per its design, its design proves to be inadequate for our requirements. Examples (b) and (c) were taken from our own experience with our boat.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GonzoF1 View Post
I know I am going to catch a little shit for this, but I have decided to go with the least expenditure possible and only ordered the motor and bearing/seal kit only. I was easily able to disassembled the entire unit. That says to me that service is simple. (BTW... Didin't know it needed annual lube.Added to "The List"). When I extrapolated the math I decided that in the next few years, we would possibly use the windlass only about 20-30 times (I know it's not much compared to some of you guys). Running out the $250 bill for parts puts each time at about a $10 cost per anchor event. Buying new, the $800+ dollar cost would be $40-$50 per event. It's just not worth that to me. We hope that before then, we either upgrade to a slightly larger boat for cruising, OR upgrade the windlass to something with dual spools.

There you have it.
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It's the call I would have made. That exact logic is the reason the wife and I are renting a larger boat as needed rather than buying one now.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:02 AM   #11
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BTW... Didin't know it needed annual lube

What besides the anchor doesn't?
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:59 AM   #12
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....... Most windlasses (except hyd) will fail if asked to hold the boat or drag the boat up to the anchor and then break out and retrieve the anchor.

DRIVE up to the anchor , and recover the slack, engage the chain stopper, and drive over the anchor to brake it free , then recover.

If the boat is not equipped with a chain stopper , use the location ball/trip line to bring it aboard , then bring in the loop of chain.
Or install a chain stopper.

But yes, simply reading the windlass instructions will allert you to the fact that the windlass is only designed to raise (and usually) lower the anchor, not to hold the anchor while underway or hold the boat at anchor.

I have a rope to chain rode and I installed a cleat to take the strain off the windlass.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by GonzoF1 View Post
I know I am going to catch a little shit for this, but I have decided to go with the least expenditure possible and only ordered the motor and bearing/seal kit only. I was easily able to disassembled the entire unit. That says to me that service is simple. (BTW... Didin't know it needed annual lube.Added to "The List"). When I extrapolated the math I decided that in the next few years, we would possibly use the windlass only about 20-30 times (I know it's not much compared to some of you guys). Running out the $250 bill for parts puts each time at about a $10 cost per anchor event. Buying new, the $800+ dollar cost would be $40-$50 per event. It's just not worth that to me. We hope that before then, we either upgrade to a slightly larger boat for cruising, OR upgrade the windlass to something with dual spools.

There you have it.
Tom-
Don't be ashamed of repairing an otherwise good piece of equipment. That's how it should be done.
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