Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby Ereiss » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:48 pm

Well, last fall the traveler started to bleed ball bearings. I contacted Harken to find that there is a repair/reloader. Sounded easy. The problem has been getting the end controls off. I got the sheaves off (lost all the bearings in them but they were all broken up and looking like rice anyway) but can't get the end base on which the sheaves rest. They one big Philips screw in each. On the port side the screw turns but doesn't come out. On the starboard side I've tried everything to get it to turn and only ended up seriously damaging the Philips head. (see pictures)

I'm at the point I'm left with (this is where I'm checking on my sanity) drilling out the non-turning one and using a screw extractor. I've had it bathing in Kroll oil to try and loosen it but to no affect.

Suggestions? Other ideas? Or I can just call the yard and ask them to do it.

Thanks
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Ed Reiss
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby GeoffSchultz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:06 pm

I haven't worked on mine in many years, but don't you have to take off the end-caps and then it slides off the track?

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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby Ereiss » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:12 pm

That's the issue, it won't slide off unless I remove that large Philips screw, as confirmed by the Harken guy I spoke with.
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby cberdie » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:46 pm

I'll bet there's a nut on the other side.
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby Ereiss » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:23 am

Certainly would be great to know. Could only be under the ceiling panels in the cabin. The Harken guy didn't think so but who knows. Anyone?
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby mike cunningham » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:32 pm

I just completed this exact job on my Freedom 30. As a matter of fact, the exact same frikking bolt!! Looks like the same Harken "Big Boat" Traveler although I don't see the actual traveler car in the pics. There are indeed nuts lock washers and fender washers on the underside of the cabin top. Good news, bad news story. Good news is if yours is set up same way as mine you can get at the underside nut, get the nut off the bolt , whack the bolt with a hammer a few times and withdraw the bolt from the track. With the stripped head it might be difficult to hold the bolt while you get the nut off but we are sailors and we will figure out a way to make it work. Maybe get a Dremel cutter bit and cut a slot in the bottom of the bolt so you can get a flat blade in there to hold the bolt while you loosen the nut. Ask me how I know that trick.

Now the bad news.

To get at the bolts the headliner has to come out or at least be released so you can get between it and the cabin top. On my boat ts very tight and the headliner has to be removed. If yours is anything like mine you are going to want to take a look at all of the track bolts cause some of them are probably weeping/leaking. You should reseal and re-tighten all of them while you have the headliner out. And. since its a freaking sailboat, with the headliner out, you might as well take a close look at all the other hardware under there for signs of leakage. Does your headliner need replaced?? Now's the time. Also think about any mods you might want to do to cabin top deck hardware. Now's the time for that too.

Once you have the bolt out and the track end fitting removed, be sure to have a box with a cloth in it right below the track when the traveler car is removed. The box will catch all the torlon bearings which will fall out, I now know this because I did not use a box and had fifty torlon balls flying everywhere. Then go online a buy the Harken Big Boat traveler car rebuild kit including the ball loader. Measure your track width to confirm you are big boat. It should be 1 and 1/4 inch wide. If it is narrower then you need to re-check which traveler you have and purchase rebuild kit accordingly.

The next challenge will be to find an appropriate size and length bolt for the one you stripped. If you're sporting you could try to reuse the old but if that's not possible you may need to go to Harken for this because they are really long bolts with a big Phillips head. Not going to find one at the local Home Depot.

When you do all this be sure no core winds up exposed. The traveler bridge on my boat is secured through solid laminate but yours could be different.

Let me know if any questions. This thrilling job is fresh in my mind.
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby Ereiss » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:00 pm

Mike;

Such a huge help. I was in denial, helped by a chat with Harken, that the bolt holding the end piece (yes, big boat Harken) does not go through to the cabin roof but went into a threaded hold in the traveler rail. Your explanation makes more sense given that the one on the port side simply rotated and didn't unscrew. There has to be a nut underneath.

Did you have to take the entire traveler rail off or can you get to the specific end bolt by taking one ceiling panel down? I have to send the two sets of end sheaves back to Harken to have new bearings put in. When I pulled them off all the bearings came out like pieces of broken rice.

Any other ideas, suggestions, learnings will be so greatly appreciated.
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Re: Fixing the Traveler or at least trying to.

Postby mike cunningham » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:25 pm

Ed, responded to your PM.

With respect to questions in your last post,

The Harken person was a little right. There does seem to be threading at the bottom of the actual track, the problem is the bolt extends down into the boat another three or four inches. Most of the subject bolt is not threaded. So what happened on mine is I got the cabin roof nut off, withdrew the bolt about three inches and had to back it out of the track thread by unscrewing the one inch of threading on the bolt. Hope this makes sense. The reverse process when I reinstalled.

It is interesting though. It looks like Freedom decided to through bolt this bolt when they could have made our lives a lot easier by just following the instructions from Harken. On my boat there are four large bolts holding the track to the cabin top. Maybe Freedom thought adding these additional two bolts was necessary due the load of the big main. Who knows?

No, you do not need to take the whole track off, thank goodness. All of the bolts and nuts are individually accessible. On my boat the main cabin headliner is broken into five pieces. Two really big full beam pieces and three corners one over galley, one over chart table and one starboard of the head compartment. Unfortunately the aftermost full beam piece is the one covering the traveller track bolts. It has to come down to get at all the bolts. You can cheat a little If You just need access to one or two bolts on the same side of the boat but prepare to have fun. Ha ha.

With regard to the sheaves, I had some blocks come apart 1000 mile offshore and had to scramble to mcguiver something. If I find a bad sheave nowadays, I just replace the whole block. My traveller blocks were flakey and I have ordered new from landfall nav.
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