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Old 09-07-2008, 13:16   #1
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Vari-prop vs. Max-prop

Does anyone have experience with these two feathering props? I'm looking for anyone who knows first-hand the pros and cons of each manufacturer. I am wondering which of these units would work best on a new Lagoon 380 that will soon be commissioned.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:04   #2
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I don't know anyone who's done back to back tests but I can vouch for the max prop. As I've stated many times it is the singular best mod we've done to the boat.

It pretty much is infinitely variable in terms of setting the internal stops and we seem to have found the sweet spot the first time round. As an engineer I am very pleased with how clever the design is and it is very well made.

We only have a 10 hp Volvo with saildrive and had the original (clamshell) folding prop. Forward performance was marginal and reversing was worse. We picked up at least 2.5 knots of boat speed and the reversing performance is as good as forward.

We have had the prop on for a year. We removed it recently to change a zinc and it had no build up on it but the grease was all about gone. I don't think it was greased properly the first time. We removed the prop, cleaned it up with a wire brush, relubed it properly and reinstalled it.

It goes smoothly in and out of forward and reverse. Once in a while at slow sailing speeds we will get some windmilling as soon as we shut down the engine. Dropping the engine into reverse momentarily (like the book says to do) fixes it immediately.

Good luck on your decision.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:50   #3
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I have the Variprop on our CL41 and my brother has the Maxprop on his Peterson 44. The one distinct advantage to the Variprop is that it is very simple to change the pitch underwater with just 2 free dives. The Maxprop that is on my brothers boat cannot be changed unless the boat is out of the water. The Variprop is a very simple design and I love it! I have had no problems at all with it.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:41   #4
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*By Invitation* I also see this as advantage Vari-prop, but then I wonder how many times one would actually change the pitch on a prop once it was installed? How long have you each had the respective props on your boats?
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:48   #5
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You certainly don't change the pitch on a regular basis but it sure is nice to be able to fine tune it whenever you want by simply diving down. As one example, for ocean sailing I have it tuned for optimum performance at full throttle. when the time comes for us to motor down the ICW I would overpitch it some so I could run at lower RPM's. Then change it back when we left the ICW. It is very easy to change the pitch.
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Old 10-07-2008, 20:22   #6
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There are those that will tell you that you can change the max-prop underwater. I would not attempt it at any time.

There are 8 allen head bolts and cotter pins to get it apart. And it should be packed with grease when you put it back together.

If changing the prop pitch periodically in the water is something you need to do, the max prop would not be my recommendation.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:30   #7
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If changing the prop pitch periodically in the water is something you need to do, the max prop would not be my recommendation.
I agree. Its one thing to go into the water for recreational diving but every time you wanna change ya prop pitch, no thanks, I'd prefer to go the CPP (controllable pitch propeller) way.
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Old 19-07-2008, 06:57   #8
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Max-prop does or did make a model where you can easily change the pitch underwater, at extra cost.
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Old 26-07-2008, 17:17   #9
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Thanks everybody... Seems there is not a lot of info on Vari-prop. Everyone I've talked with has raved about the Max-prop. I just can't imagine that once the prop is set correctly, you would ever change the pitch again (*by invitation* excepted). So- looks like I bite the bullet and go with Max-prop...
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Old 26-07-2008, 17:59   #10
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I can't help with firsthand experience, but I can say that Michael Adler (of Adler-Barbour fame) is a member of our former yacht club in Irvington, Virginia. He is a principal of Variprop USA. Michael is a terrific guy, and I know he would be happy to talk with you about the Variprop, and give you helpful, honest advice.

You can contact him at

58 Henrys Creek Ln, Kilmarnock, VA 22482-3506 Phone: (804) 436-0150
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Old 27-07-2008, 07:06   #11
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US vs Europe

Suspect that this is just Nth America-centric vs Eurocentric.
I went thru this selection process and after discussing with Dutch and German marine engineers elected for Variprop. Their website is good with excellent quality info, provide very good advice and quick response from German factory. They make a dinky 4 bladed feathering prop. Also offered a good discount rolling into the European winter.
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Old 28-07-2008, 10:12   #12
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There are those that will tell you that you can change the max-prop underwater. I would not attempt it at any time.

There are 8 allen head bolts and cotter pins to get it apart. And it should be packed with grease when you put it back together.

If changing the prop pitch periodically in the water is something you need to do, the max prop would not be my recommendation.
I am one of those who would tell you that you absolutely can change the pitch of a Max Prop underwater because I have done it many times. Is it something that a novice should attempt? Maybe not. But as PYI (the North American distributor of Max Prop) will happily tell you, just about any service that can be done on a Max Prop on the hard, can be done underwater. PYI can recommend experienced divers in your area as well. In any event, you do not have to haul to have any model of Max Prop serviced. In fact, this holds true for virtually every folding or feathering prop available.
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Old 29-07-2008, 06:07   #13
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fstbttms - I know you have posted that before and that you have done it many times.

How do you handle lubricating the internal workings of the prop underwater?
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Old 29-07-2008, 07:19   #14
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I did not get my prop back from Max Prop until my after my boat was put back in the water (it was reconditioned due to some electrolysis). I actually reinstalled it underwater, I would recommend knowing exactly how they are put together. There are a few small parts that can easily be dropped and lost if you are not extremely careful (not recommended for a novice). You definitely need an air supply and it must be calm with no current. In order to install a Max prop, about 3/4's of an inch of the threads will need to be cut off, under these circumstances, the vessel should probably be hauled out of the water. When I told my shaft fabricator that I would like to be able to use a fixed blade or a Max prop, he modified my shaft end to take a stainless steel coder pin and made me a thinner keeper nut. I really like how the Max prop performs however they are very expensive props and I don't think I would want to afford to buy another one.
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Old 29-07-2008, 08:24   #15
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How do you handle lubricating the internal workings of the prop underwater?
Exactly as you you do it out of the water- with a grease gun and the 6mm zerk fitting supplied with the prop. The body of the prop has two threaded holes into which the zerk fitting can be screwed. Simply remove the set screw for a particular hole, screw in the zerk fitting, attach the grease gun and have at it. Repeat on second hole, replace set screws and you're done. Out of the water, underwater- it doesn't matter. The grease doesn't care.
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