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Old 05-04-2016, 07:35   #1
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Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

All,

I am wondering if anyone has any feedback on quality differences between different brands of fixed bronze props?

We are considering a Michigan Wheel prop but I have no data points for comparison between that manufacturer and any another.

- z
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:56   #2
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Quality of manufacture? Not an issue, IMHO. In the 21+ years I have been cleaning boat bottoms, I have put my hands on several thousand different, individual props. I have never, ever seen a fixed blade prop that failed due to anything but lack of maintenance by an owner. I think if you buy a prop from any of the major American manufacturers, you will be happy.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:15   #3
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Z,

I have never bought a fixed prop other than used. And have no sense of quality amongst them. Last time I was looking for a fixed I was in Stewart Fl and the used boat gear shop had a dumpster full of them they sold by weight (they were headed to a scrap yard anyway). I think I paid $15 for a 14" wheel.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:34   #4
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

There's the "sailor" model and another. I didn't see much difference in performance between them. I think maybe the sailor is designed for less drag/smaller blade width maybe. Campbell manufacturer I think. I will say a 3 blade is a lot better than 2 blade at stopping the boat, Not sure the less drag of a 2 blade is really that much of a benefit.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:52   #5
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
There's the "sailor" model and another. I didn't see much difference in performance between them. I think maybe the sailor is designed for less drag/smaller blade width maybe. Campbell manufacturer I think. I will say a 3 blade is a lot better than 2 blade at stopping the boat, Not sure the less drag of a 2 blade is really that much of a benefit.
Indeed.

I was speaking to a prop guru up in the Chesapeake and he was recommending that we move to a 4 blade prop over a 3 blade. I guess his reasoning is that most sailors motor a lot any way and most cruisers are heavily loaded thus you can increase milage and thrust with a 4 blade.

The small increase in drag from a 4 bladed prop equates to a slight decrease in overall speed when sailing at slower wind speeds and only makes a significant impact in time over long passages. However, I am sticking with a 3 blade because I really don't need anything else slowing my boat more than it already is!

The 4 blade is appealing however.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:58   #6
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Yeah, I'm not sure about blade performance, just don't know. My gut says getting over 3 blades for a slow moving boat is past the point of diminishing returns. A 2 blade moves your boat at hull speed as well as any, but stopping is not that good. :>)
Most comparison of 3 vs 4 are on planing power boats , and the 3 blade is faster, but the 4 blade better in heavy chop.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:23   #7
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

As I mentioned, go get a bunch of different designs in the right size from a boat scrap yard and test them all to see which you like more. At least the one I went to would let you 'buy' a bunch and return all but one (we weren't sure of the key way size at the time). In your case get a two, three, and four (if you can find it) of the right size and try them out. Your paying a little over scrap metal prices anyway so there's no loss.
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Old 05-04-2016, 13:53   #8
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Be careful not to over prop when going to more or bigger blades. This can destroy or reduce life of a motor.


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Old 05-04-2016, 20:32   #9
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
As I mentioned, go get a bunch of different designs in the right size from a boat scrap yard and test them all to see which you like more. At least the one I went to would let you 'buy' a bunch and return all but one (we weren't sure of the key way size at the time). In your case get a two, three, and four (if you can find it) of the right size and try them out. Your paying a little over scrap metal prices anyway so there's no loss.
Ohhhh... thats a great idea.

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Be careful not to over prop when going to more or bigger blades. This can destroy or reduce life of a motor.
Yeah... Michigan Wheel recommended a three blade 18x10... we currently have a 17x9 and the result is that we have to run at just slightly over the recommended cruising RPM.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:48   #10
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

You might want to check out a Campbell Sailer prop from Canada. See West By North
I replaced a Michigan Wheel "Sailer" 2-blade with a Campbell 3-blade last fall. The Campbell is a jewel of engineering and construction.
Amazing reduction in drivetrain vibration (evidently caused when a 2-blade aligns with the dead water behind the keel and then emerges to "bite" the water flowing outside the keel). Also, much greater thrust and increased speed when powering into a chop.
Haven't yet had much experience with the increased drag to be expected from a 3-blade when sailing....
I think I'd be wary of relying on a prop from a junk bin. A blade might be irretrievably bent leading to excessive vibration, or the prop may be de-zincified from poor maintenance. YMMV.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:06   #11
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Junk Bin sure sounds like a good place to get a spare though, I need a spare as I was horribly over propped, engine would only turn 2,400 RPM out of 3,600 when I bought the boat, that is now my spare, but I ought to get a proper one, hadn't though about recycle.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:18   #12
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

I'm a fan on fixed props and agree that all are basically equal. That being said proper pitch for your engine is important. On our older Hughes 40 we took the prop back and forth to prop shop several times to tweak that just right (to engine manufacturers recommended specs) and were very happy happy happy after getting her right.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:34   #13
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Some light reading

http://www.akcaymarin.com/Products/%...%20klavuzu.pdf

Please look in that junk bin for a 17LH12-13 for 25mm metric taper
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Old 06-04-2016, 13:05   #14
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

I am getting ready myself to switch from a 2 blade to 3. I currently have a 2 blade, 15" RH. I have done a lot of research about this, and from what I have found, for me anyway, is it comes down to 2 choices. Either a Michigan Wheel, or a Campbell sailor. The Campbell sailor has really good reviews from every where I can see. It has less drag as well. It costs more though. To get the Campbell Sailor they recommended ( I would have do a prop calc for you, its free and they get right back to you) a 14", 7.5" pitch, for $695 (includes shipping). I can get a Michigan Wheel 15" 3 blade for about $500. Campbell has a unique design with cupped blades that supposedly reduces drag. This is what the rep said;

"The Campbell Sailer has cupped blades and a leading edge foil. This produces greater thrust and reduces the slip rate. To account for this, we often size smaller than other manufacturers for a given installation.

Many users report greater thrust, improved maneuvering and a smoother running installation with a Campbell prop. Also, the narrow blade profile allows for reduced drag under sail. Up to 35-40% less when compared to equivalent size units from other manufacturers."

I think I am going to go with them because all I have heard is good reviews about their props.
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Old 06-04-2016, 13:25   #15
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Re: Prop Manufacturer Quality - Fixed props

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackheape View Post
I am getting ready myself to switch from a 2 blade to 3. I currently have a 2 blade, 15" RH. I have done a lot of research about this, and from what I have found, for me anyway, is it comes down to 2 choices. Either a Michigan Wheel, or a Campbell sailor. The Campbell sailor has really good reviews from every where I can see. It has less drag as well. It costs more though. To get the Campbell Sailor they recommended ( I would have do a prop calc for you, its free and they get right back to you) a 14", 7.5" pitch, for $695 (includes shipping). I can get a Michigan Wheel 15" 3 blade for about $500. Campbell has a unique design with cupped blades that supposedly reduces drag. This is what the rep said;

"The Campbell Sailer has cupped blades and a leading edge foil. This produces greater thrust and reduces the slip rate. To account for this, we often size smaller than other manufacturers for a given installation.

Many users report greater thrust, improved maneuvering and a smoother running installation with a Campbell prop. Also, the narrow blade profile allows for reduced drag under sail. Up to 35-40% less when compared to equivalent size units from other manufacturers."

I think I am going to go with them because all I have heard is good reviews about their props.
If they are made in Canada-you get 25+% off for $US & no duty (NAFTA)
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