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Thread: Alum vs. SS props

  1. #1
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default Alum vs. SS props

    I recently tried out an aluminum prop because I tried to dig a channel in an underwater island. Here's my findings:

    Boat is 2015 Hewes 220 ETHT Ocean Pro. Motor is a 3.3L Yamaha F250.

    15-1/2" x 17P Yamaha Saltwater series II EDS prop SS WOT 6100 rpm and 44mph with 2 people, 2 dogs, and 85 gals fuel. Best fuel econ was 3.2mpg.

    15-3/8" x 19P Solas Rubex Aluminum prop. WOT 5500 rpm and 40mph with 25 gals fuel and 1 person. Best fuel economy while the boat was light was 3.7mpg. The holeshot and low/midrange torque sucked. I was still able to get on step with way way too much gear and extra fuel but it was a slow go getting there. With 5 guys and a full tank of fuel this prop was very doggie. When the boat was light and only me in it, it was fair in responsiveness.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    It would be interesting to see more of an apples to apples comparison.

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    Comparison not really needed.....I spun out the hub on my Saltwater specialist II this summer (17 pitch) and had to go back to my oem back up aluminum prop......I have a 225 Yamaha on a foot raider hard top.....it gets on step but is sloppy in a swell, hole shot sucks,.....you can feel it slip. Likely more noticeable if over horsepowered (which I kind of am) or heavy. I'm glad I had that spare as I was 55 miles from home, but I hope I never have to drive that boat again with a aluminum prop.

  4. #4

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    I've run aluminum and SS props on my rigs and there is a definite performance advantage with a SS prop on higher HP engines (150 HP +). Unfortunately, there is also a significant cost increase with a SS prop and they sure are expensive! So, if performance is your objective (and don't care about $$$), then SS is the way to go, no doubt about it. On my lower HP engines the performance advantage of a SS prop is far less apparent. As usual, YMMV!

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    I think stainless is worth the additional cost over time when running in the salt. I'm curious if anyone is running 4 blade over 3 blade, I don't mind losing a little high end speed if I can pick up some mid range efficiency since that is where I spend most of my time running.
    "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." - G.I. Joe

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    Member akdeweyj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patsfan54 View Post
    I think stainless is worth the additional cost over time when running in the salt. I'm curious if anyone is running 4 blade over 3 blade, I don't mind losing a little high end speed if I can pick up some mid range efficiency since that is where I spend most of my time running.
    WFO is fun on the couple of trips out of the year the water is flat enough for it, but mid range running the other 95% of the time is why I went from 3 to 4 blade SS props on my Suzukis. My boat came with 15"x 21p 3 blade SS props that were great for speed they just didn't like to cruise under 4k rpm especially running against the tides. I saved the 3 blades for spares & bought 15.25" x 21p 4 blade SS props that cost me a couple hundred rpm but they work great @ 3800-4200 rpm cruising.
    2007 24ft NorthRiver OS
    Twin 175 Suzuki's
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdeweyj View Post
    WFO is fun on the couple of trips out of the year the water is flat enough for it, but mid range running the other 95% of the time is why I went from 3 to 4 blade SS props on my Suzukis. My boat came with 15"x 21p 3 blade SS props that were great for speed they just didn't like to cruise under 4k rpm especially running against the tides. I saved the 3 blades for spares & bought 15.25" x 21p 4 blade SS props that cost me a couple hundred rpm but they work great @ 3800-4200 rpm cruising.
    The 13 pitch aluminum that came with my 115 allowed lots of noise but little forward motion. Replaced it with a 3 blade Stainless Solas New Saturn. Testing on Big Lake just before freeze up got a great hole shot and 40 mph wot. I'd gladly trade that last 5 mph for the suggested better mid range performance of a 4 lobe prop. I had planned to get that done and try out the Homer king thing this winter, but both my boats got vandalized so I'll get it done next spring when I get it all put back together.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I tried several different props when I first bought my 150 Yammi. Hands down the Yammi brand saltwater series ss prop is the clear performer for running the saltwater here. So much better low end control and response as well as fuel milage.

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    Member akdeweyj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    I tried several different props when I first bought my 150 Yammi. Hands down the Yammi brand saltwater series ss prop is the clear performer for running the saltwater here. So much better low end control and response as well as fuel milage.
    You might be able to save a few bucks on props if you can find out who makes them for Yamaha & buy them from the mfr. I saved about $200 per prop by not buying the props with Suzuki's name on them.
    2007 24ft NorthRiver OS
    Twin 175 Suzuki's
    "Thunderbird"
    MMSI #338033856

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I have a few different props for my 115.
    I have a pair of 14.25" X 17" 3 lobes, I also have a 14" X 17" 4 lobe that are aluminium and I have a stainless 5 lobe that I'm still trying to get the tuning right on. It is a double cupped prop and it was a few hundred RPM low at WOT so I had a prop shop take out one of the cups but it was too much. Going to have to have it recupped again to put in about 1/2 the original cupping.


  11. #11

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    Drifter surely you couldn't find an out of the box prop for a smaller boat? I've seen one boat down here with a 5 blade prop, what advantage would it give you?
    Love my stainless 17's but only run em in the winter when water taxi beaching duties are slim and we have ice here often. They are incredibly smooth & silky. Boat is entirely differant compared to alum props
    Check out Quickwater Adventure water taxi/transport services: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quick...37553606260978

  12. #12
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim View Post
    Drifter surely you couldn't find an out of the box prop for a smaller boat? I've seen one boat down here with a 5 blade prop, what advantage would it give you?
    Love my stainless 17's but only run em in the winter when water taxi beaching duties are slim and we have ice here often. They are incredibly smooth & silky. Boat is entirely differant compared to alum props
    I probably could have but this one was brand new and cost me next to nothing and was very close to what I need.
    It is a $700-$800 prop that I paid $150 for.
    It comes out of the hole like a rocket and you can turn on a dime at WOT even with the jack plate raised 2 1/2".
    My 3 blades will cavitate with the plate all the way down in a tight turn.

  13. #13
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I recently tried out an aluminum prop because I tried to dig a channel in an underwater island. Here's my findings:

    Boat is 2015 Hewes 220 ETHT Ocean Pro. Motor is a 3.3L Yamaha F250.

    15-1/2" x 17P Yamaha Saltwater series II EDS prop SS WOT 6100 rpm and 44mph with 2 people, 2 dogs, and 85 gals fuel. Best fuel econ was 3.2mpg.

    15-3/8" x 19P Solas Rubex Aluminum prop. WOT 5500 rpm and 40mph with 25 gals fuel and 1 person. Best fuel economy while the boat was light was 3.7mpg. The holeshot and low/midrange torque sucked. I was still able to get on step with way way too much gear and extra fuel but it was a slow go getting there. With 5 guys and a full tank of fuel this prop was very doggie. When the boat was light and only me in it, it was fair in responsiveness.
    This probably has lot more to do with the fact that you went to a larger prop with a steeper pitch. Load it as heavy as you thin you will ever run and then prop to make sure you hit at least what the manufacturer says is WOT rpms. Give you a much longer life if you are under propped vs over propped.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
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    https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

  14. #14
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    This probably has lot more to do with the fact that you went to a larger prop with a steeper pitch. Load it as heavy as you thin you will ever run and then prop to make sure you hit at least what the manufacturer says is WOT rpms. Give you a much longer life if you are under propped vs over propped.

    I actually dropped 1/8" in diameter. Steeper pitch, given same material and design, theoretically should have set me back 200rpm- or so some internt experts claim. The smaller diameter should have less grab..but really minimal with 1/8".

    I just thought it was interesting how weak the alum felt and was trying to document what I saw.

    I did have the SS prop fixed. They said that the hub was not spun and that it was rebalanced. The damage to the fins was actually minimal. The prop seems to have a little bit of a vibration. This vibration did not exist prior to the impact and it does not exist with the aluminum prop. I am a bit worried that the vibration is going to cause problems with the lower unit. Hate to fork out 700$ for another SS prop - but when I do, do I go with the same size SS Yamaha Saltwater Series II or ??

    FYI - heavy loaded the Yammi prop spins at 5800RPM. 1/4 tank fuel and 2 people and 2 dogs it hits 6100RPM. Or at least it did prior to this rebuild.

  15. #15
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I actually dropped 1/8" in diameter. Steeper pitch, given same material and design, theoretically should have set me back 200rpm- or so some internt experts claim. The smaller diameter should have less grab..but really minimal with 1/8".

    I just thought it was interesting how weak the alum felt and was trying to document what I saw.

    I did have the SS prop fixed. They said that the hub was not spun and that it was rebalanced. The damage to the fins was actually minimal. The prop seems to have a little bit of a vibration. This vibration did not exist prior to the impact and it does not exist with the aluminum prop. I am a bit worried that the vibration is going to cause problems with the lower unit. Hate to fork out 700$ for another SS prop - but when I do, do I go with the same size SS Yamaha Saltwater Series II or ??

    FYI - heavy loaded the Yammi prop spins at 5800RPM. 1/4 tank fuel and 2 people and 2 dogs it hits 6100RPM. Or at least it did prior to this rebuild.
    for some reason I was seeing 5/8. Vibrations scared me with my outboard, even worse with my douprop. Wish the props were only $700 tho, even on my inboard now I'm at nearly $2K each.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
    Kodiak, AK
    www.alaska-fish.com
    https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

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    Yikes, duoprops. I went on a charter years ago with a great outfit out of Ninilchik, family operation. We smacked a log at the rip line on the way out....Captain wore a frown almos all day. He said the final bill would be well into the thousands if not 10k if the lower unit was involved.


    On a replacement prop......I rehubbed a Yamaha Saltwater Series II this summer after mine spun out (luckily had my alum back up). After a bunch of research, this is an issue with that line of prop, and several others are suggested that have better hub durability.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I actually dropped 1/8" in diameter. Steeper pitch, given same material and design, theoretically should have set me back 200rpm- or so some internt experts claim. The smaller diameter should have less grab..but really minimal with 1/8".

    I just thought it was interesting how weak the alum felt and was trying to document what I saw.

    I did have the SS prop fixed. They said that the hub was not spun and that it was rebalanced. The damage to the fins was actually minimal. The prop seems to have a little bit of a vibration. This vibration did not exist prior to the impact and it does not exist with the aluminum prop. I am a bit worried that the vibration is going to cause problems with the lower unit. Hate to fork out 700$ for another SS prop - but when I do, do I go with the same size SS Yamaha Saltwater Series II or ??

    FYI - heavy loaded the Yammi prop spins at 5800RPM. 1/4 tank fuel and 2 people and 2 dogs it hits 6100RPM. Or at least it did prior to this rebuild.
    I've had very similar experiences with similar results (including the underwater dredging). SS IMO is worth it on a big motor. I also dropped diameter and pitch. Lost a little top end but boat got on step better and motor sounded better despite running at a higher RPM. I also found I could trim the motor out higher without sucking air, which was a plus on that particular boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Yikes, duoprops. I went on a charter years ago with a great outfit out of Ninilchik, family operation. We smacked a log at the rip line on the way out....Captain wore a frown almos all day. He said the final bill would be well into the thousands if not 10k if the lower unit was involved.


    You should see those duoprops eat a gillnet. It's awesome. Such a mess...

  18. #18

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    One huge advantage to stainless- A good prop shop can rebuild them, even change their pitch. Bud just went through that. The prop on his 115 Yami was a little chewed and he decided to have it rebuilt, consulting with them about a pitch change while they were at it. Amazing improvement in hole shots with the new pitch. Yeah, he lots a little speed at the top end, but improved performance at low and mid range was worth the lost of 5mph.

    As for 3-blade versus 4, I recently bought a Hewes Refisher 18 outfitted with Yami's new 115HP SHO. The boat shop wasn't familiar with the motor yet, so engaged me in an experiment. Tried it first with their usual SS prop for the standard 115. Neat stuff, topping out at 53 mph when I had everything adjusted for best speed. Hole shot wasn't all that impressive, but it sure flapped your ears at the top end. Next up we put their best guess at a 4-blade on it. Top speed was "only" 47mph. But it virtually jumps out of the water on hole shots. Never measured it, but with everything set right I can be on step in not much more than the length of the boat. Yeah. I went with the 4.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    these guys are a wealth of knowledge & great to deal with

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I recently tried out an aluminum prop because I tried to dig a channel in an underwater island. Here's my findings:

    Boat is 2015 Hewes 220 ETHT Ocean Pro. Motor is a 3.3L Yamaha F250.

    15-1/2" x 17P Yamaha Saltwater series II EDS prop SS WOT 6100 rpm and 44mph with 2 people, 2 dogs, and 85 gals fuel. Best fuel econ was 3.2mpg.

    15-3/8" x 19P Solas Rubex Aluminum prop. WOT 5500 rpm and 40mph with 25 gals fuel and 1 person. Best fuel economy while the boat was light was 3.7mpg. The holeshot and low/midrange torque sucked. I was still able to get on step with way way too much gear and extra fuel but it was a slow go getting there. With 5 guys and a full tank of fuel this prop was very doggie. When the boat was light and only me in it, it was fair in responsiveness.
    Thanks for sharing your results with us. Please keep us updated if you do try another aluminum propeller. I am currently debating trying some aluminum wheels in lieu of my stainless to see if I can gain a little efficiency. Your rarely hear of anyone going from stainless to aluminum. I would be interested to see what a Rubex 14.5 X 17 4 blade would do on your setup. For others who are switching it would be great to hear specifics on what aluminum propellers you are or were using and how they compare. Not looking to go faster, fuel efficiency is my objective.

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