Tacoma Propeller Frequently Asked Questions

Tacoma Propeller offers you some commonly asked questions from our over 50 years of experience in the boat propeller, repair and parts business. If you need any further help or have more questions please feel free to call us at 253-272-5065.

Where are you Located?

Tacoma Propeller is located near the Tacoma Dome off exit 133 at

2601 East “F” Street

Tacoma, WA 98421

Find us on Google Maps

PROPELLER REPAIR

HOW DO I SEND MY PROP TO YOU FOR REPAIR?

To send your propeller, box it and include the following information:
•Name
•Mailing address
•Phone number (Daytime phone number)
•What you need done to your propeller
•Any special questions, concerns, or problems
We will contact you with the cost and time needed to repair your prop.

IS MY OUTBOARD OR STERNDRIVE PROPELLER REPAIRABLE?

Tacoma propeller repairs thousands of propellers annually. In most cases a damaged propeller can be repaired. Often what the customer feels is not repairable is.  Send your propeller to us and we will evaluate it and call you with a price and time it will take to complete your repair. You can expect your prop to look and function as good as new when repaired by us.

CAN MY SKI BOAT PROPELLER BE REPAIRED?

We repair hundreds of ski boat propellers annually. It is seldom that a propeller cannot be economically repaired. Send us your prop and we will evaluate it and call you with your total cost (including any taxes and shipping) as well as when you can expect to receive it.

HOW DO YOU REPAIR MY OUTBOARD OR STERNDRIVE PROPELLER?

When we receive your propeller it is tagged with your name and any special instructions for the technicians. Your propeller is assigned a control number to assure that we repair and return the propeller you gave us. Next, your propeller is straightened and pitched using a pitch block. A pitch block is a precision machined dye of your propeller, which allows us to correct the pitch, rake and track of prop. The prop is then bead blasted to remove all paint, corrosion, and residue. After your prop is clean it is off to the welding station to weld back any missing blade area. Once welded, the prop is reshaped and excess weld is removed. It is at this point that your propeller is balanced so that it operates smoothly and quietly. As a final step your propeller is primed and painted to protect the metal. Stainless Steel propellers are repaired much the same way except it is polished back to a high mirror finish.

CAN MY ALUMINUM OUTBOARD OR STERNDRIVE PROPELLER BE PITCH CHANGED?

Most propellers can be pitch changed two inches up or down. The propellers blade can only be changed approximately 70% of its blade area. Where the blade meets the hub is unchangeable. A pitch change is not going to be true to what a new propeller would be but is a viable option to correct the propellers load on the engine.

 

PROPELLER PERFORMANCE; CHOOSING A PROP

WHY WON’T MY STERNDRIVE PERFORM AS WELL AS OTHER DRIVE OF COMPARABLE BOAT LENGTH, BEAM, AND WEIGHT?

Differences in hull design, such as dead rise, position of water gravity and transom angles can account for significantly different performance. Transom angle is important since it governs the maximum tilt setting of the stern drive and consequently the shaft angle.


CAN I TROLL BETTER WITH A DIFFERENT SIZE PROPELLER?

Lower pitched propellers are always best for trolling. The lower the pitch, the better the trolling. Standard propellers with relatively high pitch troll too fast and in throttling down to extremely slow speed, they tend to overload the engine. A low-pitched propeller relieves overloading, permitting the engine to idle faster while moving the boat slower.


WHY DO OUTBOARD MOTORS OF THE SAME POWER SOMETIMES TAKE DIFFERENT PROPELLER SIZES?

This is due to differences in lower unit gear ratios. Stock outboards are geared so that the propeller shaft turns at a slower speed than the RPM at the power head. This is usually expressed as a ratio such as 12:21 or 14:28, referring to the number of teeth in the drive gears. The lower the gear ratio, the larger the propeller that can be used and vice versa.


HOW CAN I BE SURE MY MOTOR IS OPERATING WITHIN THE RECOMMENDED RPM RANGE?

This can only be checked with a tachometer. There are various kinds available and we recommend that every boat be equipped with a engine tachometer.



WHAT DIAMETER PROPELLER SHOULD I CHOOSE?

This is a popular question for us. Many manufactures develop propellers of several diameters. The propeller diameter is usually decreased as the propeller pitch is increased. This is true in most all outboard and sterndrive propeller applications. Propeller diameter is the total circle that it makes in one revolution. As the propeller’s aft rake is increased its diameter is reduced. The propellers rake and geometry has an effect on diameter, as such we place more value on propeller pitch than that of diameter.



WHAT IS THE BEST PROPELLER FOR MY BOAT?

If you are a boater that only requires a propeller that delivers maximum speed and have no concern with water skiing and water sports, than a three blade propeller is a good choice and will perform to your expectation. If you desire a good performing propeller that delivers better acceleration without a significant amount of top speed loss then we recommend a four blade prop. If you desire good top speed and maximum thrust, as well as smooth operation for water skiers, and cost is not a concern then the mercury high five is our recommendation.


HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BOAT HAS THE CORRECT SIZE PROPELLER?

The correct propeller size is one that achieves your boats maximum designed speed while operating within your engines maximum RPM range. There are many propeller styles available to confuse you but it all comes down to this: What propeller achieves your needs? Generally for maximum speed a three blade is your best choice. In some boats a four blade will be a good choice as they perform well and are smoother and offer better acceleration. For boaters that require maximum acceleration without a significant speed loss the mercury high five is a good choice. In summary it really comes down to you and what your expectations and budget are.


WHY DOES MY BOAT HAVE A HARD TIME PULLING A WATER SKIER UP?

This is a very common question for us and the answer is very basic. The typical propeller furnished with many new boats today is propped for maximum speed. To pull a water skier or any other type of pulling condition you require more thrust than top speed. This is easily accomplished by reducing the pitch of the propeller, thus increasing RPM and reducing top speed. Usually two inches of reduction in pitch from a propeller is all that is required. Many of our customers prefer to carry on board a prop for maximum speed and a prop for maximum pull.

Note: When operating your boat never allow the engine to operate beyond its maximum rated RPM.