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Old 04-01-2018, 06:23 AM   #1
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Windlass not freewheeling

Horizontal windlass powered only to retrieve anchor, not deploy. Retrieves fine from foot switch and remote control on flybridge. However, it has stopped freewheeling to deploy with clutch completely loosened. I have to stand over it and pull chain up and out. Feels like it is "in gear", something not releasing. I read that many if not most issues with a windlass are due to bad solenoid or solenoid connections. Would the solenoid have anything to do with freewheeling out even when not powered for that direction? When we bought the boat a year ago it freewheeled fine. Then it didn't, then it did. Now it won't at all. As a trawler newb I have found that many if not most things that are "wrong" are actually due to my user error but not sure what I could be doing wrong on this one. Any hints appreciated?
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:36 AM   #2
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If you haven’t done any maintenance in a year I think your clutch cones are probably seized. Take everything apart clean with brake clean re apply grease and reassemble. Chain should be able run free without any power by loosening the clutch.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:42 AM   #3
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Thanks. Now to go find out how to do that! I don't even remember the make of the windlass but am taking some time today to sort out.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:49 AM   #4
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Totally agree with CS. Assuming you have a local yard mechanic who is a windlass whisperer, get him to do an A to Z tear down and rebuild with you looking over his shoulder as old worn items are noted and replaced.

Like the filters and fluids on your engines, windlasses too need routine servicing.
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:37 AM   #5
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on my Vetus, you just keep unscrewing the clutch adjuster.

It comes off, then tbe wildcat just slides off, then the inner cone but it had a keyway that you have to be careful of.
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:41 AM   #6
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on my Vetus, you just keep unscrewing the clutch adjuster.

It comes off, then tbe wildcat just slides off, then the inner cone but it had a keyway that you have to be careful of.
Our LightHouse horizontal windlass is pretty much the same. Annually we the grease the chain gypsy.

I’would take the gypsy off, clean, grease and reinstall. There maybe be dirt and/or old grease holding the gypsy to the inner or outer cones.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:08 AM   #7
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What year is your GB/windlass? Is it an Ideal? Common on certain vintage GBs. They have flat clutch plates which get stuck together. They are very easy to remove and just clean them, don't lubricate. Chances are pretty good you had not used it for 6 months? Ideal windlasses are not pretty but are bulletproof otherwise. The motors are starter motors off an ancient GM or Dodge and may benefit from a dismantling, cleaning and dressing the commutator and the brushes; a dab of oil or grease on the bearings. The gear boxes are oil bath (if I remember correctly) and are usually not a problem but could benefit from new lube too. Easy to do.

If you have only one solenoid it is worth buying a new replacement and keeping the old one as a spare.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:14 AM   #8
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The clutch cones on my maxwell were seized because they has never been lubed in the first place. Disassembly was easy, but separating the seized clutch cones was a trick. Once greased, which just seems wrong for a clutch, it has worked great. Checked, cleaned, and re-greased, just a couple of months ago.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:44 AM   #9
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on my Vetus, you just keep unscrewing the clutch adjuster.

It comes off, then tbe wildcat just slides off, then the inner cone but it had a keyway that you have to be careful of.
Psneeld. On the Vetus Alexander, there is a spring loaded dog gear on the inside of windlass housing that should be checked. It needs to be able to slide on shaft, and release under heavy load. Mine didn’t, needed a little maintenance to get working. I also needed to replace the outer cone clutch, key way destroyed. Vetus said no more available worldwide. There were 3 halves, I got 2.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:53 AM   #10
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My windlass is a Simpson Lawrence Seawolf, pic below.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:52 AM   #11
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The outer nut, slotted where a bar fits to tighten or loosen the nut, will come completely off. Then pull the drum and grease the clutch.

You may have the manual but if not a copy is below.
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:02 PM   #12
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Psneeld. On the Vetus Alexander, there is a spring loaded dog gear on the inside of windlass housing that should be checked. It needs to be able to slide on shaft, and release under heavy load. Mine didn’t, needed a little maintenance to get working. I also needed to replace the outer cone clutch, key way destroyed. Vetus said no more available worldwide. There were 3 halves, I got 2.
yes I know....I have done emergency maintenance several cruises including filing rounded corners on a loose key under the interior clutch that kept it from engaging ..... Thus no windlass at all.

But that shouldnt have any effect on tbe free fall, the hanging spring clutch keeps is a separate function.

For those suggesting greasing the freefall clutch...is that in the manual?

I would think that would be like greasing your car brakes...

I just clean both surfaces and drag a bit of sandpaper over them to provide a better gripping surface.
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:55 PM   #13
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...For those suggesting greasing the freefall clutch...is that in the manual?

I would think that would be like greasing your car brakes... ...
I know it doesn't sound right but it is recommended by manufacturers. This is from the Lofrans manual for their Atlas - Cayman 88 - Tigres - Falkon models.


B.
Grease the rotating parts.
Particularly, the main shaft threads and clutch cones.


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Old 04-01-2018, 01:59 PM   #14
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Ah, the old Seawolf. I have rebuilt the one on my boat so perhaps I can help. Agree with lubricating the shaft and cones. Another item to check is the plastic pawl in front of the gypsy. Sometimes it can get crap around the base of it that prevents from working freely. Work the lever of the pawl back and forth to make sure it is operating correctly. Some parts are available from a person in Scotland. Google Seawolf windlass parts and he should come up. Also helpful with manuals and problems.

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Old 04-01-2018, 02:21 PM   #15
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The outer nut, slotted where a bar fits to tighten or loosen the nut, will come completely off. Then pull the drum and grease the clutch.

You may have the manual but if not a copy is below.
Thanks! Where can I find a copy of the manual?
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:25 PM   #16
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Ah, the old Seawolf. I have rebuilt the one on my boat so perhaps I can help. Agree with lubricating the shaft and cones. Another item to check is the plastic pawl in front of the gypsy. Sometimes it can get crap around the base of it that prevents from working freely. Work the lever of the pawl back and forth to make sure it is operating correctly. Some parts are available from a person in Scotland. Google Seawolf windlass parts and he should come up. Also helpful with manuals and problems.

Tator
I found a website, SL Spares, in Scotland which lists some parts for the Seawolf and I found a link on another forum to an exploded view stored on the same website. However, going in through the site front door I find no exploded view or manual. I have no knowledge of how these work so maybe my best bet is to get a windlass guru out and then pay attention and ask questions. You know, they all LOVE when we do that....next search will be for a windlass guru in West Palm Beach area....
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:29 PM   #17
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Ah, the old Seawolf. I have rebuilt the one on my boat so perhaps I can help. Agree with lubricating the shaft and cones. Another item to check is the plastic pawl in front of the gypsy. Sometimes it can get crap around the base of it that prevents from working freely. Work the lever of the pawl back and forth to make sure it is operating correctly. Some parts are available from a person in Scotland. Google Seawolf windlass parts and he should come up. Also helpful with manuals and problems.

Tator
I opened up the port side rubberized cover and find the inside packed with what looks like marine bearing grease. Haven't tried taking off the clutch yet to see what is under there. A windlass strikes me as one of those pieces of equipment on which you unsuspectingly take off a plate of cover and things go SPRING! SPRONG! all over the place and you have now idea where they came from or where they go! the words pawl and spring sort of strike fear in my brain....
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:08 PM   #18
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...Where can I find a copy of the manual?
I just uploaded a copy of the manual to the Trawler Forum Library which you can download (upper right corner on any page).

Trawler Forum - Library - Sampson-Lawrence Seawolf Manual
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:09 PM   #19
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It's really pretty easy to service. I found out I have a copy of the manual on my desktop. Send me an email and I'll attach in the reply. Basically you remove the rubber plug and keep unthreading the clutch until it comes off. You can then extract the shaft from the plug side (don't need to undo the bolt under the plug) until it's past the gypsy and clutch plates. Then remove them from the top. The most difficult part is to re-align everything correctly back on the shaft when reassembling.

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Old 04-01-2018, 04:12 PM   #20
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Check the pawl for proper operation before taking apart.
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