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Swamp Buggy Ride

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  • Swamp Buggy Ride

    I've been down in Florida hunting. After a very successful morning hog hunting several of us were kicked back relaxing. B who owns the swamp buggy asked if we wanted to go for a ride. We all pile on. This is what it looked like before we started out. The tires are 60" (1.5m) high. A big, loud beastly thing. Everyone else just went as they were. Shorts ans flip flops. I quickly threw on my snake boots and grabbed my sun hat.

    We rode around havin a nice old time. Then B drove us deep into the swamp and a really nasty area where we could go no further. Lots of engine revving and spinning tires. Back and forth in a 5 point k turn to at least get pointed toward firmer ground. At this point we realize we're in trouble. The vehicle is bogging down and sinking. The engine is at redline rpm in the lowest gear and overheating The clutch in the transmission is overheating and slipping. It soon becomes apparent that if we make it out there will be major damage to the machine. We were also in danger of snapping a drive shaft or universal joint.

    The clutch pack in the transmission could no longer handle the torque and started to slip badly billowing acrid smoke. The engine temp was off the gauge with steam venting from the radiator. We stoped and let the engine and transmission cool then flog it some more to get us 50 feet closer to dry land. After several attempts and it becomes more apparent that the machine would not make it out alive.

    One more slog and the smoke and steam pouring out from below is particularly bad. D a big, very soft spoken guy leans over the edge to eyeball things below. In an almost scripted, calm voice he says "gentlemen... we're on fire". Since I was the only one wearing boots I was first over the side. My knee high waterproof snake boots were not tall enough and water poured over the top. The guys above tossed me a small Solo cup and I quickly flung swamp water to put out the fire. Water on an oil fire made if flare and seem to grow larger.

    The guys above are frantically looking for something bigger to bucket water. They found a gallon jug, cut the top part off and D jumped into the swamp to help fight the fire. I got a half second warning to close my eyes as D flung the contents of the jug on the transmission and me. Antifreeze bath for Dane.

    After several minutes the main fire is out. The transmission fluid is still so hot as it leaks out it instantly flames as it hits the air so I continue to fling oily, antifreeze nasty swamp water on the searing hot metal to cool things down. Lots of stinky steam but after five minutes things seem to be cooling and I slow down flinging water.

    Up to now everyone's been looking over the side where D and I are. Since things seemed under control M starts looking around and glances over the other side. "Shit"... "fire on this side". He was only wearing flip flops and kicked them off and jumped in bare foot and started flinging water to put out the fire on the other side.

    Eventually all the fires are out and we keep throwing water to get the transmission and engine cooled down so there is no more risk of flare-ups. We all climb back up on the buggy. I took off my boots and poured out the water and we took stock of the situation. Nobody is in camp but there is a air boat but it has an electrical problem. D volunteers to walk out, get the air boat and pick us up..

    D wades out and after a while we hear the Corvette LT1 engine of the air boat and see it approach the edge of the swamp. 100 feet from the swamp we see the air boat stop and a second later the roar of the engine stops dead. Sonofa B ! D is a genius mechanically and can bush rig any possible fix so we give him 10 minutes before calling on the phone. OK, another half hour and he still can't get the engine running. A prissy, fuel injected, computer controlled engine with lots of wires and connectors is not a good choice for a air boat but I digress.

    Finally, those of us on the buggy look at each other and know what the others are thinking. Nobody thought to bring any beer or a gun! So, one by one we climb down and do the wade/walk of shame out of the swamp. We joke and cajole each other as we walk out to distract from; alligators, snakes, mosquitoes, leaches, sharp grass, hot sun, and no beer.

  • #2
    Crikey Dane!!!!!!! ...came for some relaxing reading to accompany my breakfast coffee and found a rip-roaring Boys Own adventure!
    Just as I'd reached the bit about the air boat having an electrical problem, the network went down AGAIN... talk about a cliff-hanger - thinks: Dane posted this so he SURVIVED!!!!!! ..somehow.

    Now the computer's back up and running. Wow, after all that I think I need a shower to dispel the virtual swampy soaking!


    • #3
      So what was the problem?

      Great to hear that everything turned out quite ok after all.


      • #4
        Dane - hero of the day! Phew! But did anybody ever get the swamp buggy out?

        "To thine own self be true.......
        Thou canst not then be false to any man."


        • #5
          hahahaha great story.
          maybe better if that guy knew what he was dooing,before showing.
          best regards Thijs


          • #6
            What was the problem?

            SWAMP BUGGY

            The problem with the swamp buggy was simply that B drove it into an area it could not handle. It was driven beyond it's limit for much too long. It really was a guess if the engine or transmission would die first. It turned out to be the transmission. It got hotter and hotter and the clutch pack was seriously burned and the hoses outside the transmission taking oil to from the cooler melted and the case may have cracked. The super heated oil simply caught fire when it met the air. Bucketing water onto the oil fire caused some initially spectacular flare-ups but the water eventually cooled the metal and oil inside enough that it could no longer spontaneously combust.

            It was still in the swamp when I left. They were talking about two possible options. One is to bring in heavy equipment which will stay on dry land and a string of chains run out to the buggy to pull it to shore. The other option is to go out in an airboat, remove the transmission, repair it ashore, re-install and repair other damage then drive the machine out.

            AIR BOAT
            The problem with the air boat was electrical. It has a computer controlled car engine. Great for making lots of power but with the engine and electricals out in the open and exposed to water, mud and swamp debris knocks some connections loose while making others corrode. It died when driving across dry land so it's easy to access and they jumped some things to drive it back to camp on it's own power. All it needs is a thorough going through of the electrical system.

            Airboats that got the most use have aircraft engines. They are relatively simple engines but are very reliable and can often limp home even when wounded.


            • #7
              Originally posted by pilotdane View Post
              It was still in the swamp when I left. They were talking about two possible options. One is to bring in heavy equipment which will stay on dry land and a string of chains run out to the buggy to pull it to shore. The other option is to go out in an airboat, remove the transmission, repair it ashore, re-install and repair other damage then drive the machine out.
              The former option seems the simplest, but I should imagine cost will be the deciding factor there. That'll larn 'im!

              "To thine own self be true.......
              Thou canst not then be false to any man."


              • #8
                I have been lurking on the forum and not posting so I thought I should get back into it.

                The first alligator hides have come back from the tanner.

                The bigger ones are more impressive because of their size but the leather is not in premium condition for making a purse or shoes. The larger gators are larger but they also have 30 years of battle scars. If you look closely at the one on the left you can see that part of it's tail is missing. Apparently it got bitten off in a fight many years ago. The older, larger hides also have a larger scales that are not as good for making small items like wallets and belts. For the big hides the scales are so big that you really can't see a pattern in small items like a belt. I have some smaller hides still at the tanner. They are not so big and impressive but the leather should be of higher quality and the smaller scale pattern should be better for making things.

                I think I will keep one big one just as is and not make it into anything, at least for now. It's currently laying across my pool table and it's impressive to see it hanging well over both ends of such a big table. Wifey wants me to have some tanned black. She wants a black alligator purse.


                • #9
                  Welcome back, Dane... now that is two big crocs!
                  With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                  Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
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                  • #10
                    and ofcourse killed in a battle in your pond.
                    great to see your back,there are'n't many left anymore of the CV task force.
                    best regards Thijs


                    • #11
                      If only I had an Australian accent.