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Thread: New airboat, have some questions

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    Default New airboat, have some questions

    New to me airboat, traded a snowmachine for it. It has some issues but main thing it is runs and complete, apparently it slowly leaks but I was told with the bilge pump its no issue. Has a Lycoming o-320 160hp with dual mags, 5 blade warp drive prop and converted to chevy alt and starter. Its a little banged up but does not look to bad to me, then again this is my first airboat. Does not have anything on the bottom, what does everyone run here in AK? I have seen a few with poly and some that have the paint on like gator slick and from what I can see they run the same. I am looking for someone who welds aluminum to patch up the bottom any one have suggestions? Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions that would be awesome, also I have never run one of these if some one is going out soon and does not mind a newbie tagging along let me know. Thanks!






  2. #2
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    WELCOME TO THE AIRBOAT FORUM

    Best advice is be sure you always wear a life jacket. I'm very serious about that, a low transome boat like that can swamp in a heartbeat, if you stop quickly, a wave will come up on you from behind and swamp the rear and down you go. silt will weight down your clothes and sink even the best of swimmers, not to mention hypothermia. take it up jim creek and into the lakes first, they are very shallow and as such, boat might not sink fully. learn there to slide and run around with it, use av gas only, join Southern Airboat online. that hull needs lots of work, somebody around is selling a fiberglass hull, might be better off to buy it and put your motor and rigging on it if it is good hull. Feel free to ask more questions, i'm sure you have a lot of them. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Welcome. As far as bottoms I think you are going to want a plastic bottom. The paint on is fine if you are running swamps with grass and so on but here you will find sand and rocks. They will eat the paint on right off the bottom in no time. Just my two cents worth. As far a welding I would suggest that you just bang out the big dents and run the boat for the first year before you make any other major investments in $. Each to his own and you will soon find things you love about your boat and things you absolutely hate.
    Any one can show you the general way to run your air boat, but yours is different from mine or anyone else's so you will have to learn how to finesse the turns. Mine is slow but handles like a sports car, my son's is fast but I think is a hog on ice.
    Lastly there is great bunch of folks on this site and you will lots of advise and help. You have to ask but the help will come. A great source is Skip Olsen in Fairbanks. He has helped everyone on this site one time or another. Use him. PM me your phone number and we will talk. Good boating and hope to see you on the river.

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    Thank you both for the comments so far, redale I will PM you my number. I was thinking of going to the lakes off maude rd in Palmer, I was thinking that would be a good idea kinda sounds like the same place mentioned. As far as avgas goes anyone know of a good place to get it, I know of a gas station in Palmer that sells it for 5.10 a gal, best I have found. I am not looking to do any major mods to the hull just some minor work on the bottom, anyone know of a good place to get the poly locally and possibly install it? I should have it all registered by this week and possibly taking it out later this week as well.

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    Indigo, I mentioned it in my first post, but go to www.southernairboat.com they are a wealth of information and happy to help yankees. Join for free, lots of posts there in installing poly, lots of information there on anything to do with airboats, you will get answers to your questions from experts who have run the swamps all their lives. The bottom of your boat is the most important part of it. if it is dented, caved, has dips or hooks in it, you boat will run poorly. yes run it, stay in the shallows as i cautioned you. be careful. call skip olsen and talk with him, he has poly for sale and can help with installing it if you go that route. you won't be able to use the pm feature here until you have more posts, then it will kick in. i've posted my number on numerous occasions and never a problem. that can be a fun little boat you have, respect it and take care of it. av gas is expensve, but those av motors need the higher octain fuel, most small airports sell it. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Suburban propane sells AV gas and they are the lowest price.

    I would ask the people on Southern Airboats if you need AV gas you may not in a airboat, I just don't know. Also do a leak-down test on the engine before spending a lot of $$.

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    AV gas is usually for planes. Planes can be modified to run pump gas. My guess would be it will run just fine on pump. Why not ask the prior owner what they used. As far as I know Alaska Airboats in Wasilla is the only local place to get plastic. They were so high I ordered mine through Skip and drove up and got it for less than the local guy wanted. Check out southern airboat. If you sheets of plastic you may be able to buy in Anchorage or just have some shipped up form lower 48. I had different requirements and so ended up get Skip to special order what I wanted.
    The little lakes down Maud road end up in the same place as going down the river to Jim creek. You really won't get much and they are harder I think to get into than the river.Depending on when I am sure someone here will be able to give you pointers for your first time.

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    Thanks again to all for your replies, I think I have the avgas covered through my buddie. I am currently looking into the poly but going to run it as is for now I think. So I went down maud rd today and that road is not to good, where does everyone put in at in the river? I am looking to take it out this Friday I believe if anyone wants to go and give me some pointers, otherwise I will end up putzing around in the lake area.

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    I suggest you follow Maud road down to Mud lake, the first lake, there is a mud ramp there that is usually ok if you have a 4x4 and with smaller boats like yours, if you think Maud Rd is bad, you havn't really been on bad roads, its a super highway compared to most. Another choice would be to go into the Jim Creek area off the road that goes by the drag strip. Numerous 4x4 trails leading to the creek and Knik. Might need to scout out the route and mark it with ribbon prior to towing the boat down. There you can launch directly into Jim Creek and go up to the lakes. Third choice, where I generally launch is the small pond along the creek by the old Knik bridge, just upriver from the bridge. Then run down the creek and up the Knik a couple miles to Jim Creek and then up Jim Creek. I suggest you avoid this option until you have some experience with your boat. The Knik is fast and deep and can be dangerous for somebody with a new airboat who doesn't know much about handling the boat yet. Stick to Jim Creek or Maud access, where it is shallow and slow, until you get some stick time in. Bud

    Another warning: Be careful on creeks. With airboats you need to run about 20mph minimum to stay up on step, and most airboats don't handle well at slower, off step, speeds. Lots of blind corners on creeks and rivers, lots of other boats around at times, jon boats, etc. Every few years you read about a airboat cutting a corner at high speed and running over a small, slow boat. Swing wide, and be very careful on all blind corners. In addition, you will find that airboats slide a lot. I've gone around corners too fast and ended up high and dry up on a oppisite bank, could also wrap around a tree in same situation. Be careful.
    Wasilla

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