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Old 12-19-2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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volvo's

What are the opinions on the Volvo TMD40A engines with regard to reliability and longevity, with regular service of course. I've have the ford 120 now and have had a Yanmar in our sailboat with no complaints about either.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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I don't have firsthand ownership experience but I have helped friends with their repairs.
1) Parts very expensive
2) Lots of plastic and aluminum
3) Quite high RPM's to develop HP

If I were searching for a boat in this (buyers) market, I would look beyond the Volvo powered ones. Just my opinion and I'm sure you will hear from many Volvo fans.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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I have two TMD40s in my NOVA sundeck trawler. The engines run well and are reliable. However, VOLVO does not support their older products. If you need a replacement component, oil cooler, circ pump, etc., you are SOL.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brooksie View Post
I don't have firsthand ownership experience but I have helped friends with their repairs.
1) Parts very expensive
2) Lots of plastic and aluminum
3) Quite high RPM's to develop HP

If I were searching for a boat in this (buyers) market, I would look beyond the Volvo powered ones. Just my opinion and I'm sure you will hear from many Volvo fans.
Same here. Have a friend with Volvos. Parts are 2x what they are for Cats and Cummins......
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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Closer to triple the price of CAT or Cummins, if the parts are even availible.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:23 PM   #6
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We have a TAMD40A (similar, but with an aftercooler on the turbo) with approximately 4000 hours (1981 model). It runs very smoothly, and in the three years we've owned the boat the only problem we've had was a leaking raw water oil cooler, which was repaired not replaced. I understand that the replacement, which was available, would have been very expensive.

I was told by the local (Campbell River) Volvo folks that the TMD40A is not the most desirable Volvo engine; the TMD41 series is much better, but we didn't get into details as to why.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:19 PM   #7
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I have 2 TMD-41As in my Nova. There are workarounds for the oil coolers, HEs water pumps and some of the plumbing issues if you are creative. They seem to be solid engines. The bigest drawback to the 41A versions is smoking cold. They have a lower compression ratio then the newer B version and they smoke when they are cold. Nothing you can do about it except put in new pistons with the higher compression ratio (big $$$ because it's a Volvo). Block heaters, cetain booster, tweeked injectors and timing may reduce it slightly. However at cruse rpm (2500 in my case) they run clean, no trace of smoke or soot. Otherwise they look like a solid well built motor that runs smooth has good reliability and are good on fuel. I am very happy with my motors. Perhaps that is because they have not broken and required many of the hard to find parts.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
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I have a TAMD 41P and have had no problems with it. Not the identical engine, but the same family.

If you really want to find out anout this engine, join this forum and ask your questions:

http://boatdiesel.com/index.cfm
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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Steve:

My boat came with those TAMD40s, 145hp, with 3000 hrs. In the next 6 yrs I put on another 1500 hrs. In that time I had to fix 1 starter (cheap) and I had some problems with the rubber boot on the aft end of the Heat Exchangers and some of the high pressure fuel lines started getting pinhole leaks. By then the engines were 20 yrs old, so I didn't expect them to be perfect, or to be cost-free. Still, the amount of $ spent on these items was neglegible.

The only other diesels I had owned by then were in my sailboats, and weren't so old, so I had nothing to compare the reliability with in my own experience, but I am in a club with a number of highly mechanically inclined folks with whom I talk engines, so based on that, I had no issues with cost or reliability.

I have moved up to the 200hp TAMD41s that I put in in 2000. I was able to sell the 40s for almost the same as I paid for the 41s, so at least the buyer shared my confidence in those engines.

The main difference between the 40s and 41s, from my experience, is in fuel efficiency. I got an immediate improvement of about 10%, and greater hp, so I was able to run at a slower rpm, saving another 5+%. The HE design on the 40s requires attention to the fittting of the rubber boot on the aft end. If you can keep that part from deflecting, you won't have the overheating that was the main irritation I encountered. If parts are expensive compared to other brands, I wouldn't know, as I haven't bought for other brands, nor did I buy any serious parts for the Volvos, due to their general reliability.

My present engines have cost me, in the last 12 years, other than what I put on the engines and knew about at the time of installation, oil filters, fuel filters, zincs (I should look at the air filters and impellers soon), oil, fuel, but $0.00 has been spent on parts.

I keep my boat in Vancouver BC, where cold weather starts happen, so I have also noticed an improvement in cold start smoking. Once running temp is achieved, neither engine is particularly smoky, especially when compared to other brands of the same vintage.

IMHO cold start smoking is related to the year of manufacture and not to the brand name of the engine.

Anecdotally, the worst, smokiest, made the whole dock disappear in thick smoke on every start engine was the pair of CAT 3208s in a Canoe Cove 41 built in 1973. Thankfully that one is gone from our club now, so we rarely see anyone with a serious smoking issue.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancora View Post
I have two TMD40s in my NOVA sundeck trawler. The engines run well and are reliable. However, VOLVO does not support their older products. If you need a replacement component, oil cooler, circ pump, etc., you are SOL.
Here is a possible source for those pesky items:

Seakamp Engineering - Volvo - Direct Replacement Heat Exchangers & Oil

Another one:

http://www.sen-dure.com/Sen-DureCatalog.pdf
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:43 AM   #11
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You could buy a boat with an engine manufactured by a vacuum cleaner company (Electrolux/Volvo) or you could buy a boat with an engine that is manufactured by an engine company. From an EX Volvo mechanic.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:56 AM   #12
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or you could buy a boat with an engine that is manufactured by an engine company. From an EX Volvo mechanic.

In the old days Volvo actually made many of the engines they sold.

Today most of the product line is a repaint of some mfg somewhere.

Sadly many engine suppliers are stuck with an ever shrinking supply of source .

Thanks air police.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:19 PM   #13
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You could buy a boat with an engine manufactured by a vacuum cleaner company (Electrolux/Volvo) or you could buy a boat with an engine that is manufactured by an engine company. From an EX Volvo mechanic.
I guess we know why you are an "EX Volvo mechanic".

Would you bash Yamaha engines because they also make guitars?
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:56 PM   #14
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In the old days Volvo actually made many of the engines they sold.
Today most of the product line is a repaint of some mfg somewhere.
A mate has a green 4cyl Volvo in his Resort 35. Closer examination showed it was a Peterborough Perkins. I was relieved for him.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:00 PM   #15
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I guess we know why you are an "EX Volvo mechanic".

Would you bash Yamaha engines because they also make guitars?
Haha, touche. Do/did Gardner make anything else apart from the best marine diesel in the world?
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:59 PM   #16
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No one is sayin' Volvo makes a bad engine. The problem with Volvo is they do not support their older products. If you need a compenent you are SOL.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:11 AM   #17
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Do/did Gardner make anything else apart from the best marine diesel in the world?

Perhaps 50 years ago , but today it would hardly be a first choice.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #18
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Most of the time marine engine issues have to do with the bolt ons. The base engines will last "forever" if not abused. Some forms of abuse are poor install by the manufacturer resulting in water ingestion into exhaust, improper motor mounts and inability to service due to tight quarters.

But most forms of abuse are owner neglect or lack of knowledge. I can recall many times in the past year alone when I've been guilty as charged on both these counts. That is the fun of messing around with boats, the learning curve never stops, especially when dealing with old engines.

Replacement parts problems for old engines has as much to do with the new buyer as anything. Picture some of the "what do you think" questions we routinely see on TF about 30+ year old trawler. An all to common refrain is "diesels last forever" forgetting for a moment that bolt ons and marinization parts suppliers do not.

Rapping Volvo for an out of production 30 year old HX or Perkins for a long out of production coolant pump is pointless. Buying a 30+ year old engine will cause some grief under the best of conditions. Salt water is very unforgiving. In my book a 30+ year old salt water boat engine is ready for the dumpster unless bolt ons and marinization parts are still being produced or can be made by somebody like Lehman's Bob Smith.

In today's new boat and engine combinations, Volvo is a leader with their IPS drives, Tier III/IV engines and joy stick controls. Last I heard they are approaching 2500 units sold world wide, none of course on trawlers. Look in the mirror, that big semi with a slash through the grill is a Volvo.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:12 PM   #19
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Do/did Gardner make anything else apart from the best marine diesel in the world?

Perhaps 50 years ago , but today it would hardly be a first choice.
How many modern engines will last 20000+ hours pre rebuild? How many can be rebuilt inframe, obviating the need to allow for engine removal in vessel design? How many are as quiet?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:42 PM   #20
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Buying a 30+ year old engine will cause some grief under the best of conditions.

How many modern engines will last 20000+ hours pre rebuild? How many can be rebuilt inframe, obviating the need to allow for engine removal in vessel design? How many are as quiet?

Isn't modern but the DD 6-71 (1936 ) will run the hours easily.Parts at DD today.

Quiet really depends on the load , and on the muffler system chosen.

Almost every real industrial engine can be in framed.

Its the lawn and garden stuff or auto sourced that is a throwaway .

MY choice today would be an Intl DT 466 , about $5k near new , $2 or $3k in the wreckers.

100 -150 HP as forever as a diesel gets , and for a few bucks just drop in a new one , why get your hands dirty with a $800 in frame kit?
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