An Argo amphibious ATV has no problem crossing small bodies of water, giving you greater access to the wilderness. However, speed and turning abilities are limited on the water, and these vehicles can’t propel themselves through water with tracks installed. Fortunately, Argo makes brackets that let you mount an outboard motor to your vehicle. Here’s why you might consider this option, what you need to install a mount, and how to pick the right outboard motor.
Why Would I Want an Outboard Motor for My Argo?
An amphibious ATV uses paddle-shaped tire treads to propel it through water. If you install tracks over these tires, there’s no way to move the vehicle once it’s floating.
Even if you don’t have tracks, the tires can only get your vehicle up to 3 MPH. An outboard motor makes water travel considerably faster. Steering is easier, too. You can turn the outboard instead of paddling to change direction.
How Does an Outboard-Equipped Argo Compare to a Boat?
Tires and treads aren’t exactly hydrodynamic, so you won’t get the same performance as a lightweight boat. Owners report top speeds ranging between 5-15 mph depending on the vehicle weight, motor output, and other factors.
Care needs to be taken when steering. Due to its short overall length, an XTV will turn more easily than a boat. With some practice and gentle inputs, you should be able to get a turning radius in line with what your Argo can do out of the water.
What Do I Need to Add an Outboard Motor?
Argo offers brackets that attach to the frame and trailer hitch of your XTV. The bracket mounts just to the right of the trailer ball, so it may interfere with racks and other accessories.
If you have a model that didn’t come with a trailer hitch from the factory, you’ll need to add a hitch accessory kit. This provides a place for the bottom of the mount to attach to your amphibious ATV.
Choosing an Outboard Motor
Most low horsepower boats are shallow, so they require a short shaft motor. Due to the height of the tires and hull of an Argo, it needs a long shaft motor to avoid cavitation. If you’re looking to maximize payload capacity, consider going with a lower power engine. A 9.9 HP long shaft (20-inch) motor typically weighs around 100 lbs, while a 6 HP motor weighs just 60 lbs.
Most newer models use a bracket that can support any motor below 10 HP. Brackets for older models like the HDI series are limited to 6 HP. Ballast isn’t much of a problem since the engine and transmission make the vehicle front heavy.
There are two features you should consider when buying an outboard:
Power tilt makes it easier to lift the prop when you’re in shallow waters, or you’re ready to get back on land.
A small engine may be easy to pull start, but an electric start gets the engine running faster. This is handy if your XTV starts drifting somewhere you don’t want it to go.
Assembling and Attaching a Motor Bracket
To install the bracket, you will need to drill through the top of your Argo’s hull. If this makes you nervous, bring your amphibious ATV to our shop and let us do it.
1. Attach the mounting block to the support assembly using four 1/4-20×2.0 bolts and four nylon locknuts. Make sure the chamfered side of the wood faces down.
2. Apply the warning label to the support assembly opposite of the mounting block.
3. Remove the two bolts on the right side of the trailer hitch and lower frame.
4. Slide the support assembly over the bumper and line it up with the two holes for the bolts you just removed.
5. Reinstall the bolts to the mounting bracket.
6. Using the holes in the upper part of the support assembly as a guide, drill four 3/8 inch holes through the bumper.
7. Use the included 3/8-16×2.0 bolts and locknuts to attach the assembly to the bumper.
Mount the outboard to the woodblock and frame the same way you would mount it on a boat’s transom.
We are Your Argo Headquarters
Shank’s Argo is more than just a major Argo dealer: we have decades of experience with outdoor equipment. We can help you find the right XTV and the right accessories to fit your needs, whether you’re looking for fun or need to work in remote areas. Need parts or service? We do that, too. Visit our showroom at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or check out our website, www.shanksargo.com.