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Old 22-09-2009, 09:59   #16
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If I were making a choice of two otherwise identical boats, the only difference being a Volvo or a Yanmar there's no question I'd take the Yanmar. Regardless of the differences in the price of replacement parts, Yanmar is a better machine. As stated before you can destroy any engine with lack of care. I beleive if you were to take a poll of people who have owned both a Volvo and a Yanmar the vast majority would pick the Yanmar.
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Old 22-09-2009, 10:42   #17
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Wow - what great information! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. This helps a lot with making the decision. I appreciate all your time and know that this will also be valuable for others.
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Old 22-09-2009, 12:36   #18
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We have an old, slow running Volvo. This engine is 30 y.o. and has started sailing around the world when was 24. Not a single problem. Started always the first turn of the key. Has decomp (we do not use it) and can be cranked manually. It is a great engine.

The newer small Volvos have mixed opinions. They are not as good as say Bukh. But we sailed a boat with MD-2 55 and it was again a great and reliable engine. Last season we sailed a Volvo with 100hp (no turbo) (7 hours upwind and up horrible swell - power-sailing with a storm jib) and the engine was again very smooth and run quiet and cool.

I believe both makes can be great or horrible depending on a specific model and how well the maintenance had been done.

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Old 22-09-2009, 14:07   #19
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Of 3 Yanmars 2 have had catastrophic failures (3GM30) and one had cooling system failure... but was quite old . Of two Volvos none have had failures. (MD2B, MD13) Of 3 Perkins none have had failures. of one Mercedes Marine diesel no failure. Having said all that... I dont know, I would probably lean toward a Yanmar, but only if the rest of the boat was as good as the Volvo boat.
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Old 22-09-2009, 14:31   #20
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I'm out cruising right now...in Samoa after crossing the Pacific this year. This is my experience this year. EVERY boat I know making the crossing this year that I have heard of or personally known of that has had engine problems has been a Volvo engine. It seems the biggest gripe the owners had was that parts were not only ridiculously expensive but they were routinely sent the wrong parts and that Volvo itself were absolutely no help at all. Emails to Volvo were replied with a curt "Contact the nearest Dealer" stock email reply.
If you think getting sent the wrong part is not a big deal try sitting in Hiva Oa in the Marquesas for weeks only to get the wrong part sent to you. Which means you have no engine to negotiate the passes in the Tuomotus etc....it's a nightmare for Volvo owners. It seems the engines themselves are great...it's all the peripherals that break down and get mixed up when ordering parts.
Hope that helps....
My opinion is that I would NEVER buy a boat with a Volvo engine in it....not ever.
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Old 22-09-2009, 16:00   #21
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Luv my Yanmar!
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Old 22-09-2009, 16:09   #22
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As a counter-story I have seen Yanmar certified technicians put wrong raw water impeller in the engine ... I have seen Volvo dealer unable to give the reason for the engine not reaching its revs ...

Perhaps following Rangiroo - an important aspect is how good the Volvo / Yanmar service is in your area (or in the area you want to cruise).

Perhaps, also, another issue is how good the service people (incl. those that send us out the spares) are today ... On my old engine I made all the servicing / repairs by myself (I am not a diesel mechanic) and with some help from other cruisers - and our engine never stopped once.

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Old 23-09-2009, 09:30   #23
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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
My Volvo 2003 was brand spanking new and a pos. Just check the internet for the horror stories. Once was enough, never again.
Yes, the 200X series engines are notoriously bad and you will find horror stories everywhere. These were a fairly short-lived model and even Volvo recognizes them as a bad design. However, this is not the case for the older and newer models MDXX and 20XX series.

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If I were making a choice of two otherwise identical boats, the only difference being a Volvo or a Yanmar there's no question I'd take the Yanmar. Regardless of the differences in the price of replacement parts, Yanmar is a better machine.
Maybe. If you want to hear horror stories, check the internet for Yanmar saildrives. These things are breaking cone clutches yearly and corroding badly. And the maintenance schedule is half of Volvo's for oil change and 1/4 of Volvos for main boot change - which is a big deal since the boat needs to be hauled out for saildrive maintenance and changing the main boot is a big project. If you are considering two saildrive boats, I would pick the Volvo unless it is the newest model of Yanmar saildrive, which was reportedly completely re-engineered to address the older issues.

Check the threads on this board for Yanmar problems. Granted, there may be more people with Yanmars here, but the board is full of overheating, smoking Yanmar discussions. I don't think there is a lot of quantitative evidence to support a blanket statement about which is the better engine - particularly without qualifying which models are being compared.

Again, the Volvo 2030 is a PERKINS Perama M30 engine sold to Volvo. Perkins also sold this engine to Massey Ferguson, McCormick, Terramite, Textron, Jacobsen, Cushman, Vermeer, Leech Lewis, JCB, Kobelco, Northern Lights and Detroit Diesel–Allison. It is one of the most widely used engines in the world in turf equipment, tractors, mini-excavators, brush choppers, compressors, welders, pumps, generators, etc. Even Caterpillar uses it in some of their smaller equipment. (This is why it is very easy to get OEM oil and fuel filters far cheaper than Volvo branded ones).

Dealer and parts support is very important when cruising, and should be part of any powering decision. I have never had wrong Volvo parts sent to me (at least that wasn't MY fault), but that would be dealer/supplier dependent and could certainly happen with any engine parts supplier. It would be a disservice to the good Volvo suppliers to paint them all with such a broad brush.

We have Volvo engines, but I am not defending them - just trying to inject some objectivity to blanket statements, "common knowledge" and non-emperical judgements. We would have bought the boat if it had Yanmars or Westerbekes (although I didn't know about the widespread Yanmar saildrive issues then).

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Old 23-09-2009, 09:45   #24
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I have had nothing but good experince wit both engines, but i do service them like lil babies. My dad was a mechanic and instilled in me from childhood that a bicyclechain needs to be greased.... from there on... I think many carowners boatowners dont understand how an engine works plus the engines need to run in the harshest environments. I think overrevving is quite common among boaters since Engines are a little underdimensioned at times in sailboats. We can go on forever on this topic./Harry
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Old 23-09-2009, 11:47   #25
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Can't argue the sail drive issue too much because they do come with their own set of problems. Comparing apples to apples is a bit tough generically speaking Volvo Vs Yanmar. My bit overly anal neighbor still has his 1975 AMC Gremblin running like a top and swears it was always a great car. Exceptions can be found in anything. My experiance comes from working on and seeing many of both types as well as knowing many diesel mechanics. Most problems these engines see is owners lack of basic care. You're right, go to the many threads here that question why their engine is giving them fits. My intentions are not to be rude, but a large majority of them just don't understand some of the basics of their engine yet. You can buy the best of anything and trash it by not taking care of it properly. But given equal proper care of both Yanmars and Volvos. Personally, I still stand behind the Yanmars hands down.
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Old 23-09-2009, 12:34   #26
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yanmars do not break as much as do volvos and are easy to repair without major investment of alllll yer dollars LOL
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Old 30-03-2014, 08:52   #27
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Re: Yanmar vs Volvo

I know this is late but I repowered with a Volvo D2-40 and could not be happier. Smooth, quiet, no smoke and revs quickly, it appears much quieter than the equivalent Yanmar 40 hp, I have 2 friends with the Yanmar, both newer installs (< 2 years) and would not trade. Previously had the MD17 since 1978! Faultless. The new small Volvos are the same family that Cat uses in their skid steers, been to the Cat store, and some parts are interchangeable. Whilst some Volvo parts are a bit more than Yanmar I recently met a fellow with a 3 cyl, 40 hp Yanmar and the heat exchanger rotted out at less than 400 hrs, replacement cost of parts over $3500. Check out the Volvo cost, on line can be had for about $1500 to a tops of $1800. The local Yanmar dealer has a pile of rotted Yanmar heat exchangers - poor design, poor metal, take your pick as it does not matter but I would rather not have to deal with it. And as for the sail drive there is plenty of evidence of poor Yanmar quality.
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Old 30-03-2014, 10:23   #28
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Re: Yanmar vs Volvo

Yeah, I know the bigger Volvo's in the D series, D4, D6 are superb engines. Built like a brick. They weigh a lot more than the equivalent Yanmars if that bothers you.... it makes me feel good!
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:59   #29
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Re: Yanmar vs Volvo

Have just sold my Tanzer 8.5 built in 1981, owned since 1998. Came with a Yanmar 3GM20. Hours now about 2000. Serial number 000392, it was an original. So, clean fuel/oil and air is what is needed, and finding the performance sweet spot. Mine was 2500rpm. Gave this boat to the new owners and advised them that the only retrofits completed have been water impellor changes and a new foam air filter. The gray varnish still covers all bolt heads, terrific machinery if kept maintained. Now operate an older 2QM20 with confidence.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:05   #30
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Re: Yanmar vs Volvo

This sounds a bit like PC vs. Mac. "Macs never crash! …they freeze."
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