Saturday, 27 February 2016

Coaster winch servicing

Serviced winch reassembled.
 Most, though by no means all Drascombe Coasters include a sailing winch mounted on the bridge deck, so positioned to ease the strain when tensioning jib sheets.  In reality, it is rarely used in its complete form (with a winch handle); a quick tug on the sheet followed by a couple of clockwise turns around the winch with the jib sheet, then cleated off is all that is invariably required. 

Daisy II's winch was well overdue a good service since the thing was becoming more difficult to turn and had never been touched by me in nine seasons of ownership.  Consequently, I had little idea what to expect when taking it apart.  
Yours truly in winch servicing mode...
As it happens, the winch is mounted on a base plate which is attached to the bridge deck by three bolts which can be found just aft and on the starboard side of the centreplate housing.  Fortunately, these can be left well alone since it's always fiddly working in this area. To detach the winch, all that's necessary is to undo the central bolt from above and then lift off the winch drum from the base plate.

Winch drum removed and turned upside down.  The two 'pawls' and their associated springs can be seen.  The one on the upper right looked to have been disconnected although I subsequently found that this could have happened as it the drum was removed.  
This shows the main spindle (centre) removed.  In this picture, the drum (l.h.side of picture) is now turned the right way up revealing two further upper pawls. These were particularly caked in and the associated springs had no effect at all. Inside the l.h.drum, a white plastic bearing can be seen which needed removing and cleaning.  On the upper rh side of the picture, the base can be seen, inside which is a second, smaller white plastic bearing, along with two washers one flat, the other barrel-shaped.
In this picture, drum, once again inverted is on the l.h.side foreground.  A large diameter metal washer is removed from this and can be seen at the top of the picture.  Once this is removed, the central white plastic bearing can be removed and cleaned.  This picture also shows the smaller white bearing removed from the base plate - this one, strangely, had a diagonal cut from top to bottom.  The two washers mentioned in the previous picture can also be seen.
I rather 'followed my nose' when cleaning it all.  The four pawls needed removing - care is required here, since each includes a tiny spring which could easily escape!  I used 3-in-one and an old cotton tee-shirt to clean off the dirt and grime, and then regreased everything and reassembled it all.  Reassembly took three or four goes to get right and, each time I pulled off the winch barrel to have another go, one or both of the lower pawls disconnected.  So it was all a little fiddly.  I have no idea if I used the right cleaning stuff and subsequently find, on the web, that Harken sell proprietary cleaning fluids for pawls, winches, and the like.  I'll see how mine goes and have another go if necessary.

A slightly odd thing was that there was some inconsistency in the way it had previously been assembled since, when I first observed the lower pawls, one of the springs was housed the opposite way round to the other.  The two ends of each spring are not shaped symmetrically, one end including an angled bend and the other simply looking tangential.  Either way looked as though it could technically work, although each would worn slightly different.   So, when reassembling, I decided to go with way three of the pawls were initially assembled, rather than the inconsistent one, but have no real idea which is correct.  

The reassembled winch is a bit of a revelation since the grey central drum now turns independently of the black one - which it's obviously supposed to do when winching properly, but the top two pawls were so caked in dirt and grim, the whole was stuck fast!  Now, everything in general turns so much more easily and I'm looking forward to pulling in those jib sheets with comparative ease!  Roll on the sailing season!