Don’t Lose the Winch Parts!

Contemplating servicing your winches this spring? Downloaded that parts diagram and horrified at how many small pieces there are . . . that you don’t want to lose?

Here’s a great tip from Tami┬áKlassen. For winches on deck, cut a hole the size of the winch base in a box and then put the box around the winch before┬ádissembling it. Any parts that slip out of your hands will still be in the box and you’ll have a convenient place to set things down without worrying about them going overboard.

Servicing Boat Winches: Taking apart a winch can be downright scary -- what if you lose one of the pieces? Keep things together with this DIY tip.

For winches on the mast, tape a good sized box under the winch with the open side up.

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  • Sarah Finlayson
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    Stuart Finlayson brilliant!

  • Ted Reshetiloff
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    Other tip is never disassemble more than one at time and use grease extremely sparingly. Most folks I see over grease the winch thinking it’s the way to go. Only leads to slow turning and a penchant to attract dirt.

  • SV Matilda
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    Love this idea. I really hate it when parts roll off the boat into the deep.

  • Mark Sierakowski
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    Great idea, thanks.

  • Sally Larson
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply


  • tami
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    In re: grease:

    PAWLS should be greased with a very LIGHT oil: sewing machine oil, 3-In-1, we use Ardent Reel Butter (fishing reel oil)

    The rest of the bits use a heavier grease. Super Lube, so far, is our favorite. We used to use Phil Wood “Phil” bicycle grease, which is also good. Our preference is for waterproof synthetic greases

  • Ernie
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    If I recall correctly, this is a technique Arthur Knapp said he invented during the Ranger America’s Cup campaign. I remembered it a few years ago servicing my four Lewmars, but I thought they were so simple it wasn’t worth the bother. I almost lost a raceway overboard with that thinking. Pawl springs, however, seem able to pass through any solid object and be lost in the blink of an eye, only to reappear someplace impossible.

    Another feature of the box is that it helps to contain the grease, which seems to carry handprint impressions everywhere.

    As has been mentioned, only do one winch at a time, because you cannot assume that even seemingly identical winches have interchangeable parts. It’s very tiresome, especially when you are taking parts home to soak.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

      Years ago, I had a book of corrollaries to Murphy’s Law. One that I particularly remember was “interchangeable parts won’t” — very, very true for boats.

  • Clay Pot
    Posted at 07 April 2015 Reply

    Never grease the paws!

  • Deborah Mackenzie
    Posted at 08 April 2015 Reply

    my biggest worry was forgetting how to put it all back together! so I downloaded a you tube video with the detailed service and re assembly – great help!

  • Bill56
    Posted at 08 April 2015 Reply

    sometimes if there is a helper when taking anything apart. get things ready to take a part then video it. Also you can put numbers in the box as the parts come out and place the parts as they come off in numerical order then reverse the order to put back together.

  • The Sea and Sailors
    Posted at 08 April 2015 Reply

    Yes, good idea!

  • Anne Marley
    Posted at 09 April 2015 Reply

    We always watch a you tube video first then take photos of every step as we dismantle the winch so that we know how to fit all the pieces back together again when re-assembling.

  • Barbara Lowell
    Posted at 09 April 2015 Reply

    thanx … actually a great idea to adapt for ANY disassembly … so easy to lose little screws … i recently took apart my laptop to clean the fan and I used an egg carton for the screws … that worked gr8 … thanx to youtube for that one … as always you do such a wonderful job to help make life easier, even for me a landlubber in a tiny house that I try to keep shipshape!

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