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Old 28-11-2012, 13:12   #1
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Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

We are looking at purchasing a 39' sailboat, either Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter, or Jeanneu. Some have Volvo engines and some have Yanmar. It's doesn't seem to depend on the make of boat. My husband has read many negative comments on the Volvo engine, however the Beneteau we are favoring has that one.
Any comments on that type of engine?
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Old 28-11-2012, 13:23   #2
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

It depends on the actual engine model, some of the Volvo's were better than most. I've heard complaints about the 2003 series Volvo, and yet people seem to use them for thousands of hours . The Yanmar 3GM30 are not the best engines around either. If either has a Saildrive instead of a normal shaft log, I would opt for the shaft log.
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Old 28-11-2012, 13:55   #3
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Volvos are actually Perkins diesels with modifications made (for/by) Volvo to their specs. Prices for Volvo parts can be high, but if it is not a Volvo part ,but Perkins then you can cross reference and use some of their parts. These are mostly to do with the main engine itself. Volvo mostly changed external items IE pumps alternators filters and some injection pumps, and cooling system components. Yanmar from what I have heard (again only heard) are pricey on parts also but somewhat easier to get parts for. We have an MD22L 50hp which is 19 yrs old and have never had a problem with it, other than they changed the fuel filter design, there are only 2 threads holding it on to the old mount housing, which makes getting the one for the motor a chore. Note this motor has glow plugs and doesn't like to start well in colder weather with out their use! Our b oat weighs 10 ton and we burn about .6 gls and hour at 2000 rpm which is around 5 kts.
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:03   #4
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Thanks Cheechako and Mike. One boat has a 2003B Turbo Volvo 43HP ,and the other has a MD2040-D 40HP (2001). Any comments on either of those?
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:20   #5
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Here is the scoop on the 2000 series engines from Volvo. If freshwater cooled, and the 3003T (Turbo) is, they have an external, hard piping system that uses flat sided "O" rings to seal the pipes to the various cooling system parts, and the engine. In some cases, all that keeps them in place is the tension between parts, for example the heat exchanger and the seawater pump.

The trouble with this system is, well, it is a bad design. It works, but it is very fiddly to get everything in place, and leak-free. The turbo engine is just adding more complexity to this system. If I was to buy a boat with the turbo 2003 engine, I would want to have it checked out by a good mechanic, as part of the survey process. I would ask the mechanic to pay special attention to the turbo and the cooling system. I would also want it to be a well kept, clean engine.

Other than that, they are fine engines, run well, and have fairly simple electrical systems. Parts are not cheap, but there are enough used engines around that spares are available cheaply, if you need it. Stock up on the o-rings, though!


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Old 28-11-2012, 14:23   #6
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Our boat has a Volvo 2003 (not the turbo) that has been in use since 1985 (note that 2003 is the model number and has nothing to do with the year). The 2003B was produced from 1991-1993. We like our engine, although it is probably time for replacement, but then it has a lot of hours and lot of years of neglect. No complaints.

The MD2040 is from the Perkins era, but is about 10 years newer, and possibly more. On the face I would go with the 2040, but there are a lot more factors than just age.

If I were re-powering I would probably go with the current Yanmars, but buying a boat I would find either acceptable (YMMV).
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:33   #7
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

How well the engine has been maintained is way more important than who manufactured it. Or, to put it another way; you shouldn't choose the boat you buy based on the engine manufacturer.

Our boat has a volvo 2003, circa 1989 vintage... the motor has always started first time and has been very dependable.
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:43   #8
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
How well the engine has been maintained is way more important than who manufactured it. Or, to put it another way; you shouldn't choose the boat you buy based on the engine manufacturer.

Our boat has a volvo 2003, circa 1989 vintage... the motor has always started first time and has been very dependable.

+1


For not much money, you can get an engineering firm to do an oil analysis of the engine (from an oil sample after the motor has been run on your sea trial) - it's like a blood test for a human, it tells all. If you're outlaying a lot of money to buy a boat, you want to do your due diligence. New engines and re-powering is very expensive...

Good luck.
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Old 28-11-2012, 14:47   #9
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

We have 2500 hours on a 1989 Volvo 2003 engine and its fine. I am expecting it to last another decade.

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Old 28-11-2012, 16:08   #10
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You might check out the Beneteau 423 yahoo group. Lots of boats with both represented there.

For us Yanmar was a preference when we bought our used B423 but a Volvo wouldn't have been a deal breaker. Though we didn't have any experience with either going into it. Yanmar was an upgrade option when it was new.
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Old 28-11-2012, 16:23   #11
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
Volvos are actually Perkins diesels with modifications made (for/by) Volvo to their specs. Prices for Volvo parts can be high, but if it is not a Volvo part ,but Perkins then you can cross reference and use some of their parts. These are mostly to do with the main engine itself. Volvo mostly changed external items IE pumps alternators filters and some injection pumps, and cooling system components. Yanmar from what I have heard (again only heard) are pricey on parts also but somewhat easier to get parts for. We have an MD22L 50hp which is 19 yrs old and have never had a problem with it, other than they changed the fuel filter design, there are only 2 threads holding it on to the old mount housing, which makes getting the one for the motor a chore. Note this motor has glow plugs and doesn't like to start well in colder weather with out their use! Our b oat weighs 10 ton and we burn about .6 gls and hour at 2000 rpm which is around 5 kts.
Most of the traditional Volvos have nothing to do with Perkins. Maybe you are speaking about the 2003 etc models? I dont know much about them. There was a time period where Perkins wasnt Perkins but some engine from italy (?) or somewhere.... things got very confused for a decade or so there!
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Old 28-11-2012, 16:33   #12
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

I assume you live in the USA since you mentioned Hunter and Catalina but it may matter where you are sailing. Yanmar parts would be easier to find on the Pacific ocean in relation to volvo parts. But either motor I'd take. Like said above, it's the maintenance and installation that counts. If it has over 1000 hours w/o problems, then the installation is OK.

The only diesel I would not take is one that's hard to find parts or that shows up on the net with lots of problems. Just goggle the motors make and model that are in the boats and see what comes up.
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Old 29-11-2012, 07:38   #13
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Most of the traditional Volvos have nothing to do with Perkins. Maybe you are speaking about the 2003 etc models? I dont know much about them. There was a time period where Perkins wasnt Perkins but some engine from italy (?) or somewhere.... things got very confused for a decade or so there!
The smaller Volvos starting just AFTER the 2003 models were/are rebadged Perkins engines. They even have "PERKINS" cast right into the blocks!

Almost all parts on our MD2030's are Perkins - maybe not the alternators, but the heat exchangers, injection pump, injectors, etc are the same. Parts from Perkins are cheaper than from Volvo. Non-marinization parts can be found even cheaper at tractor supply places because these engines are also very common in tractors, earth movers, generators and other industrial uses.

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Old 29-11-2012, 10:17   #14
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

Yeah, hard to tell what you're buying anymore. I was referring to the "prior to 2003" era.
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Old 29-11-2012, 12:02   #15
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Re: Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine

I did not find any of them better. I think many old VP and Yanmars were fine. I am talking about real old engines. New ones are equaly bad and my personal like is with bigger VPs (bigger than 50 hp. etc.)

The only new engine that I have found to differ in design and possibly quality is Bukh. But here again you are unlikely to find one of mentioned boats with a Bukh, unless she got repowered along the way.

Look for an engine in good condition and have it surveyed by a reliable mechanic then pray and jump.

b.
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