Rebuilding Winches

Decided to rebuild my 6 old Lewmar two-speed self tailing winches on Stops. The starboard winch on the coachroof used to pull up the main halyard was also making some grinding noises.. not good..

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Having done this a few times now, here are some tips to make this easier:

  • Dismantle one winch a time so that if you forget which part goes where you can refer to another. 
  • Cut a hole in a cardboard box the size of your winch and use this when disassembling or assembling the winch on deck. This catches any parts that might fly out and end up in the drink.
  • Soak the winch parts in paint thinner to remove the grease. Use a toothbrush while soaked to remove excess grease. Don't soak for too long (ie overnight) because paint thinner can soften plastic parts.
  • Wash in water and wipe off with a lint free cloth.
  • Use manufacture recommended grease and oil for the gears and pawls. Winches are so expensive it is not worth taking the chance.
  • I would also recommend swapping heavily used winches with ones that are lightly used. For example my main halyard winch was heavily worn. The teeth of some gears had deformed. So I swapped it with the same sized winch I used for spinnaker trim. Now works beautifully.

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Author: Chet

Avid sailor.

2 thoughts on “Rebuilding Winches”

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