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Old 12-09-2009, 19:30   #1
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Yanmar vs Volvo

I have a question about engines as we are trying to make a decision between two boats. Year/hours/hp and condition being the same, can you share your preferences, experiences with either or both types of engines (Yanmar and Volvo). Which do you prefer and why? What kinds of problems are more common with them? Service and parts availability, ease of "doing it yourself" projects for each one.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. We are getting soooo close to getting the boat, I can't wait!

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Old 12-09-2009, 19:55   #2
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Volvo thinks their parts are made of gold, and prices them accordingly

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Old 12-09-2009, 20:14   #3
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From what I've heard from numerous boat owners through the years, both engines are good and relatively reliable with the proper upkeep, but I heard that Yanmar was better in regards to parts and pricing. If you intend to be a world cruiser, yanmar parts were far easier to get and cheaper overall.

Just passing on what I've heard.. Hope this helps..
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Old 12-09-2009, 20:19   #4
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I concur: Volvo is a good engine but the price of parts are out of line. For example I went to buy 'genuine' volvo fuel filters and the price was $75 Canadian - rd party filters were less than $20. I have had Volvo engines for the last 30 years but I doubt if I would buy another.
Actually if I were in the market for a replacement diesel I would wait: I expect tighter emmisions standards are going to put new parameters on our engines.
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Old 12-09-2009, 21:23   #5
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Volvo parts are too expensive.....and the dealers mark them up astronomically.....

I had a customer go Ballistic when I told him new Injectors would be $265.00 apiece for an MD2030. He went to the AC boat show and chewed the ear off the Volvo Guy there and found out that the distributor near me was marking them up 100%

I can get them rebuilt for about $80 per
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Old 22-09-2009, 02:22   #6
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Maybe they've improved, but Volvo used to be known as "green death". On the other hand, I have not heard anytbhing bad about Yanmar. Regards, Richard.l
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Old 22-09-2009, 04:00   #7
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They are both very good engines I have had both and now have a VP2030C that Im very happy with. Yanmar is much noisier. But other than that their equal in my book spares easy to get for both. /Harry
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Old 22-09-2009, 05:24   #8
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Our 50hp Volvo MD22L from 1996 has now been running for approx. 4400 hours. It spends the local six months winters on subzero conditions, but will ignite every spring as soon as I turn the key. Never had any problems with it, nothing whatsoever. In addition of the reliability, I am more than happy with the fuel consumption. Our 13 tons with a lot of underwater surface moves six knots for only 2.1 litres (a good half a gallon) per hour. Should I now have to choose for a new one, it would definitely be Volvo.

I have nothing against Yanmar either. What I have heard, they are sound engines as well. Unlike some other comments in the above, I would claim (according to what I have heard) that Volvo parts would be more widely available on the global scale. But they sure are more pricy than the ones for Yanmar. On the other hand, sailing is expensive anyway, so once a year cost for impeller and filters is no primary interest of mine. Reliability comes first. Should someone consider original parts too pricy, a lot of the parts, including filters, impellers, alternators, etc. are also available by generic brands.
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Old 22-09-2009, 05:38   #9
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Having had both I now still have 2 Yanmars. My experience with Volvo was with the 2000 series engines. (mid to late eighties)) A real pos. The engine was bad and the service worse, they had to call Sweden to fix it under warranty! Since then have vowed never to buy a boat with a Volvo in it unless the price was good enough to re-power with a Yanmar.
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Old 22-09-2009, 05:48   #10
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I won't

I've owned Volvo's and now will not even look at a boat with a Volvo in it unless it includes the price of a re-power in a price reduction. Been there, done that, never again.. Yanmar would be my choice hands down..
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Old 22-09-2009, 06:47   #11
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Volvo/Yanmar pricing

The Volvo 200X series engines are known to be a poor design. The followup 20XX engines are based on a Japanese Perkins (Kubota block) and have been good engines. The earlier MDXX engines seem to run forever - I've seen rusting hulks pulled out of old boats still running strong. I think Volvo got a bad reputation from the 200X years.

I would not want to own a Yanmar saildrive. These have been notorious for failures and maintenance problems. There newer ones might be better, but I still hear of clutch problems with them.

As for the costs of parts, I have always been shocked at the prices for our Volvo parts and have been told that Yanmar parts are less expensive. I held this common wisdom as truth for several years. Until yesterday, when I actually priced out various components for both from on-line parts suppliers - searching for the least expensive deals.

The following prices are $Volvo/$Yanmar for comparing the MD2030 to the 3YM30. This Yanmar engine seemed to be the best matchup for our Volvo. Please tell me if I am comparing wrong engines.

Oil filter: $12/$7
Fuel filter: $16/$5
Thermostat: $17/$30
Impeller: $20/$17
Head gasket: $96/$78
Mixing elbow: $248/$186
Fresh H2O pump: $286/$318
Raw H2O pump: $258/$238
Alternator: $611/$833
Starter: $516/$367
Injector: $239 ($137 exchanged)/$193 (no exchange price listed)
Injector pump: $864/$2,300
Heat exchanger: $517/$1,400

If you ignore the oil and fuel filters (which are readily available for the Volvo engine from other manufacturers in most autoparts stores for far less) then the pricing of parts seems to be very close between the two manufacturers until you need something like a heat exchanger or injector pump. Then the Yanmar pricing is eye-popping.

Again, I made an assumption about which Yanmar engine to compare based solely on horsepower. Also, the prices I post for the Yanmar might not be the best - just the least expensive I found on the net. I do know that the prices for the Volvo are some of the least expensive because I have experience with the company they came from.


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Old 22-09-2009, 07:21   #12
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We have no knowledge of how these engines where maintained quality of fuel etc thats referred to in posts here. If its serviced properly according to the book I dont see other than its going to run. There are many examples with sailors where beer is more important than oil and lets do it tomorrow attitude. And often if the boats a wreck on the outside its more of a wreck on the inside with stuff you dont see. Stick to the service and youll have any diesel run for a long long time.
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Old 22-09-2009, 07:46   #13
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My Volvo 2003 was brand spanking new and a pos. Just check the internet for the horror stories. Once was enough, never again.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 22-09-2009, 08:11   #14
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I dont know about volvo because never own a volvo, but my last c&c have a yanmar and right know i own a csy 44 with a 4236 perkins, and i prefer the perkins , this season i clean the heat exchanger in the perkins , original heat exchanger serck, and i found 0 corrosion in the aluminium casing , pipes and core, and is 27 years old heat exchanger!!! the perkins is heavy and the yanmar is light, and light mean a lot of thin aluminium and lights alloys, my last yanmar start burning oil about 1300 hours in the meter and the perkins have about 3400 hours and never burn a drop, is true that yanmars have a good network service.
For me the big isue with yanmars is that yanmars like hig hig revs, and hig revs mean tear and wear soon, my perkins have a max rpm rate about 2800 rpms, and cruising to 1600 rpms the boat is moving about 6 knts , Perkins parts are cheap, i order in trinidad a new fuel lift pump and 2 injectors lines plus a oil filter and a set of gaskets for a total of 140 u$ , yanmars are good engines , the only isue with yanmars for me is that many components are made cheap for a soon replacement , and the cruising rpms is hig!
Ynmar vs Volvo,, i choose Yanmar, volvos is for rich people!!
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Old 22-09-2009, 08:25   #15
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My previous boat came standard with a Volvo, but you could upgrade to a Yanmar as an option. I asked the dealer why the Yanmar cost more, since the MSRP on the two engines was the same. He replied that this was because so many more people wanted the Yanmar. I told him that I also wanted the Yanmar, but wasn't willing to pay more for it than the Volvo, adding that I wouldn't buy the boat with a Volvo. Period. So the dealer said OK. Bottom line was that I got the Yanmar without paying a nickel more for it.

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volvo, yanmar

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