Roller Furling Cleaning
I have seen a few letters on the Catalina mail list talking about not using WD40 on the bearings in the roller furler drum because it attracts dirt. I have a Hood Seafurl 3250 one line set up that is very hard to use. So I washed mine out with water and rotated it a zillion times (before installing sail). It did "NOT" make a big difference! So I got out a bunch of rags, spread them under the drum and started spraying in the WD40 to soak it through an through. You would be amazed at the BLACK CRUD that started dripping out! Well, to make a long story short, I decided to use the full can to do this cleaning and then do the water wash all over again. I never had a drum rotate so easily.
The MAINTENANCE Manual (see more on this below Pete's letter) states that the bearings are hardened 304 stainless steel balls on stainless races. During factory assembly, (1986) the bearings are "run in" with Teflon grease for lubrication. This grease is very tenacious, such that under normal usage it will be effective, indefinately, provided the bearings are flushed out with water every 5 or 6 weeks. Ya Right! Mine was washed away years ago!
Al Watson Kindred Spirit #55
Capt Al, My roller furling unit is a continuous line design -- I think a model 915. When I purchased my boat two years ago, the drum would rotate only with a lot of help -- and that was with no sail! I called Hood to order a rebuild kit. They suggested that I first remove the drum, immerse it in warm detergent water and thoroughly flushing it out. He talked about salt buildup and associated problems it caused. I used a large tub and used the warmest water I could stand, and sufficient detergent. My experience was the same as yours. I let the drum sit for about fifteen minutes first. Then, as I started to work the drum and flush it at the same time, a LARGE amount of crud came out. It was really unbelievable. After that treatment, the drum rotated easily. Hood also suggested that I rinse the drum with fresh water frequently. I continued to do that at every washdown and haven't had a problem with the drum since.
Maintenance Instructions as written in the Hood Owner's Manual (March 1985)
Simply pour the water into the bearings and rotate them in both directions every 5 or 6 weeks. Don't use a pressure water hose. This may wash the Teflon lubricant out. If, after especially hard usage, or after a couple of years - this process may no longer be sufficient to remove the friction inducing particles. At this time spray WD 40 (or another similar lubricant) into the race while rotating them, until friction is acceptable. At NO TIME attempt to disassemble these swivel (bearing) units. If stickiness or friction is excessive, such that they are not functioning acceptably, remove the entire offending assembly from the boat, and return it to a Hood Yacht Systems Dealer or Distributor for service or replacement. It has been said that WD 40 or other lubricant will attract dirt, so that part has been left out of the new Hood Owner's Manuals. I choose to flush the bearings once a year with excess WD 40 for cleaning and wash regularly when we wash down the boat.