Troubleshooting common problems with dock hoists

A dock hoist provides a convenient way to safely lift and lower your boat using the structural support of the dock itself. However, improper installation or lack of maintenance can lead to frustrating operation issues. By recognizing critical problems and their solutions, you can get your hoist running smoothly again. Here are some of the most common dock hoist troubles and how to address them. The Amazing fact about boat hoists at Table Rock Lake.

Hoist Won’t Lift

If your dock hoist powers on but fails to start lifting the boat, there could be a few culprits to check. On electric hoists, ensure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Inspect all wiring connections for corrosion. Clean battery terminals if applicable. The motor may need to be serviced if it is non-responsive. For manual crank hoists, binding cables and gears could be jammed by debris and need lubrication.

Slipping Cables

When lift cables slip off pulleys or the drum during cranking, it prevents the hoist from raising the boat. This is typically caused by worn-out or misaligned pulleys that need replacement. Ensure cables have proper tension – too loose, and they’ll derail; too tight, and they’ll wear out faster. Straighten any kinked wires. Clean pulleys and apply marine lubricant.

Uneven Lifting

If the boat lifts unevenly or rocks from side to side, binding cables could be routed improperly through the pulleys. Check that all wires attach securely at equal lengths with proper cable clamps. Fraying wires must be replaced. Also, inspect guide posts attached to the dock for shifting or loose hardware.

Grinding Noises

Unusual grinding noises point to a mechanical problem in the drive system. On crank hoists, this could be a rusty gear in need of lubrication. On electric models, worn bearings in the motor or slipping belts are likely culprits. Identify the source of the noise, then clean, lubricate, or replace parts as needed.

Rust Damage

Since dock hoists operate in water, rust damage to any components can cause problems over time. Use marine-grade materials like stainless steel hardware, galvanized steel frames, and aluminum body parts. Routinely wash down the hoist with fresh water. Address any chips or scratches right away. Keep moving parts well-lubricated.

Hoist Leaning

An off-kilter hoist frame indicates potential issues with the dock attachment points. Hoists exert immense pressure on the dock so that inadequate reinforcement will lead to leaning and instability over time. Additional cross supports, thicker hardware, and more pile guides may be necessary. Consult the hoist manufacturer for proper dock bracing.

Sticking Breaks

For powered hoists, ensure the winch brake engages appropriately to hold the boat securely. Sticking brake pads can prevent the hoist from lifting until the brake is released. This points to worn brake pads contaminated with grime that need cleaning and lubricating. Inspect the brake mechanism for any damaged parts as well.

By regularly inspecting your dock hoist and addressing operation problems quickly, you can keep it in good working order for years to come. But for any complex repair issues beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to call a professional marine mechanic for assistance. Proper hoist maintenance saves time and headaches when the boating season arrives.

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