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Old 02-11-2020, 14:51   #1
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Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

Hi all,
Bought a 1984 40ft ketch VILM2 in Feb 2020 with a Volvo MD30A and only 2300h on the 1st original engine. 1200h by first owner 1984-2016, 1000h was put on by former owner 2017-2019 and now 100h by me. Runs like a charm.

Prepping the boat for a world circum and would like to know the weak spot/s of this volvo md30A? what is typically breaking?

How often do I have to exchange the cooling water, cannot fing any info on that. Also when it was done last. If I have to change what mixture of water and glycols?

What spare parts should I take with regarding the engine/gearbox besides impellers, oil filters, raw water pump, belts, starter, alternator?
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Old 03-11-2020, 16:38   #2
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

111 views and nobody knows anything?
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Old 03-11-2020, 18:49   #3
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

PM DougR if you are in a hurry,
He seems to know Volvos very well,
I run a mile from green engines as the parts prices are even more frightening than yanmars & that takes some doing.
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Old 04-11-2020, 17:33   #4
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
PM DougR if you are in a hurry,
He seems to know Volvos very well,
I run a mile from green engines as the parts prices are even more frightening than yanmars & that takes some doing.
Thanks. Yes I normally do too but the whole boat is in pristine condition and that for a steal price. A new d1 or d2 Series Volvo is a no go...
As far as I know and was told by my surveyor the md30A was one of the best engines from the green hell curious whatís the original engine manufacturer/type...itís not a Perkins as the TMD22.
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Old 04-11-2020, 20:16   #5
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainRivet View Post
Thanks. Yes I normally do too but the whole boat is in pristine condition and that for a steal price. A new d1 or d2 Series Volvo is a no go...
As far as I know and was told by my surveyor the md30A was one of the best engines from the green hell curious what’s the original engine manufacturer/type...it’s not a Perkins as the TMD22.
Some volvos are shibaura base engines I believe but i dont know if that applies to the MD30A.
Yes I see your reasoning & some people have green engines they love. Good news from the surveyor.
Sounds like you need a workshop manual which would be essential for your plan IMO.
Still think you should consult DougR or scroll down to similar threads & PM a former owner.
Hope that helps
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:56   #6
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
Some volvos are shibaura base engines I believe but i dont know if that applies to the MD30A.
Yes I see your reasoning & some people have green engines they love. Good news from the surveyor.
Sounds like you need a workshop manual which would be essential for your plan IMO.
Still think you should consult DougR or scroll down to similar threads & PM a former owner.
Hope that helps
Yes I PM DougR.
Yeah my surveyor grew up 10km from where they build this boat, thats why he spoted that one in Canaries for 1/4 of my budget, called and asked questions and turns out 90% a normal person would have put in the add was missing, like a total makeover of 80K etc. ... Would have never looked at the add. Cannot be good for that price... He went 2 days from bow to stern, from blidge to every locker and on the mast plus engine compression and couldn't find anything. Was 18 years in sweet water, then 2016/17 former owner sunk 80000 Euro in it..."please all new"

I have contact with former owner, who just done normal maintenance, oil, oil filter, impeller...
Workshop manual, parts catalog and repair manual is already on board.
But that doesn't tell me what is breaking and the weak spot of the engine.
My research so far the heat exchanger has corrosion problems... Inline with the brown water thats coming out of the exhaust for the frist 1 or 2min when engine had rested for a while...
Engine seems to be one of the seldom ones that are completely a volvo build. Not good for alternative spare parts...at that time they used Peugeot/Pug blocks but this one not.
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Old 05-11-2020, 14:46   #7
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

You can get non-volvo heat exchangers but they arent a cheap item even without the volvo reaming. Just need to get one with the same cooling capacity

Yep that is bad luck that it's not a non-Volvo base engine but at 2300 hrs you may have another +6000 hrs left on major rebuild parts depending on how it was maintained & given your description, sounds like it would have been maintained very well.
DougR may be able to tell you more re expected lifespan

Good luck with it
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Old 05-11-2020, 15:16   #8
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
You can get non-volvo heat exchangers but they arent a cheap item even without the volvo reaming. Just need to get one with the same cooling capacity

Yep that is bad luck that it's not a non-Volvo base engine but at 2300 hrs you may have another +6000 hrs left on major rebuild parts depending on how it was maintained & given your description, sounds like it would have been maintained very well.
DougR may be able to tell you more re expected lifespan

Good luck with it
Thanks, i think i am fine with the engine for a long time. If not green hell out and a kubato in. Don't invest too much in it. with the huge amount i saved that wouldn't be a big deal either.
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Old 07-11-2020, 14:25   #9
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

Well the 4 cylinder 30 series and itís 6 cylinder brother, the 40 series were designed and built by VP starting in the very late 70s and development stretched well into the 2000s when they were finally replaced by the D4 and D6 engines. As such they were the beginning of a very long lived and successful series of engines. It was designed strictly for use as a marine engine and built in a dedicated plant as opposed to use in trucks, excavators, etc.
A nutshell description of the 30 series engine is that it is an IDI, wet liner engine that was available in natural aspirated, turbocharged and turbo after cooled, so it would be accurate to say that the MD30 was very lightly stressed in the natural aspirated version. It is equipped with a Bosch fuel system with VE injection pump and Bosch injectors. Very reliable and serviceable about anywhere.

Like any engine that is 36 years old, the components that surround the base engine will be the parts that tend to cause issues. Before heading out on an around the world cruise I would do a complete check out of the cooling system, pumps, hoses, raw water pipes, oil cooler and heat exchanger tube bundles.

All of the components that you have listed would be good to have spares for, as well as all the O rings for the cooling system, fuel washers to fit all the banjo bolts in the fuel system, extra fuel filter bleed screws, injector sealing washers and heat shields, thermostats, sea water pump drive dog( mounted in the injection pump drive gear), zincs, and all other normal maintenance items.

Check the condition of the exhaust mixing elbow, as well as the transmission torsional damper plate mounted on the flywheel.

There are two relays on the engine, one for the glow plugs and one for the starter motor. You should have a spare. Also a spare glow plug or two. Maybe a spare circuit breaker for the panel.

Thatís it off the top of my head.....check your parts book and see what else you come up with...
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Old 07-11-2020, 19:02   #10
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

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Originally Posted by DougR View Post
Well the 4 cylinder 30 series and itís 6 cylinder brother, the 40 series were designed and built by VP starting in the very late 70s and development stretched well into the 2000s when they were finally replaced by the D4 and D6 engines. As such they were the beginning of a very long lived and successful series of engines. It was designed strictly for use as a marine engine and built in a dedicated plant as opposed to use in trucks, excavators, etc.
A nutshell description of the 30 series engine is that it is an IDI, wet liner engine that was available in natural aspirated, turbocharged and turbo after cooled, so it would be accurate to say that the MD30 was very lightly stressed in the natural aspirated version. It is equipped with a Bosch fuel system with VE injection pump and Bosch injectors. Very reliable and serviceable about anywhere.

Like any engine that is 36 years old, the components that surround the base engine will be the parts that tend to cause issues. Before heading out on an around the world cruise I would do a complete check out of the cooling system, pumps, hoses, raw water pipes, oil cooler and heat exchanger tube bundles.

All of the components that you have listed would be good to have spares for, as well as all the O rings for the cooling system, fuel washers to fit all the banjo bolts in the fuel system, extra fuel filter bleed screws, injector sealing washers and heat shields, thermostats, sea water pump drive dog( mounted in the injection pump drive gear), zincs, and all other normal maintenance items.

Check the condition of the exhaust mixing elbow, as well as the transmission torsional damper plate mounted on the flywheel.

There are two relays on the engine, one for the glow plugs and one for the starter motor. You should have a spare. Also a spare glow plug or two. Maybe a spare circuit breaker for the panel.

Thatís it off the top of my head.....check your parts book and see what else you come up with...
Thank you DougR
Great news, so a pure marine engine very lightly stressed
In general in 2016 the whole engine was taken out and checked. Have photos of that but no detailed bill. What I can see all hoses,pipes,fittings new.

How can I check the mixing elbow and heat exchanger without dismantling it?
Both tend to have seized screws as heat/tdifferent material contracting/expanding. A screw stuck/ripped in block is pita. from restorating Oldtimers I learned it the hard way never touch/change a running system. Leave it till it breaks, then immediately fix it. Itís running fine, even at 2800 motoring against current and waves/wind 35kn on the nose the temps donít exceed 100 degrees, it stays long at 90.
Can I not leave as is and take both with as spares?

What do I need to check on the torsional damper plate, how can I determine if it needs to be replaced?

One thing I have: when starting the engine, I put it on ignition. But i can wait as long as I want the Ignition light is not switching off to show the glow plug is heated up. If I start the engine after 30sec it immediately starts up after 1-2 sec cranking. So the glow plug must work, otherwise it wouldnít start that fast.
But the oil warning beeps for 3-5sek and then switches off if engine was sitting for a while. Seems normal to me as oil needs to get everywhere. Oil level is on max.
Which oil do you recommend?
Former owner recommended to add 1l 2stroke oil for every 200l of diesel. Lubricates bearings etc as new diesel fuel misses some of lubricants old diesel needs. Correct? Kinda inline what I know about old car engines due to missing lead in the fuel.
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Old 09-11-2020, 14:08   #11
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

You can check the mixing elbow by removing the exhaust hose and check to see that the water exit passages are not corroded or blocked, and that the main exhaust passage is fully open and able to flow exhaust gas.

To check the damper plate you must unbolt the transmission from the flywheel cover plate and remove the cover plate from the flywheel housing. This will give full access to the damper and you can check to see that all the springs are intact and not wearing or loose in their locations.

The glow plugs are energized by turning the ignition key to the glow position and hold for 10 or 15 seconds, depending on the engine temperature. There is no timer so the light will stay on as long as you hold the key in the glow position.

No problem if the oil buzzer stays on for a few seconds after start. I personally like Shell Rotella 15/w40, but any proper quality diesel oil is OK. Sometimes you have to buy what is available locally......

I donít think it is necessary to add extra lubricant to your fuel. Granted 1/2% isnít much, and probably wonít hurt anything, but it isnít necessary and just adds extra cost and pollution.
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Old 19-01-2021, 17:30   #12
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

Hi Doug,
Digged into the engine and spare parts catalog.

What is the normal exchange/maintenance intervall on:
1) how often do i need to change the zinc anode inside the oilcooler. With every oil change? Can i change the anode by unscrewing the end of the oilcooler where the 2 pipes from the heat exchanger enter. Or do i need to dismantle the other end and take the insert out and only then can exchange the anode?
2) when do i need to exchange the gearbox oil?
3) engine oil all 200h, correct?
4) exchange interval of the engine coolant? Water with the green volvo coolant?
5) glow plug: after how many hours exchange?
6) does the gearbox MS2B have a anode, cannot find any?
Thank you
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Old 20-01-2021, 08:02   #13
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

1. The zinc in the oil cooler can be unscrewed directly from the end of the cooler. No need to take anything apart. The zinc is screwed into a threaded brass “holder” and the holder is screwed into the end of the cooler. The change interval will depend on the water that you are boating in and is something you will have to determine. Check it about every three months until you get an idea of its erosion rate.

2,3,4. All service intervals are listed in the owners/operator manual. I think you can find this online, and you might be able to download it from the Volvo Penta website.

5. You don’t need to change the glow plugs on a regular basis. Just have a few spares in case one goes bad.

6. There is no anode in the MS2B gearbox.
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Old 31-01-2021, 12:55   #14
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

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1. The zinc in the oil cooler can be unscrewed directly from the end of the cooler. No need to take anything apart. The zinc is screwed into a threaded brass “holder” and the holder is screwed into the end of the cooler. The change interval will depend on the water that you are boating in and is something you will have to determine. Check it about every three months until you get an idea of its erosion rate.

2,3,4. All service intervals are listed in the owners/operator manual. I think you can find this online, and you might be able to download it from the Volvo Penta website.

5. You don’t need to change the glow plugs on a regular basis. Just have a few spares in case one goes bad.

6. There is no anode in the MS2B gearbox.

thank you.
found the owners manual online (though what I had was all avaliable). Digged into the engine and nearly done the full 600h service to have a baseline as I don't know exacrly what former owner did and better control, its not a fortune. all filters and anodes new, oil, gearbox oil, glowplug checked and regreased volvo shaft seal and adjusted it new.

left are 2 points:
1) Need to check the valves, can you tell me the clearance needed, cannot find it anywhere (engine and owner manual plus parts catalog).

2) cooling fluid: in owners manual there is just standing as "overheat check" but no maintence scedule. I assume a 50%/50% mixure of desiItlled water and the green volvo antifreez?
Need to exchange the hot water boiler anyhow, so will do the change then but whats the maintenance/change intervall?


another point: oil all 100h. normal season sure but also if you do eg an atlantic crossing and the engine need to run for eg 3 till 5 days straight (strom/motorsailing...)? Don't think people do an oil change in the middle of the atlantic or a storm. Whats the exchange intervall in that case or when do you really must change in this situation/usage?

Also this is a total different usage then 1 season, engine cold in/out of habours and or occacional use when no wind.
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Old 31-01-2021, 13:37   #15
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Re: Volvo md30A typical failures/weak spots, parts to take on a world circum

I've owned two Volvo's.....Volvo would like you to believe that only their oil filter is the one to use, and it comes at a steep price.....but I was able to find several after market oil filters....at a 1/4 of the price....so highly recommend you find alternate sources for oil filters, and take a a half dozen (or more) with you. Any Auto Spares Shop can x-reference filters for you...
Parts for a Volvo typically cost an arm and a leg, and sometimes, your first borne, the mixing elbow is a weak spot in my opinion.....
Before starting the engine,always check the oil dipstick, not only for volume of oil, but also for possible water in the oil, shows up as a milky color.
I have always typically changed oil every 100 hours..but sometimes, it's impractical to do this....ie, while out at sea...and I've gone longer without changes without any issues.
Finally, Volvo likes to use these weird rubber seals, where a water pipe connects to say....the water pump...they will leak after a time.....make sure you have plenty of these...while I'm at it, be sure you have a good supply of the water impellers...they come in a packet with a new seal.....you'll need that....

Despite my love/hate relationship with Volvo, they are remarkably tough little engines..but definitely carry an armful of spares...parts for Volvo's are sometimes hard to come by, depending on where you fetch up...

I had a problem with the "cone clutch" on my Volvo, inside the gearbox, this prevented the engine from going into reverse, this is a simple cone shaped device, and it would be a worthy spare to find and keep with you...it's a relatively small part...

I believe the MD30A has been out of production for a while...so stocking up on spares is a smart move.
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