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Old 03-12-2015, 10:26 PM   #1
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Volvo vs. Cummins

Nordic Tug and a few other mfg. went from Cummins to Volvo engines in the 2005 area. They say it was a decision based on emissions. Who knows?

My question is this:
Is a Volvo engine as good as a Cummins? I heard there is more maintenance on a Volvo, plus the actual parts needed are more expensive. Any comments?
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:37 PM   #2
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Promises to be a lively thread but in my own personal opinion, if you're looking at 2005 and newer I would go with either engine. Volvo gets a bad rap on the legacy engine lack of support but last I checked there's no Ford support for the perennial favorite Lehman engine either. Depending upon your age the boat will either be sold or your heirs problem before parts availability ever becomes an issue. I've heard the cost issue but there's not too many parts required on a well maintained Diesel engine to begin with.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:57 AM   #3
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Just posting to get a notice when people start chiming in. This app won't let me just subscribe to the thread.
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:08 AM   #4
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Volvo gets a bad rap on the legacy engine lack of support but last I checked there's no Ford support for the perennial favorite Lehman engine either....
Tangential comment: the Ford Lehman is well supported by the Smiths of "American Diesel", Bob Smith was VP of Lehman, wrote the intro for the Lehman manual. I did buy one part, the FWC circulation pump, from a Ford tractor dealer, but doubt shopping at the Ford dealer for parts will work any better than visiting your Volvo dealer .
Back to normal transmission...
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:50 AM   #5
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My Bayliner has Cummins engines. I know on baylinerownersclub.org you will find near-unanimous complaints about lack of support and expensive parts for Volvo engines. I am not speaking from personal experience. Do your own research. I chose my boat with Cummins vs Hinos for parts and qualified mechanics. To me that is every bit as important as the engine itself.
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Old 03-13-2015, 03:31 AM   #6
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One thing of note is that it's my understanding that the Volvo engines were designed from the outset to be marine engines. Pretty much all the others are automotive diesels marinized for marine service. What kind of advantages that gives Volvo engines I could not say. But based on what I hear from aquaintences who have Volvo engines in their boats, they are outstanding engines.

The parts availability, parts prices and manufacturer support may be problematic in some instances, but this is not a reflection on the quality of the engines themselves.
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Old 03-13-2015, 05:26 AM   #7
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One thing of note is that it's my understanding that the Volvo engines were designed from the outset to be marine engines. Pretty much all the others are automotive diesels marinized for marine service. What kind of advantages that gives Volvo engines I could not say. But based on what I hear from aquaintences who have Volvo engines in their boats, they are outstanding engines.

The parts availability, parts prices and manufacturer support may be problematic in some instances, but this is not a reflection on the quality of the engines themselves.
Marin has stated the crux of the issue well. And as I read this thread, interested in seeing everyone's opinion, I realize that intended use of a boat becomes a large factor.

Thus, in the kind of cruising a Nordic Tug would do, there is NO need for a bunch of spare parts ahead of time.

Therefore, the cost of parts and/or maintenance is NOT significant, compared to the cost of everything else.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:31 AM   #8
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Marin has stated the crux of the issue well. And as I read this thread, interested in seeing everyone's opinion, I realize that intended use of a boat becomes a large factor.

Thus, in the kind of cruising a Nordic Tug would do, there is NO need for a bunch of spare parts ahead of time.

Therefore, the cost of parts and/or maintenance is NOT significant, compared to the cost of everything else.
I beg to differ. The cost of parts is expensive when you can't get them. Volvo has shut the door on many of the older common series engines. No replacement parts being manufactured in many instances. Volvo engines enjoy a good reputation in everything other than support.
By comparison the Ford Lehman is much easier to source parts for.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:13 AM   #9
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Think Volvo makes a reasonable product. Would rent a boat that has a Volvo engine. Would never own one. One of the boats I chartered for my business was repowered with Volvos. Parts availability for those Volos was horrible and they were currently manufactured models. I expect the manufacturer to make a premium on OEM parts but have them available in days. If your going to get obscene prices for parts that take weeks to a month to get, that's ridiculous. Maybe their business model has changed more recently, but nobody seems to be claiming that.

I like Cummins. They occasionally break and need parts just like all the rest. The parts aren't inexpensive, but then nobodies are. The difference is there seems to be more stock avilable and if the regional distribution point is out, within a day or two you can have it from somewhere.....with a hefty freight bill.

If you only cruise locally, being without your boat for a week or two may be an annoying inconvenience. If cruising down the coast, waiting a week for a part may seem like forever. If the boat of your dreams comes along with Volos, guess you buy it. If two identical boats are avilable for about the same money, take the one with the Cummins.

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Old 03-13-2015, 08:41 AM   #10
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The volvo engines in boats our sizes are not boat specific, they are simply marinized diesel engines. My opinion is that there engineers are all knomes. The original designing engineer may have a good idea but then it goes to committee and comes back as some Rube Golburg thing. I mean an electric clutch on a super charger and a turbo sized to big for low speed operation, on the same engine, geez !!!
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:49 AM   #11
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It will be interesting to see if Volvo's penchant for discontinuing marinization parts carries over to the IPS drives and associated diesels. The base engines for these setups appear to be from their industrial lines, but after coolers, RW pumps etc hard to know how long they will be around.

Volvo marine engines are quite popular in Europe, what do you hear in Ireland in this regard Richard?
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:12 AM   #12
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I had a boat back in 2009 or so with a Volvo E6, or at least I think that was the engine model. It was a modern common rail engine with turbo. One crank sensor failed under warranty, but other than that it was trouble free. However parts we extremely expensive. My general rule of thumb was to imagine the highest possible price for a particular part, then double it. That usually got me pretty close, but I was still surprised a few times.

I think it's summed up well in two previous points:

- If you aren't going long distance cruising and hence don't need to stock pile parts, the parts cost is not that huge in the grand scheme of things.

- If the boat you want has a Volvo, I wouldn't let that stop the purchase. But if you have a choice between boats with Volvo and with Cummins, I'd favor the Cummins too.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:12 AM   #13
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Cummins powered trucks outnumber Volvo powered trucks by maybe 100:1 or more in the US, this speaks volumes in itself and insures parts availability both OEM and aftermarket way into the future.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:32 AM   #14
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I have owned both in boats, a Volvo TAMD41 in a Camano and a Cummins 6BT5.9 in our Monk 36. I had no mechanical problems with either about 4 years each. In the US Cummins parts are available in more places than the Volvo and probably less expensive, I never did a comparison. Both are excellent engines, if all else equal I'd go with the Cummins.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:59 AM   #15
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My trawler is powered by an older (2003) MD2030 and it has been rock solid and reliable--never a problem.
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:41 AM   #16
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My 17-year old KAD44P Volvo (260hp out of only 3.6 liters, 24-valve, turbo and supercharger, electronic controls, 3900 RPM at WOT) has 6,000 hours on it. I've never had any trouble getting engine parts, and have had to replace a number of them over the years. Modern common-rail Volvos like the D6 are considerably more robust than the 40-series.

The Cummins ISB (275 hp, 5.9 liters, 24-valve, electronic controls) in my 17-year old truck is a dependable brute, but towing the boat some 75K miles so far I use it hard, and I've had to replace a thing or two on it as well.

Still, I'd probably choose Cummins in a next boat if I had the choice.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chester613 View Post
Nordic Tug and a few other mfg. went from Cummins to Volvo engines in the 2005 area. They say it was a decision based on emissions. Who knows?

My question is this:
Is a Volvo engine as good as a Cummins? I heard there is more maintenance on a Volvo, plus the actual parts needed are more expensive. Any comments?
I am only a year into owning my first Volvos TAMD61As the boat is a 1989 but form my research the engines are 1987

no issues so far but have heard the same from other Volvo owners that support and parts are hard to come by

Last week I replaced every hose clamp in the engine room with the newer style stronger clamps and so far about 20% of all the hoses

have a few friends on my dock that have the cummins and they like them
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:25 AM   #18
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Cummins powered trucks outnumber Volvo powered trucks by maybe 100:1 or more in the US, this speaks volumes in itself and insures parts availability both OEM and aftermarket way into the future.
First, let me say that I have never owned a Volvo diesel but I did have a pair of Volvo gassers which I never had a problem with. I have had, however, several single Cummins and several pairs of Cummins diesels which I have grown to love. (No problems whatsoever!) Brooksie's quote about Cummins powered trucks carries a lot of weight with me as those guys put hundreds of thousands of hours on their trucks, let them idle for long periods of time, etc and still love them.

I now find myself with my first set of Yanmars (440s) and am anxiously awaiting the wisdom of this purchase.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:59 AM   #19
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Marin is correct; Volvo diesel engines are dedicated marine engines. From the Spring/Summer 1982 issue of Trawler Cruiser Yacht magazine: "Volvo makes the only major line of mid-size marine diesels that are designed exclusively as marine-use power plants." It's true that parts are difficult to find and cost triple that of Cummins or Cats, but they are easy to work on. Case in point-both raw water pumps are located up high where you can easily access them. On one Cummins engine I know of, you must move a motor mount and jack up the engine to get the clearance to remove the raw water pump. Not DIY friendly.
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:06 PM   #20
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It will be interesting to see if Volvo's penchant for discontinuing marinization parts carries over to the IPS drives and associated diesels. The base engines for these setups appear to be from their industrial lines, but after coolers, RW pumps etc hard to know how long they will be around.

Volvo marine engines are quite popular in Europe, what do you hear in Ireland in this regard Richard?
I'd say 70% of new boats are Volvo because they offer a great deal to boat builders ' pay us when you sell it', 20% Yanmar and the other 10% divided between Man and Cat in the bigger boats, and least popular of all Cummins.
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