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Old 01-22-2021, 02:38 PM   #1
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Prop "locked" when out of water?

Maybe this is a common thing, but I didn't find any prior posts on this and I am a newbie to trawlers. I pulled my boat out the end of October for some work, and was noticing the other day that the propellers feel like they were locked... at least I couldn't turn by hand (and the transmissions were in neutral). They had turned relatively easily in the water before pulling the boat out. Felt a few other props in the yard and they were all tight/locked as well. So was just wondering if this was normal, and when you initially put back into water, should you wait a bit for packing to absorb water? Should you loosen packing in the yard beforehand so that you can turn the prop dry? Maybe pre-wet packing? Perhaps there is some procedure to follow once back in the water before initially putting into gear? Thanks for any comments.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:57 PM   #2
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Assuming you were correct that the gear box is in neutral.
A mechanical gear must be put into neutral by you. A hydraulic gearbox will always be in neutral any time the engine is not running even if the control was left in gear.

However, there will still be some drag from a gear box although it should be light.
THe other sources of drag are the stuffing box AND the cutless bearing at the shaft end near the propeller.

One way to check is mix a soapy solution and spray the cutless bearing. It should lighten up. Water is a lubricant and that is how the cutless survives.
Sometimes a cutless can delaminate or swell grabbing the shaft.

Of course any engine/shaft misalignment will add to drag.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:00 PM   #3
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I think it is unusual for props to be totally locked out of the water, but they can sometimes get a lot harder to turn. This is both because of the lack of lubrication from water and also because the weight is distributed differently, changing the shape of the hull, and with it the alignment of the transmission, shaft seals, stern bearings, cutlass beating and struts, etc.

If you have dripless shaft seals, they often need to be "burped" to get water back in immediately after being splashed. Sometimes conventional stuffing boxes will also need minor adjustment. But, other than that, no special prep is needed w.r.t. the shafts after a routine haul out.

If things affecting alignment are changed, they should usually be fine tubed after a few days to a few weeks back in the water so that things have time to settle back in for the fine tune.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:12 PM   #4
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I've always found that the prop spins easily when out of the water.
As mentioned above, if a boat is blocked up poorly on uneven ground it may put stress on the shaft and make the prop hard to turn.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:32 PM   #5
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Rubber cutlass bearings can seize to the shaft when sitting a matter of months on the hard. Squirt some Dawn in, let sit, and pull real hard on the props. Should let go.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Rubber cutlass bearings can seize to the shaft when sitting a matter of months on the hard. Squirt some Dawn in, let sit, and pull real hard on the props. Should let go.
Oh, yes. This, indeed ^^^^.

Somehow I totally failed to realize that the boat had been on the hard since October. Do what Ski says :-)
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:27 AM   #7
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Most props spin really easily when you are attempting to remove the prop nuts.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:53 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the responses. I haven't put all my force into it so perhaps"locked" is not exactly the right word, but it is definitely much tighter and I haven't been able to turn them any so far with just one arm... and I wasn't sure I wanted to put that much force into trying to turn them lest I damage something. I will try the dawn, and maybe also undo the packing gland hoses and try moistening them some too. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TrawlerTed View Post
Thanks everyone for the responses. I haven't put all my force into it so perhaps"locked" is not exactly the right word, but it is definitely much tighter and I haven't been able to turn them any so far with just one arm... and I wasn't sure I wanted to put that much force into trying to turn them lest I damage something. I will try the dawn, and maybe also undo the packing gland hoses and try moistening them some too. Thanks again everyone!
Ski is a valuable resource here
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Old 01-24-2021, 04:27 PM   #10
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Same reason that you can't do a shaft alignment out of the water. See post #3.
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Old 01-24-2021, 05:33 PM   #11
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For 20 years, everyone who tried to turn my props, when out of the water, would claim that I need to get my alignment fixed, as they shouldn't be so hard to turn.
I never had any issues with shaft alignment, as measured inside the boat, while in the water, but when I got the cutlass bearings replaced, a few years ago the struts were off enough that they had to be removed and relocated to obtain proper alignment. Now the props will turn more easily when out of the water.
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