Removing the Autoprop blade caps
One of the very first tasks to complete with the rebuilding of an Autoprop sailboat propeller is the removal of the blade caps. This sounds easy but it is often the hardest part of the process. Each Autoprop blade is fitted with a cap to keep the moving parts fully immersed with grease. The grease is kept in place using two seals. First on the back of the blade there is a large lipp seal which is pressurized by the tightening of the blade at the end of the refurbishment. This is a moving part and is therefore prone to wear. the second seal is the blade cap, which we are trying to remove now. This is an O-ring seal and once tightened does not rub or wear. The seal is however prone to hardening and also collecting any protective paint applied to the propeller making it effectively glued into position on some installations.
There is a supplied tool from Bruntons Propeller to make the job easier called the peg spanner. As you will see from the video below, it can be a challenge, even with the right tool!