Another Propeller Thread - Mercury Factory 3 blade vs Turning Point 4 blade

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by LawyerMan, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    I know there are a ton of propeller threads on here. I've searched through them, read most of them, and even commented and given my own advice in some of them.

    My question, posed to you guys: Mercury 14.25x21 Aluminum 3 Blade Prop (Factory) Vs. Turning Point 14x21 4 Blade Aluminum Prop. Which one is better for all around use (pulling a tube, running at WOT, cruising, etc.)?

    Will I see a noticeable improvement in going with the 4 blade aluminum prop over the 3 blade aluminum prop?

    Will losing .25 inches in diameter matter that much?

    Should I stick with the same pitch (21)?

    Let's hear your input, guys. Thanks in advance.

    PS: And before you respond, I have already ruled out getting a stainless prop. I just don't want to spend the money on it right now (AKA wifey says stop putting money into the boat).
     
  2. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    The reality is (and you likely read this before) that you won't really know how it affects your boat/motor/load combination and expectations/requirements until you try it out. There really is no such thing as the "one best" prop. In fact, the three things you mentioned (pulling a tube, WOT and cruising) are three very distinct aspects of boating and all would require a separate prop for the "best" performance.

    Now, if it was me... I would keep the original prop and put a set of Smart Tabs on there. They will provide a VERY noticeable difference in getting you "out of the hole". Cruising speed and WOT likely won't be affected one way or the other, unlike how using a smaller pitched prop would. The tabs will also calm your bow down (cuts down on "porpoising") when it gets a little choppy. They cost +/- $200 and take about an hour to install.
     
  3. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
  4. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Best thing would be to go right to the Smart Tabs website or, better yet, just give them a call. From memory (the last time I sold a set to someone with your size boat), I believe it may have been the SX model... I think 60lbs. But double check.
     
  5. Husker-Q

    Husker-Q New Member

    20
    Mar 25, 2012
    Kansas City, MO
    2002 Sea Ray 182 BR
    4.3 Mercruiser
    I've done both on my 182 BR 4.3L. I have the 60SX tabs as well as changed prop from 23p 3 blade to an alum 21p 4 blade. I think the combo of the two works great. I got the tabs for porpoising and the prop for pulling / hole shot. Speed dropped a bit with the setup, but will still go way to fast for my wife! I'm never a fan of WOT anyway so speed wasnt of importance, as I generally keep it under 40 mph.

    I would start with the prop change and if you still want more, then go to the tabs. Why drill in the glass if you dont have to! If you do get the SX, make sure they send you the single fitting, because the double fitting binds due to the curved deck

    I should add that I dinged up my 4 blade and had to swap back to my 3 blade whilst I order a new 4 blade and in my opinion there was a huge difference just in that change (all else equal).
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  6. Phlorida

    Phlorida New Member

    867
    Sep 15, 2010
    Satellite Beach, FL
    1995 250 Sundancer
    5.7L Mercruiser w/Bravo II
  7. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    After reading up on them, I'm definitely going to purchase and install some smart tabs over the weekend. I currently have a hydrofoil on the boat (it was on there when I purchased the boat). Should I remove the hydrofoil if I put tabs on?
     
  8. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    I'd start w/o the fin. Get the tabs dialed in the way you want them (although they come sized for your boat, they still have some adjustability for personal preferences), get used to the boat with the tabs, then throw the fin back on and see how you like it.

    You can't go wrong with the tabs - there really is no downside to them. Good luck!
     
  9. Husker-Q

    Husker-Q New Member

    20
    Mar 25, 2012
    Kansas City, MO
    2002 Sea Ray 182 BR
    4.3 Mercruiser
     
  10. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    That's where the fun starts! Besides, there's already probably 100 holes in your boat - one of them is about 2 square feet big! :smt001
     
  11. WazzuCMGrad

    WazzuCMGrad New Member

    225
    Oct 30, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    '08 205 Sport
    Merc 5.0L TKS 220HP; Alpha One
    Hi:
    I just got back from a long weekend on Lake Chelan in WA, and did tubing, skiing, and a bit of wakeboarding on our 180, and also was on my father-in-law's 09 210 SunDeck that was just re-propped.

    He went from the stock SS 19p 3-blade to a SS 18p 4-blade, and was super happy with the hole shot, but he lost almost 10mph of top end. I found out today that he's ordering a 20p... Dennis is right, though; it's all dependent on the situation.

    My experience was that the stock 21p on my 180 was fantastic for all-around work. Popped me out on skis no problem with 2 200+ weight adults still in the boat, and tugged me around on a tube way faster than I wanted to go. Obviously, wakeboarding was no problem either since it's slower speed. We powerslid so much I broke my Garmin transducer mount off the transom (or hit driftwood, which is a problem on that lake).

    Point of the story is, find someone who may have what you're looking for (specifically blades and pitch) and try before you buy. Otherwise, plan to get into the buy/sell business for props.

    Mercury Marine has a good site for dialing in options for props depending on what you're looking for. I'm looking to stay same pitch, with 4-blade, and add Smart Tabs (SX, 60lb is correct for our application). Mostly for the trolling brake capability (yes, I do a lot with my 180), but also for trimming.

    Good luck, whichever way you decide to go.
     
  12. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    What benefits do you see adding a 4th blade at the same pitch? That's what I'm thinking about now.
     
  13. WazzuCMGrad

    WazzuCMGrad New Member

    225
    Oct 30, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    '08 205 Sport
    Merc 5.0L TKS 220HP; Alpha One
    From everything I've read and talked to folks about, the 4th blade should add some hole shot (initial dig), while leaving the pitch the same should reduce the top end hit. It's the hole shot that helps pop up skiiers, and will possibly help the low speed maneuvering.

    Good luck!
     
  14. robbo8199

    robbo8199 New Member

    59
    Aug 3, 2010
    Houston
    1995 Sea Ray 175
    Mercruiser 3.0LX Alpha One
    I was in a similar situation not long ago as I was looking for better performance and was considering changing my prop on my 175. After reading so many reviews of the Smart Tabs I decided to go that route first and see what all the fuss was about. I finally got them installed and the process was pretty simple. I had my father over for moral support and a second set of eyes on my measurements. Drilling that first hole was a bit nerve-racking (I believe my dad’s exact words when I measured for the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] time were “Quit stalling and drill the hole son”). It only took about an hour.

    I have only had it out once since then so I have not had a chance to dial them in or really get much experience with them yet. I can already tell from the first run that they made a huge difference! I was up on plane much faster and the ride was much smoother through choppy water. The boat seemed much more stable in general as well. I now have no plans to change the prop.
     
  15. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    What tabs did you put on your boat? Smart Tabs SX9510-60BL or SX9510-40BL?
     
  16. robbo8199

    robbo8199 New Member

    59
    Aug 3, 2010
    Houston
    1995 Sea Ray 175
    Mercruiser 3.0LX Alpha One
    I used the SX9510-60BL based on a chart I saw for the size of the boat and motor hp.
     
  17. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    I called Nauticus this morning and they said those apply too much downward pressure for out sized boat, and that I should go with a 40 pound shock instead of a 60 pound (which is not what their website says).

    Do you notice the stern of the boat coming out of the water too much on yours? Or do you think this guy didn't know what he was talking about? Would you have gone with a smaller shock?

    I would love your input.

    PS: I see you are in Houston. Where do you take your boat out at?
     
  18. robbo8199

    robbo8199 New Member

    59
    Aug 3, 2010
    Houston
    1995 Sea Ray 175
    Mercruiser 3.0LX Alpha One
    I have only heard really good things (mostly from these forums) about their service so I would be surprised if they were giving you bad info. Although that info seems to be the opposite of what is on the website.

    I didn’t notice it being a problem when I used them the first time. I was out on a very short trip so I didn’t have much time to play with it. I’d probably need another trip or two out to really feel good about making that determination. I’ll keep you posted on how it goers the next time I go out. If they give you an other info on why they would select the smaller size I would like to hear as I may change mine out if needed.

    I live on the north side of town so we tend to hit the lakes up here. We go out on Lake Houston more then anywhere else, but we do hit Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston as well. What about you?
     
  19. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    416
    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
  20. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    If you take notice (if you haven't seen this already), there are adjustment holes built into the tab which allow you to fine tune it. It might be that there is some overlap, depending on what hole you use, between the 40lb and 60lb. But, that's just a guess.

    Before you order it from Ebay, double check with Nauticus that they will honor any warranty issues if you buy it through that seller. Some companies won't honor Ebay sales. I'm not saying Nauticus won't - just double check.

    You might want to check with Jim (boemarine.com) to see what he can do for you. Jim is the owner of Club Sea Ray, but also has an online shop.
     

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