Q. How much water is required to get on a plane?
A. You don’t need any water if you’re on a soft mud bottom, have enough engine torque to match your payload, and the prop can get a bite. If you are over a hard sand bottom, and have a flat narrow hull design, you can get on a plane with just a few inches of water.
Q. What makes Swamp runner longtails different from "American" mud motors?
A. In North America there are a few dozen other companies that sell complete mud motors, and only a few of those companies offer a kit. The first obvious difference is that our kits are far more affordable. The second difference is that our kit requires no welding, and can be assembled in just minutes using basic hand tools. The third difference is our product has been around since 1957, which is far longer, than all other mud motors currently being offered.
SPS is the oldest, and the fastest, with the mostest, for the leastest!
Q. What about parts and warranty?
A. We maintain a well stocked inventory of spare props, and EVERY part required to rebuild our kits over and over. We also offer the only LIFETIME limited warranty on certain vital drivetrain components. All other parts (excluding electrical components and propellers) have a two year limited warranty. Compare a Swamp Runner warranty to the competition, and you will quickly conclude there is no competion.
Q. What makes a Swamp Runner longtail better than all other Thai longtail brands?
A. There is no way to answer this question other than in the thorough manner which it deserves. We are very familiar with all longtail brands manufactured in Thailand, and over the years could have imported any of them. But, we choose to be associated with only one. The SPS brand longtail is the highest quality longtail available from Thailand. We started with the superior quality of SPS, and followed that up with years of product testing and close collaboration with SPS Manufacturing to develop a Thai longtail for the American market known as a Swamp Runner. It is available nowhere else in the world. This deluxe Thai style longtail features numerous improvements available, as a whole, on no other longtail. We haven't stopped there, and continue to make improvements. At Swamp Runner our quest for a better longtail is never finished.
Over the years we've seen several folks, with command over a keyboard and mouse, come out of nowhere wanting to make money selling Thai longtails, even though they had zero prior experience with the product. They come and go, but we remain. There are currently a couple of entities out there who recently appeared and are attempting to import and sell two other longtail brands from Thailand, and have made all sorts of marketing claims and comparisons to Swamp Runner longtails in an attempt to gain a sale by comparing themselves to us.
"Brand X" can be identified by its chrome coupler housing , and the turquoise paint on the engine base and transom bracket. It is a basic economy Thai longtail. The seller makes claims of an “identical product“ and a "better deal”, but if you compare the standard features of a Swamp Runner with what they don’t offer, it becomes readily apparent there is simply no comparison between a Swamp Runner and their "better deal" evaporates.
"Brand Y" can be identified by its cast aluminum coupler housing which is prone to electrolysis and cracking. Because these aluminum couplers cannot hold up under demanding conditions, they also have zero presence in the Thai longtail racing world. We've been attending Thai longtail racing events for over two decades, and have never seen one of these aluminum longtails at any racing event, ever. A short amount of time spent around the Thai longtail racing community will make it readily apparent that SPS dominates.
Both of these other US based resellers have made attempts at copying features first introduced by Swamp Runner, but the following is a short list of differences you will NOT get from one, or the other, or both of these other two brands being offered;
1. Swamp Runner couplers and tiller handles are hot-dipped in galvanizing, followed by a coating of paint, which offers far superior corrosion resistance and paintability over chrome and aluminum. This corrosion resistance is simply not available with the other two brands.
2. All Swamp Runner couplers are manufactured from heavy duty steel that will last a lifetime, which is why they come with a LIFETIME WARRANTY. We DO NOT utilize aluminum couplers, which will corrode from electrolysis and can eventually crack.
3. All Swamp Runner coupler shafts (except our Mini) ride smoothly on a high quality sealed radial bearing made in Japan, while these other Thai longtail brands offer no bearing at all, or a cheap Chinese bearing that is not sealed. This can lead to premature wear and vibration. A coupler bearing is essential on the larger heavier couplers if you want it to last.
4. For the safety of our customers, Swamp Runner longtails come standard with a high quality throttle system that utilizes a stainless steel throttle cable which returns to idle when released. One inferior brand offers a cheap cast aluminum throttle lever which is coupled to a non-stainless cable that will corrode. The other inferior brand offers a lawn mower throttle lever assembly with a static hard wire which will not return to idle if the driver loses control at wide open throttle. This setup is also prone to corrosion, because water can penetrate the spiral wire shielding and rust the internal non-stainless throttle wire.
5. Swamp Runner tiller handles can be mounted for left or right hand steering. One company has copied us, while the other has right handed steering only.
6. Our kits come with a high quality tethered kill switch for safety. We don't use the cheap switches.
7. The diameter of our tiller handles will accept a variety of custom throttle levers. One company has copied us, and the other company offers a diameter that will not allow it.
8. The transom bolts of our kits have heavy duty steel wings, and transom pads providing a larger surface area to grip the transom firmly without digging into the transom and damaging it. One company has attempted to copy us, while the other offers simple bolts with no pads, and aluminum winged tips which can easily break.
9. Swamp Runner longtails have grease zerk fittings located in numerous locations to make lubrication easy. One company has copied us, and the other doesn’t offer it.
10. The engine base of our Small, Medium, and Large kits can be adjusted forward and backward for balance adjustment. One other brand offers this, and the other has no adjustability.
11. The gimble bracket of our Small, Medium, and Large kits pivots smoothly on high quality sealed roller bearings. One company utilizes no gimble bracket, with an engine base that pivots like a door hinge. The other company uses a crude bushing cut from conduit pipe, instead of a bearing.
12. SPS utilizes certain trade secrets and manufacturing techniques to produce a highly balanced shaft assembly you just can't get anywhere else.
And there are other differences we don’t talk about....
1. The owners of SPS North America have a LIFETIME of experience in Thailand with Thai longtails. The resellers of brands "X" and "Y" have ZERO experience in Thailand with Thai longtails.
2. Swamp Runner has an actual commercial storefront address where customers can walk in and talk to a knowledgeable staff who specialize ONLY in Thai longtails. Brand "X" sells everything from toy submarines and electroplating kits, to metric tools and motorcycle parts. Brand "Y" has no commercial storefront, and operates from a residential address. Neither other brand has a dealer network.
3. Swamp Runner has thousands of happy customers running our longtails in every province in Canada, and throughout the USA in every state except Hawaii. A simple Youtube search makes it obvious there are a LOT more happy SPS longtail owners out there than brands "X" or "Y". At SPS we've never felt the need to bait customers with free propellers to entice them to upload videos. Swamp Runner owners upload videos simply because they want to.
4. Swamp Runner customers enjoy access to a greater variety of parts and propellers.
5. Swamp Runner innovates, while the others imitate.
And we could go on and on.......
If you have read this far, you are most likely considering the purchase of a Thai longtail. Do yourself a favor and do your homework. Read everything on our website, then read and notice how the imitators parrot what we say due to their lack of experience. Visit the active Swamp Runner Forums, a resource our customers enjoy.
At Swamp Runner we have more than two decades experience with the Thai longtail, so we don’t need to imitate anybody, or copy their products. We love what we do and would much prefer to spend our time improving our products and helping our customers, rather than having to clear up inaccurate claims made by others.
Call the johnny-come-lately’s and ask the hard questions, then call us and do the same. We’re confident you will conclude there are no shortcuts for hard earned experience.
Q. Does Swamp Runner offer any discounts?
A. We'll never ever bait our customers with a "discount", "sale", or "limited time offer" to create an illusion of urgency and pressure a customer into making a purchase. Instead, we strive to build a superior product, while keeping our prices consistent and as affordable as possible. Over the years we have introduced numerous product improvements which have driven up production costs. During that time we have never once raised our prices, so customers today get a better value than customers did in the past. While other companies may feel the need to dress up an inferior product with high pressure "limited time offer" marketing gimmicks because they need sales, we don't. Instead we concentrate on improving our products, then offering them at a consistently affordable price. This has turned out to be a far better business model, resulting in rapid growth due to a high level of customer satisfaction with our products. Our lowest price guarantee....you will never see the price of a Swamp Runner lower than now. Will we be raising the price any time soon? We'll do our best not to.
Q. Does Swamp Runner offer "free shipping"?
A. If you can figure out how to ship something for free, we would love to hear about it. Until then we will never offer "free shipping" because we consider it to be a dishonest marketing gimmick.
As everyone with life experience knows, there is no such thing as a "free lunch". Someone had to pay for it. Same goes with "free shipping". Some sellers out there ask more for a cheap product than what it's really worth, and then build their shipping costs into the inflated price of their product. The duped customer then receives an inferior item, and ends up paying for the shipping without even knowing it. At Swamp Runner we don't engage in such "sleight of hand" marketing nonsense. We're more concerned with building quality products, and getting them to our customers at honest shipping prices that are as affordable as possible.
Q. How long has your kit been in production?
A. Mr. Songsak Sriprasertying of Bangkok, Thailand is the original inventor of the coupler used in Thai longtails. Songsak first began manufacturing our kit 57 years ago. He passed away in 2014, but his sons continue their family legacy by producing the highest quality longtail in Thailand under the SPS brand name. As the leading manufacturer in Southeast Asia, the family of Mr. Songsak & Mrs. Praphrimon Sriprasertying are considered the "First Family" of Thai longtails. Their continuous production has resulted in untold hundreds of thousands being produced over the years. Our longtail kits were being field tested in the remote jungles of Southeast Asia 20 years before the first modern mud motor manufacturer in North America ever even opened their doors for business. The Thai longtail motor is the predecessor to all American longtails in current production.
Q. Why would I buy a mud motor made in Thailand over one made here in the USA?
A. Reason #1- Uhh, the price? If you still need a Reason #2- As a smart consumer, you have to wade through all the marketing hype. What isn't said is often more important than what is said. There are over twenty other mud motor companies here in the USA, and only a couple of them manufacture all of their components here in America. Attempt to find the phrase “Made in USA”….sadly, it’s not there for a reason.
We are proud to say that our product is made in Thailand, the only American Ally in Southeast Asia for the past 175 years.
Q. How much mechanical ability and time does it take to put your kit together?
A. When you check out our Video Gallery, be sure to watch the nine year old little girl completely assemble one of our kits all by herself. Proof just about anybody can do it. A person with average mechanical abilities can assemble our kit in less than an hour, using basic hand tools, leaving more time for duck hunting with plenty of cash left over, while the other guys are still welding or working to pay off their expensive rig.
Q. Why don't you offer stainless steel propellers for your longtails?
A. Our props are made out of aluminum for two reasons; 1. To keep them affordable. 2. Mud motors operate in very shallow water where there is a high potential to hit hard objects like rocks and stumps. To protect the drivetrain, there needs to be a sacrificial part that is both affordable, and easily replaced in the field. We believe the propeller should be the weakest link in a mud motor drivetrain, not the strongest. Our reasoning; its a lot easier to replace a bent propeller in a few minutes, for just a few dollars, than to be stranded in the swamp, and have to replace a bent or broken shaft with a lot more money and effort involved.
Q. Will stainless steel weedless propellers manufactured by other companies fit your shafts?
A. Most stainless mud props have a threaded hub that will not fit our standard shaft. However, we do offer an optional 3/4-10NC threaded shaft to our customers who want to run stainless props. Swamp Runner is the only Thail longtail company that offers this option.
Q. Why don't you offer a shorter shaft length with your kits?
A. The mechanics of how our longtails operate is very different from other mud motors. Our prop runs at the surface, in the crest of the wakes behind the boat. Our shafts are specific lengths because they have to be for optimum performance.
Q. Why dont your mud motors have a cavitation plate above the propeller like other mud motors?
A. The Thai longtail is a surface-piercing design, and operates differently from all other mud motors, which run sub-surface. Our surface piercing propellers do not utilize, nor do they need a cavitation plate. Because cavitation plates create drag, catch weeds, and are unnecessary with surface piercing propellers, we find them to be about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.
Q. Why are SPS propeller shafts tapered, while other mud motor propellers are threaded?
A. Perhaps a better question to ask would be, "why are other mud motor propellers threaded?" Ever since the days of steam power, from the smallest outboard, up to the largest ocean-going freighter, propeller shafts have always been tapered for a reason; because it is the best design to prevent a prop from slipping on the shaft, and yet still allow easy removal in a corrosive environment. Have you ever tried removing a threaded mud motor prop from a shaft with rusted threads? Not fun.
Another problem is mating the threads of a stainless propeller with the high-carbon threads on a shaft, which is a dissimilar metal. The threads of stainless steel mud motor props are softer than the threads of the high-carbon shaft they are mated to. While the blades of a stainless propeller might endure a hard strike, the threads on the stainless propeller can stretch more easily than the threads of the high-carbon shaft, which can lead to cross-threading whenever attempting to unthread the prop from a shaft with corroded threads. We've seen more than one stainless prop have to be removed with a torch.
These are likely reasons why one mud motor manufacturer has recently started moving away from using threaded shafts, in favor of a hex shaped shaft, which is still inferior to a tapered shaft. Meanwhile, we'll stick with the old-school taper because it's the best. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Q. How come your tiller handles are not pre-bent?
We don't ship our tiller handles pre-bent because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all bend for a tiller handle. Folks mount our longtails on everything from small layout boats to big jon boats and everything in between. Because the seating varies so much between various boats we ship our tiller handles straight. Once they have operated their longtail most customers prefer the straight handle which is canted upward several degrees. But for those that do want a bent handle its as simple as finding yourself a pipe bender or even a forked tree to make handle adjustments. A few customers who have wanted a longer handle simply bend a piece of 3/4" galvanized water pipe, which has a 1" OD, into the configuration they need. Filling the pipe with sand prior to bending prevents bends from collapsing during the bending process.
Q. Why doesn't Swamp Runer offer a two-piece shaft like another company?
A. We do not offer a two-piece shaft with any of our mud motor kits, and we never will. The reason we won't is because a two-piece shaft is nothing more than a shipping convenience for the seller, to the later detriment of the customer. A two piece shaft offers nothing but vibration and trouble. Yes, it costs more to ship our shafts because they're heavier and are measured as an oversize parcel. At Swamp Runner our goal is a quality product and happy customers, not trying to offer the lowest shipping in an attempt to get a sale. We refuse to compromise on quality.
Q. Do you offer an even larger kit that will fit a 35 Briggs Vanguard?
A. In Southeast Asia, larger SPS longtail kits are regularly coupled to everything between a small block Chevy V-8 and a 480hp Hino diesel truck engine cranking out 4700 ft/lbs of torque. We do not offer kits for larger engines in North America, simply because there is currently little demand for it. As waterfowlers we understand the importance of traveling as light as possible in shallow water. The 23hp Briggs Vanguard engine provides the best horsepower to weight ratio of any V-twin available. The additional horsepower to be gained in larger V-twin engines is simply not worth the added weight. Its far better to hop up a 23 Briggs for additional horsepower with no added weight, than to run a heavy 35hp Briggs and get stuck hard in the marsh. If you get down in the mud and wrestle with a pig, you'll eventually realize the pig is enjoying it.
Q. How well do these kits hold up in saltwater?
A. For over half a century, thousands of commercial fishermen in Southern Thailand have been using our kits in saltwater on a daily basis. As with any marine hardware, diligent maintenance is required to prevent corrosion in a saltwater environment. After each use in saltwater, we recommend you flush everything with freshwater, keep everything properly greased, and use a corrosion blocking product such as BoeShield T-9. We also offer a shaft assembly constructed of stainless components, which costs more due to the expense of stainless.
Q. If I buy a kit today, how soon will I receive it?
A. If you live near one of our dealers you can have your Swamp Runner today. We do our very best to get website orders shipped as quickly and affordably as possible. If our shop is not swamped with orders, we sometimes ship the same business day. Most orders go out the following business day after purchase. When waterfowl season gets close we are extremely busy, so please plan ahead. All kits are shipped by Fedex Ground, which is the fastest method we know of that is both dependable and affordable. Most of our customers receive their kits within 2 to 5 business days. All parts are expedited by USPS Priority Mail to get them there quickly.
Q. Does Swamp Runner accept walk-in customers at your shop so I can save money on shipping?
A. Yes, we always welcome walk-in customers to our shop. The shop gets busy, so we would highly recommend you call us ahead of time so we can set aside some time in our schedule to spend with you.
Q. I read a post on another forum that made some negative comments about your kit. How do I know your kit will hold up?
A. Great question! Yes, we've seen inaccurate comments such as, "Looks like cheap Chinese junk to me". With Thailand and China being two very different places, such forum posters reveal they know even less about Thai longtails than they know about Asian geography. You have to be very careful with what you read on forums, where things are not always what they seem. Some forums are trolled heavily by vendors, and used as marketing tools; so you don’t always know the person posting, or the motivation behind their post. Some individuals have a financial stake in the mud motor industry, feel their market share is being threatened, and use forums to attack what they are unable to compete against.
Remember the reaction to the arrival of Toyota and Honda back in the early 70's? With a solid reputation in Southeast Asia for the past 57 years, our product is relatively new to the Western Hemisphere. We realize that we'll have to earn our reputation of quality and service here the same way SPS did there, through hard work. Here are the facts;
- We offer the only LIFETIME WARRANTY on our couplers and coupler housings, a 2 year warranty on other components, and customer service that's better.
- We have a 14 day return policy to inspect our quality. If not completely satisfied with what you see, return it for a full refund (see return policy).
- Read about our customer feedback on Ebay HERE.
- The best source of information about our kits is OUR CUSTOMERS. Visit our forum on this website and learn directly from the folks who ACTUALLY OWN our kits.
- This aint our first rodeo. Our product has been around for over half a century, and our direct drive coupler design is being copied by other American manufacturers for a reason. But, we wont hold it against them. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Q. Do you sell fully assembled mud motors?
A. No, but our dealers do. We deal in volume in order to save our customers money, and give them the freedom to choose their own engine. The only thing not included is the engine, which can be purchased from your local Honda, Briggs, or Kohler dealer, or at places like Harbor Freight Tools, or you can put a used engine back into service. If you wish to purchase a fully assembled Swamp Runner longtail, please contact one of our dealers listed on our dealer information page HERE
Q. How do I know which kit to buy for my engine?
A. We have provided a table (listed under the Technical Information tab) as a starting point to help you determine which kit might fit your needs. But, you need to do your own research, and confirm with your engine manufacturer that the kit will fit your application before ordering.
Q. What size propeller should I buy?
A. Each kit comes with two propellers to give you a reference point for testing. Due to an infinite combination of boat manufacturers, hull weights, design configurations, and varied uses, these propellers are not guaranteed to work with every application, and should only be used as a starting point. Our propellers are economical, so you can afford to order smaller or larger propellers and experiment. We cannot guarantee results.
Q. Why do you limit the sale of certain parts, and access to the Shade Tree Forum to Swamp Runner owners only?
A. We often receive requests for parts and membership to our forums from the customers of competitors who are searching for parts, answers, and help. In the interest of customer service, we must limit our time and services to Swamp Runner customers, who are our #1 priority. Therefore, proof of ownership of a Swamp Runner Mud Motor is a requirement to purchase certain parts, and for membership to post in any of our forums, or to access the Shade Tree Forum.
Q. Can I buy just the coupler and shaft, or do I need to buy a complete kit?
Our kits are sold as a complete unit is because we want to ensure they run correctly, and that our customers have a positive experience with Swamp Runner. Based on past experience, homemade parts mixed with our products tend not to work out. Therefore, we normally do not sell our coupler or shaft assemblies separately. However, we love to see talented innovation, and occasionally make exceptions for knowledgeable boat builders who can demonstrate to us they are using our parts for special applications such as an inboard or race boat. Here's an example; https://youtu.be/L3yIlimK584
Q. Will you ship to Russia?
A. No. We ship only to the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, American Somoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariannas Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Canada.
Q. How do I reach you from Canada?
A. Our toll free number does not work from Canada. Please call our shop direct at 1-941-722-3141.
Q. Can I buy a kit straight from Thailand?
A. We are the exclusive North American distributor for SPS Manufacturing of Thailand. Our factory will not export to customers in North America. Swamp Runner's have enhanced features not found on any other Thai longtail. Swamp Runners can only be purchased in North America. If you were able to acquire one of those economy kits from another source, the quality wouldn't be as good, it wouldn't have the features of a Swamp Runner, and the freight costs, shipping, insurance, and dealing with Customs would make it cost prohibitive. (read this article on the US Customs website; HERE.
Avoid the hassle of sending your money half way around the world, the threat of cargo theft, and no guarantee of ever receiving your product. There is simply no way to get a better value than from Swamp Runner. Plus, our customers enjoy the added benefit of our extensive knowledge of Thai longtails, and our exclusive parts and warranty service. We do not provide product support or certain key replacement parts for Thai longtail kits acquired from other sources.
Q. Can I run a longtail on a boat with a 20" transom?
A. Vessels with transom heights exceeding 17" are less than ideal because the steeper shaft angle is inefficient. If you must run a longtail on a 20" transom, a 100" shaft is required.
Q. Can I run a longtail on a wide hull?
A. Hulls wider than 40" across the bottom require a 100" shaft. We do not recommend running our longtails on any hull wider than 48" measured across the bottom.
Q. Can I run a longtail with floatation pods?
A. A solid hunt deck with a straight trailing edge is ok, but we do not recommend separate flotation pods. A longer shaft may be required.
Q. How do I get a title for one of these motors?
A. The states of Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah all require titles for boat motors. If you do not live in one of these states, you should not need to title your boat motor. If you do live in one of the above-mentioned states, you will need to contact the government entity that issues titles, and ask them what documentation is required to obtain title for a homemade boat motor that you built yourself.
Some title states will provide a title when presented with the appropriate application along with receipts documenting your purchase of the engine and other hardware necessary to build the boat motor. Other states may require you to fill out an affidavit attesting that you built the motor yourself, or they may require an inspection by a local game warden to verify that the engine is indeed home built.
If you are requested to provide a Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO), explain that you built the boat motor yourself. We sell marine hardware, not complete boat motors, therefore we do not provide a Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO).
Q. Why did Jon and Joom Dobbs get into the longtail business?
A. Simple....because not all outdoorsmen are rich. “Growing up in the Ozarks, my family cattle ranched and put up a garden every year for the same reason we hunted and fished…because a few times each day we looked forward to a full belly. As a poor hillbilly kid, I couldn't afford a boat to hunt and fish out of, so I had to settle for whatever waterfowl I could take hunting from shore. I’ve never forgotten that, and those memories motivate me to make boating possible for folks who couldn’t otherwise afford it” - JD