How do I service the winches on my boat?

In this video blog I go through how to complete a full winch service on board your boat. I focus on the servicing of the Harken 40 2-Speed Secondary winch and the slightly larger Harken 44 2-Speed Primary winches we have on board our Jeanneau Sunfast 37 Yachts. Both of these are self-tailing winches.

Allow around 1 hour per winch to complete a full service with them remaining on the coach roof. Should you want to remove them to service them elsewhere allow an additional 30 minutes for this task, you will likely require the assistance of someone else to assist with the removal from the coach roof. To start with I explain the tools you will need to undertake this task:

  • The Harken Service Manual Sheet
  • Heavy Duty De-greaser
  • Winch Grease
  • Large flat bladed screwdriver
  • 7mm Alan Key
  • Winch Handle
  • Small brushes for cleaning

To start remove the main grub screw located in the top centre of the winch (beneath where the winch handle locates). This should release with ease, however should it not you can insert the screwdriver through a winch handle to gain more purchase. Once this is released the outer winch casing can be lifted clear revealing the internal components.

As you can see from the video it is now a case of removing all the components, cleaning and de-greasing them and then reassembling with a good amount of winch grease.

Top Tips:

  • Be careful not to lose any parts
  • Don’t over grease the components, enough to protect and lubricate them but not too much as it will attract more dirt to build up
  • For the small cost (around 50p each) it is worth replacing the small springs in the cams as these wear over time
  • Ensure you carry out a service at least once a year to prolong the life of your winches

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