Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015-12 Windlass Repair

July 9, 2015: Windlass Repair

Can't set the anchor without a functioning windlass, or four guys that like a 20 minute upper body workout each time the anchor needs hauling.  So once back at the dock in Sitka, we broke down our Maxwell HWC 2500 windlass.  Both anchor chains were removed from their chain wheels and secured to the boat.  Then both wheels and their associated washers, nuts, keys, brake shoes, etc were removed from the winch shaft.  The housing was unbolted from the deck and turned upside down to reveal the problem:  the windlass gear box lay in two halves!  It was clear that the four bolts that fastened both haves together had vibrated loose and sheared apart.

The options were to order a new windlass for $4000 and have it shipped via US east coast for another $600, or fix it.  The speediest would be an in the field repair, and we just needed four bolts.  As you would guess, these four bolts were special.  Metric thread, barrel head,  and 1 3/8 inch length with Allen wrench drive.  The bolt heads seat flush into machined recesses on one side of the gearbox half, and thread into the opposite half.  Vince and Alex spent several hours on foot visiting Sitka's True-Value Hardware, Murray-Pacific Marine, Carquest, and finally locating the exact part from Napa Auto, about 2 miles outside of town.  Amazing!

Back at the boat we eventually were able to match the worm gear to the sprocket gear and secure the two gearbox halves, seating the boats with red Locktite!  We cleaned and reassembled the windlass, lubricated the gears with SAE 90W, attached the anchor chains and tested.  All is well and the fishing can continue.

The many parts of the Maxwell HWC 2500 windless.
Four barrel head bolts thread into opposite half
keeping gearbox together. Photo is from similar Maxwell model.

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