Know the Limits of Your XTV
Weight limits for water use are lower than land use. The payload capacity for your vehicle as equipped from the factory is stated on the capacity plate, located on the far left side of the dash. If accessories have been added, their weight also needs to be taken into account; this information can be found in the accessory manual and the main XTV manual. The maximum payload includes passengers, cargo, and fuel. A full tank of gasoline weighs about 60 lbs, while a full tank of diesel weighs about 68 lbs.
All passengers must wear a flotation device or life jacket. Do not wear seat belts while in the water: restraints can keep you from making a quick escape if the vehicle floods.
Tracks limit buoyancy and water treading ability. If tracks are installed, don’t operate your XTV in water deeper than 25 inches.
These vehicles are designed for calm waters. If the waves are tall enough for water to enter the cab, get back on land immediately.
Preparing the XTV for Water Travel
Have a paddle and bailing can on board, even if your model comes with a bilge pump. These tools will come in handy if water gets in the cab or the engine stalls.
Inspect the underside of the vehicle for signs of cuts, punctures and other holes that could let water leak into the vehicle.
There are two plugs on the rear of the hull that need to be in the drain holes before entering the water. Inspect the O-rings on these plugs for wear and damage before screwing the plugs in.
If there are signs of water leaking into the cabin despite a sealed hull, there may be an issue with the axle seals. Inspect the axle ends occasionally to make sure they’re watertight. A damaged outer seal or lack of grease in the bearing flange can let water into the vehicle.
Buoyancy is dependent on the tires. If your vehicle is fitted with 24-inch tires instead of the standard 25-inch rubber, load capacity will be 100 lbs. less than what is stated on the capacity plate.
Entering the Water
Always keep the bumper above the water. If it’s submerged, water can flow through openings in the upper body, flooding the cab and engine compartment. Where possible, enter the water from level ground. While the vehicle is partly submerged and the wheels are still touching the ground, check the cab for signs of leaks. When entering from a steep slope, back into the water. The front is heavier than the back, so it may dip below the bumper when making a head-on approach.
The vehicle should be level the water. If one corner is lower, shift the cargo and passengers around until the hull is righted.
Driving in the Water
Once the XTV is floating, apply light throttle to move the vehicle. The paddling action of the tires limits top speed to 3 mph; increasing the wheel speed will just increase turbulence. Turning works the same as it does on land, but the XTV will be less responsive and the turning radius will be larger.
Stay close to the shoreline and avoid rocks and branches near the water’s surface. Even if your XTV is protected by a skid plate, bumping into these obstacles can upset the vehicle. If the cab starts filling with water, head back to land immediately.
Getting Back on Land
Find a flat, level area free of rocks, stumps and other debris. Approach the land straight on so that both front tires will get traction on the ground at the same time. Once the tires make contact, accelerate gently until the vehicle is out of the water. Once the vehicle is back on land, unscrew the drain plugs to drain out any water in the cab.
Using an Outboard Motor
Want to travel faster? Argo makes a mount to attach a sub-10 hp outboard motor. A long shaft motor is recommended to reduce cavitation.
Outfit Your XTV for Better Water Performance
Want to add a skid plate or a bilge pump to your older XTV? Looking to speed up water travel by mounting an outboard motor? Shank’s Argo has the parts, accessories, and experience to set up your XTV to get the performance you want.
Live in south-central Pennsylvania? Schedule a test drive on our website, or visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-80 via Exit 10 to Marion.