Lubing the Rule Winches

Instead of tearing the winch apart every year to grease the gearbox, I installed grease fittings. I am not sure pressurized grease will not invade the motor area, so I limit the amount of grease I am pumping in. I run the winch while adding grease so it hits all the planetary gears.

The installation was as follows:

  1. Get grease fittings with a 1/4 inch x 28 fine thread.
  2. Get the tap for this size and the number 3 drill. If you can't find numbered drills, I used a ??? bit size and it worked well.
  3. Drill through the aluminum with the number 3 drill. Be sure you are drilling 90 degrees to the winch in all directions and are directly over the center of the shaft. You will hit hard metal about 1/4 inch in. Do not drill all the way through with the large bit. Continue to blow out the aluminum fragments.
  4. Switch bits to a 1/16 or smaller bit and drill through the hard metal that is under the aluminum. The gears are on the other side, so be carefull as you get to punching through. Blow out as much of the steel fragments you can before you punch through. I rotated the drum a little as I passed through to make sure I was through and not drilling into one of the gears. You can feel the gear hit the drill bit after you are through.
  5. Tap the aluminum down to the hard metal and stop.
  6. Screw in the fitting and pump in grease as you run the winch. Do not overfill as the grease might be forced up toward the motor rather than escaping some other way harmlessly.