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Old 15-02-2019, 11:04   #31
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

1" of prop diameter change OR 1* of prop pitch will change engine RPM approximately 200 RPM. I did this on my Cal and it is pretty close.

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Old 15-02-2019, 14:01   #32
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Originally Posted by stormalong View Post

I'll bet you can find someone to custom make a tube stack for far less money.
Yes, I was aware of this option... but I was literally in the process of leaving for Tasmania when the failure occurred, it was the week before Christmas, and I was in the Pittwater area with no car. I knew that it would be weeks before that option could be successfully exploited, and so bit the bullet.

Sometimes the real world of being a cruiser preempts the best fiscal actions!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II now lying Towlers Cove, in Broken Bay NSW for a while
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Old 17-02-2019, 14:26   #33
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Originally Posted by Dark Horse View Post
I would have recommended beta too Greg until while researching information on my 5 year old beta 75 I found that indeed I was not sold a 75 HP engine I was sold a 66 hp engine.

How did I figure that out... Well the kubota serial number and sticker information tells me it is a 49.8 kw engine which translates to 66.1 HP. The Betamarine brochure shows 75 so obviously someone was creative with a pen or pencil because the engine plate definitely says something else.

I down graded when I bought this engine from an 86 hp Perkins to what I thought was 75hp but in fact is a 66 hp.

All of a sudden the problems we had getting a propeller for this new engine make sense. I told Flex-o-fold we had 75 hp. When the prop came we could not make max RPM. Overloaded. Very bad. We went down one size... Almost there not quite...

Flex-o-fold did not understand it.... I thought they did not know what they were doing.... In fact I have been sold a bill of goods.

No longer a beta fan
This could be explained by the measurement location.
When we speak of the engine power, there are alternative measurement locations. Engine alone, or with a gearbox. Always compare apples with apples and best to look for the Shaft HP.
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Old 18-02-2019, 06:52   #34
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Avoid Volvo like the plague
I have owned two. Both had expensive failures due to poor engineering. Parts are easy to find but extremely expensive. Example a Hatachi starter 200Euro on-line but painted green by Volvo priced at 1400 Euro
Volvo’s have 3 times as many failures in the SSCA database as Yanmars
Same database has zero failures of Betas.
It is a fair comparison of Volvo and Yanmars with several hundred of each.
The good news about Beta having zero failures must be tempered by the fact that there are only about 60 Betas in the data base
We replaced our Volvo with a Beta 60 a few years ago. No issues in 1500 hours. It starts first bang every time with a rather undersized starting battery, even in the Arctic with ice drifting around us. I have never used the heater plugs
The motor is physically simpler than comparable size Yanmars, has neither electronics nor turbocharger.
We looked at the Nanni, another Kubota based engine. Looked good too
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Old 18-02-2019, 07:48   #35
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

From personal experience, I can only speak about my dealings with Volvo.
Parts: expensive and often not available. I was located in the third largest City in Canada (at the time) and on 2 occasions I had to wait for parts to be shipped from Europe! This with an engine that was less than 6 years old at that time.
I came across a Volvo dealer (in Campbell River) who would not even come look at the engine as he "does not work on sailboats". I know, this was the dealer not Volvo, but they deal with him.
I had a complete lower end failure (I also know of at least 2 other (same motor) that suffered similar failures - locally) due to one nut used to secure the rod cap to the connecting rod having never being torqued properly from the factory. The nut backed off and the crankshaft (and lots of other items) were destroyed. This happened just after the warranty time period ended (not hours). Even though the repairing mechanic, the insurance investigator, and a metallurgical engineer all agreed that the failure was caused by this, Volvo "kept to their tune" that this was a owner caused fault (only having looked at photos). The engineer blew out of the water both of Volvo's explanations as to reasons it could be owner caused. After much whining on my part, Volvo finally paid my insurance deductible, but the major cost was covered by my insurance (added to all of our rates) instead of by Volvo. No more Volvo's for me!
I do agree with all of those who recommend a simple diesel. Naturally aspirated, no electronic controls, no common rail, etc. Then owner maintenance is much easier and therefore way less costly.
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Old 18-02-2019, 08:04   #36
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

I think most small diesel engines are OK as far as the blocks and fuel systems go. Turbo adds a layer of complexity and common rail may not be thoroughly tested in the recreational market, but has potention for eliminating some of the wear and tear on the basic engines in the long run by managing fuel and heat better—but not sure yet Where I see the problems with small recreational diesels is in two areas:
1. Peripheral systems for cooling. Sure, you can get Kubota tractor parts for the engine block maybe cheaper than Yanmar or Volvo, but these engines are cobbled together (“marinized”) with external raw water pumps and after market heat exchangers to adapt them to a recreational boat. These marinizaation parts (not made by Kubota) are the systems that are more likely to fail and need serious attention. Coolers clog when they are not the right size and require maintennce and regular attention. They may or may not be engineere to precisely ensure that your engine warms up quickly and runs at the right temp consistently— a huge issue with longevity in marine diesel application. You may or may not be able to find thiese “marinizing” parts at reasonable prices—if you are handy you may be able to cobble something to fix it yourself with some substitute—I have bought heat exchangers for lobster boat and fitted them to a small marine diesel in a pinch.. I prefer the Yanmar as they integrate their cooling systems and the metal used so that you have fewer problems with dissimilar metals in the long run—fewer need for zincs belts and hoses that can all fail. If you go out of the country, parts are more available because of their international networks. There is a reason the charter fleets are mostly Yanmar—even if they cost more at the outset. They are designed as a system, not a collection of parts.
2. The second problem is how the engines are used. If you are just using a diesel for a few minutes at low RPM to back out of a slip and if you do not take the time to insure that your engine/transmission/ and prop pitch allows the engine to obtain full RPM and operate most of its life at 80% of max rpm, you should not expect a full life of any diesel. Diesels work on heat and being run cold and at too low rpm and lugging loads will destroy any of them in short order. I have seen cruisers with engines with over 10K hours doing fine. I have seen marina folks with shot engines at 1200 hours. A lot depends on the skipper’s understanding of their whole propulsion system and their willingness to assess and manage it. Most new boats, IMHO, are grossly over propped (to keep the engiine quiet??) and this shortens the life of many brand new diesels in new boats. The more hours your engine spends at 80% of rpm and at the right (usually 180) temp, the more hours it will have. The more time it spends at lower temps and lower rpm the less hours you should expect. Having a system orientation to your set up may be more important than the actual brand on the block.
Others will have other ideas, but mine are based on 40 years of cruising and in rebuilding and repairing a number of marine diesels.
Ray Durkee
S/V Velera
Tartan 37
Castine, Maine
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Old 18-02-2019, 08:25   #37
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

The Yanmar folks made a diesel that worked for me for 3 decades and is still going. Any time it was not cheerfully doing its task, I was to blame. Have to give credit to their organization despite not getting the memo about planned obsolescence. That said my neighour had the new computerized Yanmar and he seemed to need a live in mechanic. Maybe they finally got the message.
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Old 18-02-2019, 09:37   #38
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
I can tell you Volvo very expensive for parts from Volvo ! If however the motor is made by Perkins (we are talking older models here) the parts are a lot cheaper from Perkins ! Just my 2 cents worth ! We have a Volvo/Perkins, and the prices for most Perkins/Prima parts (I know old motor), but the price difference is mind boggling !

What Volvo engines were made by Perkins??? I love my OLD Volvo TAMD40A. If parts are expensive, I havent yet found that because I havent had to buy any. I loved my Perkins NA 6-354. It was bullet proof. My Perkins 4-108 was also very reliable. But people tell me I am treading on thin ice with the Volvo.
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Old 18-02-2019, 10:12   #39
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

You won't have any shorter life from a turbo Yanmar or Volvo than the same engine without turbo. These are fairly low boost and designed as part of the engine from the start. Turbo problems aren't even in the top 10 problem areas of a Yanmars. In 20 years and three boats with Yanmars (the current at 2500 hours), I've never had a turbo problem or problem caused by the turbo.

Be also careful to separate reports of problems with the big sportsfishing boat diesels from problems with small sailboat diesels. The market for the former is trying to squeeze as much HP as they can into the engine room space available. The engines just aren't designed to run 5000 hours.

And as mentioned, life and reliability of modern diesels is mostly determined by the captain. Always run for at least an hour to get it up to temp. Minimize time below 60% RPM or above 90%. (although an occasional run up to 100% to burn off carbon is good). But incredibly, the charter boats have thousands of hours put on by charterers who do everything wrong and the engines are still running just fine at the five year turnover. Tough little things.

One reason to favor Yanmar is that there are more mechanics who know them very well. You'll occasionally need a professional mechanic and you don't want to pay for his education by learning on your engine.
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Old 18-02-2019, 12:01   #40
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

In reference to the original question and after having 6 diesel propulsion on boats ranging from 24-44’ over the years, Yanmar would always be my first choice - reliable, quiet, compact very well made.
Second choice would be Beta (based I think now on Kubota) and third would be Volvo - some old models are fantastic some were much less.
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Old 18-02-2019, 12:10   #41
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Volvo and Yanmar are good but expensive. I would pick a Sole Diesel. They are marinised engines based on proven industrial diesels. They are well built and have a great reputation. Whatever you buy, try to get a diesel without any fancy electronics and try to avoid turbo if you can. Keep it simple.
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Old 18-02-2019, 14:39   #42
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

Hi, had a Yamnar with sail drive , the motor was great but the sail drive clutch gave out after 2 years and 8000nm with usage precisely and diligently according to the user manual. Of course it packed it in at the wrong time - 4 weeks prior to Hamilton Island Race week just as I was pulling into Yeppoon Qld. Guess what NO SPARE PARTS IN AUSTRALIA. Had to buy a whole new sail drive in Melbourne, break it into parts and take it as luggage on a plane up to Queensland, haul the boat out of the water and have it installed. Massive trauma and angst as I had 3 very close families organised to meet me at Hamo Island for race week . Just made it. Didn’t need the grief on a 2 year old boat
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Old 18-02-2019, 16:55   #43
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

When out cruising you will find Volvo-Penta and Yanmar dealers in many places. Having cruised with a Saab I can tell you that even if the factory or dealer back home offers exemplary support (Saab did) just getting the parts shipped into a foreign country and through customs, usually requiring a broker, they will become very expensive and require much patience. Limiting the choice to V-P and Yanmar is a reasonable approach IMHO.

Also, there are no major manufacturers of true small marine diesel engines left, including Yanmar; all of the common engines are marinized utility diesels (the marine market is too small to support R&D). Most of the maintenance issues are related to the marinizing parts and not the basic engine so don't get too focused on the engine itself. Yanmar does make their own engines but the marine market is just one of many at this point; they make utility engines - at least they consider the marine application. Volvo uses engines made by
Shibaura in Japan, which are marketed to OEMs by Perkins in Europe and elsewhere. Perkins did not design and does not manufacture these engines, nor do they generally sell parts to the retail trade. Beta designs and manufactures excellent marine conversions of Kubota and Mitsubishi engines; Vetus (Netherlands) also does nice marinizations. Others marinize with welded assemblies that really don't compare. All of these engines (sans marinization) are quality and reliable so as I said don't get too hung up there.

Before I bought my V-P D2-40 I compared prices on a few common marinizing parts for V-P and Yanmar. The days of cheap parts for Yanmar are long gone: they were both priced in the stratosphere. I do not see this as a deciding factor.

The requirement to meet emissions standards changed things dramatically. The current engines have little or nothing in common with the older ones. With Volvo, they used to make their own small diesels but now they come from Japan. And these engine marinizations were designed by Perkins-Sabre before the business was sold to Volvo. Experiences good or bad with older engines simply don't apply; customer service and marinizing parts are a different matter. So be very careful about applying comments relating to the clunky old Volvo-built diesels to the modern ones.

I can't speak for Yanmar but the Volvo engines are mechanically-controlled diesels. The black box is mostly an interface between the engine harness and the instrument cluster, and also operates the starting and stopping solenoids. The engine can be started by installing a pushbutton switch between power and the starter motor solenoid and stopped manually at the stop solenoid; the engine will run happily without the instruments. Unfortunately there have been reliability problems with the "MDI" black box so this workaround is good to know about. (MDI is short for Mechanical Diesel Interface.) Other diesels may be either mechanical or electronically controlled. On engines with electronic controls for the injectors an electronic failure is game over. I greatly prefer the mechanical approach.

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Old 18-02-2019, 19:26   #44
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

I have just repowered with a 30 hp Yanmar. in a 30 ft centreboard shoalcraft. 97.5 hours so still shiny.
It was my 2nd choice after Beta but none in country at the time.
I think Yanmar well known good servicability makes resale better.
Our one has sweet spots where she runs smooth and other spots which cause rattles which I have not been able to track down.
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Old 18-02-2019, 19:47   #45
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Re: Engine reviews Yanmar or Volvo

I wouldn't have a Volvo and would only reluctantly accept a Yanmar.

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