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Old 07-01-2022, 12:06 AM   #1
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Windlass only pulls floppy chain

I have an older Nilsson Maxwell v1000 that has been working well for last 3 years. Either myself or local tech perform the yearly maintenance on it.

Have anchored 3 times this year with no issues. Today, we came to pull up anchor.. 120feet of chain.. no issues until the last 10 feet of chain with anchor at the end. I can hear the windlass motor turning but the chain wheel was not turning. I let it cool for a bit.. tried again.. same result. Depth was around 7-9 feet (low tide).. I moved the boat very slowly for 50 feet to make sure anchor was pulled for sure, just in case. Still nothing. Luckily we were not far from a mooring ball field. We got on a mooring ball.

If I pull up the chain by hand, the chain wheel turns as normal and sends chain into the locker. If there is any tension on the chain, the wheel does not turn but I can hear the motor working. Another change, usually once the chain is pulled, it does not back out. Now, the chain pays out if there is any weight on it.

I got the anchor up and cleated. I opened the windlass from topside. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I checked all fuses, etc. i know the unit has overload protection. The manual does not mention if a reset is needed if overprotection is triggered.

Any ideas or guidance would be much appreciated. A new windlass maybe in order but we are at the beginning of 4 weeks of cruising and getting a new windlass in a timely manner is unlikely.

Thank you in advance

Streff
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:25 AM   #2
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I am no where near qualified but on my maxwell it behaved that way and it was the clutch that needed to be tightened a bit. I have no idea if you even have a clutch. Mine took a special socket and simple fix once i figured it out. I only have experience with the maxwell.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:50 AM   #3
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I 2nd the clutch as a likely culprit. My plate windlass has a clutch. If I don't keep it tight (i can tighten or loosen it).
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Old 07-01-2022, 10:06 AM   #4
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Chain pays out without a problem?

Is it power up and down driven or a free fall windless?

Tighten up the clutch manually and try again.
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:14 AM   #5
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Thank you all for the input. The unit is power up & down. Good point about paying out. If there is any weight on the chain it runs out without activating the power down. So I am unable to test the power down per se. That’s not normally the case . I am not sure if there is a place to tighten a clutch without opening the base of the windlass from underneath the deck. I am preparing to do that but as a last resort.

I will keep digging into it today. Will keep you posted.

Thank you

Streff
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:25 AM   #6
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Google is your friend. Here is an instruction manual for that windlass- https://www.jamesnilsson.com/site/ja...20windlass.pdf

It talks about the clutch and clutch handle.

David
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streff View Post
Thank you all for the input. The unit is power up & down. Good point about paying out. If there is any weight on the chain it runs out without activating the power down. So I am unable to test the power down per se. Thatís not normally the case . I am not sure if there is a place to tighten a clutch without opening the base of the windlass from underneath the deck. I am preparing to do that but as a last resort.

I will keep digging into it today. Will keep you posted.

Thank you

Streff
In my feeble mind, a free fall when it shouldn't free fall when it shouldn't free fall tells me, the clutch needs adjusting.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:03 PM   #8
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Thanks, David. Unfortunately, I am out where the LTE signal is poor even with a Cell booster.. I have been trying to get on James Nilsson site but server keeps cutting out. I have just enough signal to post on the forum. I do have a paper and a digital manual onboard, the diagrams have stuff about clutch assembly but no discussion about a clutch in the texts. Probably different manuals on his site are more comprehensive.

I am getting ready to take things apart to get the clutch pieces in the diagram. It seems that I will need to pull off the chain wheel to get there.
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Old 07-01-2022, 03:58 PM   #9
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I had an old Nillson free fall down power up. I operated the clutch from the top of the drum using a spammer tool.
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Old 07-01-2022, 06:16 PM   #10
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Hey, here`s an idea, why not give Maxwell a call - I`m sure they could set you in the right direction - save all this speculation
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Google is your friend. Here is an instruction manual for that windlass- https://www.jamesnilsson.com/site/ja...20windlass.pdf

It talks about the clutch and clutch handle.

David
WTH!!!!
You mean the interwebs can be used for more than cat videos and pron?
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streff View Post
I have an older Nilsson Maxwell v1000 that has been working well for last 3 years. Either myself or local tech perform the yearly maintenance on it.

Have anchored 3 times this year with no issues. Today, we came to pull up anchor.. 120feet of chain.. no issues until the last 10 feet of chain with anchor at the end. I can hear the windlass motor turning but the chain wheel was not turning. I let it cool for a bit.. tried again.. same result. Depth was around 7-9 feet (low tide).. I moved the boat very slowly for 50 feet to make sure anchor was pulled for sure, just in case. Still nothing. Luckily we were not far from a mooring ball field. We got on a mooring ball.

If I pull up the chain by hand, the chain wheel turns as normal and sends chain into the locker. If there is any tension on the chain, the wheel does not turn but I can hear the motor working. Another change, usually once the chain is pulled, it does not back out. Now, the chain pays out if there is any weight on it.

I got the anchor up and cleated. I opened the windlass from topside. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I checked all fuses, etc. i know the unit has overload protection. The manual does not mention if a reset is needed if overprotection is triggered.

Any ideas or guidance would be much appreciated. A new windlass maybe in order but we are at the beginning of 4 weeks of cruising and getting a new windlass in a timely manner is unlikely.

Thank you in advance

Streff
I have the same windlass on my boat and had the same problem. Assuming you flipped out the levers and checked to make sure the clutch was tight? If the clutch is tight but "something*
" seems to be slipping, it is most likely the motor drive pin has sheared. If you want to pm me I can share some annotated mechanical diagrams I made of it and can point it out to you. It’s a bit of a pain to get at, but it’s very fixable using parts you can get at McMaster or a very well equipped hardware store.

Ken
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Old 07-01-2022, 09:34 PM   #13
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Have you looked in the anchor locker? My Maxwell suddenly wouldnít pull up the chain. Motor is held on with two bolts. One was MIA, the other backed out. Motor would audibly run but Gypsy didnít turn.
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Old 07-08-2022, 06:29 PM   #14
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I had a similar problem just two days ago. The worm gear suddenly stripped and 350 ft of chain shot overboard before I stopped it. Took five hours to retrieve chain and anchor in 60ft deep water. My windlass is by Ideal and there was no warning that the gear would strip. Now the problem is to get the new gear to Alaska asap.

Richard
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Old 07-08-2022, 09:17 PM   #15
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Tighten the clutch.
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Old 07-09-2022, 12:29 PM   #16
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Thank you all for responding. Special thanks to Kchace for emailing me detailed diagrams and his experience. I was able to take down the gearbox and motor. The entire unit had to be taken off. No easy working in the anchor locker but doable. Opened the gearbox and found a sheared pin (in 3 pieces) that interface between shaft and horizontal gear. The pin between the motor and worm seemed fine. Those are the 2 sacrificial pins to protect the motor and gearbox.

The sheared pin is actually a smaller diameter pin inside a larger diameter pin to provide strength. I am ordering those pins and back ups from the manufacturer. In the meantime, I put a 1/4” diameter pin temporarily. This pin needed shaping with a dremmel to get it to work. I put everything back together last night.. will try the windlass today. �� Once I get the OEM parts, I will take off only the bottom half of the gearbox enclosure and install.

Thank you all again

Streff
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Old 07-09-2022, 01:39 PM   #17
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I would recommend that you figure out how to operate the clutch. Generally the clutch is simply a cone that the wildcat tightens onto. Even if it doesnít slip now and isnít causing the current problem. You need to know how to use it. From what you have said, it sounds like you always power out the windlass when putting out the anchor. Why not use the clutch and lower the anchor without wearing out the mechanicals of the windlass and your battery bank. Good control, good speed that is adjustable as you go.
Yes, I know the alternator is working when you anchor but I doubt it puts out as much at idle as the windlass is drawing.
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Old 07-10-2022, 06:52 AM   #18
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I would recommend that you figure out how to operate the clutch. Generally the clutch is simply a cone that the wildcat tightens onto. Even if it doesnít slip now and isnít causing the current problem. You need to know how to use it. From what you have said, it sounds like you always power out the windlass when putting out the anchor. Why not use the clutch and lower the anchor without wearing out the mechanicals of the windlass and your battery bank. Good control, good speed that is adjustable as you go.
Yes, I know the alternator is working when you anchor but I doubt it puts out as much at idle as the windlass is drawing.
FWIW, I always powered out my chain when anchoring; it's a button push at the bow rather than diddling with a clutch tension/resistance. If my clutch only slips under extreme load, it's not likely to wear out.

Note that mine's a Lewmar vertical and is metal-metal cone contact; YMMV and be something else and not applicable to my reasoning. And, FWIW, there's next to no load on lowering chain, so wearing out my battery bank (in my case, a separate winch battery in the VEE) is of little note...

JMHO, of course, from a ragbagger
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