Join Date: Feb 2011
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Autoprop may have some issue
I was looking for information on Autoprop problems because I just run in to one and I registered because I have firsthand experience with this type of propeller.
I am not trying to promote Autoprop, I found an H20 on the boat at the time of purchase (second hand 37 ft + Volvo penta MD30).
The performances of this propeller are out of discussion. Automatic variable pitch, identical forward and reverse blade profile, low prop wash, good top speed, amazing performance while motor sailing and optimized thrust depending on boat speed, load and sea condition.
All good things but:
It costs a lot of money to buy and you would expect it to last what you pay for instead it is demanding on maintenance and regular checks.
Bruntos recommends greasing every two years and that should be enough.
The reality is that every year the propeller wants to be greased and inspected for seals conditions and bearing condition, the seals are supposed to be good for 1000 hr.
The risks? Unfortunately (and I say this because my boat has this propeller) the risk is losing one blade and I am not saying this by guessing, this is Bruntos writing to me that once the seal starts wearing the water gets in and the grease leaks out. The clearance between the blades and the prop body increases and the bearing balls starts damaging the housing.
The spare parts and repair are astronomically expensive (they easily hit 50% of the cost of a new propeller) and the repair (new machining of the housing) must be done by Bruntos.
You also need special tools to open the hubs, they are not fancy tools but if you don't have them or you cannot build them yourself they sure don't come cheap.
I am glad my boat already had this propeller but if today I had the opportunity to change I would go for a Volvo three blades folding, I would lose a bit in performance but would have almost zero maintenance to do beside cleaning the blades.
Once seals and bearings deteriorate the risk of losing a blade is there and there is not much vibration to warn you that it is about to happen.