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Old 09-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #1
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Sandblast windlass gearbox?

Hello all,

The motor on my Lewmar concept one windlass has failed and I am in the process of replacing it. If possible, I'd like to replace the motor and reuse the gearbox, which will save about $600. As you can see in the pic, the gear box has a lot of corrosion/caked salt under the anodizing/powder coating treatment but the gears still turn freely and the metal underneath is still very solid.

It really just needs to be cleaned up and repainted. Pretty sure it is aluminum.

What are your thoughts on the best way to do this? Maybe sandblasting? Should I paint it or leave it bare? I'm not a big fan of anodized or powder coated aluminum in a salt water environment.

Thanks
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:42 AM   #2
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Suggest you tear the gear box down and replace seals and inspect other internals. Once torn down the externals can be assessed for best way to clean up the housing. Preventing it from getting gunked up as shown should be high on your list.

What does your manual say for maintenance?
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:47 AM   #3
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Yes. Most of the gunk actually came under the powder coating treatment. It bubbled off, much like the powder coating did on my aluminum door fames, except even worse. While I hose it off occasionally, this unit lives under the deck in the anchor locker with two anchors, 100 feet of chain and 300 feet of line; all salty, all the time. It's a harsh environment and there is not much I can do to change that, unfortunately.


It's 15 years old, I'm surprised it has done as well as it has.



Good suggestion on the seals.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:08 AM   #4
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Aluminum and salt water are a bad combination.

I would try to find someone that does military grade anodizing, then paint it with Awlgrip per their process.

You need to find out if Awlgrip will stick to anodizing.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:49 AM   #5
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Agree with anodizing but note that any finish you put on will degrade once it is scratched or chipped so eventually it will return to it's current heavily oxidized state. Put a piece of EPDM on top of it to minimize scratched from dropped chain.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:25 AM   #6
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It is going to be tough to get every last bit of corrosion blasted off so any finish you put on will probably flake off eventually. But if you can get another 15 years out of it that would not be too bad.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:38 AM   #7
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You sure you can't find a good used unit in your area? I have seen many used windlasses for sale.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:10 AM   #8
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How about using a muffin fan to move the wet air out and improve the chances of any new finish surviving. My windlass is pushing 40 and though it doesn't look new any more, by comparison with yours, mine is under 2 yrs old. It is all about the wet, salty environs.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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A commercial powder coating shop can take care of the sand blasting for you, which is part of their process anyway. I have good experience with powder coating; as with anything it's the quality of the application. But once sand blasted, than Awlgrip or Imron, to name two I have first hand experience with, can be applied with the proper primers.

Have you looked into just having the motor rebuilt?
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:38 PM   #10
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Took it to my local mechanic to see what he thought, he recommended Vic's DC electric so I brought it over there. Vic is going to head blast it, prime and paint, service the gears, replace all seals for $250.00.

He's done quite a few of them in the past.

He showed me some of his other work, it looked good. I discussed rebuilding the motor, but he felt like it wasn't worth it, since the motor can be replaced for under $300. I agree.

He felt that sandblasting would be too aggressive and might compromise some of the mating surfaces.

$500 or so all in, seems pretty good to me. I wasn't ready for a new windlass. If I can get four or five years out of it I will be happy.

I really think the corrosion is partly a result of a bad powder coating job, along with where it lives. The chain doesn't hit the gear box when it falls. And the entire coating is bubbling up, not just one area. If you notice, the motor, which is just painted steel, is no where near as corroded as the gear box. The new gear boxes from lewmar are black, not white and look a little different in the photos. I suspect they had some coating issues.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:49 PM   #11
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Good deal! Any chance you can fresh water rinse your chain as it comes in? Sadly a rope rode holds moisture, salt laden at that so not sure if rinsing would help that section of rode.

We fresh water rinse our all chain rode during retrieval. After 16 years the gear case looks pristine, even though hidden away in the anchor locker. Time for new seals though.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:20 PM   #12
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I would blast it to bare metal, passivate it, paint with zinc chromate primer (twice) and then coat it with automotive undercoating out of a spray can. Have had same problem with powder coating AL, never again.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:25 AM   #13
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A grinder with an stiff wire brush and Rustoleum aluminum primer , with an oil based paint (auto rattle can?) should have it looking good for years, cost under $25.00.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:17 AM   #14
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However it gets cleaned and primed I would use a 2 part epoxy paint.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:37 AM   #15
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Turned out really nice. Just need a third hand to bolt it on now. $570 all in, including the new motor.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:53 PM   #16
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Well I am now in the same situation, our Windlass was working fine, no reason other than the way it looked to mess with it. but I knew it was a problem-to-be..simply by the way it looked externally..so I removed it and took it to the work bench at the house, disassembled and defined the various parts that should be replaced.

P2Marine's web site had all my Lewmar Concept 1 Windlass replacement parts, however the local DC motor shop said my 700 watt DC windless motor wasn't re-build-able, basically because the two large threaded power terminal posts were rusted and when I removed the nuts to disconnect the power cables, one of the posts itself turned, which I knew was going to be a problem.

The only source for a new motor that I could find was from West Marine @ $400, and it was a 2 week back order...anyway, I ordered one and the DC motor shop bead-blasted the gearbox and put a light coat of primer on it.

The local Powder coat shop said due to the fact that the gearbox would have to be heated to 400F in an oven to coat it, with the rubber seals it would be a no-go.

I was thinking to apply a coat or 2 of white epoxy base paint on this gearbox & motor once it shows up.

Sound like a good idea?

I attached a before and after picture of the gearbox....
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:07 PM   #17
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Aluminum is lovely but it needs to breathe, to form a nice coat of aluminum oxide on it. As soon as you coat it, it looks really good for a while but in a salt environment, any breach in the coating will cause creeping corrosion which, if not stopped, will destroy all the metal. That bubbling under the coating that is so familiar to aluminum owners, is the metal disintegrating. You have two choices, leave it bare (with good seals between mating surfaces) and it grows grey and looks way worse than the photos, but will stop corroding or you can coat it with the spooge of your choice and keep the coating 100% intact. As soon as you see bubbling you have to take off the old coating and redo it or it will just disintegrate. As these pictures beautifully illustrate, the corrosion continues even after the coating vanishes. I have to laugh at people who build aluminum boats and then paint them. Might as well have a wooden boat (well not really, but close). Have a look at Dashew boats, very expensive but wisely left uncoated.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:14 PM   #18
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I have not used it but would Shark Hide aluminum protector work on it? I have seen it advertised on Ship Shape TV but I donít really have much aluminum to protect so I never got any of it.
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:38 PM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. C. Ahhh....I'd forgotten about wipe/spray on protectants. My BIL used a product called Woody Wax on his anodized aluminum roof support on his center console. Have absolutely NO idea if this might be the same type of product you mention (Shark Hide) or if it would work on "raw" aluminum (non anodized) but either product may be an option.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:19 PM   #20
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All those festering/bubbling/corroding Muir horizontal alloy windlass covers persuaded Muir to change to a composite case. I wonder how reliable the cleat on top is but it sure improved the appearance.
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