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Author Topic:   Switching Props . . . "in the field"
Buckda posted 06-24-2003 09:55 AM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
Hi everyone.

I have a quick question about switching props while out in the great wide open... Your advice is appreciated.

I currently have a Michigan Wheel Vortex prop with the XHS exchangable hub system...The other prop that is available to me is the old prop (unknown make) without this hub system.

My question(s) are this:

How hard is it to remove the XHS hub?
Do I have to buy a new thrust washer for the old prop, or can I "recycle" the old brass one that was on it?

Putting the new prop on was my first experience with changing props, and to get the hub on required a little encouragement with a rubber mallet...can I expect to need the same/similar form of encouragement to remove it when replacing it?

What are your suggestions for the best way to change a prop while out in the open water? Any hints to remember (i.e. how not to lose the cotter pin, etc...?)

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience/firsthand knowledge.


hauptjm posted 06-24-2003 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I can only relate my personal experience that did not include any special hubs. It was on an OMC 1980's vintage and we were in the Louisiana Marsh. We managed to get over to the bank of the marsh and stern in the boat there. A person cannot walk in this marsh without sinking up to the knee, so I used the top of an Igloo ice chest to squat on. I removed the cotter-pin with a pair of needle-nose vise grips. I would have to lose the pliers to lose the pin. The prop came off very easy and the spare aluminum popped right on and off we went.

Changing a prop out in open water, would be an entirely different experience. I have thought about this often after having to change a prop in the marsh. Even though we were an hour or so from the nearest human, we felt entirely confident we could do it because we had a place to get out of the boat to do the repairs.

Chap posted 06-24-2003 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
20 miles out in the Atlantic we picked up a fishing net in the starboard prop. On board is a package from OMC with the pin, nut and washer and a couple extra pins. I went over the side in 3' long period swells on a nice day wearing a PFD and positioned myself to the prop with the additional help of the square throwable between my legs. I cut the net off with the serrated sheepsfoot blade of an all stainless Spyderco Mariner and pulled the pin with a Leatherman. Any excuse to use the Mariner. This broke one side of the pin, carry extra ones. I used one of those yellow floating prop nut wrenches that lives on the boat for the nut and pursuaded the prop off. I untangled the leg and reversed the process using a new pin and the old parts. It wasn't too cold and it wasn't too rough but still could have been done during worse conditions. Would have been tough alone. This is also on an '80's Johnson.
Backlash posted 06-24-2003 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     

I have no experience with the XHS exchangeable hub system, but I don't think you should have to use a rubber mallet to get the hub on. A standard prop should just slide off and on the prop shaft if the shaft has been properly greased each time the prop is reinstalled. Did you grease the shaft? Are you sure you have the correct hub for your engine? I think I would try and get the hub off at home and make sure the shaft is clean and greased.

Your thrust washer should work fine for the old prop unless the XHS system uses something different.

I have never changed a prop on open water, but have changed a few back at the dock. My experience has been that I could always limp back to the dock (at reduced rpm's) to make the switch. I also think you could lean over the outboard in the fully tilted up position to make the switch depending on sea conditions.

Great tip on using needle-nose vice-grips for the cotter pin.


peetmin posted 06-24-2003 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for peetmin  Send Email to peetmin     
Buck- Good post, you made me go buy a prop wrench. Here I am with an extra prop in the anchor box. How smart would I be if I couldn't get it off with the crescent I keep in the tool box?
triblet posted 06-25-2003 12:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Put a lanyard on everything that won't float. Including
the spare prop.

However, I haven't figured out how to put a lanyard on the
washer and nut.


Buckda posted 06-25-2003 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Great responses...thanks...I think I'll keep some twine handy on the boat to tie things off to one of the stern lifting eyes when trying to do something like this (especially that prop wrench!).

I did grease the splines before putting the hub on...I should clarify here...I used a rubber mallet to encourage the brass insert that goes inside the rubber hub to fully mate with that piece...putting it on the engine itself was not a problem (though tightening the nut helped the whole assembly come together snugly).

My biggest concerns, being a newbie at prop changes, are:

- Losing the appropriate tools (solution given in previous posts - lanyard!)
- Exchanging from the XHS hub system (similar to Mercury's system?) to the "old" standard setup.
- Tips on what to bring in the toolbox (I suspect extra cotterpins, nuts and a spare thrustwasher are probably a good idea here)

I'm preparing for the North Channel rendezvous...and with Lake Huron levels at historical lows, I'm trying to cover my tail on the preparedness front ahead of time.

I guess that's on my list this weekend - practice changing props on the trailer so that it is easier to do in the field.

Thanks again for the advice...anyone with experience going between these prop systems, or should I just go ahead and invest in another XHS system prop as a spare and sell the old one on E-bay?


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