Tunnel Hull Jon Boats

  • avatarKeith
    Participant
    NE Iowa
    Posts: 89
    #1237145

    I am wondering if anyone has any knowledge on the tunnel hull design jon boat. I think this is what I want but cant find a dealer that has any (good) experience with them. I want something that will perform well in the smaller- shallower rivers near where I live as well as the mississippi. I am looking at something in the 16′ range with a 40hp fourstroke engine. The majority of the negative comments that I have heard or or read sound like setup issue to me. Any info or thought you guys might have would be appreciated

    Profile photo of Brian KlawitterBrian Klawitter
    Keymaster
    Lakeland, MN
    Posts: 44,452
    #753260

    I’m sending a link to your post to a fella that runs a 20 footer…I believe.

    He’s going to be tied up with Comedy Night tonight…but should get back to you by Saturday sometime.

    You HOO! Catdad!? Where are you!

    avatarjon_jordan
    Participant
    St. Paul, Mn
    Posts: 10,935
    #753261

    Typically, tunnels run jet motors. Great for skinny water. However, they are louder, slower and vertually no reverse.

    I’ve never personally been in a proped tunnel. Can’t say I have seen one either….????

    -J.

    avatarcatdadmn
    Participant
    Southeast minnesota
    Posts: 531
    #753279

    Contrary to the post above I would prefer never to run a tunnel with a jet. I have owned several and still own a couple of them now. One is a 22’center console and the other is a 20′ tiller. The boats perform very well in shallow water as long as they have the horsepower to get the boat on plane.If they are underpowered they will be of know benefit to you. I prefer them over a jet driven boat unless I were running in a lot of rocks. The 20′ boat is powered by a 55 HP motor and will run in 6″ of water with no problems. Work on getting the weight spread out evenly (Batteries ,gas, people etc.) and you will be very happy. The only other thing you could do to improve performance is to mount the motor on a jack plate. One down fall to Tunnels is when you are in rough water they tend to slip a little, if you are able to drop the motor down a little you will cure this problem as well.
    Let me know if you have any other questions or would like to go for a ride in one. Chris

    avatarKeith
    Participant
    NE Iowa
    Posts: 89
    #753305

    Thanks for the replys. I was able to speak with the gentleman from Alumacraft that designed the tunnel hull for them, and he said their tunnels are not designed for jets….and to only run a prop motor. He did say they had some issues in the early years, but nothing in the last 10 years or so (especailly after they put “prop motor only” in the specs). One dealer I spoke with had nothing but bad things to say about the tunnels, and wouldn’t even give me quote on one. Some of the reading I have done mentioned drawbacks such as: problems trying reverse, reduced top speed, poor steering control or skipping, cavitation, and the need for specially cupped props. When I spoke with the Alumacraft engineer he said they never encounter any of those problems in their testing, and their tests were conducted with stock motors (in hole #2) and stock props. When I asked him about possible drawbacks he said the only things are extra price (which isn’t a concern if it gives me what I want) and maybe 1 mph lost on top speed. He did strongly recommend sponsons though. So with the conflicting information I just want to make sure of what I am getting before I spend the $$$. I am leaning towards the 1650AW model with a 40hp fourstroke tiller (which is the max hp on that boat model). That should be enough power shouldn’t it? When you’re talking about slipage in rough water are you talking about the prop? and by rough water do mean windy day chop on the river or rollers on a lake? Thanks again. Keith

    Profile photo of Brian HoffiesBrian Hoffies
    Participant
    Land of 10,000 taxes, potholes & the politically correct.
    Posts: 5,666
    #753316

    Keith since you got a guy inside Alumacraft have him find out which dealer has one in stock. They should be able to check model numbers and who they shipped to. You need to test drive one and find out for yourself the performance issue’s and if it will do what you want it to do.

    Let us know how it works out!

    Profile photo of Ralph WiggumRalph Wiggum
    Participant
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 6,216
    #753323

    I’d probably stick with a 2-stroke to save on some weight in the back of the boat.

    avatarcatdadmn
    Participant
    Southeast minnesota
    Posts: 531
    #753324

    By rough water I do mean rollers. The chop up to white caps is not problem. You will notice no loss of speed per say. They are a little difficult to back up (they just dot turn sharp in reverse). I own one Alumacraft and am more than happy with it. Lik you stated earlier the only people I know with problems were caused by improper set up. The dealerships just mount motors most are set up improperly from the get go. The cost is only slightly higher and to me is well worth it.

    avatarjon_jordan
    Participant
    St. Paul, Mn
    Posts: 10,935
    #753328
    Quote:

    The dealerships just mount motors most are set up improperly from the get go. The cost is only slightly higher and to me is well worth it.


    So, you’re saying a jackplate is a must? I feel the same way about my propped jon boat. I wish I had one on there!

    -J.

    avatarzx202guy
    Participant
    Wisconsin
    Posts: 71
    #753340

    I ran a 20ft Tunnel (Alumacraft) for 3 years with little complaints. It had a 75 propped tiller onthe back without jackplate. They do tend to slide on corners a little, if not setup properly, they tend to cavitate as well. Overall, it was a nice platform. I bought it for the upper dells which is primarily sand. It did fine….but I later sold it to a carp shooter. My fiberglass bass boat would “run” everywhere I wanted to go after I sold the craft. I would buy another one.

    Profile photo of milemark_714milemark_714
    Participant
    Posts: 351
    #753373

    Quote:


    I’d probably stick with a 2-stroke to save on some weight in the back of the boat.


    That is what I did on my Seaark.Weight is key,as with the set-up.Most dealers have no clue,just bolt it on and out the door.Max out the HP if possible.I went with a 50HP Yamaha 2-cycle.A 25HP just did not cut it.Top speed solo is about 36 MPH.Handles waves decent.

    I have a 1660 MVT,and it is awesome on the river.Takes patience to set-up,but worth it in my book.

    Ended up mounting the engine 3/4″ off the transom.

    Profile photo of deadea
    Participant
    Hixton, WI
    Posts: 457
    #753432

    We have sold a few of the Alumacraft tunnel hull jon boats over the years. They take a 20″ long shaft outboard. All our customers have been very happy with these boats. They were in the 16′ range, tiller model. Our customers said they ran in 3″ of water. I have sold them to Chippewa area, Platteville area and WI Rapids area.

    avatarcatdadmn
    Participant
    Southeast minnesota
    Posts: 531
    #753478

    As far as the Jackplate being a must I would say no. I do not have one on either boat. But if I were building the ultimate boat and budget was not of concern I would install a hydraulic jack plate. I also agree with the 2 stroke and contrary to believe again the new 2 strokes run as clean as the four strokes. In my opinion the 4 strokes are a waste of money , weight and speed. I believe if you do a little research you will find the emissions on the 2 strokes to beat 4 strokes a lot of the time.

    avatarKeith
    Participant
    NE Iowa
    Posts: 89
    #753740

    I appreciate everybodys advice. Unfortunatley I haven’t found a dealer within 300 miles of me that has one of these in stock. I was able to look at a similar models with out the tunnel hull though….and I found a dealer that seems somewhat knowledgeable and willing to work with me. I have spoke with others that say setup and weight distribution is key to getting the best performance. Now I am leaning towards the 17′ model in a center console version. The center console boat weighs more than tiller model, but I can increase HP and it should help distribute weight better. Thanks again. Keith

    avatarcatdadmn
    Participant
    Southeast minnesota
    Posts: 531
    #753762

    Hi Keith
    I got your message and you can call anytime. You will be very happy with the center console. They tend to take up a little room but the weight distribution is much better plus I believe you can see better than with a tiller. This is very useful when running small rivers or stump fields etc. Depending on the exact boat you will want the cavitation plate of the motor 1-3″ above the top of the tunnel. Basically go as high as you can while retaining water pressure and hole shot. As far as pods I have heard they are nice but I am not sold on them. Most of my fish are landed at the rear of the boat and I think they would be in my way. I have set up many of these boats and will be more than happy to give you a hand. What type of fishing are you doing?

    avatardjbeagle2
    Participant
    Posts: 7
    #753879

    I am on my second tunnel hull, and I believe they are the way to go in a river system. The proper prop makes all the difference. Go with a stainless with aggressive cupping. There are some drawbacks, does not track well in reverse, you need trim the motor up and down for cornering or straight runs.

    I owned a 16 foot alumacraft with a center console and a 40hp Honda. I could have used a 50 on it. It was a great boat. (Go with the 4 stroke).
    I bought a 20 foot Alumacraft with a center console and a 115 four stroke this fall. Not quite set up yet, but I do need a different prop on it.
    You will not find anyone with tunnel hull in stock. But I would give Upper Iowa marine a call. They ordered the boat for me and were very good to work with.

    Profile photo of Brian KlawitterBrian Klawitter
    Keymaster
    Lakeland, MN
    Posts: 44,452
    #753969

    Keith? How for is Hixton WI from you.

    There’s this young lady that goes by Diane that won’t let you go home until your Alumacraft is set up right for you.

    avatarTexcajun
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    #979401

    While I am no authority, I can speak to this topic with some degree of confidence. I currently own a 1650 Alumacraft semi-v tunnel hull. I have owned this boat for 4 years and have it tweaked to run perfectly with a console driven 50HP Yamaha.

    First things first, this boat runs like carp w/o a 6″ setback and a jackplate. It plows too much water and has crappy fuel consumption. Once I installed the jackplate with the 6″ setback the performance instantly improved. The second thing I did was install a Manta Ray compression plate. This allowed me to raise the motor even further, approximately 3.5″ below the top of the tunnel. The last thing I did was add a flats cup prop for extra bite and instant hole shot.
    This setup allows me to run on plane in 4″ of water making this truly a “Skinny Water” boat.

    I don’t care what Alumacraft’s reps say, I have run their boat with the motor mounted directly to the transom and you may as well buy a barge. To truly get the most out of an aluminum tunnel jon boat it must be set up properly. And keep in mind, tunnels are great for what they are designed for. BUT if you want a conventional handling boat, don’t buy a tunnel. Reverse DOES suck.

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