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Old 07-23-2019, 04:36 PM   #1
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Hello All,
have not been active on this site....just reading and watching and learning.

Looking for my first trawler and my list of things I want / need change daily.

Recently looked at a boat equipped with twin Volvo TAMD60C engines.
I don't know anything about these Volvos excecpt what I've heard..."they are expensive when you can find parts", "not very reliable",
"mechanics charge more to work on them...it just takes longer" and some other things.

What is the truth? I know Lemans are good as are Perkins...but what gives with these Volvos?

Thanks all.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:29 PM   #2
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I am not a big fan of Volvos. Not necessarily because the engines are not good, it is the parts availability and support. We had twin Volvos in a previous boat. Every time we needed a part it took forever to get them. I worked part time selling boats for the dealer so he would take a part off a new boat to get mine running, that was the only thing that saved me from being down sometimes for a month or more. And my boat was new, so think about an engine that is 20 to 30 years old. We have Lehmans in our current boat and American Diesel gives excellent support on them. I have never had a Perkins so I can’t make a recommendation on them.
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:53 AM   #3
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Comodave,
Thanks so much for your comment. A friend did have (he sold that boat) Volvos as you and had the same experience, he did not work for a dealer, just waited for eternity to get parts.
I shall keep my list to Lehmans and Perkins, and maybe Cummings.
the hunt continues.
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
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It is unfortunate that their parts support sucks because the boat I owned with Volvos had twin duo prop stern drives. They ran much smoother than the Mercruiser Bravo 3 with two props. So Volvo had the design right, just lacking in parts support. Where I live now if I have to wait 6 weeks for a part that is a third of our season. Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:48 AM   #5
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We would have preferred Cummins. However, every boat is a compromise. The otherwise-perfect boat came along for us and was owned by someone from our boater/social circle so we knew the maintenance and reputation. It has Volvos. Well-maintained and with reasonable hours. There are a lot of Volvo diesel engines out there in boats and semi-trucks and you don't see them broken down a lot so we decided to take a chance. We haven't regretted it yet. Fingers crossed.

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Old 07-24-2019, 12:27 PM   #6
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Comodave,
Thanks so much for your comment. A friend did have (he sold that boat) Volvos as you and had the same experience, he did not work for a dealer, just waited for eternity to get parts.
I shall keep my list to Lehmans and Perkins, and maybe Cummings.
the hunt continues.
What are the rest of your specs for this next boat? Personally I certainly wouldn't summarily eliminate boats with Caterpillars, Deeres or Detroits. By the way, it's spelled Cummins, no "g".
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Old 07-24-2019, 12:33 PM   #7
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Comodave, my boat is undergoing refit and with it a new Merc 6.2 350 motor and a Bravo 3. After major research, including calling a number of Merc dealers/installers in British Columbia and Washington state, talking to Mercury in Wisconsin a couple of times, discussing this with my power guy here, and talking to a "Prop shop only" in Everett Washington I have learned that for my boat at 29 feet, 10 foot beam, and roughly 13,000 lbs wet, a B3 isn't appropriate, they are designed for smaller boats. The prop pitches begin at 19 inches and up to something like 26 or more, but nothing smaller.

I really wanted the B3 for handling but so many at all these places recommended against it. The worry was the 19 inch pitch might do the job, but might not, and if it didn't I had no where to go down, to a 17 inch pitch for example. So just hours ago, based on the advise of many I have told my power guy to install a B2.

If you had a large boat, the B3 - actually the pitch of the prop - may not have been appropriate for your vessel.
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Old 07-24-2019, 01:32 PM   #8
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Volvo issues in service and parts may well relate to where you're boating. I spent my first 30 years of boating on a lake where Volvo service was excellent and parts were well stocked. In Europe, Volvo's are plentiful and well regarded. Some areas you just need to be aware of the quality of dealers and yards to service them.
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Old 07-24-2019, 02:04 PM   #9
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Volvo issues in service and parts may well relate to where you're boating. I spent my first 30 years of boating on a lake where Volvo service was excellent and parts were well stocked. In Europe, Volvo's are plentiful and well regarded. Some areas you just need to be aware of the quality of dealers and yards to service them.
That and with modern internet searches and worldwide shipping is it really still that much of a challenge to get Volvo stuff? I mean, here in some areas, that is. I know not everywhere has the same level of infrastructure for speedy delivery.
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Old 07-24-2019, 05:49 PM   #10
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That and with modern internet searches and worldwide shipping is it really still that much of a challenge to get Volvo stuff? I mean, here in some areas, that is. I know not everywhere has the same level of infrastructure for speedy delivery.
Here in SW BC, there are many marine service centres that sport the VOLVO PENTA sign. I have not tried many of them, as my Volvo TAMD41s, 1990 engines, are very reliable. I have never gone to my VP store to find they didn't have everything I needed. I also have a Cummins in my Motorhome, 2007 engine. Likewise I have never gone to the Cummins store for parts, as it is reliable.
Back to Volvo, in the first 5 years of ownership, I spent more $ keeping my Espar D7L operational than 2 Volvos and an Onan. The only way that changed, was by getting rid of the Espar.

Other than things that would have failed, no matter what brand of engine they were supporting, I have not needed any expensive engine parts, in over 40 yrs of diesel engine ownership:
11 yrs Yanmar
6 yrs Ford Lehman
25 yrs Volvo
3 yrs Cat
5 yrs Cummins

You shouldn't shy away from any of the popular brands, as they are all very reliable.

You should get an engine survey so you know if the boat you like has any obvious engine issues. Like any survey, trouble free years are not guaranteed, but a survey will help you through the purchase process.
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:28 PM   #11
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I am in North Carolina and work with a repair shop in Annapolis to get Volvo parts and support. We have gotten all manner of parts from heat exchangers to o-rings. Most parts get to me in a day. One of the heat exchangers had to ship from Sweden and it still only took five days to arrive. However, maybe my engines aren’t old enough to be an issue. (1999)

Yes, most parts are pricey, but nobody said boating was going to be cheap. Still, I like my TAM D63Ls and they are durable and stout motors whose bones go back 60 years. Don’t let the motors define the entire boat. Get an oil sample and talk to a couple of mechanics in the area and make an educated decision. Volvo is a major brand and doesn’t make crap. In the end, if you are convinced by a few nay-sayers or if you feel local support isn’t what you are comfortable with, keep shopping.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:30 AM   #12
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I think the old "Volvo is hard to get parts for" thing is a dated sentiment. Now with Saturday/Sunday deliveries and a HUGE online retail presence I can't imagine it being hard to get parts for a Volvo if you live in the lower 48.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:40 AM   #13
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From what I have seen , engines built by Volvo do have parts in Atlanta..

Engines bought and marinized by Volvo take longer to get.

Although the Chevy I-O gasoline setups do stock parts.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:28 AM   #14
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My experience with Volvo diesels is that their dealers have an exclusive territory and therefore no competition. Cummins, Cat, etc seem to have many sources for parts and many experienced and independent mechanics.
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:18 AM   #15
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With specific engine detail in hand suggest you peruse the boat diesel archives. Pay the $25, BD is a great source of marine engine knowledge. Then post a query or two on that site. You’ll learn a lot.

Keep in mind, previous owner attentiveness determines boat health going forward. If the ER is neat and clean that is a positive. If rust, dirt and debris are evident be leery or run. No matter what engine color.
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