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2016 Propel Drive Issues

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10 replies to this topic

#1 rebelbuc

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 07:52 PM

I've had my 2016 Slayer Propel 13 for almost 14 months now.  I continue my love/hate relationship with the propel drive, but the fishing functionality of the kayak keeps me from giving up on it.  I had previously owned about 6 different used kayaks, including 3 Hobie mirage models, when I decided last year to buy my first new kayak!  There is no doubt that the ability to paddle the Slayer Propel anywhere (at a good clip for a pedal craft) as well as the layout, tracking, stability, etc. put it in its own class.  After I had my kayak about 3 or 4 months I had an issue with the pedal bearings popping and occasionally locking up in reverse.  The dealer that I purchased from did some work and maintenance on it, but it gave me similar problems a second time a few months later.  This time they shipped it off to Native to be repaired.  I got it back maybe a 3 weeks later and it worked fine for a while.  Then in July, five days after the one year warranty ended, the drive failed badly when the gears started slipping severely.  I was pedaling about 3.5 mph against a very strong wind in a major ship channel almost 2 miles from the launch when the drive began slipping.  The slipping got progressively worse and I was doing about 1.5 mph when I arrived at the launch.  Since Native had gone into the drive during the warranty period, they agreed to repair it although the warranty was about 5 days expired.  I got it back about a month later and fished with it twice this week.  Towards the end of my second trip the drive began making a constant grinding noise although it was otherwise functioning well.  I plan on greasing it up over the weekend (although I only used it twice after the factory refurbished it) and I expect that I will be greasing the Propel drive on almost a monthly basis.  I applaud Native taking the drive for repair just after the warranty expired, but I was hoping that they would replace this potential lemon with a new unit!

 

Has anyone else had similar experiences? 



#2 NOG Admin

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:12 PM

The Propel has a two year warranty.

I can't say that we've had anyone experience as many difficulties as you've had with your unit, apart from the need to replace/ adjust some parts from wear/alignment, particularly after a factory or our in-house service.

I would get back in touch with your dealer and have them communicate with Native directly on the issues you've had and see what can be done to remedy the problems.

Get:Outdoors - Staff 


#3 rebelbuc

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:16 PM

Thanks for the response.  I thought I had read someone referring to a 2 year warranty, but I was not sure and hadn't confirmed.  Apparently, the rep who sent it in didn't correct me when I assumed 1 year.  That gives me some reassurance that I have over 10 months to get this resolved.  I will try to lube at least the upper via the allen screw to see if that helps.  We did have one very passionate Slayer Propel owner in our club (just bought his 2nd) who mentioned that he needed to grease his brand new unit when it arrived. 

 

Thanks again. 


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#4 rebelbuc

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:51 AM

I just obtained the necessary tools today - grease gun, grease, and spanner wrench - and decided to grease both the top and bottom of the drive.  The motion feels smoother after doing so, but the end result won't be clear until I use the propel drive in the kayak.  I bought the beige teflon grease that was recommended, and I noticed that the existing grease in the lower unit was a dark gray color - quite different from the teflon grease.  I'm assuming that the factory used something other than that recommended by the Native youtube video.  Also, when everything was put back together I noticed that when I go from forward to reverse (or vice versa) I feel a slight amount of slop or looseness in the gearing.  I can't say for sure whether or not this originally existed, but I'm paying closer attention to the drive now. 



#5 NOG Admin

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 07:35 PM

I can't say with 100% certainty that the original grease was the same as the recommended type but with use overtime the friction of the gears meshing will slightly discolor the tan to a grey color, so that's likely the reason behind the color differences.

There is a normal amount of gear engagement delay when switching pedal directions.

Things you would want to periodically check would be a relatively easy rotation of the pedals & gearing with no binding, slipping or lateral movement of the crank arms.

Get:Outdoors - Staff 


#6 rebelbuc

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:46 PM

Here's a follow up.  I greased the top and used the spanner wrench to grease the bottom.  Considering the noise I was hearing previously, I pumped generous amounts of lube into both the top and bottom.  I covered 6 miles while fishing 2 days ago.  The drive was ultra quiet and felt smooth and powerful.  I don't understand why this was needed following less than 10 miles of use after the factory service, but the improvement was obvious.  I now plan on lubing the upper unit as a minimum maintenance every 2 or 3 fishing trips!  Thanks for all the info and advice!



#7 Crumpton

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:53 PM

I purchased a used Propel 13. Ended up replacing bearings myself. Found some after market bearings and seem to be heavier built. Something to note if that happens again when the warranty is out. Easy to replace.

#8 DaveF

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 04:37 PM

I have a 2016 propel 13. Have used on approximately 9 or 10 days fishing. The last time out it started making a slight grinding noise which got considerable louder so I ended my days fishing.

When I got home I discovered the right side plate on the drive had loosened. I was able to tighten it by hand about a quarter to 1/2 turn. Have not used yak since but became increasingly concerned so I ordered the grease gun, grease, and 2 spanner wrenches. I orininally though a seasonal greaseing would be adequate so I had not done any maintenance to date.
I did not notice any unusual wear or metal particals on any of the gears or in the housings when opened up. Then Wiped off all old grease an greased grears liberally and tightened covers. Don’t know why there was a grinding sound after not seeing any obvious damage from what appears to be a loose plate. Could it be bearings?

#9 NOG Admin

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 06:40 PM

Dave, when you get your spammer wrench you'll want to tighten up the side cover tighter than hand tight. There is a normal amount of noise generated from the rotational meshing of the gear teeth. Out of the water it's very quiet however will become louder when in use and under load pressure. The pedals should rotate without any binding or uneven resistance which would likely be an indication of a warn or possibly corroded bearing.

If you haven't come across our Propel maintenance thread it's here http://nativeownersg...tools-warranty/including factory produced tear down and rebuild videos.

Get:Outdoors - Staff 


#10 Moxymo

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 11:54 AM

My propel never slipped , but after about 20 miles began a moaning or groaning sound which got continually worse . I had the tools , so I lubed it with the recommended  Finish Line Teflon grease and it did well for about 4 miles . After that it was loud and hard pedaling again and got progressively worse so I lubed it again . This repeated a couple of times and I came across the idea on the forum to use gear oil in the unit instead . I've only used it twice since doing that , so I will not tell you it fixed the problem . All I know is that Finish Line grease is worthless on this drive . It won't stay in place for more than a few miles before allowing metal to metal contact . Occasional maintenance is one thing but this is equivalent to having to repack your car wheel bearings every time the car leaves the garage . No one would put up with this and I am beginning to see a lot fewer youtube videos of these Native Watercraft being used . I have not contacted Native Watercraft about this because this problem has been reported by many as on going and very little to almost no official response has been made from the company . I feel like they are denying the problem by their continued silence . Any one owning a company should know that "word of mouth " can be your best or worst advertising . It cost nothing , but can make or break a business . No boat is perfect , but obvious mechanical problems should be addressed by the company .  



#11 yoda1080

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:02 PM

Interesting thoughts on everthing about the pedal drive. I had to send my propel back to Native and got a new one back very quickly and it has been great for over 8 months now. I just lubed it with the Teflon grease and have not tried it. I'm wandering if that stuff is going to mess up my drive. Maybe Native needs to go over the drive and look at all of the issues that are going on and see what the problems are. Maybe that Teflon grease is not the way to go and Native should look into alternative lubes.







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