VW engines on airboats?

Airboats with smaller powerplants.
User avatar
Planeguy
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Location: OK

VW engines on airboats?

Postby Planeguy » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:18 pm

I am surprised no one brings up VW conversions for the smaller airboats. They come set up for use with a propeller and cost a lot less to buy and maintain than a small aircraft engine. I haven't heard any complaints from the aircraft side. Have they been tried and failed on airboats? My dad's first boat had a Corvair engine on it so it should be feasible.

User avatar
Comanche-pup
Site Supporter - IV
Site Supporter - IV
Posts: 1539
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Bannerville

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Comanche-pup » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:34 am

No they havent failed and are used in both DD and belt driives


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
Comanche-pup
Site Supporter - IV
Site Supporter - IV
Posts: 1539
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Bannerville

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Comanche-pup » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:38 am

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Dk_gN9_hh ... ure=oembed
This is a VW


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
jopete
Site Supporter - II
Site Supporter - II
Posts: 943
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:07 am
Location: loreauville, la

Re: VW engines on airboats?

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

i still see one or two VW powered airboats on my local lake durring duck season.

User avatar
jchovernut
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:17 pm
Location: Longwood, FL
Contact:

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby jchovernut » Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:44 am

Here's a VW TDI- powered hovercraft:
http://youtu.be/DvYaRuXBACc
SEVTEC Hovers: Prospector, Fan-Tastic, Vanguard; Weber Starcruiser SC4
http://www.hovernut.com
http://www.amphibiousmarine.com
http://www.sevteckits.com
Fan-Tastic! http://youtu.be/lwuosBSJw9Y
Great Alaska Hovercraft Adventure! http://youtu.be/tuPR8LCb7pY

dennis1
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:42 pm

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby dennis1 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:06 pm

been there, done that

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:37 pm

Planeguy, I see that you only joined us in Sept. of last year. If you'll go to the search feature at the upper right of your screen there are volumes of info available there on VW powered airboats. I think you'll find that a good, reliable VW engine up to the job of turning a prop will be every bit as expensive as a 4 cyl. A/C engine, maybe more. :wink:
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

User avatar
Planeguy
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Location: OK

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Planeguy » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:22 am

80 HP VW conversion kit with everything needed to make it run ~$7500 (includes new ignition and fuel system along with "High-end aftermarket racing core parts, forged and nitrided wherever possible"). The kit is a complete engine to be assembled.

I am ~$8,000 into an O-200 overhaul (I didn't overhaul the cylinders, go through the mags nor the carb...technically, I cannot call it an overhaul in the log because of this). You can add about $5K for a good core since I started with one. That brings the small aircraft engine up to ~$13K without replacing any of the major components ($3500 worth of machine work on the steel internals). I am glad I had a good core.

Yes, a good scrounger can do better for a boat. This O-200 is going into a certified aircraft so it must have the correct and certified parts instead of cobbled together with whatever will work. Even if it is possible to get a good, small aircraft engine for $7500, the long term expense is likely to be higher than with the VW (I am assuming the VW is a reliable engine).

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:51 am

I refuse to argue with you but the bottom line for most of us is reliability .... a VW has neither the crank mass or the stroke to make an effective day in-day out airboat engine. You are far from the first person to ever venture down this road, and a run-out aircraft engine with twice that horsepower can often be bought for half that amount and be counted on for years with little attention.
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

User avatar
Waggs
Site Supporter - II
Site Supporter - II
Posts: 863
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Waggs » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:57 pm

Olf, this dude may be a good A&P with good advice to give on aircraft engines, I don't think he's ever been on an airboat though...
12.5' Predator, O320H2AD, 72" Whisper Tip Narrow

Liberty Mechanical Services
Performing all commercial and residential HVAC services
321-689-7709
Make America Cool Again!

KCCO

User avatar
Planeguy
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Location: OK

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Planeguy » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:33 pm

Not for about 40 years anyway. Been hanging out in here gathering information for a future purchase or possibly even a build with the idea I will let my dad 560 miles from me "take care of it" since he lives on a river and has been talking about getting another boat anyway. He has owned a few but I doubt any would have qualified as a "good" boat. The last one was a jon boat with a Ford Pinto engine. I would like to put him in a good one while he can still enjoy it. Unfortunately, even though I have retired and draw a pension from one career and am doing okay in a my second career, money is an issue. If it wasn't, I would just order a new 11 footer with an IO-360 and be done with it. Maybe by the time I get everything in order, I will be able to place that order.

I have learned a lot since September, I guess Olf didn't notice it was the same month I asked the VW question. Hopefully I have been able to help a few along the way. I do realize the A&P answer isn't always the best boat answer but, after 30 years of aircraft maintenance, it's tough to lighten the standards. Learning from others what works and what doesn't saves a lot of time and effort.

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:56 am

VW engines are amazing little power plants, but unless they're bolted to a transaxle like they were originally designed to do they lack the structural stiffness in their crankcases to handle the torsional stresses of a propeller. Simple fact. Would I love to have one on a dune buggy? You bet your azz I would, but they've proven to be a lot more trouble than they're worth for an airboat.

Now, a Subaru engine? Oh yea .... they work just fine. Very reliable, and double the horses right out of the box. :thumbleft:
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:54 pm

Olf Art wrote:VW engines are amazing little power plants, but unless they're bolted to a transaxle like they were originally designed to do they lack the structural stiffness in their crankcases to handle the torsional stresses of a propeller. Simple fact. Would I love to have one on a dune buggy? You bet your azz I would, but they've proven to be a lot more trouble than they're worth for an airboat.
Now, a Subaru engine? Oh yea .... they work just fine. Very reliable, and double the horses right out of the box. :thumbleft:

Still thinkin' about this ..... maybe it's already been tried. What if you were to mill a plate of say 3/8" aluminum and bolt it onto the VW engine case where it normally bolts to the transaxle? That would stabilize the crankcase and main bearings /crank big time. That may be enough to let you turn a prop reliably. Ya' think? :scratch:
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

User avatar
Waggs
Site Supporter - II
Site Supporter - II
Posts: 863
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Waggs » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:02 pm

Still, $7500 for 80 hp is what he's saying... Anyone could get reliable 260 hp at that price.
12.5' Predator, O320H2AD, 72" Whisper Tip Narrow

Liberty Mechanical Services
Performing all commercial and residential HVAC services
321-689-7709
Make America Cool Again!

KCCO

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:26 pm

Waggs wrote:Still, $7500 for 80 hp is what he's saying... Anyone could get reliable 260 hp at that price.

Good point. What I guess I'm missing here is that there used to be a day when you could buy an old wrecked Bug for a couple hundred dollars. Those days are gone. My life has always been about tryin' to find a way to make the most noise for the least dollars ..... in other words, how to make something go fast and stay together for not a lot of money. I guess that's the reason why I'm such a big promoter of the simple old SBC-DD boats, but old VW engines are no longer plentiful or cheap. Thanks, Waggs. :)
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

User avatar
Planeguy
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Location: OK

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Planeguy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:08 pm

It reads to me like you are talking an engine removed from a VW and installing on an airboat without any modifications other than bolting on a prop. The conversion kit I referenced above is an aircraft conversion. I know of two companies selling kits... Great Plains and AeroVee (there are others selling assembled engines). Great Planes has been in business for 30 years so I am thinking they aren't selling pilots junk. There are many aircraft flying around with these converted engines and I haven't heard many complaints from the aviation community but boat use and abuse is a little different. Also, a VW overhaul is measured in hundreds of dollars instead of the thousands required by aircraft.

An interesting find (to me anyway) is a Honda car engine conversion (Viking). For it's weight and size they are claiming more HP, more torque and more thrust than any other aircraft engine in the 100 HP size range. I am curious how they will look after they get a little history built up.

I don't know why someone would buy/build a boat designed for 80-100 hp and put a thirsty and expensive to maintain 260 hp on it unless maybe they are into racing boats.
Last edited by Planeguy on Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Comanche-pup
Site Supporter - IV
Site Supporter - IV
Posts: 1539
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Bannerville

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Comanche-pup » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:19 pm

Buy an airboat, just a lil $2k boat, a lot of your misunderstanding will be answered


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
Waggs
Site Supporter - II
Site Supporter - II
Posts: 863
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Waggs » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:16 pm

Comanche-pup wrote:Buy an airboat, just a lil $2k boat, a lot of your misunderstanding will be answered


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



Word
12.5' Predator, O320H2AD, 72" Whisper Tip Narrow

Liberty Mechanical Services
Performing all commercial and residential HVAC services
321-689-7709
Make America Cool Again!

KCCO

User avatar
Planeguy
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Location: OK

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Planeguy » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:17 am

There aren't any in the area so I guess I will have to keep asking questions.

Am I missing something or am I "misunderstanding" with my assumption that Olf has no experience with a truly converted for prop use VW engine? It really does read like all he has been a party to is pulling one off a car and bolting a prop to it. My initial question was pretty generic and Olf has provided some good info but my education has progressed which has lead to a refinement of the question. Pulling an engine from a bug and installing it simply on an airboat is vastly different than building up an engine for prop use. I think it becomes an apples to oranges comparison even though they are all VW engines. The fact that aircraft have been reliably using VW engines for 60 years with a few thousand aircraft flying behind them should count for something since no product develops a history like that based on failure.

I have the answer for engines pulled from cars and bolted to a boat without any significant mods so now the refined question:
Are there any worthwhile comments on a truly converted VW engines as to their reliability on airboats?

Please keep in mind that I am not looking for a specific answer nor advocating one engine over another. I am just doing research. Research that would take decades of "re-inventing the wheel" if just go buy every "$2K boat" I can find.

papajack
Site Supporter - IV
Site Supporter - IV
Posts: 765
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:35 am
Location: Levy, Fl

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby papajack » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:26 am

You might search some of cntry141iq posts for information on vw engines on airboats. He messed with them some years ago. Wish he was still around!

User avatar
john1edwards
Site Supporter - I
Site Supporter - I
Posts: 714
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:46 am
Location: Polk City

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby john1edwards » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:40 am

Just an Orange Engine, Nothing Fancy . Proud to be an American

User avatar
Waggs
Site Supporter - II
Site Supporter - II
Posts: 863
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Waggs » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:43 am

The point I was trying to make is you can get much more hp with a lot less work out of a flown out aircraft engine. 80hp on an airboat will likely get you only disappointment, unless you want a small boat (10 footer) that won't run much dry. If you want to just cruise around, maybe do some froggin that's a killer set up. There are cheaper ways to get that set up. You could likely buy the whole rig from Chuck at Airboat Pros for close to $7500. He's got the "Minis" down pat.

To me, it's just not practical or cost effective to put $7500 into something that will only make 80hp..... that isn't going into a plane...
12.5' Predator, O320H2AD, 72" Whisper Tip Narrow

Liberty Mechanical Services
Performing all commercial and residential HVAC services
321-689-7709
Make America Cool Again!

KCCO

Olf Art
Site Supporter - VIII
Site Supporter - VIII
Posts: 11851
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Plant City, FL

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Olf Art » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:37 pm

Exactly, Waggs. The only advantage a VW engine might have over a run-out A/C engine is weight. Beyond that it's a 'no contest' because the aircraft engine was born and bred from day #1 to turn a prop. JMO
"I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know Who brings tomorrow."
Member: KRVSA, FAA, TAA, and life member NRA and VFW

Baddad
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:48 pm

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby Baddad » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:10 pm

Now you people have my juices flowing.........I have a 68 VW beetle motor, had only 30 thousand when pulled, setting in the barn right beside a 96 Honda civic motor that had only 48 thousand on it when pulled.....oldest boy was always tinkering and looking for more power...... :scratch: ..........There was a company called "Tennessee Airboat Company", yup!, was in Tennessee and they built VW powered boats for the rivers up there. I spoke to him once and he told me one could just put in a thrust bearing and bolt up a prop! He had a site with videos running rivers etc..... Last I heard his health went south and he closed up. May be able to google old info.............?

User avatar
john1edwards
Site Supporter - I
Site Supporter - I
Posts: 714
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:46 am
Location: Polk City

Re: VW engines on airboats?

Postby john1edwards » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:44 pm

Here is another video riding around the yard :lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1J6aWIBmC8
Just an Orange Engine, Nothing Fancy . Proud to be an American


Return to “Mini-Airboats”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests