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Old 27-01-2015, 01:06   #1
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Question Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

After much agonising I am about to change my Volvo MD2020 engines to Volvo D1-30's as my previously relatively light 37ft cruising cat becomes heavier over the last 9 years & i'm looking to head into the pacific instead of just up the coast most years.
( Sticking with Volvo engines was a big call & mainly due to great local support )

Have been using Volvo 3 bladed folding props to date but I want/need to either get a new larger Volvo blade kit or spend not much more & replace with Bruntons Varifold 3 bladed folder

Would appreciate any help with this prop' choice ?
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Old 27-01-2015, 01:17   #2
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

I would suggest that Flex-O-Fold props have outscored those two in tests over the years, and usually are more affordable. Ours is nearly ten years and 2500 hours old now, no detectable wear and great performance.

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Old 27-01-2015, 01:26   #3
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Thanks for that , I didn't add to my initial post that the other prop I am keen on is the flex-o-fold that you mention as I havent priced it yet but will do so tomorrow
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Old 27-01-2015, 02:18   #4
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I would suggest that Flex-O-Fold props have outscored those two in tests over the years, and usually are more affordable. Ours is nearly ten years and 2500 hours old now, no detectable wear and great performance.

Jim
Jim
We are ordering a new flexifold to replace our autoprop as our new engine requires it. I have been throwing around the 2 blade 3 blade thing. Which do you have? I have always been happy with 2 blades in the past, they are very close in power/drive and maybe not quite as smooth although the autoprop is 3 blade. ???? R
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Old 27-01-2015, 02:42   #5
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Jim
We are ordering a new flexifold to replace our autoprop as our new engine requires it. I have been throwing around the 2 blade 3 blade thing. Which do you have? I have always been happy with 2 blades in the past, they are very close in power/drive and maybe not quite as smooth although the autoprop is 3 blade. ???? R
G'Day Robert,

Ours is a 3 blade: more blade area, more static thrust, slightly less efficient than a 2 blade. As always, compromises! I wouldn't change it after all these years... quite happy with our choice.

Jim
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Old 27-01-2015, 02:49   #6
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

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G'Day Robert,

Ours is a 3 blade: more blade area, more static thrust, slightly less efficient than a 2 blade. As always, compromises! I wouldn't change it after all these years... quite happy with our choice.

Jim
Thanks for the feedback Jim, R
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Old 27-01-2015, 05:05   #7
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

One thing to keep in mind is how do you service them and how much does it cost.

Bruntons will overhaul their props at the factory for a very reasonable price, replacing all of the bearings and other wearing parts, rebalancing them, etc. I think I paid 200 pounds or something for this a couple of years ago on my Autoprop.

I'm not sure whether the makers of the Volvo or Flexifold props do the same; worth checking I would think as this might be a factor to consider. I know that Maxprop don't do it, and that a large service for those props is very expensive. If you're going to a folding prop, I think it's very important to have them inspected and overhauled regularly -- I've personally lost a blade off a Flexifold prop which resulted in condemnation of the prop since you have to replace all of the blades at cost more than a new prop.

If I were you, Jim, I would certainly overhaul yours at 2500 hours, which is great performance, but might be on the verge of throwing a blade! That can ruin your whole day on a single-screw monohull. When it happened to me, I was on a cat, so not the end of the world since I had another engine.
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Old 27-01-2015, 06:18   #8
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

I've owned a two-blade Flex-O-Fold (had problems because it didn't always open in reverse) and several three-blade Volvo Penta props. Very happy with the VP. It's also a lot less expensive than the others last time I checked.
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Old 27-01-2015, 07:29   #9
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Hi Ric - I had Volvo three blade folders for many years and recently switched to Flex-O-Fold because the Volvos reached the end of their useful life for me. Until this I was quite happy with them. The "end" as I determined it was slight enlargement of the axle holes over time in both the blades and hubs. This was evident by the slop in the blades on one prop getting to the point where the blades could touch each other when folded. It doesn't take much wear to get to this point. Only one prop was affected because I had replaced the hub on the other side a couple years ago (which is another issue). So rather than attempting to drill out the holes and go up a size in axles or insert bushings, I decided to make a switch. Other owners of my model cat had reported better motoring with FOF.

You mention just switching the blade sets. Of course this will work, but you'll still have whatever wear in the hub axle holes you've earned so far. Further, the Volvo hubs cannot be re-built when the female spline gets sloppy which is also down the road for you. I'm told the FOF hubs can be rebuilt. So, while switching blade sets is a cost saving attraction, this will not eliminate buying new hubs sometime in the future. For me, all this + the potential for better motoring motivated me to switch - and I have a pretty good spare Volvo prop to boot. Of course, this isn't necessarily the right decision for you.

Good luck,
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Old 27-01-2015, 17:23   #10
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Hi Ric, we're running 15" Gori folding 3 blades on a pair of Volvo S20 saildrive / 2030 combos on a Tasman 43' (SUMI-J) also up your way in Careel Bay. I like the way the blades turn completely around in reverse so you have the same pitch and power in reverse as in forward. It also gives you an "overdrive" option which is great when you get stuck in light winds. Very handy when in a tight spot. Just had annual antifoul etc done and 2 sets anodes and bushes cost $356. Only need to do every 2nd year so $178 per year. We do props and saildrives with Propspeed. Get 2 years on the props and 3 - 4 years on the saildrives. Hope this helps. Cheers, Roy
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Old 27-01-2015, 19:38   #11
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Hi Ric - I had Volvo three blade folders for many years and recently switched to Flex-O-Fold because the Volvos reached the end of their useful life for me. Until this I was quite happy with them. The "end" as I determined it was slight enlargement of the axle holes over time in both the blades and hubs. This was evident by the slop in the blades on one prop getting to the point where the blades could touch each other when folded. It doesn't take much wear to get to this point. Only one prop was affected because I had replaced the hub on the other side a couple years ago (which is another issue). So rather than attempting to drill out the holes and go up a size in axles or insert bushings, I decided to make a switch. Other owners of my model cat had reported better motoring with FOF.

You mention just switching the blade sets. Of course this will work, but you'll still have whatever wear in the hub axle holes you've earned so far. Further, the Volvo hubs cannot be re-built when the female spline gets sloppy which is also down the road for you. I'm told the FOF hubs can be rebuilt. So, while switching blade sets is a cost saving attraction, this will not eliminate buying new hubs sometime in the future. For me, all this + the potential for better motoring motivated me to switch - and I have a pretty good spare Volvo prop to boot. Of course, this isn't necessarily the right decision for you.

Good luck,
2 Hulls Dave
Thanks for that Dave
I was concerned about continuing to use the old hubs and was going to do a thorough inspection before recommitting to them and if there is any doubt will get a whole new prop & hub
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Old 27-01-2015, 19:52   #12
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

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Originally Posted by AussieCat View Post
Hi Ric, we're running 15" Gori folding 3 blades on a pair of Volvo S20 saildrive / 2030 combos on a Tasman 43' (SUMI-J) also up your way in Careel Bay. I like the way the blades turn completely around in reverse so you have the same pitch and power in reverse as in forward. It also gives you an "overdrive" option which is great when you get stuck in light winds. Very handy when in a tight spot. Just had annual antifoul etc done and 2 sets anodes and bushes cost $356. Only need to do every 2nd year so $178 per year. We do props and saildrives with Propspeed. Get 2 years on the props and 3 - 4 years on the saildrives. Hope this helps. Cheers, Roy
Thanks Roy
Good to see another Pittwater boat

Just to clarify are your saildrives S20 an earlier version of Volvos current 130S saildrive
Also I have only used propspeed on props to date as I heard that putting propspeed on your saildrives requires stripping back and then voids any saildrive warranty ( which i suppose isn't that long anyway )
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Old 27-01-2015, 19:56   #13
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Quote:
f I were you, Jim, I would certainly overhaul yours at 2500 hours, which is great performance, but might be on the verge of throwing a blade! That can ruin your whole day on a single-screw monohull. When it happened to me, I was on a cat, so not the end of the world since I had another engine.
I have inspected the prop each year when hauled for bottom paint. There is no measurable wear found on the blades or pins, no cracks, nothing that seems to indicate a need for a "rebuild". Why would I need to do this? After disassembling, I regrease and reinstall with a new anode (not their proprietary cone, but an i nexpensive button type).

When you say "threw a blade", what actually failed? I know lots and lots of F_O_F users, and none have had any structural problems, so your failure is a surprise to me. PErhaps it is because of your much bigger engine, and perhaps more aggressive usage... just a guess.

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Old 27-01-2015, 21:34   #14
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

Yes Ric an earlier version of the 130s sorry that was a typo on my part they are actually a 120s. Volvo started producing these in about 1973. Mine are 1997 vintage and still going strong. Like you I had only used propspeed on props and was advised to do the saildrives when I had her out for antifoul job in North QLD. I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first but after chatting to a few of locals running saildrives with propspeed decided to give it a try. We're now into the third year with that and It really has been worth the initial cost. About 15 months since last clean and although there was plenty of shell growth etc (see attached pics) you could break most of it off with your hand. I could have cleaned most of it off in the water with a plastic scraper. I hadn't considered the warranty issue with new legs but your most likely right. I know Volvo don't even like you to remove the coating on new props so they can be done. I looked at the D1-30's but didn't want the cost of replacing the 120s as well. May I ask where your getting the job done? I use RMYC as it's the only slip wide enough and Matt, David and all the crew there are terrific and really know their stuff. Good luck with the re-power we'll keep a lookout for you up the Cowan. Cheers, Roy.
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Old 27-01-2015, 22:43   #15
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Re: Folding Props ; Volvo v Bruntons Varifold

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Originally Posted by AussieCat View Post
Yes Ric an earlier version of the 130s sorry that was a typo on my part they are actually a 120s. Volvo started producing these in about 1973. Mine are 1997 vintage and still going strong. Like you I had only used propspeed on props and was advised to do the saildrives when I had her out for antifoul job in North QLD. I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first but after chatting to a few of locals running saildrives with propspeed decided to give it a try. We're now into the third year with that and It really has been worth the initial cost. About 15 months since last clean and although there was plenty of shell growth etc (see attached pics) you could break most of it off with your hand. I could have cleaned most of it off in the water with a plastic scraper. I hadn't considered the warranty issue with new legs but your most likely right. I know Volvo don't even like you to remove the coating on new props so they can be done. I looked at the D1-30's but didn't want the cost of replacing the 120s as well. May I ask where your getting the job done? I use RMYC as it's the only slip wide enough and Matt, David and all the crew there are terrific and really know their stuff. Good luck with the re-power we'll keep a lookout for you up the Cowan. Cheers, Roy.
Hi Roy
I too have found Matt & David etc to be great so am getting them to do the repower
I will check with them re propspeed on the saildrives
Is it ok to show them your photos ?
At first glance there seems to be a fair bit more growth then when i get mine done with trilux , but will discuss with Matt

Getting back to the props ( folding 3 bladed 16" ) ; I have virtually ruled out Volvo but now have added Gori to the Flexofold & Varifold contenders

Flexofolds main website appears to have been down for at least the last two days ( which is a little concerning ) & Goris at approx AUD3300 each seem pretty steep.
(Aus pricing for the varifolds are around AUD2300 each)
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