Bill Bellis                                 Coot and Eagle
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I can remember seeing the COOT in a popular mechanics magazine when I was a teenager and thought it was cool.  I had never seen one until one day when I was at Richard Clarks picking up parts for a Max restoration.  Richard had an Eagle and a COOT, both of which were in rough condition and far from complete.  I was hooked thanks to Richard and a few days later they were both in my shop.  After evaluating their condition I decided to start on the COOT first.  Richard told me about a man named Tom Schweppe who knew a lot about the COOT. 
That is a major understatement!  Tom knows everything about the COOT.  Before picking up the first wrench I contacted Tom, after several conversations and a lot of thought I decided what I wanted to do with the COOT. With lots of help and advice from Tom and Richard I ended up with a pretty good machine.  Although I wanted it to look good, reliability and performance were the most important considerations to me.  I wanted a machine that I could use and have fun with. 

The project required about six months of my spare time and includes many modifications over stock.  Thanks again to Tom and Richard, their knowledge and experience is invaluable.


Modifiactions to the COOT:

- New16 HP Vanguard Engine with mounting plate that can be moved side to side and fore and
aft inside engine/trans frame for alignment and belt tension.
- Fabricated new engine/transmission frame. 
- Choke control cable installed.
- Free flowing dual exhaust system from cylinders out to dual mufflers.
- Exhaust system inside of hull insulated with ceramic insulation and aluminum tape to help
hold down engine compartment heat.
-  Heat shields between mufflers and hull.
- 12 volt fan and duct installed to help remove heat from engine compartment.
- Driver clutch replaced (using stock driven clutch) with 1& 3/16” belt.
- New first gear in transmission. (from COOTom)
- Machined new “stronger” input shaft for transmission out of 4140 pre-hard steel.
- Completely rebuilt remainder of transmission using a cast iron housing.
- Fabricated new transmission shifter with less play for more precise shifting.
- Modified chain guard for new engine. Removes with a single threaded knob for easy
- Replaced transmission output gear to an 11 tooth to lower overall gearing.  New chain.
- Made new covers for torque transmitters from 3/8” Lexan for visual level inspection.
- Installed magnetic plugs in Lexan torque box covers. Also good for venting air when adding oil.
- Airheart MB-1 brake installed and foot petal with linkage custom fabricated to have a foot
- Reinforcement plate added to hull for the steering rack to bolt through. (hull was spider
webbed with cracks where rack was bolted.) Doubles as a mount for steering wheel brace.
- Modified steering wheel angle using custom brackets, u-joint and flange bearing.
- Replaced steering shaft bushing flange using a wheel hub with roller bearings.
- “Bushed” steering rod ends at rack to remove play.
- Converted from 2 wheel steering to 4ws.
- Welded gussets to king pin spindles housings.
- Jackshafts for steering fabricated from DOM tubing with greaseable bronze bushings.
- Fabricated new 12 gauge bottoms for both hulls that wrap up the sides approx. four  inches.
- Installed HD ball joints on all linkages at jackshafts except for front to rear linkage at rear
where clevis is needed for rotation.
- Front spindles machined square on u-joint side to prevent sheared keys.
- Fabricated fenders from tread plate. Flaps on rear of front fenders to keep mud and water off
of rear fenders and passengers.
- Fabricated front and rear bumpers with winch mounts that double as utility rack mounts.
-3500lb winch installed. Interchangeable from front to rear.
- Custom roll cage in front and roll bar in rear. Padded at head level.
- Three seats with seat belts.  Front seat removes with no tools for access to trans and clutch.
-Grab handles for rear passengers.
- Anti skid added to top of rear fenders, driveshaft guard and inside front panel of front hull.
- Pad installed for left leg.
- Tach/hour meter installed.
- Five gallon fuel tank installed in rear tub.
- Oak tub runners replaced with UHMW.
- 12 volt accessory plug installed on dash.
- Driving lights with guards and tail lights.
- Front tub engine exhaust duct removed and a bolt on panel fabricated to cover hole, access
spark plug and make it easier to reach engine mounting bolts etc.
- Fire extinguisher installed.
- Original hand brake modified and re-located to where the hand throttle was for use as a
parking brake.
- Tub was completely sandblasted after being stripped down.
- Tub painted with hunter green epoxy paint.
- Exterior black parts such as bumpers, wheels, kingpins and axle tubes powder coated.
- Uniroyal  30” MT radial tires.
- Complete new electrical system with all accessories on a fuse block.
- All bearings, seals, gaskets, keys, pins, o-rings, snap rings, etc. replaced.
- All nuts and bolts are grade 5 or 8 with nylon lock nuts.
- Modified throttle linkage and petal to reduce flex and used a HD motorcycle clutch cable to
- Group 34 battery mounted inside front hull using a marine battery box.
- Engine compartment light on dash.
- Rear flood light.
- Box for carrying tools, chains, spare parts etc. installed in rear tub.
- Shovel and pick ax mounted on back of rear tub.
- Mag Light mounted to dashboard.

"In order to make room for my next project I have decided to sell my COOT. I built it to be used and is excellent in every
way. Price is $5500.00 I am in Louisville,KY Please contact me via e-mail at or clicking on my
name in this section."
















This is my 1980’s Max four which was purchased new from Recreatives. 

It performed well for years however about a year ago I decided to re-power it with a
Vanguard 16 and go through the rest of the machine.  With a lot of help from
Richard  I ended completing rebuilding the machine including separating the frame
and tub.  The only thing not taken apart were the top and bottom tubs simply
because there was no reason to.  I have the original wheels and tires but also have
a 25” set of tires to switch to for more ground clearance and traction.  It now has
approx. 20 hours since rebuild and performs very well. The suspension seat
makes the biggest difference.  The ride is incredible!  Listed below are some of the

-Engine upgrade to Vanguard 16HP
-New plastic gas tank
-New drive belt
-New “driver” and “driven” clutches.   Driven clutch was changed from a 10” to an
11”   for more bottom end.
-New primary chains
-Pressed a *” round rod into each axle for solid axles
-All new bearings, seals and gaskets
-Frame updates and reinforcements
-Custom roll cage added with front and rear bumpers and winch receiver
-Seat belts front and rear
-Suspension seat installed in front for driver
-Tach/hour meter installed
-Electric oil pressure gauge installed
-Transmission freshened up
-New battery
-Front and rear skid plates
-Fabricated a custom center skid plate using HDPE
-Plastic ammo box installed in engine compartment for storage
-Installed ceramic insulation on exhaust system to quiet and help keep engine
compartment heat down.
Now on the the EAGLE