Helices Pirania, con Palas Intercambiables

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Hats Off to Plastic
Piranha prop passes the test

Piranha prop passes the test

The Piranha propeller is a terrific piece of engineering. The propeller was designed by Brad Stahl in San Luis Obispo, Calif. I spent some time with Brad and ran comprehensive tests on this prop. It is made of a very special plastic and cast in a mold by the injection molding process. The result is a light, strong propeller that really works well.

The propeller is made in several parts. It has a hub and blade retainer which can accomodate three or four blades, depending on which hub you select. There are hubs available for both outboard and stern drive applications.

Into these hubs you insert a variety of blades. The blades fit tightly with a near perfect match to the hub. You can select from a wide array of pitches and blade sizes. Thus you can have a propeller for almost any purpose. Included are some really low pitch blade sets that are great for heavy houseboats equipped with small engines.

If you ever wanted to put your houseboat engine on a smaller vessel it would only be neccessary to change the blades in the prop and, Voila! A higher pitch is provided. What if you hit the ground or some floating object? Not to worry, the Piranha propeller was designed for that very emergency.

You need change only the damaged blades! If one is ruined change it. If all are ruined, change the entire group. The change can be made in a few minutes. Changing the blades is a very simple process and it can be accomplished with the hub still in place on the prop shaft.

How well does it hold up? We ran most of our tests on an old MerCruiser model 888 stern drive and a 19-foot houseboat accessory craft. There was a six-inch square piece of lumber chained and floated about eight inches below the surface of the lake. We ran over the heavy lumber repeatedly.

The initial test was intended to show how rapidly the blades could be changed in a Piranha propeller. The first two passes across the timber were made at approximately 15 miles per hour. The lower unit flew up into the air, the engine revved up, and the throttle was cut.

The tests were a total failure, the propeller failed to break! We revved the engine up

The tests were a total failure, the propeller failed to break! We revved the engine up

The tests were a total failure, the propeller failed to break! We revved the engine up

The tests were a total failure, the propeller failed to break! d I was still surprised. Working at a leisurely pace and on my first try, it took me four and a half minutes to change a blade.

For half an afternoon we ran back and forth over that heavy timber. We made dozens of passes and there was no indicationn of damage to the stern drive or the gears. It shifted just as well when we quit as it did when we began. On many of those passes, we failed to break a propeller, at all!

One of the startling things about this demonstration was the hub that held those blades. It is made of the same plastic as the blades and it showed no wear at all! We broke and replaced over twenty blades in a single hub and it was apparently just as tight at the end of the day as it was in the beginning.

You may want to try a Piranha blade on your houseboat. It is lighter and thinner than aluminim and it is much lighter than stainless steel. It is cheaper and quicker to repair than blades of either material. It is impervious to saltwater, easier on your gear shift dogs, and it is very practical. What more could you want?