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Author Topic:   Prop Scan propeller optimization
andygere posted 12-16-2003 03:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for andygere   Send Email to andygere  
Is anyone familiar with the Prop Scan propeller optimization system?

I hit a submerged object on my last trip to the Delta and did some minor damage to my Mercury High Five SS prop. My local boatyard recommended a prop shop that uses the high-tech Prop Scan system to balance and optimize the prop after repairs are made. The ballpark price this shop quoted over the phone for repair and "optimization" was $250-300, about half the cost of a new prop. Sal recommended his local shop to me, and their estimate was $120-160 using standard static balancing techniques. The Prop Scan shop pays shipping both ways, probably a savings of $20-25 total.

My question to the prop experts out there is do you think the Prop Scan 3D computer optimization/balancing is worth the extra cost for an outboard powered boat (Outrage 22 Cuddy/Mercury 200), or is the low-tech traditional balancing method more than adequate?

The engineer in me says go with the Prop Scan, but the MBA in me says stick with Sal's guy and save a good chunk of change.

lhg posted 12-16-2003 05:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Andy - maybe this will help you decide. I can steer you to a brand new Mercury performance prop, Mirage, Laser, Offshore, Hi-five, etc, for $399 plus shipping, no tax. This would be the new interchangeable hub style.
Sal DiMercurio posted 12-16-2003 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Andy, for $300 that prop better be blue printed & ballanced perfectly./
Kevin will also ballance it but not blue print it.
Blue printed props are mainly used on very high speed boats trying to sqeeze every mph they can out of the rig.
For instance, a Mazco prop is blue printed & perfectly ballanced, but they start at $1,200
rjgorion posted 12-17-2003 01:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     
Andy, I don't know all the paticulars or the cost involved but there is a prop shop in Alameda called pitchometer that has been around for many years. I have not had personal experience with them but have talked to others that have had good luck with them. It might be worth a call to talk with them. Goog luck,


Pitchometer Propeller Company
2516 Blanding Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501
510/522-2616 ~ ~ Fax 510/522-6965
In Calif Call 1-800-992-4994
Monday - Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm
Scott V. Miller/Manager - Technician

Tom2697 posted 12-17-2003 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
I read up on Prop Scan a few months back. They use computer modelling to balance and blueprint the props. I would think that what they do would be better utilized on high performance boats or large hp cruisers. But, I also don't believe that static balancing is sufficient on something that will be rotating around 4000 rpm. So, is it worth an extra $150 bucks? All I can say is: How often do you damage your props?
PFSQUAN posted 12-17-2003 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for PFSQUAN  Send Email to PFSQUAN     
Andy: Prop Scan records radii of each blade at pre-determined percentages set by the technician doing the work. For example, he may look for a 5-7-9 reading, which means he is calculating the pitch at 50 percent, 70 percent and 90 percent of each blade. Or, he could do it at 3-5-9 etc. These measurements assure the propeller is reconditioned to its like-new condition and is restored to its proper balance as it was when it left the factory. Obviously, it is best when the tech has this documentation to work from, but even if it does not exist (i.e., was not supplied when you purchased the propeller), the Prop Scan can restore the blades and balance the propeller accurately. Your propeller operates at a high speed and with the gear's low reduction, balance is critical not only to achieve top performance, but also to make sure the blades are in balance so as not to affect other components, gears, prop shaft, etc., connected to the prop.

If you opt for the Prop Scan and ever need to attend to the prop again, you will have a benchmark to use for further reconditioning.

Is it worth the added cost? Do you need to spend it? One way to look at it is to compare a doctor using his eyes to examine you, or going for a body scan. Both can work, but clearly one is more sophisticated and involved. It's your call.

lhg posted 12-17-2003 02:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would get the prop fixed normally, sell it (they are in demand by the ski-boat crowd) and get a new interchangeable hub and adjustable vent prop. The Hi-Five is not really the correct prop for a 22 Outrage anyway. See for detailed prop applications. I would recommend the new Revolution 4 or Mirage Plus.
andygere posted 12-17-2003 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Thanks for the good input everyone. It would be an easier decision if I had firm quotes from both shops, but unfortunately, both shops are 2+ hours away and there are no prop shops near where I live. In concept, the Prop Scan method seems superior, but the damage to my prop is minor so I doubt the benefits of carfully measuring and correcting pitch will be there for me. In fact, after I dinged it, I noticed no vibration or change in performance the rest of the day. I do 99% of my boating in deep water, so I don't think prop repair will be a regular thing for me. Overall, I really like the way this prop performs and really just want to restore it back as close as possible to original condition. I sort of doubt that I would see the type of performance gains that Prop Scan can provide to big trawlers or offshore racers. Since the cost could get pretty close to that of a new prop, I'm inclined to take Sal's recommendation and put my money with the good old-school prop shop and save the difference for other repairs or upgrades.
Fishcop posted 12-18-2003 09:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fishcop  Send Email to Fishcop     

Get the prop repaired. Do not waste your time and money on "Optimization".

If you do not have someone local, go to "THE PROP SHOP" in Richmond (510) 235-7767 or use "PITCHOMETER" in Alameda (510) 522-2616. One is more expensive than the other, but I have used both and they do fine work.

That High Five is a great prop and very "sticky" in the water. I had one on my 19 Outrage and could not get the boat to "get air" no matter what I did. Take off was a neck snapper and turning a dream.

For fishing and all around performance, I have a SS three blade on my 25 Outrage Cuddy.

If you decide to try another prop, I have a Mercury three blade SS 19P that will fit your motor (48-16316-A4-19P).

Let me know if you want to try it and we can get together next time you are in the Delta or if you want to meet in the Bay Area.

Let me know if I can help in any way and call next time you are in the Delta!


BillD posted 12-19-2003 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillD  Send Email to BillD     
I spent some time looking at PropScan at a boat show last year. My conclusion was that it is a better service for Inboards. Given the higher cost of inboard props and the greater degree that a small vibration would effect them.

Get it done at a traditional shop.

andygere posted 12-19-2003 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Based on the good advice here, I'm going to get it repaired at a traditional shop. Thanks again for the input.

I really like the High Five, especially the instant holeshot I get with it, even with a heavy load of fuel and passengers. I have never been able to break it loose in rough water or in turns, so despite it's reputation as a waterski prop, it works quite well for my nearshore/offshore ocean use. Top speed in smooth Delta conditions is 43 mph, which is more than enough for me, and much faster then I've ever been able to go on Monterey Bay where I keep the boat. I will definitely get in touch with you the next time I'm heading to the Delta; I'd love to have an up close look at your Outrage 25 Cuddy.

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