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Old 03-24-2002
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Pulling Propellers

How do I remove a stainless steel wheel from a stainless steel shaft thatís been on for 21 years? I have used pullers and WD 40, but it just won't budge.

Sue & Larry respond:
Thanks for your question. The standard procedure for removing a prop from your shaft is as follows:

Whenever possible, a propeller puller should be utilized. A prop puller is designed to exert high yet safely positioned and applied pressure on the prop to encourage release without damage to the prop or shaft. If you canít get your hands on one of these, position a piece of hardwood, like oak, behind the hub and as close to the shaft as possible. Using a three or five-pound mallet, sharply strike the wood. Work your way around the hub evenly. If still stuck, focus your efforts near the location of the key. Lastly, a quick and effective method to dislodge a stubbornly stuck prop is to heat the hub evenly with a propane torch. Use a moderate to high setting on the torch, and be sure to work it around the hub. This method is used by boatyards all the time.

When it comes to removing a stubbornly stuck wheel, we know how frustrating it can be. A couple of years ago while we were hauled out in the boat yard, we were faced with the same problem. We tried a small prop puller with no success. After checking with the pros at the yard, we soon discovered that there are prop pullers, and there are prop pullers. With our new $200, mega-sized prop puller in hand we gave it another try and happily the prop released its tenacious hold on our shaft. Our prop puller is an Algonic Propeller Puller from Minderman Marine Products. Their phone number is: 800/722-2626

This may seem a lot to pay for a prop puller when we knew that there was another way to release the prop, but we wanted to know for sure that we could always get the prop off any time we wanted to, even while the boat was in the water. If this is not a concern of yours, you can forego the mega-sized prop puller and use the propane torch method to free your prop from the shaft.

Best of luck with your project.

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