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Old 22-07-2013, 12:49   #1
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Smile Question w/ Reliability of Certain Marine Engines

Greetings and thanking in advance.......

I am considering purchasing a sailboat with a Volvo Penta 2002 marine engine produced between 91 and 93. (Two cylinder-raw water cooled. I believe.) Are these engines reliable? Or are they a lot of trouble and when you rotate the ignition key you have to keep your fingers crossed?

How do they compare to Yanmar?

Any comments?

Regards,
Susan
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Old 22-07-2013, 12:59   #2
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

This series of engines was the worst that Volvo put out. Do a search on this site and you'll see that many were not happy with Volvo. As for comparing it with a Yanmar, there is no comparison. I would stay well clear of the Volvo 2000 series.
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Old 22-07-2013, 16:50   #3
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

Plenty of people keeping those engines going long term.
The main complaint was the cost of parts, IIRC.
Watch the water channels, especially the pipe / block joints.
And watch the exhaust elbow coking up and blocking. Some owners just replace them as a regular service item.
If you have a serious problem, dont spend money on spares, replace the engine.
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Old 22-07-2013, 18:26   #4
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As a general comment , I see little difference between yanmar and Volvo , both produced some excellent and some dogs. I tend to find Volvo parts easier to get , but more expensive.

Dave
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Old 22-07-2013, 22:02   #5
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

One of the biggest issues faced when purchasing older diesel engines is parts availability. If you can't maintain it with new replacement parts then chances are you will have trouble on your travels. Check on the availability of some less sought after parts such as wiring harness's, control panel parts, fuel pumps, etc. and see if they are available. Even raw water pumps and other bolt on components can be difficult to find. Parts can be shipped anywhere but you have to be able to buy them somewhere to get them.

The more of them they made the more chances that there will be spares available. seems like there are lots of Yanmar's out there although I have never ran one.
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Old 23-07-2013, 03:32   #6
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The more of them they made the more chances that there will be spares available. seems like there are lots of Yanmar's out there although I have never ran one.
Funny I would have said the opposite.

Dave
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Old 23-07-2013, 05:06   #7
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

The good news is because Volvo made thousands of the 2001-2003 and turbo range spares are plentiful and still available from dealers. The design is obviously from the 1980s and doesn't have glow plugs to help start it which can be a problem in cold climates. However, once going that's it and it will restart on the key for the rest of the day.

There was a problem with the gearbox splines were they enter the flywheel. this is an area with no lubrication and the splines can wear. It's a $500 repair requiring the gearbox be taken out and a hex machined onto the gearbox input shaft and a corresponding widget for the flywheel. Once sorted (ours has) then that's it.

Some peeps who don't own them like to give the range a hard time. Those of us that do own these engines are busy out there doing it. I certainly wouldn't turn down a boat because it has a 2002 in it and if the engine subsequently went bang then I would probably put another one back in place if funds are limited.

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Old 23-07-2013, 06:07   #8
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

As mentioned above, do a search on Volvo 2003 and you'll find a lot of comments about these engines. Many owners refer to them as the Green Devil. Parts are available for them. Not cheap, but definitely available. The raw water cooled versions seem to hold up better than the fresh water cooled versions. These engines are greater than 20 years old, they were not the shining light of Volvo design engineering when new and take a fair amount of maintenance. The most important thing in owning one is to avoid the slippery slope. Doing the needed repairs can easily start hitting you with $1,200 - $2,000 bills. Doing this once may be worth it, so you get another 2 or 4 years out of the engine. But doing it twice or 3 times is just throwing money away, when you can buy a new Yanmar and install it for only a little more and have a reliable engine that adds to the sales price of the boat, not detracts.
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Old 23-07-2013, 06:19   #9
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post

Some peeps who don't own them like to give the range a hard time. Those of us that do own these engines are busy out there doing it. I certainly wouldn't turn down a boat because it has a 2002 in it and if the engine subsequently went bang then I would probably put another one back in place if funds are limited.

Pete
I have owned two of them (both brand spanking new when I bought the boats in the eighties) and, contrary to some owners, admitted that they were junk and replaced my second one with a Yanmar 3GM30F. Check out the following thread especially post #20.
Volvo Engine vs Yamnar Engine
The following report from mechanics working on charter boats is also of interest.
Volvo-Penta engine overlook
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Old 23-07-2013, 06:26   #10
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

i avoid volvo -- too difficult to find parts--there are NONE in mexico for volvo--at last with yanmar one is able to order parts from pacwest in san diego when problems arise here....perkins is common, and 4-108s are everywhere here--forklifts, buses, and tractors use perkie, so i am good to find parts here.
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Old 23-07-2013, 07:49   #11
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

They are as bad as Yanmars of the same era. Dig into forums for list of returning issues then try to avoid in your sample.

One issue is their cooling system. Take good care of yours and you may be spared some cost and delay.

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Old 23-07-2013, 10:36   #12
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

A quick browse through the currently running thread by Sailorchic34 re her Yanmar engine will disabuse you of believing that Yanmars are without their drawbacks.

And FWIW, in several years of following this forum I have noted many posts condemning both Volvo and Yanmar engines. To the best of my memory's ability, I can not recall any similar ones about the various Kubota based engines. I will not speculate upon what this means...

Cheers,

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Old 23-07-2013, 10:55   #13
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

I've had 4 experiences with Volvo Penta MD2030 engines and they been unequivocally bad in each case. One with bad injectors (and expensive to replace), one ran away and two with salt water getting into the cylinder. Of those, one seized and the other i gave up on. Having said that i do have a friend that has a penta in his boat and he seems to be OK so far.............
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Old 23-07-2013, 11:02   #14
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

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Originally Posted by DefinitelyMe View Post
I've had 4 experiences with Volvo Penta MD2030 engines and they been unequivocally bad in each case. One with bad injectors (and expensive to replace), one ran away and two with salt water getting into the cylinder. Of those, one seized and the other i gave up on. Having said that i do have a friend that has a penta in his boat and he seems to be OK so far.............
The 20 series (2030 etc.) followed the 2000 series (2001 etc.). I think they got the 20 series from Perkins and the blocks were Kubota. The 2000 series were all Volvo.
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Old 23-07-2013, 12:12   #15
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Re: Question w/ reliability of certain marine engines

I like Volvo - the old ones, where the block is cast iron and heavy. I also like Bukh. Modern engines seem (nearly) all the same - they are fine when new and as long as you do good maintenance, they tend to be fine. The troublemakers are units left without much use and with too little maintenance.

Another aspect is than newer engines tend to have electric this and electronic that and IMHO these solenoids, PCBs and glow plugs tend to give more headache than benefit.

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