Anyone know of a good propeller guard

Discussion in 'Boating' started by great pappy cat, May 18, 2007.

  1. great pappy cat

    great pappy cat Active Member

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    P.A
    I fish the Susquehanna R. in PA wich is known for being a mile wide and a foot deep.When i first purchased my boat i bought a full enclosher cage for my lower unit.It robbed 1/2 my horsepower and provided little head on collision protection.i cracked my skeg not long after purchaseing this junk .I guess i flushed $130 down the toilet.I was looking at the ones cabelas has to offer such as macs river runner and the rock hopper.I was just wondering if anyone has any advice as to wich brand would be the best investment.I ran my boat with out the guard in place for the 1st time this year and i cant beleive how much power the cage took.I would prefer 1 with minimal performance loss.
     
  2. clintonhawg1

    clintonhawg1 New Member

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    State:
    indiana
    The macs river runner is supposed to be a great product a guy i work with use to break 3 props a year and sense he has put the river runner on he has no damage and no power loss .
     

  3. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    I use a Rock Hopper on my 25 HP Honda. I would estimate about 5 to 8% loss of top end speed from this guard The guides in Canada's rocky waters say that if you send out two identical boats, one with a guard and one without, leaving the dock the one without the guard will be faster, on the way back the one with the guard will be faster. The reason is the guardless boat will lose a prop and/or lower end.

    I talked to the Owner of the Allenwater Bridge Fishing resort in Canada. His clients frequent rocky river and lakes and he runs over 20 Lund Semi V hull boats. He told me no boat will leave his dock without the Rockhopper in place. According to him it has saved him thousands of dollars.

    Now a lot of old timers used to take a pitchfork head and have a bracket welded to mount it to thier lower unit. This helps guide the prop and skeg over rocks and logs and does not affect HP that much. You just need to do a little design work.

    I plan to buy a Clackacraft guard for my 5 HP Suzuki two stroke twin. I use it in pretty rocky rivers on a square end canoe and it is the only guard that I could find that will fit my Suzuki. It was designed by the maker of one of the premier drift boats for use in swift water rivers. I will report on how it does once I start using it.
     
  4. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    Update on the Rockhopper skeg/propeller guard.

    I got in a new Piranha three blade composite prop the other day. I took it and the Rockhopper out for testing. According to my Lowrance GPS the best speed I was getting without the Rockhopper was 22 MPH with two people and all our gear. With the Rockhopper in place I was getting 20 MPH with the same load and trim. This is closer to a 9% loss. Also for some reason the engine seemed louder. It may be due to the extra turbulence from the guard.

    However the good news is the guard is a quality piece of equipment. It is all stainless steel and fits nice and snug with no slop or movement. With a ratchet it takes less than two minutes to remove the guard and it stows away in my front locker when not needed. Running known clear water one might be tempted to leave it in the locker. In unknown water, rivers or stumpy areas it is comforting to have.
     
  5. JMarrs328

    JMarrs328 New Member

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    471
    State:
    York/Harrisburg, PA
    a lot of guys that fish the susquehanna get jet boats, so that they can run in shallower water.
     
  6. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    NC
  7. great pappy cat

    great pappy cat Active Member

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    State:
    P.A
    I drove out to cabelas on fri. to pick up only a rock hopper.It was my first time to cabelas and, i am weak around fishing stuff .I left $370 poorer.Apearently installation of this gaurd is supposed to be simple but its still not attatched.hopefully someone can tell me if i have it on there right.(Ill attatch pix)i have a 1986 20 hp mercury supposedly it fits,but it dosent seem to.Im not drilling holes untill im sure its on right.there is 3 things im not sure of 1st in the instructions it says the front of the guard should be against the front of the motor where the collisions will occur.and it may be neccessary to tap it with a mallat.well i beat the crap out of it and pic1 is as against as it gets.2nd are the 2 arms that attatch to the cavitation plate supposed to be level with the cavitataion plate?(pic 2)3rd these 2 arms are they supposed to be pinched against my lower unit.because if so the bolts wiil be riding up on the radius where the cavitation plate meets the lower unit.I i appreciate any help with this tabacel
     
  8. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    You NEED to call Rockhopper!! I have found them most helpful. I am no Rockhopper expert but you appear to have the wrong guard.

    1. The arms do not appear to be long enough.

    2. The skeg cup do not appear to be a good fit. There should be no room at the rear of the cup when the skeg is in place.

    3 The arms should be level with the cavitation plate.

    My unit went right on and everything fit first time. I clamped the arms to the cavitation plate with Stanley carpenter clamps and addjusted the position. My main headache was figuring how close to the leg the arms should be. Too close and the bolts come thru on a sloping part of the plate where it gets thicker. Too far out and the plate would be weak.

    Call Rockhopper ASAP
     
  9. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    State:
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    I just reviewed your pics.

    Try taking the arms lose and reversing them so the arms go on top of the cavitation plate. The skeg cup still looks too big but the front gearbox contact is OK. With the arms set to go on top of the plate they might be level with the plate. They still appear to be too short though.

    Good luck
     
  10. great pappy cat

    great pappy cat Active Member

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    728
    State:
    P.A
    thanks david for your help I made double certain before i left that store i had the write guard.I did as you said and it looked a little better but i still didnt look write.I beleive i bought a defective out of tolerence guard.It really irritates me that most fishing stuff is manufactured poorly.It seems everything I buy ends up being a peice of crap. the manufacturers dont seem to care about quality they just want to make as much $ as they can.well i bit the bullet and installed it anyway.I plan on exploreing alot of unfamiliar water on this long weekend coming up so i dont have time to get another and 1 more collision Ill loose a nice sized chunk of my skeg.so this is how it came out i hope it works ok.at least itll get me through the weekend.
     
  11. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    I had a friend that took an old potato 4 prong fork and took the handle off and welded two straps on the part that goes into the handle that would extend past his lower unit right below the anticavation plate and put bolts through the straps and made him a guard.
    It ain't the fanciest looking thing but him and I have fished some shallow rocky bottoms with it and hasn't done any damage yet.

    If I can catch him still long enough I'll get some pictures of it.
     
  12. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

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    Still Looks like the wrong guard for that motor but I think it will work. After all it is not rocket science but it does need to be done right. I hope it runs well for you. Be sure to leave your motor unlocked and slow down in unfamiliar waters.
    I really think the Rockhoppers are well made products but that does not exclude the possibility that the one you got was mislabeled as far as what it fits or that the welder grabbed the wrong template when he made it up.

    Send your pics to Rockhopper and see if they think it is going to be alright.

    kajacob@rockhoppermotorguard.com
     
  13. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

    Messages:
    353
    State:
    NC
    I keep hearing about the "pitchfork method from boys in the Allegheny River region. If you could post that picture I would appreciate it. I have a pitchfork head ready and a five horse waiting for a guard.
     
  14. CoonX

    CoonX Member

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    State:
    Oklahoma City O

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  15. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Yep, that is how it is built. :cool2:
     
  16. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

    Messages:
    353
    State:
    NC
    Well I collected some galvanized bar stock and a 5 prong manure fork head and set about to build myself a homemade rock guard.

    Pics to follow;

    First of all my Suzuki has a weird leg and foot. It is an unusual shape and does not provide the easy hook up points of the engine pictured above. However, I selected two points, one below the cavitation plate and one up where the leg joins the foot.
    I tried to bend the bar stock to match the contours of the leg to grip it tightly without compressing the housing. I was never entirely satisfied with the fit or the griping power of the clamps until I slipped a piece of garden hose over the straps. That provided the combination of tight fit without felling like I was going to over tighten against the cast aluminum.
    I inserted the handle portion of the manure fork into a piece of square tubing filled with two ton epoxy. It should cure as tight as a welded piece over the next 12 hours. Basically the setup is the same as in the picture above except my fork has five tines rather than three and my brackets are covered in green garden hose.
    Other than dinged fingers and the usual fabrication hassles the only problem I encountered was due to my lack of proper metal working tools like a welder or an extra large vise. My bracket angles are not as sharp as I would like and due to that the bracket sticks out to the front of the engine leg further than it really should. As a result the front of the upper bracket hits the back of my boat with the engine in the lowest tilt angle hole. However, in the second hole it seems to be fine.

    All that remains now is to see how it runs in the real world. One of my immediate concerns are the sharp fork tines sticking down from the lower leg of my engine. This is a portable engine and is often handled, loaded in the back of my truck and portaged around dams and rapids. The wise use of a grinder on the tine tips would go a long way to make it safer. I think it is a pierced foot or lower leg waiting to happen the way it is now.
    It is a neat idea and I banged it together in about three hours using materials I found laying around the farm. I suspect that is how the "pitchfork guard" concept came to be invented originally.

    If it runs well I may keep it on my engine and save the $160.00 I was gonna spend on a Clackacraft guard when they come back in stock. Pretty it ain't, but the price is right and don't see where a Rockhopper or a Clackacraft would do that much better a job.

    Points to ponder.

    1. If you tighten a bracket too much you could crack you lower housing.

    2. If the pitchfork head is not held properly it could rotate under impact and do just as much prop damage as any rock.

    3. Even dulled or rounded end pitchfork tines are dangerous when attached to a top heavy outboard. Be particularly careful when unloading an engine with a guard like this. Also watch the engine foot in shallow water I almost stuck a tine thru my foot tonight putting the engine on my canoe to test the fit. PAY ATTENTION.