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DIY: Propeller Maintenance Tasks

Fixing a Ding
If your propeller has a moon-shaped bend in the edge of one blade, you can make the propeller usable until you can send it out for recon with these easy steps.

What you’ll need:

Two adjustable wrenches (aka crescent wrenches)

What to do:

Align the jaws of one wrench on the edge of the blade adjacent to the dinged area and 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 ding out of the blade edge.

Filing Burrs
The edge of a prop’s blade gets burred — or rolled over — when a propeller rotates through sand. It may look finely saw-toothed right on the blade edge and using your finger you can feel the burr.

What you’ll need:

A hardware store mill bastard file can help you remove the burr and return the edge of the blade to fair, so that less air is generated and water is released smoothly once again.

What to do:

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. Every few strokes, check for the burr with your thumb, like you would when sharpening a knife, and stop when the burr is no longer felt.

Spun Hub
When the inner hub of your outboard propeller shears, it’s known as “spinning the hub.” Usually, there is enough friction with a spun hub to allow you to operate the engine at low rpm. But when you try to get on plane, the tach rises and the water churns but the boat doesn’t accelerate because the shaft is spinning in the hub.

How do you know if your hub is spun? Sometimes, a hub hasn’t fully broken but is only on the way out. One way to determine if your hub is spun is to place a mark across the inner and outer hub with nail polish, a marker or an awl. If you’ve spun a hub, a visual inspection will show your line or scratch as broken and you will be able to get the problem professionally addressed.

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