mini build help/advice

Airboats with smaller powerplants.
Robn1020
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mini build help/advice

Postby Robn1020 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:56 pm

OK...so I have been following now for two years on the mini forum. I can tell you I am more confused after years of research than when I got the idea in my head...."hey I want an airboat". I live on the coast. Very shallow water, some sand. I had a highly modified godevil surface drive that was great....until I hit 4 inches of water with sand. Then I got to have a great workout pushing that b**ch. I have gotten a bit older now and the idea of pushing a 700+ lb boat is a distant memory. Having an airboat would absolutely make my hunting life easier and more accessable. I am not wanting a full blown...500hp....spend life savings on gas and maintenance kinda guy. Therefore, a mini is and would be perfect for me. I am hoping honestly my "wants" can actually be a reality. Im sure chuck will chime in...and I truly hope so. I am wanting to build either a 14 or 15 footer(aluminum .125 bottom, .100 sides), powered by either a 582 rotax or a subaru EA81(reduction driven), unless you guys have a better motor idea. Either poly on bottom or wouldnt mind no poly and frog spit. As I said, don't need to go necessarily "dry". Wanting a "lower" maintenance rig that doesn't necessarily run dry but wont shy away from shallow water either. Preferably, Id like to run upper 30's- 40s. Aluminum hull is a must down here as well...

Am I crazy? Or can this be a reality? Im looking to have one put together prior to next years season so obviously its time to get started now. Any advice, tips, builders,....are sincerely appreciated. At this point I feel a little lost and need a pro to set me straight. I like the design of the mudbuddy "dragonfly" boat, but good lord the price they ask is nuts plus their warranty work sucks.

Robn1020
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Robn1020 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:57 pm

And I just realized I joined in 2011 so yea......four years reading and researching and gotten nowhere. So sad!!

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby papajack » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:23 pm

PM sent

Afflicted
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Afflicted » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:49 pm

14-15ft is not what most call a mini. And a rotax on a 15ft boat would probably go 6mph. Just being honest.
Where are u located? I bet there's prolly some great boats in the classifieds that would do what u want and then some

Robn1020
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Robn1020 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:58 pm

Afflicted wrote:14-15ft is not what most call a mini. And a rotax on a 15ft boat would probably go 6mph. Just being honest.
Where are u located? I bet there's prolly some great boats in the classifieds that would do what u want and then some


Im in Texas. I know there are some good used boats...but most have very large (remember this is texas) car motors. Im not looking for something that drains gas nor a very heavy boat. Im surprised that a rotax or soob on a 14 foot hull would be so slow considering there are 35 hp vanguards pushing dixon twisters, MB dragonfly's, and Mark Robecheux spiders in the high 20's to 30's. I was hoping adding another 50-60 hp with a larger engine would make the same size boat fly.


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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Afflicted » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:52 pm

How bout this
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josh_2562
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby josh_2562 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:06 pm

You would be doing good getting 40-50mph out of a 15' carmotor/gearbox boat. I built a few mini airboats in the past. By the time your done you will spend almost as much as a normal airboat. What is your budget? Why do you say you need a alum hull? I run a 16' freedom craft in the gulf with out any problems. Lots of oyster bars and rocks where I run. If it's in your budget you may want to look at a 4 cylinder ecotec

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Planeguy
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:56 am

Afflicted wrote:How bout this


Is that boat in Texas? I am having similar problem as Robn1020. Can't find what I want locally but it would cost me $600 in gas (round trip maybe more if I tow the boat home...maybe less now that gas prices are falling) to look at that boat in the Broward County. 20 years ago I could have made the drive down in one day but it would be be a 2 day drive now so I have to add 3 nights in a motel plus I will want to eat during the trip. To anyone on a budget, that extra $1000 to get the boat will be a deal breaker unless the owner wants to offset some of my expenses with the cost of the boat. If I wasn't on a budget I would just call one of the builders have them ship me a turn key boat. I am not trying to call you out. Just trying to make a point as to what it takes for someone who doesn't live in an area rich in airboats to get one.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby josh_2562 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:02 am

If your going to come to Florida or any where else to buy a boat you need to add that expense in to your budget. If you got 10k look for a 8k boat. I don't see a seller lowering his price because your in another state.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby br,lc,LA » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:49 am

Robn1020 if you can PM me your budget I can offer some assitance. Going over 13'x7' with anything less than 100hp is asking for a barge not a boat. It can be done as Paul Dixon is the man I would go see if thats what you want. Also airboats cannot be compared to a MM rig when it comes to load carrying. Additionally as long as you stay on top over sandy bottom (at least 2-3" deep) it will go across. You stop and set the boat down or try to run across a sand bar in a mini you are stuck pushing again.

I started out with a 12x7 mini with a EVT modded 35 vanguard. Vtwins vibrate and that resonance is just tranmitted thru the prop and into the hull. If I wanted a mini again then the vest recommendation I have would be go to Mark and a Spider as the vibration isolation system he designed is phenominal.

If youve got the budget a 4cyl Ecoted setup will set you back about 10,000 motor and custom engine package ready to bolt in a boat. Whole boat with ecotec can be done for 25-30k if you know who to go to. Chuck will be retiring soon so after that I dont know who is going to take over thw small ecotec boats... I know MB Dragonfly and Dynamarine is looking to Alpha Fab to built their 2.4l 4cyl.

Anyway I'll wait for you to give us an idea of your budget and we can recommend based on that. But just remeber 3 hunters and gear in an airboat with 50-70hp is no comparison to a MM with same load and HP. A 35MB will carry 3x the load of and airboat of relative horsepower.
2016 American Airboat's AirRanger pushed by an Airboat Pros 2015 1.4L GM Ecotec... "Nothin' as Fine as Hearing a Turbo Whine"

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Planeguy
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:48 am

josh_2562 wrote:If your going to come to Florida or any where else to buy a boat you need to add that expense in to your budget. If you got 10k look for a 8k boat. I don't see a seller lowering his price because your in another state.


You are preaching to the choir but no seller would ever "forget" to mention a bad point or make a misleading comment or simply may not know what is wrong about a boat before you spent the money to go look would they? Your $10K boat budget just took a heck of a hit for no reason. If I had an extra $1,000 laying around I would probably go to the casino and see if I couldn't convert it into a new boat. I did have a guy who was nice enough to offer to inspect a boat I was interested in. Paying him would be a worthwhile investment if it didn't have to happen too many times (assuming he is honest and knows what he is doing but I have been bit hard going that route too). If a person has the time and equipment, they can build a pretty nice smaller boat for 10K and eliminate the risk... Especially if they don't need it to run dry with a load. With good scrounging skills and/or a little luck a person could buy a new 11x7 hull and still stay under $10K for a decent boat. That is assuming a person has a shop and $10K. There are some boats out there for a good bit less, even good boats.

Powerball and $20 in a slot machine about every other year is about all the gambling I like to do.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:21 pm

br,lc,LA wrote:...MM rig... EVT modded 35 vanguard.... 35MB...


Please help a newbie out. I was thinking the 35MB might be a model or horse power reference but I couldn't find it on the Dragonfly website. 40 and 150 HP seems to be their offerings. Thanks.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby br,lc,LA » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:55 pm

Dragonfly (or Pemberton) was the company the Glenn Foreman of Mub Buddy formed after seeing my boat in TX back in the day. 35 is the largest Briggs vtwin motor you see on mud motors. Dragonfly started out using the 32/40hp Generacs which is now made by Subaru/Robin. Then Dragonfly started experimenting and even sold a few Suzuki 3cyl airboats making 85-100hp. They also addes a lycoming to the mix to increase their HP offering. A year or so ago Glenn and Pemberton (Dragonfly) asked Alpha Fab to develop a 2.4l Naturally Aspirated as a test boat and they may start marketing it soon.

I started out with a 35 Briggs w/ high compresion pistons and aftermarket mikuni carb making maybe 60Hp. I blew it up twice (second time was my fault as i removed the fan as a test to see if oil cooling only was enough (it isnt). Ww then put a 32 Generac on my boat that had high compression pistons and also bored .030 oversized. Ran the same mikuni. It is still at my house and is mechanically fine, but after a year of that i was ready for more power and Chuck had produced about 2-3 Ecotecs and he came to me offering the first 1.4L turbo build. The price couldnt be passed up on especially going from 60 to 160hp and close to the same overall weight. How can I help?
2016 American Airboat's AirRanger pushed by an Airboat Pros 2015 1.4L GM Ecotec... "Nothin' as Fine as Hearing a Turbo Whine"

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Olf Art » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:10 pm

There's a guy who comes around maybe four times a year and sprays for vegetation control on the little slough behind our home. He uses a little 12' fiberglass Gillieo with a four cylinder Subaru engine and a wood prop (68" I think) DD, and I'm here to tell you that is one very cool little airboat.

In addition to himself the boat has what looks to be at least a 50 gal. chemical tank, usually 2-3 five gallon jugs of chemical, and a Honda engine to drive the spray pump, and he goes wherever he needs to.
Something like that would make a killer little rig for someone like yourself who's wanting to downsize, and one of those Subaru engines from a salvage yard would probably cost less than a new Briggs or Koehler 2 cyl. Just a thought .....
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Waterthunder » Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:57 pm

If anybody is serious I will make you a screaming deal on 2 Subaru motors one is a 6cyl the other is a 4cyl. Both are fresh and have been gone thru the 4 cyl is a killer combo with the smaller heads and better chambers. Both are EFI and come with computers. I will sell everything with EFI and computers for 4k. I built these specifically for a airboat so If someone is serious I will divulge a few engine details and combo's.
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Chaseh » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:37 pm

Waterthunder wrote:If anybody is serious I will make you a screaming deal on 2 Subaru motors one is a 6cyl the other is a 4cyl. Both are fresh and have been gone thru the 4 cyl is a killer combo with the smaller heads and better chambers. Both are EFI and come with computers. I will sell everything with EFI and computers for 4k. I built these specifically for a airboat so If someone is serious I will divulge a few engine details and combo's.

4k for the pair?

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:07 pm

br,lc,LA wrote:... How can I help?


I mostly wanted help with the alphabet soup (MM, EVT...) but thank you for the history lesson. I found it interesting.

My dad was telling me the other day that he wished he had his old airboat back. It was just a 14 foot jon boat with an early Ford Pinto engine but it did everything he wanted to do and, from the sound of it, did it well ( I never got to see it run). Obviously it would not run dry but Dad didn't need it to. It would get up and run on step with him and a couple of passengers and he could use it to retrieve ducks and/or deer if they fell in the river. At 72 years old I figure he doesn't need to be fighting boats that sink with a little too much rain so I would like for him to have something that will run dry at least good enough to get the boat up on the bank (he lives on a river and has a duck pond that drains to the river though a slough that is wide enough to run a boat). I think something like the 12 foot Dragonfly would be great for him but new boats are way out of the affordable range at this time.

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jopete
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby jopete » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:42 am

a used 12' alum hull with a gpu can be found for 5 to 8k.
it will go places that mini won't and won't break the bank.

i pass prettymuch anywhere i want to with mine. paid 6k for it a couple years ago. it's been a great deer lease/frogging boat. not big on looks, but mechanically sound.

my buddy has a 14' Mark's spider hull with a rotax. it is great little boat, as long as you watch where u pass. cheap to operate too.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:59 am

jopete wrote:a used 12' alum hull with a gpu can be found for 5 to 8k.
it will go places that mini won't and won't break the bank.

i pass prettymuch anywhere i want to with mine. paid 6k for it a couple years ago. it's been a great deer lease/frogging boat. not big on looks, but mechanically sound.

my buddy has a 14' Mark's spider hull with a rotax. it is great little boat, as long as you watch where u pass. cheap to operate too.


Which gpu? I was going to look at a fiberglass airboat a couple of weeks ago that had a non-running Continental PE-90 (110 HP?) but it sold before I could make the 7 hour drive. He had it listed as an aircraft engine but only wanted $1500 for everything.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby zrackers » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:13 am

I have a 12x8 panther for sale right now. I'm in OK. It has a 4.3L chevy on it. Will run some dry and tops out around 35 mph. Boat was completely rebuilt this year. 3 man rigging. Asking 8k OBO.
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:15 pm

Robn1020...sorry I hijacked your thread. I don't know much about airboats but it is possible to have good airboat with a smaller engine and has been proven by a couple of commercial builders as well as home builders. The setup you mentioned 14'-15" foot hull will damn sure do more than 5 or 6 mph with a 582 (64hp) but I am fairly sure you would find it lacking. You are pretty much guaranteed to not win any races or run dry with it. Is there a reason you need a boat that size? Caddell's boat runs all over the place on 50hp but it is quite a bit smaller.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby mojoe » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:46 pm

A 12' fiberglass DD 350 would also be a good starter rig for what you describe. They regularly sell for under $5000, cruise around 25 mph with 3 people or 2 and gear. Will run anything wet. Get good gas mileage and can be very reliable.

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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby airboat_Mike » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:21 pm

This is a 15×6 with a 2.0 Vw 2:1 belt rwduction 3 blade sensenich saber.boat is all .125 aluminum 1/2 inch poly will run 42 mph mainly water boat. But will break loose on dry with 2 light people
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Last edited by airboat_Mike on Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby airboat_Mike » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:24 pm

This is a 15×6 with a watercolors 2.0 Vw 2:1 belt rwduction 3 blade sensenich saber blades boat is all .125 aluminum 1/2 inch poly will run 42 mph mainly water boat. But will break loose on dry with 2 light people
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Vw 2.0 2:1 belt drive 42 mph all .125 alum 1/2 poly
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Re: mini build help/advice

Postby Planeguy » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:01 pm

Very nice.


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