Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Main Sail Furling Motor Issue

Mark McGovern

Just a friendly reminder to my fellow Amel owners to do a regular check on the shaft seal that sits over the main furler cylinder.  It's the one circled in RED in the picture below:

I would advise you have look at it ASAP and put it on your annual maintenance list to at least inspect it's condition and if it's at all questionable, replace it.  It costs less than $5 to buy a new one but could end up costing you hundreds of $ or more if it fails and you destroy the gears.  Don't be like me and wait until your main furler seizes before you check it!

Here is a picture of my seal.  It actually has a split in it so I use the term "seal" loosely:

I can confirm that it is a VA-45 or VA-045 V-ring Seal as you can faintly see "VA 45" molded into the rubber in the upper left side of the picture. 

The failed seal has allowed saltwater, rainwater and dirt to enter the furler cylinder for some time now and it eventually destroyed the tapered roller bearing that sits at the top of the shaft.  Here is what my bearing looked like when I got it off the shaft AFTER I cleaned it up:

Needless to say the bearing is completely destroyed.  Obviously this did not happen overnight but has been going on for a long time.  I've owned my boat for just over two years now and surprisingly the main furler has worked almost all of the time.  It did pop a breaker now and again but I attributed that to the motor brushes being old and worn and all the carbon dust that was inside the motor when I took it apart this spring to clean and change the brushes.  I'm sure that the worn brushes and carbon dust did not help things, but the main culprit was clearly the corroded roller bearing caused by the failed V-ring Seal.  

I would highly recommend that you have look at your furler seal now and inspect it on regular basis.  If you find it cracked, damaged or missing I suggest that you take the furler assembly down and open it up, clean the inside and inspect the bearing as well as the other ball bearing, three lip seals, and two o-rings that are inside.  It does not take that long nor require any special tools to do this tear down and inspection.  If you do need to change bearings, a bearing puller certainly makes the job easier.

Thanks to Duane (Wanderer) and Pat (Shenanigans) and others on this forum for some excellent pictures, part numbers and sources for replacement parts.  Some if the information is spread around a bit here so once I am sure that I have all of the correct information regarding all the replacement parts that I needed to do the rebuild I will make another post here to try to get it all in one place.

Mark McGovern
SM #440 Cara
Deale, MD USA

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