Ever since I got my boat, my boat buddy has been hit and miss. I've been putting off fixing it until today. There are probably others out there with buddys that are bent so I'll post some pics. When sliding up to the buddy I would always hear a click but it would not catch, so then I would have to power up, leave the throttle on, and then scramble to the front to lock it and winch it manually. It pretty much never catches on it's own anymore so it's time to fix it.
You can see how the pin mechanism is bent out of whack on the right side preventing it from going all the way in the hole on the other side. I'll conveniently blame the damage on the previous owner.
These tabs need to be bent out to release the pin and spring. They will probably break as they did for me. Bend or break 'em and pull the pin out.
These roll pins need to be hammered back down.
Put the unit in a vise. Cut a piece of metal to support the inside so only the bent part gets bent back. Get a large hammer, a rod, step on your vise (sorry in between shop benches), and bang it back to straight.
I never liked the handle being curved, so I straightened that too.
The lever pawl was bent too so I had to staighten it also.
Put it back together and weld a washer on the end to hold the spring. Spray some white lithium grease or your favorite lubricant to all moving parts and then put back in place.
It should be noted that you need about 2-3 inches clearance to get the buddy off your trailer. I got lucky and came up short the last time I put the boat on, and was just barely able to squeeze the unit out.