Now the Primary Winches Go Click, Click, Click

Now the Primary Winches Go Click, Click, Click

April 20th, 2010  |  by Marilyn  |  Published in Maintenance and Repairs  |  1 Comment

Winches on boats need servicing occasionally – yearly according to the manufacturers. They’ve got a lot of bearings in them, and gears if they are two-speed winches, all of which do much better with some nice clean waterproof marine grease. When you don’t service them for a while, the grease becomes like sticky tar. Then the winches are too hard to turn, and the pawls inside go thunk, thunk, thunk.

It’s been too long since Rainshadow’s winches were serviced, so they were really nasty to turn. The primary winches are self-tailing 2-speed Barient 23s, and Barient is long ago out of business. Fortunately, the previous owner was good about keeping documentation, so we have the complete instructions for servicing these nice winches.

[If you are a Barient winch owner and have questions about how we serviced our winches, add a comment to this post including your email address. I promise not to post the comment with your email included.]

We also found a spare parts kit onboard – but it turns out we didn’t even need to replace any parts. They just needed a lot of elbow grease to clean. We used the dirty diesel we pulled from our tank about a month ago (see earlier post) as a solvent for the grease gunk on the winch parts. It took about 5 hours to service each winch, but now they sound very nice.

[Van has a fun little toy to record high quality sound, and he was playing with it while servicing the winches. Click here to listen to three spins of the dirty winch, and three spins of the clean winch.]

The main sheet winch, and all winches on the masts, are 1-speed Lewmars (predating the 1984 manuals that are available on the Lewmar website). So far, we’ve cleaned the main sheet winch. Without the benefit of instructions for the Lewmars, we were only able to figure out how to remove the top retaining ring and drum. The roller bearing assemblies are held down by a large fiber washer that fits in a groove. If we try to pry that out, it’s sure to break. So we just left the roller bearings on the main shaft, and did our best with rubbing alcohol to clean off the gunk. Not as good as complete disassembly, but certainly much better than before!


  1. Javier Marinez says:

    September 12th, 2013at 1:48 am(#)

    Hi, I have two winch Barlow 2 speed self-tailing and I want to know how to clean it well.



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