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Badger

Boat stuck on lift

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Badger

I'm putting this in the main forum to get more views, as I need to fix this later today.  

My boat is stuck on the lift.  My wife was lowering the boat yesterday afternoon and it appears that the input shaft in the winch housing has slipped.  This caused the sprocket and chain to be loose and out of alignment.  It makes a terrible noise if I try to move it and I’m afraid that I’m going to either break the chain or teeth off of the sprocket.  So the boat is still at least a foot away from floating at this point.  I think that I somehow need take the pressure off of the cable in order to safely loosen, move, and re-tighten this shaft.  Does anyone have any great ideas on how to do this?  I’m thinking about some blocking each corner with a custom cut piece of wood wedged in at an angle and then lower the lift a bit more.

 

The second question is why this happened now?  I think I changed that bushing about 3-4 years ago.  I’m also amazed that these tiny bolts hold this shaft in place with a friction joint.  I know the total force isn’t the full weight of the boat here, but it still must be pretty high.

 

lift%20winch_zpsqrttji7j.jpg

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oldjeep

I guess I would just take a chisel and hammer and pound it back into place so that you can get the boat off the lift

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Sixball

If you have some good ratchet straps you could take the weight off the winch and remove the chain. Then slowly ease the boat down with the ratchet straps.  The trick is to wrap the tag end of the straps around the lift so you could ease them out. one or two wraps and you can feed the straps out slowly.

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bamaboy

Six ball beat me to it.  Heavy heavy duty straps should hold.  

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wdr

Once you get it off the lift, I would align the gears drive/driven with a straight edge to ensure the chain will be straight when replaced and then I would drill one hole each through both ends of the plate and the lift and through bolts them so the assembly will maintain alignment to avoid the same issue in the future.

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Michigan boarder

If the boat is that close to the water, can you slide a tube under the lift cradle or boat and inflate it, taking pressure off of the whole thing?  Then realign (I agree with the thru bolts too).

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Ronnie

Our dock guys use a come-a-long on each corner take the weight off the cables. They run from the cradle to the overhead lift structure.

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minnmarker

You need a couple of these, assuming you have a cantilever lift:

https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-5547-4-Ton-Power-Puller/dp/B000NPPBHO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468420046&sr=8-1&keywords=come+along+winch+heavy+duty

I've used it for exactly the issue you're having.  You have to be able to let it down slowly and most ratchet straps do not have that feature.

If you have a vertical (4 cable) lift then just call the lift dealer or put a very big float (like a zodiac raft) under the boat.

Edited by minnmarker

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Badger

Thanks for all the ideas.  Unfortunately I don't have any of the suggested tools, readily at my disposal.  No heavy duty straps, giant tubes nor come-alongs.  I agree they would all work, I just don't have them.  It may be time to call someone in.  I do like the idea of a couple of through-bolts after I get it back in place.

I did call the manufacturer of the lift and, of course, they don't recommend any of those options, for fear of safety.  They suggest continuing to lower it and don't think the chain or sprocket will break.

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Eagle River Mike

What brand of lift and is it a vertical or cantilever lift?

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Woodski

@Badger:  Could you cut (4) 2x4 or better 4 x 4 in length's just slightly longer than distance from bottom frame to cradle and wedge them on each corner (slightly shorter would also work but then you would have to strap them so they don't float away, slightly longer so you can lightly tap them vertical against corner posts) to support the boat.  Then let a bit more cable out followed by correcting lift mechanism as noted by others.  Basically making a 'jack stand' out of 2x4 or 4x4's.

Good luck & hope you solved it prior to this note.

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Badger
1 hour ago, Eagle River Mike said:

What brand of lift and is it a vertical or cantilever lift?

Hewitt vertical lift. 

 

@Woodski yes, that was somewhat my original though above in the first post. Cut 4 boards slightly longer and a tiny wedge shape at the end to hammer into place at each corner. 

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95echelon

Do you have a canopy? If it's deep off the back of the lift I would consider grabbing some long dock poles and wedging the front of the lift up and sliding her off. (Tipping from the front of the lift)

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braindamage

I'm for the straps idea. You can buy from a lot  of local places. I don't see how you balance the boat with a bunch of blocks of wood. Plus unless the lake bottom is really hard they will sink and/or move.

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asnowman

We keep a few of what we call dock winches around. Basically a trailer winch mounted to a long dock leg pole. If you have those, you can hook to the boat eyes any take the pressure off the lift. Trip to the dock store and trailer shop you should be good. We have a sort of soft bottom so we put feet on the posts as well.

Alternately, any chance the lift is on adjustable legs that could be shortened? Maybe use long 4x4s to pry on the frame and take tension off the legs and make them shorter?

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Michigan boarder

Do you know anybody with an air mattress?  Those will work instead of tubes.

How high off of the bottom of the lake are the cross members of the lift?  If they are pretty high (because the feet are extended), you can water jet with a garden hose around the feet.  That will sink them, lowering the whole set up.  A simple garden hose with a with a fitting that goes into a 3/8" length of pipe will do the trick - I've used that set up for years on a variety of different projects, including leveling lifts and removing old wooden pier pylons.

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Badger

@oldjeep winner, winner, chicken dinner. 

I decided to try the simplest idea first. I was able to pound it back in place and lower the lift. I replaced the washers and tightened everything back up thinking I was good to go. As soon as I put weight back on it, it slid out of place again. I realized that the bushing on the opposite side had slid out of place and the shaft was resting on the aluminum housing, causing a mis-alignment. I then realized that there are 1" C-clips on each side that hold the bushing in place. That side was missing, allowing  the bushing to walk. 

I'm on the hunt for a new c-clip and can hopefully get it back together this weekend. 

 

Thanks all, for the suggestions. 

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oldjeep
24 minutes ago, Badger said:

@oldjeep winner, winner, chicken dinner. 

I decided to try the simplest idea first. I was able to pound it back in place and lower the lift. I replaced the washers and tightened everything back up thinking I was good to go. As soon as I put weight back on it, it slid out of place again. I realized that the bushing on the opposite side had slid out of place and the shaft was resting on the aluminum housing, causing a mis-alignment. I then realized that there are 1" C-clips on each side that hold the bushing in place. That side was missing, allowing  the bushing to walk. 

I'm on the hunt for a new c-clip and can hopefully get it back together this weekend. 

 

Thanks all, for the suggestions. 

If you can't fix it with a hammer then you have an electrical problem ;)

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braindamage
33 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

If you can't fix it with a hammer then you have an electrical problem ;)

Even when it's an electrical problem sometimes the best fix is a hammer?

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