I have recently had an email which has brought comments to my attention regarding your propeller problem. Firstly I would like to say that we, Steel Developments, take any complaint seriously and do our utmost to rectify any problems experienced by our customers. However if we are not made aware of any complaint we can not give an opinion and it seems unfair that our good name and reputation which has been built up over many years trading is slurred in this manner. I do not understand why this problem with the complete facts has not been brought to our attention so we could at least have the opportunity of putting our side of the story.
After reading the numerous comments I would like to state the following;
1. With regard to our company. We have been trading since 1958 and specialize in the field of propellers. We repair and sell new propellers suitable for most of the leading brand of outboard and sterndrive. We are the UK agents for Solas propellers but we also supply and are agents of many other brands of propellers including, Mercury, Mariner, Volvo, Powertech, Austral, Suzuki and Yamaha to name a few. When we give advice on a propeller selection we do so on the type and use of the boat and the budget of the customer.
2. Solas propellers--- The Solas range offers a good quality all round propeller for a very reasonable price. The rubber bushes fitted to the propellers will stand the same power as an original part and to state that a "Solas propeller bush is only rated to 130hp or not up to the job" is simply not true. Solas propellers suffer very few problems with bush failure but if is the case then we need to be made aware so we can take the problem up with the manufacturer, if people don't tell us the problems we can't correct them. You may also be interested to know that several leading engine manufacturers actually fit Solas propellers on their engines as standard, i.e. Honda, Suzuki, Selva etc, surely this must say something ?- companies such as these would not fit substandard equipment on their products as there reputation is at stake I'm sure you would agree.
3. Rubber bushes are fitted to propellers to protect the lower unit drive train and are designed to sacrifice themselves in the case of excessive loading. Excessive loading can be as the result of the propeller hitting an obstruction or general overloading. If the propeller leaves the water when it re-enters the bush is put under a huge amount of strain, even more so if the revs have risen while out of the water, if this regularly happens without suitable throttle adjustment especially with a big heavy powerful boat and/or heavy sea conditions any bush will be weakened to the point that it will eventually fail, this is the reason why race boats which do come out of the water a lot very rarely use rubber bushes in their propellers, they use solid hubs, this is fine if you accept the much higher risk of damage to the lower unit in the event of an impact. Any rubber bush will always be a compromise between protection for the lower unit and performance, whilst I do realise that it is not always practical to reduce rpm when airborne you must realise that it is a simple fact that this will always put the rubber bush under strain. Based on the story of your journey to Alderney which by your own words sounded pretty extreme maybe you should consider a solid hub racing type prop as you have a big RIB with a big engine in almost racing conditions.
I do not know where you took the propeller to be rebushed but I can assure you that Solas only make one type of bush for their props, they don't make a "heavy duty" version nor as far as I know do any other manufacturer for their own products. All manufacturers specify a type and size for a replacement rubber bush for their propellers and if the correct bush is not fitted then you may experience other problems with the prop e.g. splitting of the hub etc. If we undertake to rebush a propeller we will fit a genuine item that the manufacturer of the propeller recommends. We do not use inferior or sub standard parts, there is no point as it will only fail with the resulting unhappy customer and unpaid warranty work for us. Just for the record Solas rate the Titan range to 300HP and all re-bushes carried out by us are with genuine Solas bushes fitted with Solas supplied bush fitting lubricant.
4. I have inspected the pictures you have posted on the site and can quite clearly see a repair number on the propeller so why you were sold it as new I do not know and will not comment on this time as we do not know it's full history but from what we can see of the repair code it was not re-bushed. If you want to contact me with more information I will gladly look into this further,our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
. As for the shape of the bush this is not uncommon and is mainly due to the high level of compression needed to insert it in the hub.
5. With regard to mistakes, yes we are humans here at Steel Developments and like the everyone else we do occasionally make an error. However I have done a search myself on this site as you suggested using "Steel Developments" as the search criteria and or problems relating to our company and can only come up with this situation and one other in which we did make a genuine mistake and swapped the propeller immediately that the problem was brought to our attention with all postage costs paid for by ourselves. We do our best not to make errors as we prefer our customers not be inconvenienced but if we do we have no hesitation whatsoever in putting the situation right for all concerned. I would like to say that I was very pleased to see so many people were very pleased with our service and knowledge, it is nice to hear this, thank you.
In conclusion, I find it very disturbing that a propeller has been sold that quite clearly is not new as a new propeller, someone has then told the purchaser that we have rebushed it when we have not and we have not been contacted in any way by the related parties in this instance, it has been left to another totally unrelated person to let us know of the problem. It is very frustrating to find that our name has been publicly condemned by someone without giving us the courtesy of giving our side of the story or even bothering to contact us in the first place to let us know of any problem, it seems you are quite prepared to take one persons view without any evidence, this seems very unfair. I would state for the record, that if anyone has a problem with any service or goods supplied by us to contact us directly, we always do our best to rectify any problems as quickly as possible, it is in our interest after to keep our good name and client base so we can continue trading for another 45 years.