I was going to get the GatorTail 35, but they are recalled until summer, and I have a MudBuddy dealer 5 minutes from home, and get the MB 35. What does everyone see as the up/downside to each. Good or bad opinions are welcomed.
Very similar designs. Horizontal shaft motor turns pulleys which turn belt and power a big, aggressive surface cutting prop.
I have a '04 35 HP HyperDrive. It is the design similar to GatorTail. I love it. I push a big boat with it and hammer the boat and motor. They have held up well. This motor design is what MB calls their "balanced drive". It takes very little downward pressure on the tiller handle to pull the prop out of the water, so it does not have neutral. It is a very simple design. The Gator Tail motors have a neutral feature, via electro-magnetic clutch. You must reach back to the motor to access the clutch switch for engagement / disengagement.
For '05, MudBuddy will continue to offer the balanced drive Hyper but will also have available their new sport Hyper with "Gas'n'go" clutch, a centrifugal design. There are no switches to flip. When the motor is idling, the prop is stopped. Give it the gas and the prop engages. It is also more of a "weight back" motor with shorter drive shaft. Both the balanced and Sport hypers have electric tilt and trim, a great feature.
I am a MB dealer in Idaho and Washinigton and I would suggest two things to anyone considering a mud motor purchase:
1) Test drive any motors you are considering, then make your choice. If a dealer doesn't want to take you on a test drive, he doesn't (IMO) want to sell you a motor.
2) All else equal, buy from a local dealer. These motors require set-up and sometimes, support after the sale. A good dealer will be available should service issues arise and will work with the manufacturer on your behalf to resolve problems. I do not know of a mud motor brand that is 100% foolproof, so having a dealer that will be there after the sale is critical.
My boat is an 18 x 54 rounded chine GatorTrax with tunnel. These two factors along with the fact that I am running at 2200 feet elevation serve to slow down the boat with mud motor. I have a 35 HP Hyper and with hunting gear and dog, by myself I get 22-24 mph in the deep stuff, two guys 20-22 mph, 3 guys 15-18 mph. On an 18 x 48 you could run 31 or 35 Hyper. I would think that if you ran the 35 HP on your 18 x 48 you could get at least those speeds and probably an additional 1-4 mph in each instance, depending on conditions. If you have a luxury of putting a 35 on the boat for your test drive you wll have confirmed speeds. Certain hull styles can vary your results.
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