Marine News from the Great Lakes

Propeller Tuning - Expert Advice

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
By: Ray Treudler, Owner of NorthCoast Prop Tech

There are some key questions to ask yourself about your boat's propeller(s). Is (are) the propeller(s) on my boat sized correctly? Are the vibrations I feel normal to every boating experience? Is my boat using more gas than it should? Is (are) the engine(s) producing the correct RPMs? If you are uncertain about the correct answers to the above questions, you are not alone.

The best way to tell if your propeller(s) is (are) sized correctly is to run your boat at WOT (Wide Open Throttle) and compare the RPMs to the boat/engine manufacturer’s specifications. If your RPMs fall outside of the specifications, then a "tune-up" or even a pitch change may be necessary. If your engine(s) is (are) running at too high or too low RPMs, your boat may be consuming larger amounts of fuel than necessary.

Vibrations on a boat are not normal and propellers do lose pitch over time. Considerable engine load is required to produce the amount of thrust your propeller(s) must deliver to get your boat up on plane. Propeller blades deflect or bend with this stress and with each deflection, and do not always return to their original shape, thus reducing pitch over time. Just like the tires on your car need to be balanced periodically to reduce vibrations, the same goes for your propeller(s).

NorthCoast Prop Tech utilizes Prop Scan to measure propeller pitch to 1/1,000 of an inch and scan the face camber and section shape. We can electronically "see" inaccuracies that are undetectable by the naked eye.

Feel free to come to our shop with your propeller(s) for a FREE propeller scan and analysis. We also straighten shafts, struts, rudders, have in-house welding capabilities, can assist with any new propeller purchases, or provide assistance with any other running gear needs you might have.

Visit us in Huron, Ohio, call 419-433-9550, or find out more at

Originally published in The Beacon, Spring 2017.

This article first appeared in the Winter Issue (Jan/Feb) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Lake Erie, Propellers

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