Simple Propeller Repairs You Can DIY
If you aren't an expert welder, the chances of completing a major propeller repair or recondition yourself are slim. However, that doesn’t mean you can't perform minor repair because even small imperfections can impact performance.
Here are three DIY propeller maintenance tasks that you can do yourself;
Fixing a minor ding;
Prop dings are fairly common, you might have hit unseen debris or slightly miscalculated how close to the surface that rock or wreckage was and now you have a bend in one blade. Ultimately, we recommend getting it reconditioned, but you can make it usable till you can get it done. All you'll need for this repair is two adjustable wrenches.
Affix the jaws of one wrench on the edge of the blade adjacent to the dinged area. Affix the jaws of the other wrench onto the ding itself. Holding the first wrench firmly to prevent the entire blade edge from bending, slowly apply pressure to the wrench on the ding. You should be able to work most, if not all, of the unfairness out of the blade edge.
The edge of a propeller’s blade gets burred when the prop rotates through sand, almost an inevitability when you boat in Florida waters.
The prop may look saw-toothed right on the edge of the blade. When you rub the tip of your thumb over the edge, you can feel the roughness of the burr.
All you'll need for this minor repair is a hardware store mill bastard file to help you remove the burr and smooth the edge of the blade, so that your prop generates less air andwater is released smoothly.
Working from the back of the blade toward the edge, hold the file at as steep an angle as possible to help ensure that you remove as little material as possible. You will be removing some metal — and thus changing the size of the blade minutely. Every few strokes, check for the burr with your thumb, like you would when sharpening a knife.
As with a knife, use a light touch and stop when you are done (the burr is no longer felt).
"Spun hub" or something else?
Outboard propellers are fitted with an inner hub made from material designed to shear away upon heavy impact, to protect the drive train from shock damage. When the hub shears, it’s known as “spinning the hub”.
Usually with a spun hub there is enough friction to allow you to operate the engine at low rpm, but when you try to get on plane, you find the tach rises and the water churns but the boat doesn’t accelerate. This is how it’s meant to work — the low-rpm friction provides you with the ability to get home.
There is a way to tell if your hub is spun or if you are experiencing some other problem with symptoms of high engine speed/low boat speed problem. One way is to place a mark or scratch across the inner and outer hub with nail polish, a marker or an awl. If you’ve spun a hub, a simple visual inspection will show your line or scratch as broken.
We hope you find these tips useful. Call us if you need us!