Miscellaneous Propeller Maintenance
Depending on how you treat your propeller, the paint on an aluminum propeller may wear off. If the propeller is in good shape, you can take off wheel, and repaint it with the original color paint – or any color you like – it’s your boat, after all.
Boating in brackish, polluted, or saltwater can cause polished stainless propellers to lose their luster over time. Try using a bathroom cleaner (the kind for soap scum) to scrub residue off of the prop; believe it or not, it usually does a pretty good job.
Speaking of stainless wheels, they’re not stain-proof – they’re stain-less. If you boat in salty, polluted or icky contaminated water, rinse the propeller with fresh water after you’re done for the day, to stave off the development of red iron oxide and prevent the accumulation of an unidentifiable non-aesthetic film from forming on the prop.
If conditions warrant, you might consider “000” stainless wool, penetrating oil, and plenty of elbow grease to eradicate any rust that may appear on your stainless steel propeller.
Can It Be Fixed?
Unless you’ve wadded up your propeller like a tinfoil sandwich wrapper, or broken a blade off at the hub, chances are that the prop can be restored.
Propeller repair results from a fine combination of a deep understanding of hydrodynamics in the context of the propeller/engine/boat relationship, advanced proficiency in metallurgy, as well as highly developed skills in welding, grinding, and reconstructing the propeller to the original manufacturer’s specifications.
Dents straighten out, cracks vanish, and divots disappear in the hands of a skilled prop crew.
Some propeller repair work in progress can resemble an old-time blacksmith’s shop – sparks flying, grinding, welding, and the pounding of hammers. To help ensure the reconditioned propeller’s blades are the same shape as they were when new, the craftsmen in the prop shop often use steel pitch blocks – basically, anvils precisely machined to the identical contour and blade geometry of almost every propeller made.
After the major repairs are done, the prop is balanced, and painted, buffed, or polished – depending on the final finish desired by the propeller’s owner.
Share the Care
Your propeller is really low-maintenance, when compared to the rest of your boat; however, the prop does need a little attention now and again to keep doing its job well.
Consider this – without a propeller, your motorboat is nothing but a very nice raft. Y