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VW engines on airboats?


Well-known member
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...

Olf Art

Silent Prop
R. I. P.
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


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.............?


Well-known member
Not sure this will help but i do know that the myakka rooster on this site has a VW motor 90 hp with a 2to1 gear reduction i figured with a 2 to 1 reduction he should be around a 180 hp its on a 11' glass boat an in will run dry ground just fine (scotty 1 well vouch for that as well


Well-known member
papajack said:
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!

The Video I posted to this thread way earlier was cntry141iq, he sent me that video back when he was trying to sell his two gear boxes for VWs

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Well-known member
Found this as I am seeking info on a mini build as well with different power plant options.



Well-known member
I finally got around to watching the posted videos. That set up would be way better than anything dad ever owned. He has had bigger and more powerful but nothing better and it looks like it would be perfect for him to run up and down a sandy river a couple of miles solo and occasionally take a grand kid for a ride. In the 50 years, off and on, he has been playing around the river, I don't think he has ever owned one that would cross more than a wet sand bar and only then if he hit it fast enough. He is in his seventies and living off social security now so it needs to be affordable to run more than it needs to run dry although running dry would be a nice bonus because he could park it out of the water next to his duck blind.

Olf Art

Silent Prop
R. I. P.
Something to keep in mind is that a VW engine was never designed to spin .... they were happiest at around 3,600 rpm.
When you put a reduction on them then you're gonna be turning one a lot higher than that to get the prop speed you'll need.
That calls for a balanced, forged crankshaft and upgraded rods (to prevent case shift) or the engine will 'grenade' itself.

When you've done all of that you'll have as much money in it as you would have with a small run-out A/C engine, and without
the cost of a reduction drive. That's what Cntry141 found out, and why he abandoned the project.


Has anyone ever seen one of these? Its a vw motor with a chain driven set of fans.
Assume it was for an airboat application?


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One Eyed Gator

Well-known member
Yes there were a few, best one I saw was built by cntry141iq on here. I think it was a 1600cc, had a reduction on it and it was on a special little hull he had alumitec build. Ran great. Pics and in his pic gallery on the 3rd page just don't know how to post them.

Unfortunately Cnrty passed sometime back but I would do a search under his screen name.

Rick McC.

Well-known member
My first airboat was Corvair powered with an aluminum two blade aircraft prop, back in about 1980.


One Eyed Gator said:
Yes there were a few, best one I saw was built by cntry141iq on here. I think it was a 1600cc, had a reduction on it and it was on a special little hull he had alumitec build. Ran great. Pics and in his pic gallery on the 3rd page just don't know how to post them.

Link to pics :thumbleft: