I have posted the following on the Sailnet forum which is a very useful resource for sailors. I am putting it here hoping that some readers can assist.

Yesterday I took a 20 year old Lewmar 40 two speed winch apart to service it. I have owned the boat for just over a year and thought it would be good to service it. About 3 weeks ago the winch spun freely when it was put under load and I was worried that something was wrong.

I was right. After following the directions in Nigel Calder’s book it was easy to take the winch apart completely. Thats where my worries started.

One of the plastic cages for the bearings at the bottom of the winch is broken (called roller bearing assembly on the Lewmar site). This is a diagram of the winch on the Lewmar site.

There is pitting in the inside of the aluminum drum where the bearings touches it.

I will be going to the Lewmar agents here in Cape Town later in the week, but would be interested in getting suggestions on what to do. The Lewmar website does list the cage as a part that can be ordered.

Should I sand or turn the drum so that the pitted area is smooth? If I did this would it remove some of the anodising – would this lead to corrosion? Would this not mean that the bearings do not fit properly on the drum? If I don’t smooth the pitted area will the bearing cage break again?

Help from anybody with ideas on this would be appreciated.

For progress and photos on my winch repairs see also this blog entry:
Two mid-Winter Days Sailing and Some More Maintanence