Primary headsail sheet winches

Danny and Yvonne SIMMS

Hi All,

a little while ago I asked if anyone had experience of removing the electric motor from under the sheet winches. I think is was Eric that responded while I think Bill R said he had not heard of this being done. {I could be corrected on this} So there possibly being a task few have undertaken I offer the following.

The oil seal between the oil filled gearbox and the electric 24v motor began leaking. The first I knew of it was the electric winch didn't operate. Happily I found removal of the gearbox and electric motor one of the simplest operations I have undertaken. Once I had cleared the large port cockpit locker for access and gathered my tools it took about 15 minutes.

There are 4 quite easily accessed studs holding the gearbox to the base of the winch. I was fortunate the he who never sleeps (rust) had not found those studs, nor thanks to liberal application of grease by Amel had it found the shaft between the winch and the gearbox so once the studs were undone a little wiggle and down it came.

The motor and gearbox have a combined weight of about 15 kg (33lbs) so care had to be taken to avoid dropping it onto my face or other vulnerable parts further south.

Upon removing the motor from the gearbox replacement of the oil seal was simple. Remove the end cap from the gearbox with the opening upwards to avoid oil loss. Press out the old seal and press in the new. Take care not to damage the gasket between the end cap and the gearbox.

Unfortunately the motor was irreparable. The oil appeared to have caused arcing of the commutator. So I was faced with replacing a motor Amel had bought from Lewmar in 2000, a mere 21 years ago. I went to a winch supplier who cheerfully told me I would have to buy lock stock and barrel, a winch, gearbox and motor.

Fortunately I have a marine electrician in Opua New Zealand {Opua Marine Electrics) who knows how to source things. Overnight I had the identical motor in my hands in Opua, obtained from a Lewmar stockist. I salute Lewmar for maintaining the same motor, Amel for choosing Lewmar and Amel for that liberal application of grease.

Given how easy the gearbox and motor is to remove and refit can I suggest any Amel owner with a boat 20 years or older should consider a preventative maintenance replacement of the oil seal. Unfortunately because the motor is well sealed there is no way to know the seal is leaking until damage is done.

Choice: a $10 seal or a NZ$750 new motor.


SM 299 

Ocean Pearl

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