While a seizure of the upper halyard swivel bearing could be fixed with WD40 and subsequent lithium greasing, there still is a bit of remaining roughness, both felt and heard. The new bearing I got feels absolutely smooth and makes no noticeable sound at all under rotation.
Problem is, how do you slip the new bearing onto the forestay? I'd prefer to do the repair while temporarily undoing the upper Norseman type fitting after clamping the SS forestay guy to a temporary guy or halyard. Then, I likely need to remove the Norseman or swaged forestay terminal fitting to remove the plastic Profurl "Darth Vader" type hat that is supposed to prevent halyard-wrap while furling. After that is off the halyard swivel fitted below the aluminum halyard support housing should come sliding off. That's the theory at least, very simple, yes?
The caveat is, will the forestay like to be supported with only a few U cable clamps or will there be too much weight from all the grooved aluminum furler sections that are strung over that stay? The boat is '86 vintage with a 64' mast and the stay/sections have not been removed since, so there likely is some corrosion or seized hardware. Doing things from the bottom end up may possibly be more logical but this doctor prefers to do a tonsilectomy orally rather than analy. The latter operation would require all the joined furler sections to be slid off and then back up again, plus removal of the furling line drum etc. etc. While the mast top is 64 feet up on my Roberts, if I can do it from there I only need to remove a few small parts to get at the culprit bearing assembly.
By heating the aluminum ( boiling water or flame torch) and chilling the steel bearing in a freezer I found there is sufficient differential expansion/contraction to make slipping the new bearings on and extracting the old with a few good mallet smacks quite doable. You'd be on-shore in a workshop for that and the only in-the-air gymnastics would be clamping on a temporary stay below the halyard fitting and undoing the terminal fitting on the stay. Idea: buy a new spare terminal and drop it overboard. Then, you carefully replace the old one and you are sure it will fit.
Has anyone tried this? Is it sufficiently 'doable' to be done at anchor? If so, I'd likely just skip the whole exercise and merely bring the new bearing along as a spare for fail-safe insurance. The little bit of noise and roughness is likely only a minor issue and not mission critical at all. IMHO there is no big point load on the bearing at all as most of the load is distributed all along the length of the stay. Bearing rotation only occurs during furling or setting the sail, so no great frictional heat will develop either. Seizure failure was due to water ingress and rust, as no drain holes were drilled into the fitting. Water just HAD to collect in the ring dam and then drain down. What a concept, but with "construi par les grennui".. or constructed by frogs... vous like ze water, qui?? Good for zelling the spare parrtz.
Any ideas and comments? Beansaire, Dunnezatt and Howes' professional opinions will be greatly appreciated.
Ivo ( politically incorrect disclaimers on file and we are an equal opportunity insulter )