Terra Jet ATV Full Review and Specs 2022

Terra Jet ATV Review: All Specs

Written by Kris Peterson ATVs

Terra Jet ATV: Amphibious All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), were popular for trail riding long before the Honda ATC90 arrived in the U.S. JGR Gunsport and Allis-Chalmers were the first to build steel-framed, fiberglass-bodied six-wheelers that could navigate through water.

Terra Jet ATV

Sperry-Rand was one of those manufacturers. Smaller Canadian companies began to make their own versions of floating vehicles shortly after Jiger’s successful 1961 launch. Terra Jet’s ATV was the Terra Jet ATV. It was released in 1971.

Terra Jet ATV

Terra Jet ATV was an amphibious vehicle that consisted of four- to eight-wheeled vehicles.

It was produced between the 1970s and 1980s. This floater had front-wheel steering, a top speed up to 30 mph, and an electric start. It was sturdy, practical, and loved for its off-road and industrial use.

These prized possessions are available for purchase in homes, on Craigslist, and via online auctions. 

These Amphi-wheelers are still available for owners who want to ride them through mud, trails, and dunes. Are you curious to learn more about these vintage floaters? Continue reading to find out more.

Terra Jet ATV

What is a Terra Jet?

Terra Jet is an AATV that uses low-pressure balloon tires designed for multiple riders. It was manufactured a decade before the advent of four- and three-wheelers. 

It was not equipped with suspension, and it could only travel 25-30 mph on trails and even less on the water. 

Differential steering was similar to a tracked vehicle and provided directional control instead of the 2WD/4WD options. It was a military-jeep-looking vehicle with very few creature comforts.

This is quite absurd by today’s standards. The Terra Jet ATV (or TJ), was slow and not very well-loved.

Canada is where the Terra Jet ATV was born. The AATV was first manufactured by Terra Jet Inc. in 1969. 

The AATV was first released in the United States in the 1970s. In 1994, the entire production moved to Innis Louisiana. 

The original purpose of the TJ was to be used for hunting trips in Canada’s Rockies. It was soon discovered by households that it is great for riding in the snow and on wooded trails. 

It was popular for both recreation and farm work due to its simplicity and multi-functionality.

TJ Trim Levels

Between 1971 and the end of the ’80s, trim packages were released by Terra Jet. From 1971 to 1973, the Terra Jet 400E was launched in the United States. The Terra Jet 503E was next. The British-style bodywork of these two versions is distinctive and makes them easily identifiable. 

Due to the position of its gas tank at the front, the TJ 503 had a longer front bumper than other trims. The 400E, a 399-cc two-stroke dual-cylinder Kohler motor, produced 27 horsepower.

Terra Jet 453 TE (VA6), and VA618

These three packages were launched almost simultaneously in the early 1980s: the street-legal Terra Jet 443, TE, Terra Jet VA6, Terra Jet VA618. Initial versions of the 453 TE, VA6, and VA6 had the same Tecumseh-OH160 engine.

The VA618 was powered by either a Kohler engine or Ruggerini diesel. The VA6 was divided into two classes: one under 500cc and one at 700cc. The VA618, on the other hand, had two versions above 750cc and had six wheels. These trims ranged in horsepower from 10-20 ponies.

Terra Jet DV860 and Terra Jet DV430 are both diesel-powered four-wheelers. These models are easier to work with than others. They have low-front bumpers that allow you to attach a winch or snow-plow. 

These two models share the same squared design as the majority of TJ models. There is not much information online about these two vehicles.

Terra Jet ATV Features and Specs (Terra Jet 453TE)

  • Engine –Powered a single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled Tecumseh OH160 motor with a bore-stroke ratio of 88.9mm x 73mm. Engine displacement is 453c3/27.7 in3 and compression ratio 8.7:1. The fuel tank capacity is 5.42 US Gallons/21.6 Liters. 
  • Only the VA6T (with the engine at the back behind the driver’s seat) has the same powerplant as the 453TE. Other models used different power plants: Briggs & Stratton on the VA6B and Wisconsin, Kohler KT 19, and Ruggerini RD201 on the diesel six-wheelers.
  • Drivetrain-Power travels by a two-speed, manual/centrifugal type transmission with variable pulleys. It also includes a reverse speed. The maximum power output is 16 HP (11.9kW) @ 3600 rpm and the maximum torque is 25 ft/lbs (33.9Nm) @ 2800 rpm. 
  • It has a rack-and-pinion steering system and 1 1/4″ diameter, high-quality steel wheels. The maximum speed recorded is 30 mph in the gasoline-fueled models, and 25 mph in the diesel versions.
  • ignition uses an electronic retard and a solid-state magneto CDI. It has a 20-amp solid state alternator and requires a Champion L86C spark plug (gap 0.30).
  • Wheels The Terra Jet 453TE is 26 x 12–12 (4-ply), front and rear tires with stainless steel wheels. You can replace your stock tires with Martin Wheel Kenda Terra Trac 4-Ply tires for rebuilds (view on AmazoTerra Jet was one of many manufacturers that existed between the late 1960s and 70s that produced amphibious 4X4 and 6X6 sport and utility .n). Each wheel has an enclosed disc brake.
  • Suspension The Terra Jet ATV uses differential steering to replace a suspension. It heavily relies upon its flotation low-pressure 8-lb paddle tires.
  • Dimensions The vintage floater’s total length is 100 inches for four-wheelers, and 132 inches for the six-wheeled models. The width is 55.5 inches and the height is 41 inches (59 with a roll bar); the minimum ground clearance is 9 inches. The wheelbase of the vehicle is 63.4 inches. 
  • The dry weight of the 453TE is 985 lbs/446.8 kg, the VA6 series 1,050 lbs/476.3 kg, and the VA618 series 1,300 lbs/589.7Kg VA618. The widths of the front and rear track axles are 43 inches and 44 inches, each.
  • Exterior –It consists of an 18-inch, steel-welded tub with a 3-inch square frame and fiberglass material. The rest of the models have a steel frame and body frame. The standard equipment includes a windshield and hand brake. The gas tank is located at the front of the vehicle, resulting in a longer bumper.
  • Storage & Capacities – The Oil Capacity is 2.28 liters (2.25 quarts with SAE 90 gear oil recommended for best performance). Climbing ability: 45w – 100% TJs with four wheels can carry three passengers.
  • The driver is positioned in the middle, while the two other passengers are seated at the front. Six-wheeled engines have more cargo space and can accommodate five people. Payload capacities range from 800 lbs/364 kg to 1,800 lbs/816.5Kg and maximum trailer loads from 2,000 lbs/910Kg to 3,000lbs/1,360.8Kg depending on trim and year.

Terra Jet vs. Competition

Let’s now look at TJ’s specifications and see what the competition has to offer.

Argo was founded in 1962 by Ontario Drive and Gear Limited. This Canadian manufacturer makes ATVs and ATVs 6×6 and 8×8. 

The transmission for the Amphicat was developed by the company. Terra Jet was also ahead of the company in the production of 8×8 amphibious vehicles. The Conquest was its most successful product, which was first introduced in 1993.

Hydratrek – This American company started the AATV industry in 2004. Initial plans were to use the ATVs for commercial and hunting purposes. 

Hydrate realized the potential of their 6×6 and 8×8 tanks to be rescue vehicles after Hurricane Katrina. The Land Tamer – SMSS is their most technologically advanced vehicle, which is currently used for military purposes.

Gibbs is a company that was founded in 1998 and is located in Warwickshire. They offer commercial, physical and biological research, and development.

They also develop high-speed amphibians for commercial, military, and consumer use. The company’s Quadski series is a well-known AATV that transforms into a watercraft in the water.

Maddox After a decade of testing engine options and hydrostatics with utility companies, rental fleets, and other businesses, the Indiana-based MuddOx Vengeance 6×6 was launched in 2008. 

Three models are currently available from the firm, all of which have been heavily industrialized and are primarily for military use. The ATVs have a Kubota gas EFI engine, hydraulic pumps, and a huge hauling capacity.

Recreative – This company is among the few AATV producers that have held their own like Terra Jet. The purchase of the T-20 Skid Steer Transmission System opened the door to major improvements that are reflected in the current product line. 

The Max, which was first manufactured in 1969, is their most beloved creation.

Due to the 1973 U.S. Oil Crisis and the rights purchase of the BorgWarner T-20 transmission from Recreatives Industries, Hustler Corporation, the rest of the major players, such as Attax, had their doors closed. The bad reputation of these amphibious vehicles and their popularity, as well as the decline in sales, was also caused by the low-grade plastics used and design flaws.

Enhancing your Amphi-Wheeler

Amphi-Wheeler Enhancement

Terra Jet ATV owners will likely make it a project. Here are the main parts you can replace to make your Terra Jet ATV perform off-pavement.

  • Engine – The majority of TJ owners convert the 16-18 hp twin-opposed Briggs & Stratton motor into a single-cylinder Polaris 500-cc liquid-cooled engine. Terra Jet 400E owners are happy with their two-stroke Kohler motors.
  • Electric fuel pumps – An ACDelco MU1613 GM Original Equipment Pump (view Amazon) will work wonders for your engine, regardless of whether it is a Tecumseh or Briggs & Stratton. Although a vacuum fuel pump is an option, it will not work as well as the one that leaves your engine hungry for fuel.
  • Steering The TJ has only differential steering and no suspension. For improved handling, you can choose an EZ-Steer Power Steering Kit (view Amazon)
  • Brake If you plan to do a lot with your rigs, such as trail riding and light mudding, it would be worthwhile changing them into hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Wheels Some TJ models, such as the VA618 trim weigh over 500 Kg. You can reduce the weight of your floater by replacing your wheels with custom-polished aluminum ones.
  • Windshield A Seizmik 2530 (view Amazon) or custom rollbar windshield will provide additional protection against brushings and branches, especially if you plan to ride your Terra Jet ATV along with children.
  • Front and back racks These add-ons increase the cargo capacity of your TJ. However, you should not exceed the weight limits for the rear and front axles.
  • Winch A recovery winch such as Superwinch 1130220 12 VDC winch is a must-have accessory for every AATV/ATV user. (view on Amazon). This may be useful for forest explorations.
  • LED lightbar – This accessory enhances side lighting and improves night wheeling.
  • Tires – High-performance Carlisle Mud Lite XTR All-Terrain ATV Radial Tires (view Amazon) paired together with electronic power steering will dramatically improve handling and traction.

The boxy design and the Corvette-like one, only available for the 400E or 503E trims, are both appealing. Choose the former. The steering rod that goes into this body is poorly designed. The Corvette body can’t handle water crossings of less than two feet and is fubsy in water.


Terra-Jet U.S.A. was one of the first to manufacture amphibious vehicles. American importer and manufacturer, Terra-Jet U.S.A., began its journey in Drummondville in Quebec in 1969 with classics such as JGR Gunsport, Attex, and Allis-Chalmers. The company has since expanded to Turkey and South Africa, Australia. 

There are currently 26 Terra Jet dealers across 13 states in the United States that offer repair and replacement parts.

Conclusion – Terra Jet ATV

Terra Jet ATV is the only model of its type that has remained steadfast with its old-school four-stroke engines and old-school drivetrain system. It also uses trackless wheels and tires. 

Terra Jet is not the right choice if you are looking for an advanced heavy-duty wheeler. It is an affordable option for a project vehicle, which will deliver off-roading fun.

Are Terra jets good?

Many happy customers agree that TerraJet is the best off-road utility vehicle currently on the market! TERRA-JET…Rated Number #1 For Performance, Appearance, Durability.

How fast is a Terra-Jet?

Terra Jet ATV was an amphibious vehicle that consisted of four- to eight-wheeled vehicles. It was produced between the 1970s and 1980s. The floater had front-wheel steering, a maximum speed of 30 mph, and an electric start. It was sturdy, practical, and loved for its off-road and industrial use.

Terra Jet ATV FAQ

1. Are Terra Jets good?

Many happy customers have said, “Terra-Jet is the best off-road utility vehicle on the market today!” TERRA-JET…Rated Number #1 For Performance, Appearance, Durability.

2. Who makes amphibious ATV?

It was established in 1962 under the name of Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) Limited, in Kitchener, Ontario, and was later relocated to New Hamburg, Ontario. Argo offers 8×8 and 6×6 amphibious extreme terrain vehicles and four-wheel ATVs.

3. Do Terra Jets float?

Suspension: In lieu of suspension this Terra Jet ATV is equipped with differential steering, and relies heavily on its low-pressure flotation 8-pound paddle tires.

4. What engine is in an Argo?

The Argo 6 Twin was launched in the year 1985. It was powered by the Briggs & Stratton, 656 twin cylinders I/C engine The 6 Twin was a replacement for its predecessor, the Argo 6 Heavy Duty.

5. Does Argos take water?

Yes All ARGO models are amphibious and are able to be driven underwater without any preparations or special equipment.

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