First airboat

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truculentproos
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First airboat

Postby truculentproos » Thu May 11, 2017 2:52 pm

Hello all ,
I was interested in getting some opinions on the first boat I should purchase . I am from South Florida, have a vacation house near lake Okeechobee .I will need something to accommodate at least four people. I am not new to air boats , my grandfather and father both had one . I am looking for something that is fuel efficient , has a long range and maybe capable of going into some salt water, I also don't want to spend a heap of money on a first boat . I've looked at minis but I am not sure that would fit my needs . I also have considered both aircraft and automotive engines and think I would prefer an automotive , simply because I used to be an automotive technician . Any thoughts?

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Sniper
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Re: First airboat

Postby Sniper » Fri May 12, 2017 6:45 am

If I was you I would try to find a nice used High sided boat thats at least 14 ft long with a fuel injected Chevy LS engine in it
the LS engine is by far the best Airboat motor thats ever been used to date if you want to carry weight and have fuel economy and if you have never driven one much I would highly recommend you getting some training before you start taking the boat that you buy out
Sniper You can run but why die tired, If you heard my shot you were not the target
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Stars & Bars
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Re: First airboat

Postby Stars & Bars » Fri May 12, 2017 10:52 am

go with high sided alum. car motor , with reduction......and take it to kissimmee to get stick time.
PEACE , through superior fire power!!!

truculentproos
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Re: First airboat

Postby truculentproos » Fri May 12, 2017 1:18 pm

I've drive both my dad s and my grandfather's boats , so I know how to get around an airboat , I was thinking of going aluminum but I want to go out in salt water and I was worried about corrosion , is it a concern ?I was also thinking smaller power plant .When we repowered my father's boat we built a 383 stroker with 472 go, it was a beast but wow was it expensive to run so I was thinking something more efficient

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diamondback0320
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Re: First airboat

Postby diamondback0320 » Fri May 12, 2017 2:40 pm

You want efficient you'd better buy a 4cyl aircraft


diamondback0320
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Re: First airboat

Postby diamondback0320 » Fri May 12, 2017 2:42 pm

No airboat is cheap doesn't matter what powerplant..They all get expensive at some point

CarMotorBarge
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Re: First airboat

Postby CarMotorBarge » Fri May 12, 2017 9:05 pm

If you want to accommodate at least 4 people, then you need to get a car motor. They make more HSP and provide more static thrust. Also the 5086 and 6061 welded aluminum hulls work good in salt water. The 7075 T6 riveted hulls don't resist corrosion.

Sniper is correct about a fuel injected LS being powerful and efficient. I have a fuel injected LS3 on a 5 seat boat. I have a 34 gallon fuel tank and can get approximately 100 miles to a tank as long as I don't hammer on it too much.
14x7.5 Al David hull with 14 inch transom
419 CI Horsepower Barn LS3 with 2.68 Rotator soft drive swinging 4 blade 83.5" R
GTO Rigging and B&S Tilt Trailer
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Batemaster
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Re: First airboat

Postby Batemaster » Fri May 12, 2017 10:43 pm

I'm working on my first and it's a 4 cyl Lycoming. Definitely not a cheap hobby but addicting. Good luck

truculentproos
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Re: First airboat

Postby truculentproos » Fri May 12, 2017 10:53 pm

Thanks for all of your responses , just to be clear 6061 aluminum hull 14' or larger with LS motor and high transom .I would imagine stainless rigging .Any reccomendation on deck (full deck , half deck or open ) , prop gear box.Anyone know of a boat like this for sale.

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CarMotorBarge
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Re: First airboat

Postby CarMotorBarge » Sat May 13, 2017 8:32 am

5086 or 6061 aluminum hull. Stainless rigging is a solid choice. A 2.68 gearbox ratio with a wide or super wide prop is a proven combination. If you get a high transom, you want an open hull. If you get a deckover, you will need to lower the transom. Also how much are you looking to spend?
14x7.5 Al David hull with 14 inch transom
419 CI Horsepower Barn LS3 with 2.68 Rotator soft drive swinging 4 blade 83.5" R
GTO Rigging and B&S Tilt Trailer
Member of Seminole Airboat Club

truculentproos
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Re: First airboat

Postby truculentproos » Sat May 13, 2017 9:50 am

I don't really a set number , but I could probably spend $20k maybe more if need be

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SWAMPHUNTER45
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Re: First airboat

Postby SWAMPHUNTER45 » Sat May 13, 2017 10:00 am

Doubtful your gonna find a clean fuel injected LS3 boat at that price!

Probably could find a decent aluminum hull with a reliable 383 in that price range.

Read up on what to do in buying a boat I have seen so many people ripped off, BEWARE


On another note:

We all know the best automobile engine ever built and utilized on an airboat was the legendary 500 Cadillac :stirpot:

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Deano
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Re: First airboat

Postby Deano » Sat May 13, 2017 10:47 am

truculentproos wrote:Hello all . . . . I will need something to accommodate at least four people. . . something that is fuel efficient , has a long range and maybe capable of going into some salt water . . . don't want to spend a heap of money . . .
Ahh, Grasshopper . . . So you seek, the long sought but infrequently found, extremely rare, and perpetually elusive
airboat of dreams that may be had by only a select few of most patient and very wisest of men (or a lottery winner).
Sniper wrote:If I was you I would try to find a nice used High sided boat thats at least 14 ft long with a fuel injected Chevy LS engine ... if you want to carry weight and have fuel economy
Stars & Bars wrote:go with high sided alum. car motor , with reduction......and take it to kissimmee to get stick time.
diamondback0320 wrote:You want efficient you'd better buy a 4cyl aircraft
No airboat is cheap doesn't matter what powerplant..They all get expensive at some point
CarMotorBarge wrote:... to accommodate at least 4 people, then you need to get a car motor... the 5086 and 6061 welded aluminum hulls work good in salt water. The 7075 T6 riveted hulls don't resist corrosion.
truculentproos wrote:... 6061 aluminum hull 14' or larger with LS motor and high transom .I would imagine stainless rigging .Any reccomendation on deck (full deck , half deck or open ) , prop gear box.Anyone know of a boat like this for sale.
truculentproos wrote:. . . could probably spend $20k maybe more
SWAMPHUNTER45 wrote:Doubtful your gonna find a clean LS boat at that price!
So now you've arrived at the next logical step . . .

Let the trade-offs, begin. :D
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics,
but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science."
- Carl Sagan

CarMotorBarge
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Re: First airboat

Postby CarMotorBarge » Sat May 13, 2017 5:40 pm

truculentproos wrote:I don't really a set number , but I could probably spend $20k maybe more if need be

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You don't see a lot of LS boats for sale and when you do they generally cost more than $20K. You can definitely get Cadillac boats for less than $20K. Probably a reason for that. :stirpot: :stirpot: :stirpot: :stirpot:

Just throwing an idea out here, but you could try building a boat from scratch. There is nothing complex to them. Here are approximate prices for various items that you will need. These prices are new and not used. Obviously used prices would be cheaper:

1. Aluminum Hull: $5K

2. Gearbox: $3K

3. 3 blade wide prop: $3K

4. Rigging: $4K

5. Trailer: $2K

Several of these prices are probably a little low for new. Just depends on what you find and what you can negotiate. Also this doesn't include all of the extras such as radiator, batteries, gauge panel, etc. These can add up fast.

As for the engine, you could get a low mileage LS 6.0 truck engine for about $1,500. For this engine you have 3 different options to get it running on an airboat:

1. Use a carb, carb intake manifold, and MSD box. Lots of boats are running this option and perform very well.

2. Use the factory EFI system. You will have to get somebody to tune it or tune it yourself using aftermarket software such as HP Tuners.

3. Use an aftermarket EFI system such as the Holley. This is what I have on my boat and I do like the flexibility of the system.

If you get an LS from the junkyard, you will probably want to think about upgrading the cam and valve train. The stock LS engines respond very well to bigger cams.
14x7.5 Al David hull with 14 inch transom
419 CI Horsepower Barn LS3 with 2.68 Rotator soft drive swinging 4 blade 83.5" R
GTO Rigging and B&S Tilt Trailer
Member of Seminole Airboat Club

462kwells
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Re: First airboat

Postby 462kwells » Sun May 14, 2017 6:24 pm

I know where you can buy an Ecoturd boat for 20k

Sniper
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Re: First airboat

Postby Sniper » Mon May 15, 2017 7:00 am

I like an open hull boat that way you can inspect every thing much easier and if you ever need to do a repair you will be glad you don't have a deck over
Sniper You can run but why die tired, If you heard my shot you were not the target
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