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It is hard to predict the effective usable life of a pulley/trolley. Many factors contribute to how long the pulley/trolley will last. Aspects such as how much it is used, where it is used, in what conditions it is used, how it is cared for, transport , and maintenance, all play a critical role in the effective life of the pulley/trolley. It is possible to have to retire a pulley/trolley after only one use. This may happen because of intensity of uses, incorrect use, harsh environments, chemicals, extreme temperatures, etc.

Storage: As a general rule of thumb, take care of your gear, know the use history and do not leave your gear laying around. Gear should be stored in a well ventilated area which is out of direct sunlight. Avoid any contact with corrosive liquids such as acids or chemicals. Use caution when storing gear in places where mold can develop. Any moisture should be wiped from gear before storage, especially if the gear was used in salty environments.

Transport: Transporting gear can be tricky. One should use caution when leaving gear in a car or car trunks as extreme heat can occur and could potentially degrade gear.

Repair: Any modifications of any CMI equipment is prohibited. If any parts are worn to the point that the gear does not function properly, that gear should be retired or sent back to CMI for inspection.

Cleaning/Drying: No lubrication is necessary with CMI pulleys/trolleys or blocks, as the sealed bearings and bushings are both self lubricating. If the pulley/trolley does become squeaky, a light household oil should quiet it down. Do not use heavy gear oils or WD-40 as that can dry out and damage the bearings. Never submerge your pulleys/trolleys in water. Doing so may allow water to enter into the bearing and /or bushing and cause premature wear. Do not use high pressure water to clean pulleys/trolleys as doing so could again force water into the internals causing premature wear. CMI recommends wiping dirty pulleys or gear with a damp cloth. If gear is extremely dirty, use a small brush to remove any caked on dirt. Never use acids or harsh cleaners, doing so can be detrimental to the life of the product.

Some CMI gear has plastic parts. Again wiping with a damp cloth is the recommended cleaning method. Use a soft towel and thoroughly air dry in a place that is out of direct sunlight. Avoid allowing gear to dry in close proximity to direct heat sources such as space heaters, wood stoves, radiators and direct sunlight.

Personalization: As a general rule, one should never stamp or carve their information into any metal gear. This type of marking could affect the products performance, depending on the depth, force of impact, and the chosen area. There are however, several accepted methods for marking your product. CMI pulleys/trolleys may be marked on the outside of the sideplates with an electric engraving pen, a paint pen, or even a colored electrical tape. Never dip your gear in paint as doing so could damage the product. Never mark any working or moving parts of the pulley/trolley. The best area to mark your pulley/trolley is on the outside of the pulley/trolley on a flat surface in an area that will not interfere with the mechanical action of the pulley/trolley. Never mark any plastic pieces on any CMI gear. Doing so may weaken the plastic.

Checking the pulley/trolley / Pre-use inspection: Always know the product history of your gear! If possible, compare your gear to new gear to verify that there are no modifications or missing pieces.   

  • For pulleys/trolleys with moving sideplates, verify that the sideplates rotate freely. If the sideplates do not rotate freely, do not use the product. Retire, discard or send back to CMI for evaluation.
  • Check the condition of any and all attachment holes for any odd marks, deformation, cracks or corrosion. If any of these conditions exist, do not use the product. Retire, discard or send back to CMI for evaluation.
  • Check the condition of the locknuts. CMI uses the industry standard for locknuts. In all the hundreds of thousands of pulleys we have sold, we have never had a locknut come loose. That being said, it is still good practice to look at and inspect to make sure all locknuts are tight. Never remove locknuts. Doing so defeats the locking mechanism of the nut.
  • Check the condition of the sheave/sheaves. Check for any marks, deep grooves, deformation, corrosion, and make sure no foreign bodies are lodged between the sheave and the sideplate. Give the sheave a spin test by simply spinning the wheel. Verify that the sheave turns freely. In all CMI pulleys there should be a small amount of side to side wobble. That is normal. If the sheave wobbles excessively , or does not spin freely, remove from service. (1) It should be noted that on all CMI trolleys, the bearings may be somewhat tight upon first use. This is normal. As the trolleys get more use, the bearings will break in and the sheaves will turn more freely. Grab the sheave and check to make sure there is no excessive up-down or side to side motion of the sheave on the axle. If there is excessive motion, this would indicate that there is either excessive wear of the axle or bushing/bearing or both. The pulley should be removed from service immediately if this condition is found.
  • Lastly, install your pulley on a suitable anchor and place a compatible rope or cable around the sheave. Move the rope/cable in both directions to ensure proper pulley function.

In addition to routine checks, it is also good practice to have gear checked by a competent person every 12 months or after an extreme event has occurred.

!Always remember your life depends on your gear. When in doubt, replace it or do not use it!