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Old 17-05-2021, 16:01   #1
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Just bought my first sailboat

Hey everyone. Just completed the purchase of my first sailboat. 1972 Bristol 32. Its not in the best of shape but I'm very handy and just in the week and a half I've owned it I've accomplished a lot. One thing that is high on my to do list is the engine. I was told that I have to move the boat from its current marina, and have found a spot very close. So I am putting my mercury 9.9 hp Longshot on the boat and will be motoring a mile or so up the bay (boat is in the Chesapeake on the north east side.).
My question is, how resilient are these Volvo penta engines? I've had people tell me to scrap it and get a new engine, I've had people say just do a rebuild. To be honest, I haven't had anyone e look at it yet, the previous owner said it hasn't been run in 4 years, and claims its not seized.
I guess I'm just looking for some advice on worst case scenarios here. I plan on putting money into this boat and getting it ready to live on and sail quite a bit, so getting her to her former glory is what I'm looking to do.
Thanks
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Old 17-05-2021, 16:29   #2
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Greetings,

In order to assist, can you provide which model volvo you have?
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Old 17-05-2021, 16:44   #3
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svpearllee2021 View Post
Hey everyone. Just completed the purchase of my first sailboat. 1972 Bristol 32. Its not in the best of shape but I'm very handy and just in the week and a half I've owned it I've accomplished a lot. One thing that is high on my to do list is the engine. I was told that I have to move the boat from its current marina, and have found a spot very close. So I am putting my mercury 9.9 hp Longshot on the boat and will be motoring a mile or so up the bay (boat is in the Chesapeake on the north east side.).
My question is, how resilient are these Volvo penta engines? I've had people tell me to scrap it and get a new engine, I've had people say just do a rebuild. To be honest, I haven't had anyone e look at it yet, the previous owner said it hasn't been run in 4 years, and claims its not seized.
I guess I'm just looking for some advice on worst case scenarios here. I plan on putting money into this boat and getting it ready to live on and sail quite a bit, so getting her to her former glory is what I'm looking to do.
Thanks
Volvo makes good engines.

If you have a dinghy I would put the motor on the dinghy rather than having more penetrations in the boat that are going to rot if not done properly. Even if it is done properly it will increase the vessels length and youíll likely pay handsomely for that over the course of ownership.

Also I would make every attempt to rebuild a Diesel engine with any fewer than 6500 hours on it. Perhaps longer. Iíve heard of engines going 20-30,000 hours when properly taken care of and maintained. Marine engines rarely go above 10,000 in actual use just due to corrosion and use type. Our engine only has about 2,500 hours on it (since Ď79) but the transmission housing and engine mounts are a pile of rust because the shaft seal.
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Old 17-05-2021, 17:04   #4
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Thanks orin. I don't have a dingy just yet, that will be next on the list after bottom paint, top paint and some small deck repairs. So you'd use the dingy and power the boat with that as opposed to attaching an outboard bracket? Good to know.
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Old 17-05-2021, 19:46   #5
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

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Originally Posted by Svpearllee2021 View Post
Thanks orin. I don't have a dingy just yet, that will be next on the list after bottom paint, top paint and some small deck repairs. So you'd use the dingy and power the boat with that as opposed to attaching an outboard bracket? Good to know.
Circumstantially I think itís a lot better choice if moving it temporarily. You donít have holes to patch later or anything. There is a small risk of flipping the dinghy, but my general rules are if Iím sailing the dinghy is towed or stowed and the outboard is always stowed when not in use. Therefore the hip-tied dinghy would only be used in circumstances where lack of wind forced me to use an engine. Generally calm conditions.

Ideally if you were repowering with an outboard instead of putting a bracket on the back youíd make a well to put the outboard sort of under/behind the cockpit and bonus points for setting it up so the outboard rotated with the rudder, using throttle levers by the helm, and putting a flexible fairing seal so the water doesnít eddy there and itíll reduce the tendency for waves to force their way up to the top of the outboard.

If youíre just going to slap an outboard on the back
1) most transoms are not at the right angle. So youíll probably have to build up a mounting bracket for the outboard bracket.

2) you should drill / core out / epoxy and then re-drill the wholes as to avoid water penetration to the hull etc.

3) seal all the holes so water doesnít get inside the boat

4) use a bracket that allows you to bring the motor upwards so you can reach the fasteners and whatnot while aboard.

5) Make sure the outboard can still tilt up and out of the water as when you lift it to access the levers to tilt it up, it will bring the outboard closer to the boat. Likely youíll have to stand the outboard bracket off the boat by a foot or more.

6) Install Morse or telegraph / teleflex cables to control the throttle and gear shift from the helm. Trust me you donít want to hang off the stern to kick it into reverse while running towards an obstacle and thereby loose steering while shifting.

7) Perhaps install some way of turning the outboard with the helm. Not strictly necessary but will really add to maneuverability.

As a side note, my outboard frequently popped up if I hit reverse too hard in some cases. So donít count on it as a break as much.

I would avoid running it in any conditions with waves more than a couple of feet. Itís really easy to dunk an outboard hanging off the back of a sailboat. Not sure if itíll be an issue with yours.

As a side note gasoline fumes are explosive so if replacing the diesel in your tank with gas, just be more careful.

Given half a choice Iíd go out of my way to have an inboard diesel. They can be found on Craigslist reasonably. The boat youíve got is probably small enough almost anything you put in it will work just fine. Diesel engines people typically use for gensets etc will likely push that boat just fine. My Bristol 28 had a Farymann 43W in it. Pushed it at around 4-5 knots. Speaking of those engines are cheap even new (4.5k?) and pretty self contained. The Volvo is definitely smoother and whatnot but a new one of those will probably run you $7k.
Again back to what I said first though. Even if I had to take the crankshaft to a machinist and replace all the engine bearings I would - doing a total overhaul like that, paint included I might have $1-2k into the project as long as I didnít also replace all the accessories, injector pump and the likes. That said, perhaps I am a penny pincher. I am definitely particular about my boats. Original things wear together and sometimes thatís a good thing.
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Old 18-05-2021, 08:55   #6
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Nice good old boat!
Have you tried to start the engine? My Yanmar sat for four years and she started up fine after oil & filter change
Where on NE Chessie
I might be close enough to lend a hand
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Old 18-05-2021, 08:56   #7
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svpearllee2021 View Post
.............My question is, how resilient are these Volvo penta engines? I've had people tell me to scrap it and get a new engine, I've had people say just do a rebuild. To be honest, I haven't had anyone e look at it yet, the previous owner said it hasn't been run in 4 years, and claims its not seized.............
Welcome to the forum an congratulations on your new sailboat!!

Volvo Penta engines are very good engines. I have two 300 hp Volvo Penta engines on my 1984 Symbol and had the same on my 1984 Sprindrift motorboats. Repowering is very expensive and rebuilding is also costly. Before you do anything have the engine inspected and serviced, including fuel filters inspected and replaced. As far as not running for 4 years I had my sailboat with a Yanmar engine on the hard for 3 years and after it was splashed it started right up. Turn the engine on and run it. If it requires a new battery to start the engine then go ahead and replace the old battery.
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Old 18-05-2021, 09:00   #8
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Have you considered having Seatow or someone similar tow you up there?
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Old 18-05-2021, 09:29   #9
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

If it's like a MD2B etc they are very good engines, but parts costs make them mostly unrebuildable. They also have some special tools and procedures you need to know when rebuilding,..... shims etc.. I forget the details though.
Do you know what's actually wrong with it?

Using the outboard for moving the boat:
>>>Consider buying a good quality outboard bracket that raises up and down. They make a great storage place for your dingy motor anyway... and you have the option to continue using the outboard for the mothership until you run across an engine deal...
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:08   #10
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Why not turn it over by hand a few time and see if it will start. Of course check that there is oil an fuel and that the stop cocks are on. If it starts immidiately see if there is cooling water coming out of it.
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:25   #11
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
If it's like a MD2B etc they are very good engines, but parts costs make them mostly unrebuildable.
^^^ This! ^^^
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:26   #12
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Congrats!! ⛵️ We sail a 1977 Bristol 29.9 Hull #17, we did a refit on her a couple years back and have done three round trips to the Bahamas on her. If you feel so inclined, our blog logs our refit, costs and parts, it may be helpful, Bristols are quality sailboats and do indeed sail very well, again Congratulations on the purchase of your first sail boat!!

Fair winds,
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:33   #13
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

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Originally Posted by Stewie12 View Post
Why not turn it over by hand a few time and see if it will start. Of course check that there is oil an fuel and that the stop cocks are on. If it starts immidiately see if there is cooling water coming out of it.
Agree with Stewie's advice....get a charged battery (check amps not just voltage) connected, check oil (level & color), coolant, and fuel and see if she cranks over...If no success there would then suggest having a diesel mechanic give it a look....4 yr old diesel fuel shouldnt be an issue...so then the only other requirement is air...
I have a 1978 diesel, westerbeke tho, that runs like a champ..., so with proper maintenance...
Congratulations on your new, excellent boat! but biased opinion here...
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:36   #14
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

We have not been able to return to our boat sicne October, 2019 due to the pandemic.
It looks like we will be able to return next month.

We also have a Volvo Penta. Here is how we are going to get it runnig:

First we are going to check the water trap for water or crud in the diesel. We will change out the filter cartidge.

Next , we wil check the oil, to be sure it is still in the motor. We changed the oil before we left, so we wont change it out now.

Next we are going to flip the decompression lever so the moter will turn freely, then loosen the bleed screw on top of the seceond fuel filter to get rid of any air from changing the primary fuel filter cartridge.

Now we will turn the diesel over, to get oil back in the cylinders, and bleed out air in the fuel system, and verify the fuel pump works.

Finally we will close the decompression lever, and use the cold start procedure to start, then idel in nuetral for about 10 minutes, checking for any leaks.

We usually run it in gear to warm up the transmission for another ten minutes.

The old volvos are a pain to work on, but they keep running if they can get fuel. Ive seen a couple that looked like a pile of rust, but following the above, started running.

Good luck with your new boat.
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Old 18-05-2021, 11:02   #15
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Re: Just bought my first sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svpearllee2021 View Post
Hey everyone. Just completed the purchase of my first sailboat. 1972 Bristol 32. Its not in the best of shape but I'm very handy and just in the week and a half I've owned it I've accomplished a lot. One thing that is high on my to do list is the engine. I was told that I have to move the boat from its current marina, and have found a spot very close. So I am putting my mercury 9.9 hp Longshot on the boat and will be motoring a mile or so up the bay (boat is in the Chesapeake on the north east side.).
My question is, how resilient are these Volvo penta engines? I've had people tell me to scrap it and get a new engine, I've had people say just do a rebuild. To be honest, I haven't had anyone e look at it yet, the previous owner said it hasn't been run in 4 years, and claims its not seized.
I guess I'm just looking for some advice on worst case scenarios here. I plan on putting money into this boat and getting it ready to live on and sail quite a bit, so getting her to her former glory is what I'm looking to do.
Thanks
Some people swear by the Volvo Penta engines while others just swear at them. In my experience they are kind of like an old English sports car - they run great if you constantly molly coddle them - if you don't, they won't run at all. A lot of people are transitioning to the Beta engines which are based on a Kubota tractor engine due to cost, reliability and ease of maintenance.
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