Outboard boat propellers will have a hub system. This is the cushioned space between the metal splines that engage the shaft and the metal of the propeller itself. There are different styles used by different manufacturers, each with its own benefits.
What’s the difference between Hub Systems?
Rubber Propeller Hubs are the traditional pressed in hub with a large rubber bushing surrounding the splined metal that slides onto the motor shaft. They are quiet and absorb vibration. As in our Michigan Match series, this style of hub will be in a propeller when it comes off the shelf for purchase, making each model specific to certain motors. Rubber hubs must be pressed in and out requiring the correct cones on a hydraulic press. When they spin, they’ll generally smell of melted rubber and the rubber around the edges will fray indicating the need for replacement. Tacoma Propeller has most of these hub models in stock in our shop, and we are happy to assist you in hub replacement.
Square (or Drop-In) Boat Propeller Hubs such as Quicksilver’s FloTorq or Michigan’s XHS have multiple components including a square sleeve and metal drive adapter. The benefits of this system include ease of installation, range of use, and cost-efficiency. Even with multiple components, almost anyone can install this without the need for shop-grade equipment. Propellers that use the square hub system are available to more motor options because the hub sleeve drops in after purchase, meaning you can hub them to your motor shaft at the time of purchase. When they spin, generally only the black plastic or rubber square portion needs to be replaced making this system cost-effective.
Cushion Lock Boat Propeller Hubs are PowerTech!’s proprietary, patented, Ibex award-winning hub system. The cushion lock system was engineered to provide smoother and quieter gear engagement, which reduces “prop clatter.” It is failure resistant and the rods are field-replaceable for quick and easy emergency repairs. When they spin, only the rods within the hub system will need to be replaced, making it relatively cost-efficient. We’d still recommend a hand press to get the job done swiftly, and are happy to help with the process at our shop in Tacoma.
Which propeller hub system should I choose?
When replacing the hub in your existing boat propeller, you’ll be locked into the hub style that the prop was made for. Feel free to bring your boat prop to our shop, and we can make sure you have the correct parts.
When purchasing new boat propellers, there are factors to consider. Sometimes you’ll have a choice for different hub options, and sometimes you will not. Running the same type of hub system you’ve previously had will likely mean you can continue to use the same attachment hardware, whereas making a change from one to another will mean you’re probably buying new attachment hardware. A prop with a rubber hub will be ready to go out of the box and offer maximum vibration absorption. Square hubs are interchangeable and give a lot of options for easy replacement and carrying a spare. The cushion lock is a great choice when getting into stainless steel.
Regardless of the hub-system your boat propeller is running: Be sure to grease the splines!
Check your motor manual for installation instructions. Different motors will require different torques for prop nut application.