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Old 18-12-2015, 08:42   #1
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Propeller Removal Preparation

As I am preparing the removal and replacement of my prop in the water I am considering all best procedures. Advice regarding this task and use of prop pullers, especially from fstbttms, has been valuable to me.

I'm an avid "do it yourself" cruiser, not just for the purpose of saving money, but for the independence and self-reliance and this causes me to be open-minded to many possibilities.

With this in mind I was thinking of loosening the two shaft bolts behind the prop by about one half turn and then locking them back tight together. After this, I could run my engine in reverse for a period of time with the assumption that the resulting force may pull my prop slightly aft on the taper and ease the later removal.

The risk that comes to mind would be the accidental loss of the nuts and propeller. I don't know if I would have the clearance to keep the cotter pin in place with the nuts backed off a small amount.

If I had fstbttms' Pro-Pull PPF 113 prop puller I would not waste my time with considering this, but I only have a three point gear puller to work with now.

Let me hear all opinions!
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Old 18-12-2015, 08:59   #2
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Hudson...

Good on ya for tackling this yourself.

Unless your prop is unusually loose to start with, you will need a lot more force than a reversed engine can produce in order to shift the prop off its taper.

If its been a while, you will probably need a shock force of some sort to shift it. To do this, load up a strong puller, protect the threaded end of the shaft by installing the nut loosely, and whack the end of the shaft with a maul. In other words, try to push the boat forward with the hammer, while the prop stays put. On the hard, some moderate torch heat applied to the taper area can help. Not so easy underwater, I'll agree.

Good Luck
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Old 18-12-2015, 09:19   #3
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Yeah, it's not going to work.
Have you ever pulled the flywheel off of a lawnmower or harmonic balancer off of an engine? It's takes that wack to the center of the puller usually, and then it just pops free.
But I can count the number of props I've pulled on one hand too, so lets let experience chime in.
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Old 18-12-2015, 09:33   #4
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

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Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post
..................
................... To do this, load up a strong puller, protect the threaded end of the shaft by installing the nut loosely, and whack the end of the shaft with a maul. .................... Dave
Dave, Thanks for the ideas. I have not imagined that I'll have much of an opportunity to whack the end of my shaft under water due to my configuration.



Here, in an old photo, you can see that I have limited space for a puller or a swing. I do have a bit of an offset and with the rudder hard aside the shaft clears for removal, so I do have more of a chance than the photos implies, but my current puller will not fit.

Despite my DIY custom this might be a time to hire a diver with the proper tool if I can't rig a puller that would work.

I agree with the unlikely successful outcome with the loose nut and reverse running, but without any bad consequences to predict, I'll likely try it.
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Old 18-12-2015, 09:40   #5
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

This is one of those times I dread bit it would be best to hire a diver with all the gear to pull and replace the prop.
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Old 18-12-2015, 09:51   #6
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

I looked and that puller you were talking about is about $300, a lot for an occasional user.
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Old 18-12-2015, 10:01   #7
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Do you still have that prop on your boat? It has motor boat tips on it. They are terrible on a sailboat. A prop shop can flatten them out.
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Old 18-12-2015, 10:14   #8
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

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Do you still have that prop on your boat? It has motor boat tips on it. They are terrible on a sailboat. A prop shop can flatten them out.
I was surprised by this comment, but then I looked back at my photo. There's a shadow that falls across the tip of the blade that is best in the view and this shadow seems to make it look like the blade isn't flat at the end, but that's not the actual shape. .....'but thanks for the caution.
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Old 18-12-2015, 10:26   #9
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

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I was surprised by this comment, but then I looked back at my photo. There's a shadow that falls across the tip of the blade that is best in the view and this shadow seems to make it look like the blade isn't flat at the end, but that's not the actual shape. .....'but thanks for the caution.
I'm near sighted, sorry. Your prop aperture looks exactly like mine. I use a good quality 3 jaw puller. I bet a few whacks with your 3lb hammer, even underwater will work. The worst part will be getting all the damn parts of the puller in place underwater.
If your prop comes loose in reverse, it was not on tight.
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Old 18-12-2015, 11:29   #10
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Here's my "jewel" in waiting to be put on when I remove the old prop.



The prop that I'm removing has served me well since installed in 2001, but when diving on my bottom this fall I had noticed that my zinc was gone and with less duration than usual. I also noticed a nick on the end of one of my blades. I first thought this might have been a bit of damage from striking something, but as I turned the blades I saw all three were pocked. I was spending more time at a variety of marinas this passed summer compared to our usual amount of anchoring out.

I've little experience with the typical "lifespan" of a propeller, but I've had two props over the 31 years that I've had this boat. My first prop was replaced with the increased shaft size along with re-powering in 2001. This is the only prop have had in my 44 years of cruising that I've lost due to electrolytic damage.

I'm looking forward to what I can do underwater,- I'll report back when I get the job done.
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Old 18-12-2015, 13:58   #11
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
..................
......................... The worst part will be getting all the damn parts of the puller in place underwater. .........................
Guy, I'm glad you mentioned this problem. I've adjusted my puller to the proper span and rigged a bit of an adaptation to allow easy placement under water.



The rubber band and the tennis ball are opposing each other and I hope this will allow me to position the puller easily.



The dry land trial works well. The tennis ball can pop out once the puller is on the hub and the rubber band can remain until the ends snap in place without a problem. Thanks for helping me anticipate a problem. I'm sure to have enough challenges!
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Old 18-12-2015, 15:53   #12
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

I've removed my prop a couple of times underwater, and I had success using a hammer, a punch (blunt/soft chisel or block), and gentle persuasion. I know there are concerns about damaging your transmission this way, but fortunately this wasn't the case for me. The use of two plumber's pipe wrenches was very helpful for me tightening the round nut on the shaft end when installing the new propeller.

For the situation you show, I might consider using a car jack to push the prop off the shaft in little increments, with force on the back of one blade at a time. You could brace your shaft coupler against the inside of the boat to make sure no pressure is exerted on your transmission.

Alternatively, you might be able to rig some kind of rope/cable-based harness to pull the prop off. You could run your harness behind the prop, lead the two/three ends of your rope around your straightened rudder, then use a bar to twist the bejeezus out of the rope on the aft end of your rudder until it's super tight. After you have tension on it, some light taps on the prop might nudge it off.

Good luck with it! I'm sure you'll find a way.
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Old 18-12-2015, 16:10   #13
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Maybe put a hole in the tennis ball so the jack screw goes all the way through? Clever
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Old 19-12-2015, 07:05   #14
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

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... I've adjusted my puller to the proper span and rigged a bit of an adaptation to allow easy placement under water ...
Very clever, indeed.
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Old 19-12-2015, 07:23   #15
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Re: Propeller Removal Preparation

Happy to see you utilizing protective rubbers on the new prop Hudman...
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