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Floating Subaru???


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43 replies to this topic

#26 baccaruda

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 02:09 AM

i know there are plenty of sketchy vehicles out there that are *designed* to be in the water but that doesn't make it OK. If this were a boating forum I'd say the same thing to the owner of such a craft. I've even mentioned before that I don't feel OK about the idea of driving through rivers and such while on offroading runs.

Like it or not, cars and the petroleum economy are slowly on their way out. it is in every auto enthusiast's best interest to consider what they can do to make the hobby more acceptable. that to me means minimizing its impact on the environment and giving its opponents less ammunition. Yes, it is a sacrifice in that rivers and creeks are a fun challenge to drive through, but it is also as easy as consulting a map and planning a 4WD run that doesn't "need" to go through water to complete the route. It's empowering ourselves to preserve the hobby before someone else can use such practices against us. Who wants to go swimming and come out of the lake with oily hair?

Imagine the positive reception that we'd get if we could say to everyone, "look: we no longer drive through rivers, and we organize trail cleanups and restorations along with our 4WD events". Pillars of the community and such.
Adjustments like these will enable us to insure the longevity of our hobby.

#27 PictureChasers

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 07:39 AM

The Junkyard Wars episode I saw where them build a floatable car produced a failure. The nose plowed under and swamped it as soon as they got it underway. When you see an Amphibicar you'll notice it has a very defined bow so that it will plane up out of the water.

I really can't see making a Justy float. Too short, too square. too tall. I think the CG would be way too high and it would capsize if you sneezed. At the least I would weld the doors closed and cut the top off, and form a true prow that could be filled with foam and provide some bouyance for the (heavy) front end. Also, I'm not so sure that your dog paddle plan will provide enough propulsion, inless maybe you got sand paddle tires.


Well we have more than a week to do it. Even without a true bow, our nose will not sink because it contains air. There are videos of soobies on THIS site that indeed float as long as they are moving foreward, we simply want to extend this ability to stay on water a little longer, and to stop. If we truly need a bow front end, I will completely remove fenders, and make a bow angling from door with to radiator width. If we simply need either more flotation or stability, we will add removable pontoon bumpers ay both ends, which will weigh almost nothing & provide stability in both directions.

Alternate bow front end, scroll down to Trippel, T77-Military in 1977
http://mitglied.lyco...h/carlist5.html

About 1/3 of amphibious cars on link I posted use only tires for propulsion. Mark Roehrig's "Amphi-Geo" worked so well that he is now reworking a school but for an amphib trip around the world.
http://mitglied.lyco...h/carlist5.html

#28 PictureChasers

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:46 AM

I've got to say that I'm not a big fan of this idea for two major reasons:

One: the car's weight is not balanced in a way that it will be stable and safe to pilot as a boat. Amphibious cars are designed to be stable in the water as well as streetable. You'd have to add a lot of weight to the bottom and rear of the car to add stability while floating, and that will create its own problems.


This little car has few options, and is quite low CG. Most cars will sink engine first but ours will have sealed engine compartment. Weight will be fairly balanced with engine in front, humans in middle, and cargo in back.

Any car parts below the water line act as ballast, so the wheels, floor, half of engine and our butts will be ballast. We also have air in the tires acting as pontoons at each corner. In a Justy, they are very close to corner for car, not much mass extends beyond the wheels. That "Amphi-Geo" I posted makes a good bow plane and small wake.

Two: I think it is environmentally irresponsible to drive a street car in a body of water. Think of it as using the lake or river as your own private carwash. All that grease and oil on the bottom of your engine and chassis ("all" subarus leak oil, it's no secret) is going to end up in the water, as well as the exhaust pollutants. Our rivers and lakes are having enough problems caused by callous industrial practices, and I'm sure the fish would prefer that you didn't expose them to this crud.
I don't know about the geology where you're from, but Spokane sits on top of one of the world's largest freshwater aquifers, and it is where we get our drinking water. Burlington Northern just built a railroad refueling depot right on top of it, and of course the damned thing leaks like a sieve, so now our aquifer has f#$%ing diesel fuel in it. Of course your subaru is not capable of causing problems of that scale, but the point is that petroleum products and public water resources should be kept separate. It only takes a miniscule amount of petroleum contaminants to pollute large quantities of water.
I for one would be one of the people sure to scowl at someone driving their car around in the lake. I hope you don't do this.


I DO respect your opinion, and being quite environmentally friendly in both business & personal matters (tree hugger), in fact we sponsor & clean a Kilometer of highway near the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire of 2003, so I certainly dont want to sound like I am anti-environmentalist, but...

Firstly our own engine will be tubbed in an easily cleaned metal box. Our motor is completely rebuilt & resealed by Subaru, or will be if they ever get finished. I certainly HOPE it won't leak for some time, and very easy to clean up after. Our exhaust will likely be ducted above water line, and certainly near the water line.

Is it my idea that you don't like? Or is it all off roading that involves crossing water? (this would likely include mud bogs) IMHO this polution caused is no worse than the pollution caused by driving to work, leaking oil on the roadways, then allowing the first rains to wash it in lethal dosages into small streams from where it's stored on the pavement. Don't forget, when you wash your car in your own driveway or most car washes, your crusties from your car enter directly into our waterways. Most communities have no way to treat these non-biodegradeable materials, some can capture some of it for the landfill, much gets washed directly into the most convenient river.

We have ships INTENTIONALLY dropping their "bilge oil" in Eastern Canadian waters, each bilge dump in the neighborhood of the "Exxon Valdez" disaster. This happens DAILY! Only now does the Coast Guard have the many millions it needs to catch these freaks of industry.

So I don't feel that a few offroaders in the water is anything worth preventing. My biggest concern abour river crossings is the cars that drive across the bottom spinning. The damage they cause to animal habitat, not to mention running over fish.

Our environment can only be saved by most everyone EXPERIENCING it. We can't all walk through the mountains, and I peronally don't want to. There is already norrmally a hike or climb at the end of our off roading, to get to our final destination, usually a waterfall. So many of us will drive "out there" just to see. I drive out there to educate not only myself & my partner, but our 12 y/o son, who MUST see this. A) To help preserve it, B) before it's potentially gone!

#29 baccaruda

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 12:56 PM

The idea I object(ed) to is the thought of driving a dirty car though the lake. It sounds as if you are taking pains to keep the engine clean and to minimize the amount of exposure between the water and the engine, which is admirable. If you want to do this in a way that serves as an example to others, then I wouldn't really complain.
I would go the extra step, if it were my car, to spray off the underside at the car wash before going into the lake. That may still wash the crap into the water, as you are correct to mention that many cities don't prevent such substances from being rinsed into the local waterways. It will at least keep the pollution with the other pollution in the city, and not spread it out by taking it to the lake. That is no worse than washing your car if you *don't* float through the lake afterward, so it really doesn't have any significant impact.
One thing that can be done to minimize the impact of urban drainage is to pay attention to when it rains. I.E, don't wash your car right before or during a rain (hehe, no problem there) because the extra water from the rainfall distributes the pollutants further. Not doing laundry or showering during or right after a rain is a similar consideration. Of course you can't do that every time (I don't always..) but it's good to keep in mind.

#30 PictureChasers

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 01:22 PM

The idea I object(ed) to is the thought of driving a dirty car though the lake. It sounds as if you are taking pains to keep the engine clean and to minimize the amount of exposure between the water and the engine, which is admirable. If you want to do this in a way that serves as an example to others, then I wouldn't really complain.


Actually most of those issues are side benefits. I dont want engine in water, and needed front buoyancy. I suspect we will be WAY cleaner than an average rec boat, and would not go in water designated "No motorized Vehicles. Up here that gets you a visit from the Coast Guard, no thanks.

I would go the extra step, if it were my car, to spray off the underside at the car wash before going into the lake. That may still wash the crap into the water, as you are correct to mention that many cities don't prevent such substances from being rinsed into the local waterways. It will at least keep the pollution with the other pollution in the city, and not spread it out by taking it to the lake. That is no worse than washing your car if you *don't* float through the lake afterward, so it really doesn't have any significant impact.


Actually we can do better. We RV to a central safe location, then will detatch Justy. Could easily rinse it off then as we have 50 gallons of water pressurized, and outside taps. No sweet little pressure washer though, yet.

So I'm glad you no longer object to my plans. This year we are simply rebuilding for light off-road fun & TSD Rallying, so we'll be doing lots of fairly common mods for soobies. We photograph & write about each phase of this project. Hopefully next year I can begin work on flotation.

We actually plan to see very little water, simply want the capability. As a photojournalist I have repeatedly passed up opportunities to shoot images of flooded areas for publication. We've seen a foot of water in out 35' motor coach in Ocean City. Like everyone else wet get the heck outta there. OK, ok, so we turned around & drove through flood 3 times, it was pretty cool. With our final version of this Moobaru, we would have parked, pulled the pin & swam off to get the story!

#31 s'ko

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 01:55 PM

hey the Water car
http://mitglied.lyco...h/carlist5.html
has a Turboed EJ25 300 hp.

#32 baccaruda

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 01:40 PM

what i'd be more worried about would be all the people who would see what you've done and decide to do it themselves without being as conscientious.

#33 Zefy

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 01:51 PM

and hey just a thought... do you have your boating licence?:rolleyes:

anything over 10hp that is a water craft will have to have a licenced driver... and i guess a amphibious car counts...:drunk:

baccarudawhat i'd be more worried about would be all the people who would see what you've done and decide to do it themselves without being as conscientious.


if i were you i would make is as stock looking as possible... and not use it in any really public areas...

but hey, your in Penticton so its not like anybody is going to see you...:lol: ahhh... fun...

#34 PictureChasers

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 05:40 AM

what i'd be more worried about would be all the people who would see what you've done and decide to do it themselves without being as conscientious.


This is true, but I dont think too many will bother. There have been thousands of amphibious cars made, they havent inspired the masses to the ocean. I hear thet there will be about 7 of the "famous" Amphicars in Seattle Opening Day Parade, I'll have pictures of them all. Could have ridden in one, butwe'll be working from a Yacht instead.

#35 PictureChasers

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 05:48 AM

and hey just a thought... do you have your boating licence?:rolleyes:

anything over 10hp that is a water craft will have to have a licenced driver... and i guess a amphibious car counts...:drunk:


if i were you i would make is as stock looking as possible... and not use it in any really public areas...

but hey, your in Penticton so its not like anybody is going to see you...:lol: ahhh... fun...


This year I get both boating license & ham. I grew up here, so boat license is no problem. I have Coast Guard friends, and they patrol most lakes in BC, heavy patrols on long weekends, to catch the drunkards. Since I have no desire to "end up in the brig", permit on the way! I think my insurance will be invalid, but what else is new?

Stock looking?
http://www.rallybc.c...donicaomara.jpg

http://www.rallybc.c...car69darren.jpg

Our last car was hardly noticable lol Being camooflaged as a cow, our new Moobaru will hardly be noticed on land or sea. ;-)

#36 RavenTBK

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 03:29 PM

anything over 10hp that is a water craft will have to have a licenced driver... and i guess a amphibious car counts...:drunk:

Huh? You mean to say the Justy has more than 10hp? :lol:

I'd like to see a boating Justy. I think a wagon or Brat would be easier to make float.. but a Justy would be amusing. More power to you! :headbang:

#37 caliplates

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 01:17 AM

I dunno If anyone mentioned this or not, but some company is making a boat-car. It runs around $150,000, looks like a mid 90's Camaro convertable, and is powered by a (dig) WRX motor! Thats technically a floating Subaru, right?

#38 caliplates

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 01:27 AM

oops,my bad, someone did.

#39 diluded000

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 04:24 PM

I just read through this thread, and it looks like an interesting idea. For propulsion, could a belt or chain be fixtured between the driveshaft and a prop shaft? It would only be engaged when 4wd was on, and only have a load in excess of friction when it was in the water.

- James B

#40 Andyjo

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 02:37 PM

our school's mini-baja team uses really knobby tires as propultion. As for the fluid dymanics of it, i'll get down to crunching some numbers when i get a chance. you'd also have to worry about your electronics.. like my fog lights are pretty log, and have a feeling those would short out, along with the other stuff up front.
I'm thinking that for stability reasons you might want some sort of outrigging, fiberglass pontoon, or styrofoam or something like that.
eh...

#41 PictureChasers

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 12:09 PM

our school's mini-baja team uses really knobby tires as propultion. As for the fluid dymanics of it, i'll get down to crunching some numbers when i get a chance. you'd also have to worry about your electronics.. like my fog lights are pretty log, and have a feeling those would short out, along with the other stuff up front.
I'm thinking that for stability reasons you might want some sort of outrigging, fiberglass pontoon, or styrofoam or something like that.
eh...


Hey Andy,

What is mini-baja? Gotta link?

I know that tires will provide adequate propulsion. We will not have "really knobby" tires, but full winters. We are only expecting to make 5 knots in water.

Not concerned about electronics. I actually enjoy wiring! This is actually my first project vehicle where everything worked when I got it, often I rewire from scratch. Currently rewiring a 76 dodge motor home & a 1959 MCI motor coach.

As to stability, the maker of the amphi-geo says most anything will float. If stability is a big issue once it floats, I plan to add removable pontoon bumpers, but I don't expect this to be necessary.

Just to add once again for the thread, we are not crossing oceans, only want to cross the occasional river. Primary purpose actually is emergency preparedness. We photograph wildfire and soon floods. We are looking to create a versatile sporty 35 MPG vehicle, that can't easily get pinned down by disaster.

We saw first hand 7 Amphicars floating in Seattle parade, will post link to images soon.

#42 operose

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 04:53 PM

We saw first hand 7 Amphicars floating in Seattle parade, will post link to images soon.


my dad got married sometime last summer, and the place where they got married is rentable... anyway, the old guy that owns the place has a real old mint condition amphicar, and he took dad&wife for a long ride down the river in it. was super cool

#43 Andyjo

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 07:50 PM

mini-baja cars: http://students.sae....ast/2004pix.htm

it's a big competition between colleges.

#44 Andyjo

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 01:25 AM

Here's some floating pics from this year. as you can see, large knubby tires, and a fiberglass/foamtype floatation on the bottom.

And yes, that's a beer flag :drunk:

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