New to airboating looking for opinions

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Chrisco148
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New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:48 pm

My name is Chris and just bought a fixer upper airboat, would like your opinions of the setup. First I should say my intentions are primarily saltwater near the Chaz arapeka area on the gulf coast with running flying eagle from time to time. Will be riding me my wife and two sons 8 and 10 and Occasionally 4 adults. I'm hoping to run dry when needed and a good hole shot, for now fast top end not much of a concern but wanna keep up with some friends. With all that being said hopefully I have an airboat that I can work with. I guess I should say all work will be done by me as I am a skilled mechanic and fabricator.... what I have is an older 16' freedom craft out of cross city with poly, 472 caddy DD and a 72" carbon two blade power shift prop. The motor is stockwith stainless headers and magnaflow mufflers and a 500 edilbrock carb. Seats 5 2 up driver center and a two down add on seat. I guess my concerns are it feels like a very big boat, do ya'll think it will run the hill with 4? Any thoughts or opinions or info are appreciated,
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

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Deano
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Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Deano » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 pm

There is a very justifiable reason why it feels like a very big boat. It is a very big boat.
The only time I've seen that hull 'run the hill with 4' was a buddy of mine's who had a 502 w/ a 2.37 and BIG blades.
You may get in and out of the water ok, but I wouldn't try to get to far from the water without some help available.

Buddy Branch has a cam kit that includes a timing gear set with it that would without a doubt, be the single biggest improvement you can and need to make to push that hull. He has the cam ground to his spec for a DD, and a good timing set is something you likely need anyway unless the engine is fresh. The factory valve springs are WAY WEAK and could/should be upgraded as well.

There is a lot of good Caddy info here. Learning to exploit the [Search] feature will save you $$$ and heartburn, both.

Welcome to the Board, you've come to the right place.
"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

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:37 pm

Thank for the input deano, I've spent hours so far on the search and learning a ton!! I will be honest I'm not opposed to shorting this hull down to 14' if it will make enough difference. With that being said I got the boat cheap enough it would be worth cutting this one than buying a diff hull since I have all the needed supplies already. Any opinions on this thought?
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

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Deano
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Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Deano » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:19 am

I like your can do attitude :thumbleft: but I don't think I would recommend doing that for a couple of reasons.

That particular hull is of such a design and mass that I wouldn't expect the difference would get you where you want to be.
Ultimately, up the road you would still be needing and looking for a gearbox. I had a 14' Panacraft (2 generations earlier) and it could have easily justified having a box on it. When you get that far, you would likely want to have that back. Needless to say, such an initial effort is far easier to accomplish than putting it back, since that would also entail replacing the stringers.

The other, and bigger reason is that when your intended use is in the gulf with your family, you'll simply want that current hull intact, if for no other reasons than Safety and Convenience. It is a big hull, but consequently, it is very well suited for that purpose.

Were it me, I would likely start by getting that engine strong and healthy enough to run for the long term and keep an eye out for a gearbox. If you approach it that way, the cam would be all that you need to change at that point. I can assure you that when the time came, you would have no problem selling a Buddy Branch ground DD cam.

On the other hand, if you conveniently have the means to just go pick up a box, that would obviously be the more direct route. Whether that is the best idea or not would be contingent on if you're going to run that hull for a while. If you are going to keep it and be able to run like you described earlier, I would view arriving at that end more of a necessity than an option.

Either way, the one thing that is for sure is your boys will only keep getting bigger :) and
will likely help you justify whatever your game plan is, if mom isn't on the same page. 8)
"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

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:42 am

Good stuff deano, sounds like a good route to go... on a different note, I am having trouble finding info on my prop. It is a 72" power shift but do not know the pitch, as best as I can tell water walker bought them? It looks identical to there falcon series as best that I can tell but not sure. I'm trying to find if this is an ok prop to run on a caddy. Also does Buddy Branch have a website I can look over his cam kits? Thanks again for all the help...
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

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Deano
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Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Deano » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:18 pm

You are correct . . . what was once Power Shift is now Water Walker.
The easiest and quickest way to identify which blades they are is to measure the width at its widest point.

The Signature series which you want to run will be a real fat ten inches wide, maybe ten and a half.
The Falcon series which you don't want for your DD, will be right around 12 inches wide.
(If these are the blades you're trying to turn, that would add greatly to boat seeming big and lethargic.)

If you have the Signatures and can see the mark, just center that at the seam in the hub to start with, and see what you get.
For what you have I would shoot for about 2700-2750 on the trailer, knowing that it will gain some on the water. After you run like that you can adjust it to how it suits you. Adding pitch will lower RPM, taking our pitch will raise RPM. But that ought to be a good start.

If you don't have Signature blades, you do not want to turn those others near that fast. They max @ 2450, and are for a belt drive.
Should that be the unfortunate case, send me a PM, very likely I can help you out.

I believe Buddy's phone number is (352)7nine7-9nine10, give him call, he is real easy to talk to.
"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

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:19 pm

Good stuff, they measure at 10 1/2" so winning so far!!! I will give him a call.... can't tell you how much I appreciate your help!! :thumbleft:
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:00 pm

So the plot thickens, found two valves stuck open and two bent push rods!! Can't be lucky all the time... talked to Mr Branch this afternoon and he is gonna be a huge help!! Turns out I only live 10min from his shop.... I'll keep ya posted, thank you so much for the help!!
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

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Deano
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Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Deano » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:37 pm

Everything is a matter of perspective . . .

With two of them being bad, that would seem to imply that 14 of them are in better shape. :)
On a brighter note, if you live ten minutes from Buddy's you are better off than most Caddy folks on this board. Image
"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

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:36 am

Lol, I like the way you think!!!!
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:

Chrisco148
Southern Airboat Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: New to airboating looking for opinions

Postby Chrisco148 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:56 pm

Just looking back on old posts it’s been 2 years almost to the day and thought it may be fun to say where I am now. I did get buddies direct drive cam, lifters and his distributor and what a difference it made!! Felt like I gained 100hp! I changed hulls a few times but did cut that freedom craft down from 16’ to 13.3’!! Worked well and am happy with the end product but dose t run as good as a cottonmouth for my needs.. am currently coming out of the cut down freedom craft and building another cottonmouth. I ran the eagle too many times and fell in love! Sold my house and moved on the river!! Caddy still strong and love it! So much appreciation to everyone during this adventure! Special thanks to deano, I have looked back on your advice many times!
:old_glory: 13’ cottonmouth , 472DD, buddy Branch cam, 72" WW sig. series. :florida:


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