Overhaul Your Winches

A neglected winch is at best inefficient and at worst dangerous. Old grease gathers salt and dirt and creates friction or can even cause the winch to seize. To prevent this, clean and lubricate them every season or two.

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1. You’ll need a screwdriver and Allen wrenches to overhaul a winch. For cleaning, you’ll want lots of paper towels or rags and a toothbrush. Diesel fuel, mineral spirits, or WD-40 all work to remove the old grease.

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7, 8. Sparingly apply the grease to gears and shafts, covering each part as you begin to reassemble your winch.

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7, 8. Sparingly apply the grease to gears and shafts, covering each part as you begin to reassemble your winch.

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9. Thoroughly coat the needle bearings, keeping in mind that using too much grease will increase friction and quickly attract salt and dirt.

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10. To reassemble, replace gears on the base and shaft in the reverse order from which you removed them. Slide the bearings and any spacers (the white ring between the bearings) over the center support shaft, then replace the drum. Lastly, replace the self-tailing mechanism, making sure it’s positioned so that line spools off in the correct direction.