DIY Maintenance – Propeller Check

With summer in full swing and holidays upon us, I thought I’d share a relatively quick DIY check you can perform on your boat before heading out or away for the holidays.

The propeller plays a key role in your boats performance, it can be constructed of aluminium or stainless steel.  Aluminium propellers generally are less expensive, easy to repair but can damage quite easily.  Stainless steel propellers on the other hand are more expensive, more durable, better for performance as there is less ‘flex’ in the blades but if you damage one of these there can be more significant costs in repairing and balancing the propeller.

Regardless of whether your propeller is aluminium or stainless steel there are a few quick checks that you can perform periodically that shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.

Propeller Check 002

  1. Visual inspection – Have a look at your propeller to see if there is any visible damage.   Bent blades, deep gouges or chunks missing from the propeller blades are all signs that a submerged object has possibly been hit and may require repair and balancing.  If a propeller is damaged bad enough it will cause significant out of balance issues and can do further damage to your gearbox and/or engine from the excessive vibration the a damaged propeller will cause if used.
  2. If you are handy with a socket set, then you could also remove the propeller to check for fishing line which can get caught around the propeller shaft.  This can cause damage to the gear case seal and potentially lead to a gear case oil leak.  While the propeller is off, it is also a good time to give the propeller shaft spline a smear of marine grade grease.

So there you go, there are a couple of quick checks that you can add to your DIY checklist before you hit the road this coming holidays.

Propeller Check 001

Note: If you do decide to remove the propeller make sure that you use a piece of timber between the anti-ventilation plate and the propeller to stop the propeller from spinning while trying to undo the propeller nut.  Using the gears to stop the propeller from spinning can cause excess stress on the components within the gearbox leading to premature failure.

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