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Old 08-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #1
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Volvo MD 30

I am interested in a boat with a Volvo MD 30 engine. Is there any one with experience with this engine? Are parts available, is it hard to maintain ect.
Thank's
Paul
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Old 08-17-2009, 04:24 PM   #2
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RE: Volvo MD 30

Paul,
I repowered last year and I looked at lots of engines** ..* except Volvo. The cost of parts are just too high. However, most of the concept I have of high priced Volvo parts is from other people. Penta (as you may guess) has a Volvo and should have more first hand information.

Eric Henning
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:56 PM   #3
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RE: Volvo MD 30

Paul:
suggest you post your questions on boatdiesel.com. Buy a membership and get the best advice available. Tony Athens ( a mechanic) answers most of the Volvo questions and he seems to know all of the engines extremely well.

Eric: I bought a boat that already had Volvos. Spent way less on parts over the last 15 years than for my car, and waaay less than what I have spent to maintain my old Espar heater (had to take it out this year as it was dead again and not worth fixing). The old stories about Volvo parts being expensive might be true. I don't know because those parts never seem to fail. I think the price of parts is no reason to avoid a brand. You have to look at overall economy, from installation to time for a rebuild. So far, my experience with my Volvos is positive and I wouldn't hesitate to buy that brand again.

I have several friends who have had smaller Volvos in their sailboats over the years, and none have horror stories about their engines. In fact, as I try to recall the brand names for those horror stories, the most popular brands come instantly to mind. That could be just the law of averages though, as with 75% of the sailboat market, they should have 75% of the lemons.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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RE: Volvo MD 30

This is not relevant to the specific engine being asked about but might be to Volvo in general. A friend of mine who has become a multi-millionaire in Hawaii in the ice, marine supplies, and tuna fishing industries operates a small fleet of longline tuna boats. The boats are 70 feet or so long. Most or all of them are powered with a single Volvo diesel. My friend told me when I visited his facility a few years ago that if he gets less than 30,000 hours out of each engine before overhaul he gets really pissed off. The engines are run at 1500 rpm day in and day out for about two months at a time at which point the boats come back, unload, refit, and go back out.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:22 AM   #5
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RE: Volvo MD 30

A boat with used Volvo may be expensive to keep.

Most "Volvo" retailers keep almost nothing in stock, so will order it for you , and have it flown in at your expense.

This adds to the very high prices, and generous markup.

With TIME , you can order from a dealer in Volvo land and will pay less than half , including shipping and customs.

NEW, a Volvo is a very poor choice as they do not stand behind warentees on factory mistakes.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
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RE: Volvo MD 30

Keith and Marin,
Yes, it seems the Volvo engines are good or even very good and when I was shopping I thought about that but there are many other good to very good (or even better than that) engines that have reasonably priced parts so why should I subject myself to to the high probability of high priced parts. Thinking of a reason is a no-brainer. Like Paul I'd be looking at a boat w Volvo power,* but I'd have to really like the boat and I'd brobably retorque things often as well as do other extra maintance things to hedge against the need for buying parts. I was a member of the Albineers of British Columbia, most were Canadians w 25' Albin boats. Most of these boats were powered w Volvos so Iv'e heard some Volvo stories and yes they were stories but I'm sure most all were factual. Paul, I'll bet your'e looking at an MD3. There are zillions of them (small 3 cyl) engines typical of sail boats and Albin 25s. As I recall many are sea water cooled and many are still giving good service but most in the engines in the Albin 25s have been replaced. When I give advice to people shopping for old boats I tell them to give great preference to boats that have been retanked and repowered. Iv'e seen many Willards and Albins sell w and wo new engines and tanks and they all seem to (unbeliveably) sell for about the same price. I earned this knowledge the hard way buying the boat w old engine and tanks. Shop and shop Paul and I only know of one engine I wouldn't recomend and there are very few of them. Most don't like shopping but I like it. Think of the possibilities and it's exciting!

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Old 08-19-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
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RE: Volvo MD 30

The MD30 is a four cylinder marine diesel.* It also came in a variety of version including the TMD30, TAMD30 and the AQAD30.* Volvo use to code their engine with M being marine, D diesel, T turbo, A aftercooled and AQ indicating an inboard/outboard drive.

I have a 1981 vintage TMD40A, which is a six cylinder, 117 hp inboard, turbocharged engine with a Borg Warner Velvet Drive transmission.* I have over 4200 hours on this engine and have had virtually no problems.* The only thing I have replaced in the six years I have owned the boat are the glow plugs and a broken on-engine raw water strainer.* The glow plugs were like $40 each and did have to be ordered by my supplier (North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes, WA).* The on engine strainer is really superfluous to the needs of the engine since my boat had a Perko raw water strainer between the through hull and the engine.* I removed the plastic strainer basket and assembly and plumbed in hoses to go from the shaft driven raw water pump to the heat exchangers.* Oh yeah, I bought a new raw water pump because the old one was leaking at the aft end of the housing.* The new one is still on the boat as a spare because the old one simply needed a rebuild kit that comes with the $65 impellor.* Installing the new seals and the new impellor solved the leak.

I religiously change engine oil at 100 hours, filter and oil again at 200 hours and transmission fluid at 200 hours.* I also do an annual oil sample of both the engine and the transmission.* In six years my oil samples have been consistent and have had no out of tolerance particulates.

Volvo Pentas are very popular among commercial fisherman.* I would not rule out any boat just because it has a Volvo engine.* If you get serious about the boat than have a local engine maintainer do a thorough survey of the engine, do oil samples, compression checks and maybe even injector tests.* Don't rule out a boat because someone said that the parts are expensive...what you are looking for is a well maintained and healthy engine.* As pointed out by Marin, Volvos can run for a long, long time.* As with airplanes, boats and diesel engines are designed to be run and they work better if you run them right, maintain them right and don't abuse them.

Step Williford
Oak Harbor, WA
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:02 PM   #8
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RE: Volvo MD 30

Yes Eric is correct, Penta does have a Volvo engine but it is an old one. It is an MD-47 which was in production in the 1950's. Mine has over 8000 hrs on it and as far as we have been able to tell it has never had a head off. The local Volvo expert told me several years ago when I got him to do a survey on the engine "to keep the fuel and oil clean and keep my hands off it otherwise and it should be good for more than 10000 hrs.
Yes the parts seem to be overly expensive, if you can get them, however with my engine you just plain don't get them. With old Volvo engines such as mine there are a whole lot of the parts that came from the vehicle engines of the era and are still easily available in Europe from a Volvo truck dealer. I have used a company in Zurich when I needed a thermostat and some water pump parts and was amazed at the relatively low price and very speedy shipping.
Other than these facts I know very little about the later Volvo engines except for the usual gossip on line.
Good luck whichever way you choose to go.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:17 AM   #9
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RE: Volvo MD 30

Step n John,
Excellent info and advice. I hope Paul is still watching. $40 for heaters is'nt bad at all. Perhaps I should have looked at Volvo. Do the numbers in the engine code have anything to do w displacement and whats w the "Penta" Why not just Volvo. Most of the Volvos in the Albins got eaten up from sea water as they wer'nt FW cooled but they lasted a long time (30 yrs +) befopre that happened. John** ..* that is an old engine** .. that was the days of flathead gas negines and even Lathrops. A fifty year old engine that is still loved by it's owner is a fact worth paying attention to. Speaking of engine love if fuel was a lot cheaper, and I had a bit bigger boat I'd have a Buick strait eight. Step* .. If you keep up those oil changes (expensive now) your Volvo will probably last 50yrs also. Still love your boat.

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Old 08-21-2009, 02:47 AM   #10
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RE: Volvo MD 30

The sea water cooled Volvo were usually stuck in local fishing boats where 10 years would wear them out and rust them through.

One thing Volvo did was use a 135F thermostat to keep the water cool so they wouldn't choke with salt precipitate.

It worked , but the engine fuel efficiency sucked because of it.

On a 2 or 3 cylinder like the MD2 or MD3 (they even built a MD6 for the locals) the fish guys never noticed as they spend much time at idle , which also sucks in fuel use.

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Old 06-04-2020, 06:07 AM   #11
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Volvo TMD40A and TAMD40

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steppen View Post
The MD30 is a four cylinder marine diesel.* It also came in a variety of version including the TMD30, TAMD30 and the AQAD30.* Volvo use to code their engine with M being marine, D diesel, T turbo, A aftercooled and AQ indicating an inboard/outboard drive.

I have a 1981 vintage TMD40A, which is a six cylinder, 117 hp inboard, turbocharged engine with a Borg Warner Velvet Drive transmission.* I have over 4200 hours on this engine and have had virtually no problems.* The only thing I have replaced in the six years I have owned the boat are the glow plugs and a broken on-engine raw water strainer.* The glow plugs were like $40 each and did have to be ordered by my supplier (North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes, WA).* The on engine strainer is really superfluous to the needs of the engine since my boat had a Perko raw water strainer between the through hull and the engine.* I removed the plastic strainer basket and assembly and plumbed in hoses to go from the shaft driven raw water pump to the heat exchangers.* Oh yeah, I bought a new raw water pump because the old one was leaking at the aft end of the housing.* The new one is still on the boat as a spare because the old one simply needed a rebuild kit that comes with the $65 impellor.* Installing the new seals and the new impellor solved the leak.

I religiously change engine oil at 100 hours, filter and oil again at 200 hours and transmission fluid at 200 hours.* I also do an annual oil sample of both the engine and the transmission.* In six years my oil samples have been consistent and have had no out of tolerance particulates.

Volvo Pentas are very popular among commercial fisherman.* I would not rule out any boat just because it has a Volvo engine.* If you get serious about the boat than have a local engine maintainer do a thorough survey of the engine, do oil samples, compression checks and maybe even injector tests.* Don't rule out a boat because someone said that the parts are expensive...what you are looking for is a well maintained and healthy engine.* As pointed out by Marin, Volvos can run for a long, long time.* As with airplanes, boats and diesel engines are designed to be run and they work better if you run them right, maintain them right and don't abuse them.

Step Williford
Oak Harbor, WA
1981 Great Lakes Trawler
Steppen,

New here and late to your thread posts here... Hope it catch's up with you.

Can you recommend a volvo knowledgeable marine engine mechanic to survey the TMD40A's installed in a boat located in Anacortes WA?


Thanks BB
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:15 AM   #12
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As noted by Steppen, try North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes. They do a lot of diesel work including Volvo.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:18 AM   #13
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I know Volvos have an bad rep. I have heard they are expensive, complicated and parts can be a real problem.

I don't understand why, though. I have a Volvo automobile with nearly 250,000 miles on it. Yesterday I ran it hard for almost 700 miles, I averaged 65 miles an hour which means I spent much of the day at close to 80. It never missed a beat. Also, there are literally millions of Diesel Volvo "Big Rigs" on the road.

From what I have learned on this and other Forums I would not buy a boat powered by a Volvo. I would buy another Volvo auto in a heartbeat. Go Figure...

pete
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
I know Volvos have an bad rep. I have heard they are expensive, complicated and parts can be a real problem.

I don't understand why, though. I have a Volvo automobile with nearly 250,000 miles on it. Yesterday I ran it hard for almost 700 miles, I averaged 65 miles an hour which means I spent much of the day at close to 80. It never missed a beat. Also, there are literally millions of Diesel Volvo "Big Rigs" on the road.

From what I have learned on this and other Forums I would not buy a boat powered by a Volvo. I would buy another Volvo auto in a heartbeat. Go Figure...

pete
A big part of the problem is people repeating bad things about marine volvos that they read somewhere else without actual knowledge or facts. Marine Volvos are great engines, I have owned them for years. Go repeat that.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:19 AM   #15
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Spend an or two perusing boat diesel archives for particular model in question. Not all Volvo engines are created equal. Those less equal can tarnish the good ones.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:30 AM   #16
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Same thing w cars.
I like the Volvo cars but many knowledgeable people say stay away from them.
Pete your car w 250mi on it is probably older and that may be relative information.
Perhaps older Volvos are great and newer not so much. Lots of manufacturers of many things have good years and less good to bad. I remember in the 60’s Volvo cars were thought to be one of the best cars built.
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:24 AM   #17
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As noted by Steppen, try North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes. They do a lot of diesel work including Volvo.
Noted... I am working from a long arm's distance across the Pacific, the forum is making it easier many thanks..
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
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A big part of the problem is people repeating bad things about marine volvos that they read somewhere else without actual knowledge or facts. Marine Volvos are great engines, I have owned them for years. Go repeat that.
So right about the anecdotes. On this forum, I put the repeaters of the "bad Volvos" on my ignore list and that effectively stopped the slagging.

Best to go to a marine mechanic who works on whatever brand comes into his shop and ask. You will find their opinions of reliability, longevity and expense much more reliable than anecdotes on this or other forums.

I should add that I have a pair of TAMD41 Volvos in my boat, total hp 400 and a single Cummins ISL, 400hp in my motorhome. Yesterday's shopping I bought a pair of oil filters for the Vs and a single oil filter for the C. the C filter was twice the price of the ones for the Vs. When I asked about the price, the parts guy's answer was: "Filter mfgs don't care where you use it, just what it does."
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:58 AM   #19
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Our boat has twin VOLVO TMD40s. We have owned it for twenty years and I will never buy another boat with VOLVO engines. The engines are good, but product support is non-existent. There is not one dedicated (VOLVO only) dealer in North America. Replacement parts, if you can find them, cost triple those of Cummins or Cats. Like it says in the good book, "Beware of VOLVOs, run from them as you would the plague."
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
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A big part of the problem is people repeating bad things about marine volvos that they read somewhere else without actual knowledge or facts. Marine Volvos are great engines, I have owned them for years. Go repeat that.
Exactly. I've had four boats with Volvo Penta, three of which were sailboats, so a slightly different world, but they all were fantastic engines.

Almost all of the reason any engine performs well has to do with how it was taken care of, not who made it. VPs are used in tons of European trucks, cars, boats, and other places where they are still going strong, just like US made things that are using Detroits, CATs, etc.

I love my VPs!
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