Anchor Windlass Overhaul Part 2

by Tim on July 20, 2008

In case you don’t remember, I took my Simpson-Lawrence (Lewmar) Sprint 400 anchor windlass apart last week, in hopes of improving its sluggish performance.

First, here’s a picture of me reassembling it:

Oh, sorry…wrong photo. See, I felt a little like Scotty in the Jefferies Tube every time I slid up into the forepeak on my back. Here I am:IMG_8655

So I put it all back together, and…it didn’t work any better. Actually, I think it was worse. But now I’m not sure there was really anything wrong with the electric motor (or the current flow through it) to begin with.

See, part of the compound gear assembly is broken, and I didn’t realize it until now. That just MIGHT have something to do with the sluggish, gutless performance I’m seeing. Maybe the motor’s working fine, but it’s encountering SEVERE resistance because of one or more failures within the gear case. Hmmmm…

So here’s the lower part of the gear case, showing one end of the part I know is broken. The gear in the upper right is reverse-threaded onto a shaft. In the picture on the right I’ve removed the gear. The threaded shaft is broken. It’s difficult to tell with grease all over the place, I realize.


If we look at the upper portion, we can see the rest of the broken shaft.


But I’ve got a suspicion that something ELSE is broken, too. Broken or seized. Something I can’t yet identify. Because with the windlass disassembled like this, you would think that the mainshaft gear (the large one in the picture above) and the mainshaft (the part the gypsy attaches to) would turn freely by hand.

But it does not turn freely. This thing can NOT be turned by hand, and it barely even wiggles. It can be moved by the power of the motor…but only just, and the noise it makes does not inspire confidence. So something’s definitely wonky in there.

I’m hoping to receive an expert diagnosis this week. I contacted Lewmar by phone, and I’ve got the name of a fellow there who’s supposed to be a wizard with these old Sprint series windlasses.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Richard H Kingsmill July 20, 2011 at 8:17 am

Hi There,
If you have still not got to the bottom of your problem. You will find that the main bearing is forsen up under the capstan. remove the circlip from the gear pull off watch the 3 keys, then remove the other circlip on base plate, holding the bearing in place. the remove seal & the sharft & bearing watch the shaft as it is brass & you can mess it up big time banning it use a puller. Hope this helps.


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