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Lrdchaos

Let’s talk about forward drives!

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Getting back into boating after being out of the mix for a couple of years,  now I’m seeing all these forward drives.  Does anyone own, operate, or trailer one of these boats to different lakes?  It seems like they would be great for deep lakes where you kept the boat in a slip on a life,  but to trailer it from lake to lake and putting the boat in on shallow ramps would be a nightmare.  But I might be overthinking and it might not be an issue at all.  I’ve done a little research online,  but there is very little info as far as actual owners go.

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3 hours ago, Lrdchaos said:

Getting back into boating after being out of the mix for a couple of years,  now I’m seeing all these forward drives.  Does anyone own, operate, or trailer one of these boats to different lakes?  It seems like they would be great for deep lakes where you kept the boat in a slip on a life,  but to trailer it from lake to lake and putting the boat in on shallow ramps would be a nightmare.  But I might be overthinking and it might not be an issue at all.  I’ve done a little research online,  but there is very little info as far as actual owners go.

I don't own one, but up here in our local area, granite shoals are not kind to them as they don't enjoy the same level of protection as a standard B3 or DPS-A or B. Props are exposed. Just had the techs install a complete new drive yesterday where the owner had hit several times and then the drive failed. Could see the bend with naked eye of the outer propshaft from last impact. Cost a little more than a standard DPS-A or B for replacement. For usage, my biggest concerns when in the water are the lack of ability to trim up for shallow areas, and very little room between drive and road when trailering, and turn circle is a somewhat larger when underway than standard DPS-A or B.

Having said that, the pros are the forward facing drive allows a quieter boating experience from exhaust being further under the boat, allows making a larger wake for water sports along with greater wave shape control, a little more control around the dock, and slightly better performance for getting on plane.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=forward+facing+drive+on+trailer&&view=detail&mid=4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE&rvsmid=3D903A8C461B8531DB653D903A8C461B8531DB65&FORM=VDRVRV

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Trailering the boat is my biggest concern.  I trailer the boat to multiple campgrounds with uneven lots.  While there seem to be a number of benefits,  I might just go with a standard drive.  Also,  if I want to surf a lot I might look into one of the jet boat options with the ballast bags.

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5 minutes ago, Lrdchaos said:

Trailering the boat is my biggest concern.  I trailer the boat to multiple campgrounds with uneven lots.  While there seem to be a number of benefits,  I might just go with a standard drive.  Also,  if I want to surf a lot I might look into one of the jet boat options with the ballast bags.

Please don't go with a jet boat with or without ballast bags sir. F'n suck...loud, thirsty on fuel, don't really like to cruise. agh. Just my jaundiced opinion.

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If you are not planning on wake surfing, I would opt for a conventional drive. They are essentially designed for digging the stern down and thusly kicking up a larger wake. They are very nice for what they do, but I don't think the average trailer boater would see much benefit from one. They are trailerable, but I`ve noticed that the boat sits higher on the trailer than with traditional drives.

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2 hours ago, Shepherd1 said:

I don't own one, but up here in our local area, granite shoals are not kind to them as they don't enjoy the same level of protection as a standard B3 or DPS-A or B. Props are exposed. Just had the techs install a complete new drive yesterday where the owner had hit several times and then the drive failed. Could see the bend with naked eye of the outer propshaft from last impact. Cost a little more than a standard DPS-A or B for replacement. For usage, my biggest concerns when in the water are the lack of ability to trim up for shallow areas, and very little room between drive and road when trailering, and turn circle is a somewhat larger when underway than standard DPS-A or B.

Having said that, the pros are the forward facing drive allows a quieter boating experience from exhaust being further under the boat, allows making a larger wake for water sports along with greater wave shape control, a little more control around the dock, and slightly better performance for getting on plane.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=forward+facing+drive+on+trailer&&view=detail&mid=4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE&rvsmid=3D903A8C461B8531DB653D903A8C461B8531DB65&FORM=VDRVRV

See the source imageSee the source image

I would love to know the cost of a complete drive, in Canadian!  Can you convert from DPSA to forward drive?  My wife LOVES our boat, and our family really likes surfing, so a drive might be much cheaper than a new boat.  We use our boat a fair amount, so might be worth it!

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Here is my 2 cents.

 

Its new, just like the IPS drives they have fined tuned them over time to when the first came out. Since it is new, do the dealers and/or mechanics know how to work on them? Parts at first are not going to be stocked for them.

If you hit any thing, the prop not the skeg is going to take brunt of it.   As someone else mentioned, you can not trim up bring the prop higher in the water. 

 

I would wait, I love the thought of better performance, saving gas, better handling and more. Just like anything new, it could be made better or there could be small bugs in it that need to be worked out. If I was still into smaller boats, I would look forward to this drive in the next 3 to 5 years. 

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Anything wraps around the props. It will pound the hull bottom.

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Interesting - didn't know that had that scheme on a stern drive.  I've only been aware of them on the IPS pods.

For what its worth, a good buddy of mine has the IPS pods on his rig and he says he would never go that way again.  As he puts it, you are leading with your face on anything underwater.  They are very unforgiving - I've seen his boat up on blocks mid summer more than a couple of times due to the results of hitting something submerged with the prop facing forward

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I would think they have less control around the docks. As the props approach the center of the hull you are losing the longer leverage of the O B & stern drive setups. Move the drive to the mid point of the hull and it is a complete dog.in wind & currents.

Nice try at the latest must have gimmick.

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14 hours ago, Shepherd1 said:

Please don't go with a jet boat with or without ballast bags sir. F'n suck...loud, thirsty on fuel, don't really like to cruise. agh. Just my jaundiced opinion.

Truth!  No amount of help can make a jet drive boat a good surf boat.  In my experience, if you want to surf, then buy a surf boat.  It's not a good compromise activity, like wakeboarding and skiing can be.

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Best surf boats ?  Cheap and can carry 20 people ?

A HEAVY OLD Mahogany wood cruiser. Couple in our boating group have them. Easily a 3 to 4 foot breaking wake. Actually 1 of them can create 2 high wave wakes..

Food drinks loads of water toys. The best for overnight sleeping on about 37 feet of pleasure. Shade WITH air conditioning.       :wub:

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On 3/3/2020 at 7:09 AM, Shepherd1 said:

I don't own one, but up here in our local area, granite shoals are not kind to them as they don't enjoy the same level of protection as a standard B3 or DPS-A or B. Props are exposed. Just had the techs install a complete new drive yesterday where the owner had hit several times and then the drive failed. Could see the bend with naked eye of the outer propshaft from last impact. Cost a little more than a standard DPS-A or B for replacement. For usage, my biggest concerns when in the water are the lack of ability to trim up for shallow areas, and very little room between drive and road when trailering, and turn circle is a somewhat larger when underway than standard DPS-A or B.

Having said that, the pros are the forward facing drive allows a quieter boating experience from exhaust being further under the boat, allows making a larger wake for water sports along with greater wave shape control, a little more control around the dock, and slightly better performance for getting on plane.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=forward+facing+drive+on+trailer&&view=detail&mid=4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE4E9FEFB8D2D4731E62BE&rvsmid=3D903A8C461B8531DB653D903A8C461B8531DB65&FORM=VDRVRV

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Good to see Shep back on the forum!  Haven't seen you around for a while.  Always great advice and info from the Shep!

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Sometimes innovation is a step backwards...

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I avoid new things until they have had a chance to prove them self reliable. 

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Posted (edited)

Interesting responses.  I think a lot of peoples view point come from where you are at.  If you already have a tow boat with a big expensive prop hanging underneath, the "new" forward prop system has all the same dangers as your current set up and many advantages. (ability to trim, much better throttle response and much better dock manoeuvrability, not to mention better economy)   If you are coming FROM an outboard or stern drive, you GIVE UP things, but gain a large measure of piece of mind doing water sports.  If you are not interested in those watersports, why would you give up anything to get something you dont care about? 

As someone who IS VERY interested in watersports I really would like to see and hear anyone's personal experience with these drives, especially people who can compare to a dedicated tow boat.  (it is interesting that the interiors of dedicated tow boats just dont seem to be as family friendly as our Chaps) 

Edited by chasingmemories
missed a word

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 A DEDICATED tow boat.

Does NOT place anything else above driver, Safety Observer & a person dragged along.  That is all a DEDICATED boat has to provide.  All else reduces the tow boat abilities.

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If I'm into watersports I'd get a tow boat. Good tow boat brands aren't throwing a forward prop sterndrive on the back for a reason. 

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How to make a true inboard drive system as expensive as possible  ?

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On 3/3/2020 at 9:24 AM, chasingmemories said:

I would love to know the cost of a complete drive, in Canadian!  Can you convert from DPSA to forward drive?  My wife LOVES our boat, and our family really likes surfing, so a drive might be much cheaper than a new boat.  We use our boat a fair amount, so might be worth it!

$ 14,915 + tax in CAD for a FWD B-2 drive (current spec) So far as I understand, a person should be able to bolt on in place of a DPS-A or B. I believe that very large trim tabs will be required to help make the size of wake a person may be wanting, or what I think would be better is to source and install a Malibu Surf Gate if at all possible as I'm not a big fan of the big multi-section trim tab plates on say a Cobalt WSS Surf series. Another thing to consider is possible modifications required to the trailer frame.

No real improvements I don't think can or need to be made to the Volvo forward facing drives. My experience has been they work fine provided they don't hit 'hard' water.

Lastly, unless you have Perfect Pass or necessary equivalent that will allow operator to dial in the desired boat speed, factor in that cost and install.

 

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See the source image

 

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What is the yaw factor like for this set up? Does the boat wonder around more or wonder around less or no change while in a no wake zone speed?

From the looks of the underwater picture, I immediately wonder about slip stream coming off the prop. Even though the prop is counter rotating,  it looks like the stream coming off the prop is hitting the outdrive which may cause the boat to yaw during acceleration.  Is the stream neutral? Thoughts?

f4u-takeoff

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 It looks like a little  thrust straightener to me. 

 I installed a " Whale Finn "  on my chap. It made any forward motion MUCH straighter.  Almost no off plane wander.  Nice.

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19 hours ago, Shepherd1 said:

$ 14,915 + tax in CAD for a FWD B-2 drive (current spec) So far as I understand, a person should be able to bolt on in place of a DPS-A or B. I believe that very large trim tabs will be required to help make the size of wake a person may be wanting, or what I think would be better is to source and install a Malibu Surf Gate if at all possible as I'm not a big fan of the big multi-section trim tab plates on say a Cobalt WSS Surf series. Another thing to consider is possible modifications required to the trailer frame.

No real improvements I don't think can or need to be made to the Volvo forward facing drives. My experience has been they work fine provided they don't hit 'hard' water.

Lastly, unless you have Perfect Pass or necessary equivalent that will allow operator to dial in the desired boat speed, factor in that cost and install.

 

See the source imageSee the source image

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

Thank you very much Shepard!  As always great information and always on point!  Certainly gives something to think about, as our boat is very similar to the Surf 25, only without surf gate and forward drive.  I will keep the cost of the forward drive in mind, as that is certainly cheaper than changing out our boat! I plan on adding the surf gate system this year regardless. 

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I have some experience driving one of these boats.   The maneuvering is better that a conventional drive.  That is the only  positive thing I can say about it.   Leading with your props is never a good idea.  Even conventional inboard tow boats have a skeg and or guard around the cutlass bearing.  You have already read what it costs to replace one.   Too much risk in my opinion.  

The problem is that many manufacturers like Chap have adapted to this drive because they don't have to start from scratch and build a true tow boat.  IMHO If you want to surf you need a boat designed to do that not a hybrid that does nothing well except cruise.  

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