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Old 25-09-2011, 18:40   #1
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Prop Spinning

Last night we anchored in a river that has a very fast flowing current and noticed that our prop shaft was spinning. Does anyone know if this is usual?
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Old 25-09-2011, 18:56   #2
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Re: prop spinning

Velvet drive transmissions and others will do this, especially under sail.
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Old 25-09-2011, 19:18   #3
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Re: prop spinning

Most gears will spin in neutral. If you have a mechanical gear like like a smaller ZF , kanzaki or TMC you can simply put it in either forwards or reverse depending which direction the current is running.
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Old 25-09-2011, 19:24   #4
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Re: prop spinning

Thanks for your replies...I've not noticed the shaft doing this before.
We have a borg warner 2.10:1 gearbox. Is there anyway to stop this spinning? It's very noisy when we're enjoying a beautiful and peaceful anchorage.

We tried both forward and reverse and it didn't stop the spin
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Old 26-09-2011, 18:41   #5
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Re: Prop Spinning

Borg Warner Velvet Drives are hydraulically operated by the boats engine turning a gear pump. While the BW manual states that "windmilling" is acceptable while under sail or on twin engine fishing vessels, there is wear. Some of the bearings depend on the pressurized oil for lubrication, plus you have more moving parts like your shaft, the cutless bearing, and stuffing box.

I have been rebuilding BW Velvet Drives for over 40 years and have seen the damage caused by not locking your shaft. Continue long term windmilling and you will pay . I recently rebuilt a gear box like yours $850USD + a bottle of Talisker.

There are several shaft locks on the market for hydraulic gear boxes. If you intend to continue anchoring and/or sailing with your engine off, lock the shaft. I have a Luke feathering prop on my boat, so when we sail, I have the Commodore bring the boat up into the wind until the prop stops spinning, then I grab the shaft with a heavy leather glove, stop it, and attach a pair of "Vise Grip" pliers to a bolt on the output shaft coupling. In case of emergency or forgetfullness, I have a short lanyard attached to the pliers, so if I must start the engine they will not launch.

This has worked for me for 29 years. Your mileage may vary. Be careful.

Tom
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