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Author Topic:   Propeller Problem
jimh posted 09-06-2002 10:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Around the water cooler today at work we were exchanging boating stories. A co-worker had this anecdote to contribute.

He was enjoying boating with his family in their 22-foot I/O powered boat, venturing off shore into Lake Michigan. They were enjoying a calm lake and brilliant sunshine, when suddenly the boat would no longer make any headway.

Giving the engine more power produced more engine speed, but no boat speed. The captain shut off the engine and raised the outdrive to check. Things looked all right.

He checked in the engine compartment. Everything there looked normal. He tried starting the engine. Again, the engine ran fine, but the boat would not go forward at all.

He raised the outdrive again for another look. This time he saw the problem. The propeller blades were gone! The hub was in place, the prop nut was still there, but the blades were gone!

Apparently when this prop "spun", the blades spun completely off of the hub and were now on the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Fortunately, my co-worker had a spare propeller on board and the lake was calm enough (and warm enough) that he could go over the side and change the prop.

I have heard many stories of spun hubs, but never one where the blades had spun right off of the hub.

By the way, the outdrive is just a 4-cylinder 120-HP unit, so it is not exactly a powerhouse. You wouldn't think it would shed the blades on the prop like that.

Dick posted 09-06-2002 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Not knowing what brand and style of prop it was it hard to speculate why.
Props normaly do not shed their blades unless something is hit, which will also cause the hub to spin.
When an imovable object is hit the prop blades bend, get chunks knocked off or are removed the hub also spins protecting the lower end from gear damage.
Have never heard of blades being spun off unless you get into mega H.P.
Hard to believe he didn't see the blades missing on the first inspection.
JohnAz posted 09-07-2002 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
if he put it in reverse after spinning the rubber,,,aparently he kept it spinning by adding power,,,and away it went
DaveH posted 09-07-2002 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     

Something is rotten in Denmark if you know what I mean. Your water cooler buddy is not telling you the whole story. In all my time around the industry I have not heard of this. Maybe it was the rare aluminum-eating crab at work again.

jimh posted 09-07-2002 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I agree--it sounded quite out of the ordinary to me, too. He did admit he "is rough on props" which is why he had a spare aboard.
Bigshot posted 09-09-2002 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Have heard it happen before. Normally they will still grab at low rpms, his obviously was spun bad and when he hit reverse, it walked off the hub. Probably a cheaper quality prop, not an oEM.
SWarren posted 09-09-2002 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
That can and will happen, because it I did it labor day weekend. One of my buddies back my trailer wrong and the boat could not go down the ramp and further, so I tried to power off the ramp. When I did the prop got knocked. It ran fine that night, but the next day after running about 40 miles going 35 MPH the prop spun. I did not have a spare, and ran back on my other engine, using the spun prop to go about 2500 rpm before it would spin. I used that motor in reverse at the landing to help put on the trailer, and when I pulled the boat out of the water all I had was a nut, pin and the inside part of the hub. It was a SS polished ballistic prop. I put the factory omc ss props back on and bought a spare nut and washer and am back in business. It sucked because the boat was running great and we were crusing down to Hilton Head from Charleston for the weekend, and had to turn back.

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