All the (off)road going amphibious vehicles of the world. (work in progress) All the (off)road going amphibious vehicles of the world. (work in progress)

Last modified 28 Apr 2010

THROUGH HELL AND HIGH WATER -- (The HELL)

My Amphib index
To have a road legal Amphib you need more than just a license plate!

It is only an Amphib if it CAN drive and swim.

I'm working for 4 months to get to that point. (2007)

IT CAN drive now!  But with a MAXIMUM legal load of 175 kg!

It has a working suspension system
I can get in and out the vehicle and sit in a normal position behind the wheel
I can change a fuse without taking the chairs out
I modified the wiring a "little" bit, next winter when I make a new dash, then I will change it ALL.

I modified the cooling system added extra fans to get more air to the front of the car.
I can drive 80 km/h at 10 degree outside temperature, any faster and the oil over heats.

The noise level inside was a bit HIGH!

banging pipe no space space YES

20% of it being a cooling pipe banging to the lower engine and into the cooling fan house.
and 20 % the high/low box that was in direct contact with the hull
and in direct contact with the cover that goes over the box.

To ad to the noise there was a big gab in fire wall,
very nice for engine noise and the smell of diesel.
and there was more that I did not know then.
Two of the tree bilge pumps not working on automatic.

WHY? That was easy to find out.
The level switches worked with a metal ball that moved a micro switch.

Only in this car with out suspension the metal balls had taken out just a little bit of the inside of the switches.
The 3 switches and the pumps are mounted with bolts in holes drilled through the hull.

Changing the switches in the passenger an engine compartment was very hard because of the lack of room to stick my hands in.
front bilge switch front bilgehell  hole

New bilge pups switch fits between the wall and the pump
the screw on the right is there to close a hole in the hull.

My back still hurts when I think about this switch.

Really there is no space to make a decent photo.
The front bilge switch is a differed story.


The depth of the hull is more than my arm is long and because of the size of the room in front of the radiator only one arm and therefore one hand goes into the gap.

To add to the fun the pump and switch are located under the radiator and behind a metal bar ( for towing the vehicle.

It took over 20 real hours.

I have done this job in bits of 15 to 20 minutes over a few weeks.

5 hours to find a way to take the old one out and 15 hour to place a new switch.
rear lights rear side

It is not possible to show this in it original mounting position
but in the photo on the left the wall is between the lens and the nut in the middle. The outside of the lights is covered with the perspex plate.

Now the lenses and the fittings have separate bolts.
When I changed the fog and the backup light position I found out that the rear lights give a hard time replacing a bulb.

The perspex cover that is glued over the light and number plate makes it impossible to get to the bolts head.

So when you try to unscrew the nut on the left to get to a bulb the bold also tuns.


new mounting higher seat

Driver seat 20 cm to the rear 7 cm up and 5 cm to the left
Passenger seat  5 cm to the rear 7 cm up 2 cm to the right

Now the seats can go in to sleeping position.

It is nice to know that it can be done. ;-)


seats new possition I changed the mounting position of the driver seat on the floor.

Changed the rails a bit, see photo above left.

I raised the seats with stainless Uni-strut profile.

No human of normal size could fit in a normal way behind the wheel of this vehicle.

So I changed the seat position a bit.

What was the most rear position is now the most forward position.

The seats are now almost level with the bottom of the doors, making it almost easy to get in and out.

The steering wheel got in the way, therefore I mounted an a-symmetrical steering wheel.

I hope to raise the wheel next winter or in the future.

But for that bit you have to read on.

This story is long from over. ;-)
Rudder cable rusted stuck and broken from the steering system.

In the original form the ruder moved with the steering wheel by a steel wire inside a flex tube running from the front wheels to the rear.

The cable was snapped at the front axle.

I shorted the cable a bit and made a handle on the right side of the driver seat to steer.
I'm not happy with the solution but it will do for the time.

First I want to take it into the water

Just to see how she sails and steers.



air filter old stile air filter for now


Air intake has a big leak just after the filter.
Not just a leak, a piece of shit in construction, around the air hose there is an opening to the air filter house. that way unfiltered air goes into the engine.
I fixed it with a bit of foam ( for now )


Not happy again with this solution

But I want to take this Amphib
for a test drive on the water
Then we took her to the water!

The vibration of the impeller was a BIG surprise.
The vibration of the 2 stainless fuel tanks left and right from the water jet gave a deafening noise.

Later inspection learned that the blades of the impeller are hitting the wall of the jet drive. The water jet housing is made by Tim Dutton

It looked like the rear view mirror was coming of the window. In third gear the maximum engine revs are 2500. Above that number the DIESEL engine is dead on the throttle.

The least noise/vibration is when the engine running at 800 revs.
into the water
hole to close very low

The hole on the left is 150 mm above the black lining on the photo on the right and that is very low on the water line.

I did not know that at the time.

The brown moment came at home when I saw the photo on the right.

Direct below the hole is the rear of the front wheel that throws up water strait through this hole when driving in the rain.

If only that was all that is wrong!


The hole is 100 mm above the water line


best view of muffler pipe best view with mirror

While in the water there was something banging into the steering system when the revs of the engiene changed.

I did notice something odd before.
But to spot the origin of a problem that is a differed mater.

Specially when it a design failure of this magnitude.
It is obvious that Tim Dutton needs glasses badly.
The exhaust system is banging into the steering system.

Can't take a good photo
I can't see it through a mirror
I can only feel it.

What I can see in the mirror is the quality of the welding. Or better the lack of. It looks like Tim Dutton can use some welding lessons!

There is less than 4 mm between the exhaust and the steering system.

The under floor temperature runs up to 70 degrees + so there is no need for an internal heater when driving in the Arctic.

Exhaust leaking under the hood

The air pressure under the hood pushes exhaust fumes into the interior
bay temperature sensor
I have good news!

The engine bay temperature gauge did work after all.

I have also bad news!

It shows the fire wall temperature and NOT the engine bay temperature.
Hose of the oil cooler came off.
A bilge full of oil was free of charge

TO DO LIST
I have to look at ALL the clamps and there are many clamps

Power steering oil leaking in three places
Many rubber hoses are of the wrong type
The cheap hoses got hard because the hoses are not use with oil or heat power steering, oil cooler, heating and e.t.c. e.t.c.
and sometimes it is plainly the wrong size hose.

main gearbox leaking oil
High/low box leaking oil

Engine oil over heats when driving faster then 80 km/h
about 50% of the power is used then
water temperature is fine up to a point.
Therefore I have to improve the oil cooling system.

The under floor temperature must come down.

Relocate the engine bay temperature sensor.

Redesign the exhaust system to stop the banging and most of all
prevent the sinking of the Amphib.

Redesign the water propulsion system.

Find buoyancy in the front or lose weight there or/and
get more weight to the back to get the noise out of the water.

First I move the battery all the way to the rear
find more weight to move from the front to the rear
if that does not help cut bits of the rear end
to get the rear lower in the water and therefore lift the nose

To improve front suspension even more
The extra blades do help but they are old blades.
It was 2.5 cm and now it has 5 cm travel and in the future 10 cm
Many thanks for the advice I got from
Glen Doberson of www.dobinsonsprings.com


Next winter.

Redesigning the dash board to get room for the fuses boxes
the switches a radio AND MOST OF ALL
to get the wiring in order and the steering higher

There is a 3 amp current running with the contact is OFF
and the ignition key removed.
I'm sure I can cure the problem.

a trailer hitch
a higher top speed ( oil cooling )

I do have plans to kill somebody,
but I'm very sure that those feelings will fade away. ;-)

My Amphib index