Cutting a tunnel-cost guesstimate?

fishing66

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Gang,

First post here, very glad to have found this board. My rig is a Triton 176 with a Merc 90/65. The boat runs great and a river guide said it was one of the best handling boats he had ever driven. The issue is that it is a flat bottom, the foot hangs beneath the hull and I want to cut a tunnel into it (rather, have a machine shop do it). Outboard Jets has a very specific diagram, however, I can't for the life of me get a straight answer on what this project might cost. I understand the motor has to be taken off, boat emptied and turned over before any work can begin. Can any give a guesstimate? Any advice would be appreciated. PS, here is the stern of the rig.
 

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rktman

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A machinist friend charged about 600 for my tunnel. It is quite a bit of work.
 

fishing66

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rktman said:
A machinist friend charged about 600 for my tunnel. It is quite a bit of work.

Dang, where do I send the check? I'm in northwest NJ and would hire your friend in a heartbeat, even if the price was higher. No one will give me an estimate even with photos, hull measurements etc. "Well uh, ya know, we have to factor in that the smokeshifter might not work well with the fuffer valve and you may need a lot of blinker fluid" etc etc etc. Flip, I'm not wealthy but have a few bucks to spend to have a job done right. BOAT="Bring Out Another Thousand" :beer: :LOL2:
 

RiverBottomOutdoors

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Big risk if you don't get it right and you won't gain much more clearance from the tunnel; you'll lose some top end. In the pic you posted it looks like the motor can be raised some.
 

fishing66

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RiverBottomOutdoors said:
Big risk if you don't get it right and you won't gain much more clearance from the tunnel; you'll lose some top end. In the pic you posted it looks like the motor can be raised some.

Howdy: Thanks for your note. The picture is pretty cruddy.....up close, the the front of the jet foot is pretty much level with the hull. The motor is already on its highest mounting holes and I'm not comfortable with the way it was done.....the lower mounting bolts are cocked at an angle (?). If I do go ahead with this project, it would only be with a metal fabricator who knows jet boats and has done this project before. I would look to add a transom jack to deal with the motor mounting issue and also to enable easy height adjustments as I fish rivers and lakes which have some decent waves.
 

dearl

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What exactly don't you like about the way the boat performs now? Is the shoe hitting anything? I have the same outboard, on a 16' Lowe roughneck tunnel hull. Motor makes a ton of power, gets on plane quick and runs through some real skinny stuff. My outboard likes to be ran high, if you lower it, it drags bad. The only PRO I have found with Tunnels is the fact that I can pull my shoe above the boat with no possibility of hitting, so if the boat doesn't hit it I can go through it. Con is I loose some draft at Idle speed. I installed custom Pods from Boyds welding and it solved some of that issue but not all. When I installed my pods they actually created a tunnel effect meaning the shoe is running in a column of water squeezed between the pods, What you are thinking of doing can be done, but I honestly think you will be disappointed In the outcome. If my shoe isn't hitting, I would look into a good set of float pods first before I cut my boat up.

But to answer your question, I have no clue, Rear stringers would have to be customized, you'd need a different stiff knee, not as easy as cutting a gap in the bottom of the boat. That motor with the power it makes will distort your transom, possibly pulling your gunnels apart if it is not braced correctly so Make sure you get someone to do it that actually knows something about boats and their performance.
 

fishing66

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dearl said:
What exactly don't you like about the way the boat performs now? Is the shoe hitting anything? I have the same outboard, on a 16' Lowe roughneck tunnel hull. Motor makes a ton of power, gets on plane quick and runs through some real skinny stuff. My outboard likes to be ran high, if you lower it, it drags bad. The only PRO I have found with Tunnels is the fact that I can pull my shoe above the boat with no possibility of hitting, so if the boat doesn't hit it I can go through it. Con is I loose some draft at Idle speed. I installed custom Pods from Boyds welding and it solved some of that issue but not all. When I installed my pods they actually created a tunnel effect meaning the shoe is running in a column of water squeezed between the pods, What you are thinking of doing can be done, but I honestly think you will be disappointed In the outcome. If my shoe isn't hitting, I would look into a good set of float pods first before I cut my boat up.

But to answer your question, I have no clue, Rear stringers would have to be customized, you'd need a different stiff knee, not as easy as cutting a gap in the bottom of the boat. That motor with the power it makes will distort your transom, possibly pulling your gunnels apart if it is not braced correctly so Make sure you get someone to do it that actually knows something about boats and their performance.

Dearl,thanks for your note and input. Yes, the reason for the proposed tunnel is increased protection from rocks. It would probably be a lot easier (and cheaper) if I just spent a day on the Delaware river learning the tougher spots. As to the project itself, Snyder boats in PA has a ton of experience with cutting tunnels and fortifying the transom and stringers. That's the good news. The bad news is that they are busy as heck with building new boats and mods like this aren't their #1 priority. For the time being, I ordered a UHMW shoe from Rockproof and will keep it in the boat with grill bars, pins, liner and mounting studs. If disaster strikes and the current aluminum foot gets torn off, this should theoretically get me back to the launch. This whole jet boat thing is new to me.....I had a Ranger 372 w Merc 150 and only smacked the prop once.
 

JL8Jeff

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What part of the Delaware are you running? I keep my boat in the Washington's Crossing area and know most of the shallow spots and rocks. I'm pretty used to my tunnel hull now and would be a little nervous going back to a non tunnel jet setup.
 

fishing66

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JL8Jeff, I usually launch out of Belvidere and head north. That's the easy part. Heading back to Belvidere is where I usually manage to smack a rock :oops: There are some stretches of the Delaware that are decidedly easier on a boat including within the Gap itself. However, dealing with flotillas of jet skis, tubers and canoeists is something I try to avoid.
 

rktman

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I agree with others that you will probably be happier leaving the hull as is and adjusting the motor or adding pods.
A tunnel is a good addition for a boat with a slight/mod V but its so finicky on a flat bottom.
 

fishing66

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Gentlemen, my apologies, I am a blithering idiot :oops: . The Triton hull is not flat, rather, a first try at calculating deadrise provided a hull angle of 5.7 degrees. Triton tech support didn't know the exact deadrise but said it would be somewhere between 5 and 10 degrees. A reputable fabricator has done tunnels on this exact hull and said they work out very well. He has a low opinion of pods but I am very interested in them because the jack plate will weigh 28 lbs and have a setback of 4 inches.
 

RiverBottomOutdoors

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The tunnel is only going to give you about another inch of clearance. Just want to make sure that you understand that the tunnel is not going to offer much protection for your jet foot. Even with the tunnel, the foot will be the lowest part of the boat on an outboard jet that does not have a hull with float pods when it is in water.
 

fishing66

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Jonah,

Thanks for your note, understood. My idiocy continues in I found a precision protractor in my desk drawer, re-measured the hull and the deadrise is 6 degrees on the nose. Pods seem like a no-brainer in terms of shallow water running; I'll have to figure out some alternative placements for a transducer, inlets and drains for the livewell, trailer tie down hooks etc. The reason for all of this is that the boat is in fantastic shape, it's paid off and I've put over $4000 in new gear into over the past year and would lose my shirt at private sale or trade in. A few grand on a tunnel and pods and this should (emphasis added) be a much more capable river runner.
 

Scottinva

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You may want to try Jim Starkey at James River Jets. I know he has done this for others and they were happy. Snyder would be my first choice but you will probably have an extended wait to get it done if you can get it done. Good luck. I would put the Rockprof foot on there now instead of waiting. Make sure you use the larger washers.

Scott
 

fishing66

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Folks, thanks for all of your feedback. After having done a lot of research, the title of this thread is way off the mark. The first criteria should have been about the capability of the fabricator, their capacity to do the job and THEN the cost. There are three shops out there that clearly know what they are doing but are backed up for months. A few few local guys can do it right now, but one guy asked if I knew anyone who could help him get the boat off the trailer. There is an old saying: "You have have it done right or you can have it done now, but you can't have it done right now". When cutting into boat hull, something that can never be undone, I'll wait. The pods should arrive in about a week or so and it will be a riot for the Triton to have an @$$ bigger than Kim Kardashian :LOL2:
 

fishing66

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Brian, thanks for your note. I tried contacting James River Jets several times and they did not respond. There is a boat welder much closer to my house who is working on the project at this time. He knows tunnel designs and jet boats cold, suggested a number of innovative improvements I hadn't thought of and says that the boat will be a river beast when he's done with it. His price was very reasonable.....tunnel, jack plate, pods, replace the factory transom knee which he says was badly under-built and a few other things. Can't wait to have the Water Wiener (it's current name) turned into the Water Wizard.
 

fishing66

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Here is the Water Wiener in surgery. Pods have been tack-welded on, tunnel installed along with jack plate. The pods were strengthened along the bottom and rear to protect against rock drag. UHMW will go around the tunnel exhaust to funnel water into the jet foot, which is being replaced by a Rockproof UHMW foot. This welder knows jet boats stone cold and he's doing an unbelievable job. After this, it gets 400 mils of K5 on the hull. Then I might actually use it this year? :oops: :wink:
 

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Jim

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Great thread! Learning a few things reading this.


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