Anyone that has spent enough time on the water will tell you; it happens. Eventually, you will run aground, run over something, hit something, and eventually damage a propeller. The next question then is:
Can A Bent Prop Be Repaired or Should You Repair Or Replace it? Yes, a boat propeller that has been bent can be repaired. Depending on the amount of damage will determine whether the prop should be repaired or replaced.
Here is a great break down of what you want to know in order to determine whether your propeller is repairable or should be replaced!
What Kind of Propeller Do You Have?
Repairing a propeller can get expensive. Replacing spun hubs is one thing, but when we start talking about bent and damaged props. The price can go sky high, real quick!
Depending on what kind of prop you have, will ultimately depend on whether or not it is worth fixing. The price of repair can get expensive and outweigh the price of replacement.
Propellers can range from $70-$12,000! So there is a big difference in what is worth fixing and replacing.
Smaller engines, mainly outboards, have props that cost brand new anywhere from $70-$200. Depending on the material.
Aluminum props are always going to be a lot cheaper than stainless steel. There are other materials that are used though. Titanium, Nibral (which is Nickel, Aluminum, and Bronze), Bronze, and even composite or plastic!
Smaller outboards with aluminum props, most of the time are not worth fixing. It costs the same to just buy a brand new prop as it does to repair it!
Now Stainless Steel props can go from $400-$1000 and even higher depending on the style.
The larger the prop and the more blades, the higher the price!
When we start talking about 5 and 6 blade props, these are the propellers that get into the thousands of dollars and usually get reconditioned a couple of times in their life.
What Kind of Damage Are We Talking About?
The damage that has been done to the propeller is our next deciding factor. There are many different types of damage that can be done to a prop, but not all are repairable.
You can bend a prop blade, knick the blade, tear off a blade, and they can also get pitted. Not all of these are repairable.
The bent blade, as long as it isn’t too bad, can usually be repaired and your prop can be used for years to come. Knicking can also be repaired, but you will be losing some of the prop, which can change the performance of the boat.
Once a blade has been torn off or massive pitting has set into the prop; it is usually not repairable. Once this happens, the missing blade prop is just scrap metal, and the pitted prop is good for a spare!
It is also important to mention that after a damaged prop has been repaired it is not nearly as strong as it once was. The size and weight of your boat will determine the load that is put on the prop.
Propellers that have had knicks and bends taken out of them, now have a weak spot on them. After an extended period of time, these damaged portions of the propeller can eventually break off.
Leaving you with the option to try and repair again, or purchase a new prop.
Can You Run A Boat With A Bent Prop?
Which begs the question of whether or not you can run the damaged prop as is. Of course, you can run anything you want to run. A prop that is bent, pitted, or has missing pieces can still run.
It is the damage that can be done to the lower unit that you want to think about. A pitted prop isn’t that big of a deal to worry about.
The bent prop, or propeller that is missing a blade, now this is a problem.
A missing or bent prop throws the weight of the prop out of balance. The high RPM’s of the engine will spin that out of balanced prop no problem. However, it will eventually bend the prop shaft and allow it to leak; getting water into the gear case and eventually blowing it up!
You can read this article here about The Different Colors of Lower Unit Gear Lube; which will give some examples of how to know if you have water in your lower unit or not.
In my opinion, blowing your lower unit is not worth the cost of changing out the prop or repairing it. Of course when the damage occurs, you don’t really have a choice.
When you eventually do hit something and damage your prop. Just try and take it easy back to the dock. Not necessarily running trimmed up with the sticks in the pocket!
Then pull the prop off and make sure it didn’t bend the prop shaft before addressing the damaged prop problem.
How Well Does That Propeller Perform?
It is also a good time to think about the performance of the engine and the boat. If you have your boat propped out running perfectly; then you know you already have the right prop and it’s probably worth fixing the one you have.
If the boat is a little over propped or underpropped. It’s a great time to change out the prop!
Maybe you would like to upgrade to a stainless steel prop or go from a 3 blade to a 4 blade. Change out the pitch or run a different diameter.
There are many different reasons why you would want to change to a different prop. It is just something to think about when it happens to you.
Boat Prop Repair Cost
Propeller repair costs are something that has a ton of variables.
The type of damage, the style of the prop, the material of the prop. All of these things will change the price, even the location of where you are and the availability of a prop shop near you!
Then the prop shop itself will have its own costs. You will always pay more for premium shops like Frank & Jimmy’s props. Opposed to Bob’s Backyard Prop Repair Center.
From what I can see in the general market is that an aluminum prop repair averages at about $125.
Then for a Stainless Steel Propeller, it is usually around $300.
Of course, these prices will vary depending on your prop, the damage, and the shop doing the work.
It is weighing that price against the replacement cost of the new one that will be your deciding factor.
How To Fix A Bent Prop
Then there are some types of bends that you can repair yourself! Obviously, there is a little risk in this, but hey, it’s damaged regardless!
The best way to do this is to analyze the extent of the damage. Then, using two adjustable wrenches. You work your way across the bend. Carefully bending just a little bit of the bend out at a time.
Evenly work your way back and forth across the bend, evenly bending it as you go back and forth.
Take your time with it, but eventually, you can work some bends out of the prop. At least enough of it to where you can run the prop without damaging your lower unit.
Hopefully, this helped you out and gave you a good idea of what you are looking at and whether you can repair your bent prop or not.
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