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Diesel This is a new forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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  #1  
Old 01-13-2013
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Volvo MD 2B

I'm soliciting the members views & advice on the Volvo MD 2B. I am aware of the absurd prices for Volvo parts as well as the fact that this is an old engine but as you can see from the attached pic, this one has been very well cared for. It also has a custom stainless FWC manifold and cooler.

I spoke to a Volvo shop tech and he said they are stone axe reliable - basically Volvo quit making them because they lasted too long. The hand start capability is attractive to me - that flywheel looks like it must weigh about the same as an entire Yannie of the same output.

The reason I ask is that the boat it's in is exactly what I'm looking for otherwise.
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Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

Didn't these also use a combination starter/alternator(generator)? I seem to recall hearing about issues with those...

Is this boat local, Jonathan?
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Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

All other things being equal, this would not be my engine of choice but I think that they have received a worse reputation than is warranted.

From a use standpoint, these engines are loud, vibrate a lot and don't make a lot of power. On the plus side, they tend to just go.

From a maintenance standpoint, these engines tend to be very reliable and need very little maintenance but when they need something, the parts are pretty expensive. Part availability can be a bit slow but I have never been unable to find a part which is good.

Common problems on these are cooling issues and hard starting due to low compression. It sounds like the one you are looking at is FWC which is a good start towards dealing with cooling issues but you should take it out and run it at full load for a long time and make sure that everything looks good. It is also worth doing a compression test and cold starting the engine. These engines tend to run fine when their compression gets poor but they get really hard to start. They were never good at cold starting so if you plan on sailing in cold weather, that would be a concern. The other thing that I would do is take an oil sample and send it to someone like blackstone labs, it is cheap and will tell you a ton about the engine.

If you plan on keeping this boat for 20+ years, you should probably factor in the cost of replacing the engine with something like a Beta but if this is a 5 year boat, I wouldn't think twice about it.
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Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Didn't these also use a combination starter/alternator(generator)? I seem to recall hearing about issues with those...

Is this boat local, Jonathan?
I've heard about that strange DynaStart but this one has an alternator - you can see it above the flywheel in the pic.

The boat is in Tsehum harbour, on a mooring with the guy living on board. It's got the aft head layout I want and it was well built - probably professionally. It's just about the right degree of scruffy for me.

I spent a couple of hours in early December checking it out. The spars are in good shape and it has an alloy tube bowsprit, electric head - lots of good stuff. The deck sounded out well and so forth. It was on the market for about $15K last year in Nanaimo. This guy bought it and has lived on the mooring since - never taken it out.

It needs a head gasket on one cylinder which is why I was asking about the engine. The owner is too broke to fix it but has the gasket on hand. The Volvo place nearby does "housecalls" so I was thinking that spending the money to have them check it out and/or fix it, if the gasket really IS the only problem, would be well worth it - the guy is only asking $6K so risking a couple or 3 $hundred on spec to get the engine running might be worth it (on an accepted offer of course).

There's more to the story than this though - it isn't exactly a conventional sale situation so I'm being very cautious. I wrote it off in December for those reasons but he just re-listed it and piqued my interest again - it could just be a screaming deal. By way of comparison, my friend who built an early hull paid $11K just for the hull & deck mouldings in 1974. That was about 1 1/2 to 2 years pay in those days. Now the whole boat is only 1 months pay.

It's on Kijiji if you're curious.
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Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

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Originally Posted by klem View Post
From a use standpoint, these engines are loud, vibrate a lot and don't make a lot of power. On the plus side, they tend to just go.
I'm surprised they vibrate - I thought that monster flywheel would smooth them right out. I had a one lung Yannie for years so I doubt vibration would be a problem to me. It makes just about the right amount of power for this boat - 10K disp.

If it's a good engine it will probably do me for a long time, if not forever. I'm 61 and I've never put more than 200 hours on an engine in a year. I've heard these things can do 10K hours if well tended, which this one appears to have been.
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Old 01-13-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I've heard about that strange DynaStart but this one has an alternator - you can see it above the flywheel in the pic.
Lots of old Pentas have both and alternator and a starter/generator. Generally both belt-driven. A common setup was to use the alternator to charge the house batteries & run operating loads, while the DynaStart was dedicated to charging the starting battery.

I wouldn't let the engine kill the deal, since you know what you are getting into. Worst outcome, the repair estimate is high enuf to justify a repower. Better outcome, you get several years out of it & repower at liesure. Best outcome, damned thing runs forever.
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

The flywheel definitely helps with vibrations but it is still pretty noticeable.

If the headgasket is bad, there may be other problems related to that. Depending on how it blows, you get mixing of many different things. In a worst case, you could have coolant in your cylinder which could cause rust and potentially require major work. Also, you often end up with coolant in your oil which can be bad if it goes unnoticed.

And then there is the question of why the head gasket blew. It is possible that it deteriorated with age and cycles but that is a pretty uncommon problem as far as I know on these engines. It is likely that the gasket was weakened or the cylinder pressure got too high. The gasket could be weakened if the engine was running really hot. To get really high cylinder pressure on a naturally aspirated engine, you need a problem like improper timing or injection problems.

If it were me, I would want to get to the bottom of the head gasket issue and try to establish why it happened.
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

Quote:
Originally Posted by klem View Post
The flywheel definitely helps with vibrations but it is still pretty noticeable.

If the headgasket is bad, there may be other problems related to that. Depending on how it blows, you get mixing of many different things. In a worst case, you could have coolant in your cylinder which could cause rust and potentially require major work. Also, you often end up with coolant in your oil which can be bad if it goes unnoticed.

And then there is the question of why the head gasket blew. It is possible that it deteriorated with age and cycles but that is a pretty uncommon problem as far as I know on these engines. It is likely that the gasket was weakened or the cylinder pressure got too high. The gasket could be weakened if the engine was running really hot. To get really high cylinder pressure on a naturally aspirated engine, you need a problem like improper timing or injection problems.

If it were me, I would want to get to the bottom of the head gasket issue and try to establish why it happened.
That's exactly why I asked and am being extra cautious. There is a bit of coolant in the oil - just enough to cloud it slightly, not a milkshake. I was concerned about a possible cracked casting or suchlike so I talked all this over with the tech at the Volvo shop and he said he doubted it was anything more than the gasket. His biggest concern seemed to be maintaining the integrity of the lower cylinder seal when removing the head.

Even if I had to buy a new crate engine the boat would not be overpriced but I just don't want to get in that deep anymore. Cleaning up "scruffy" and tailoring the boat to my tastes is as deep as I want to go, at least for the foreseeable future.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

My friend, be very careful.

If it "just" needed the head gasket, then why has he not done it? How can he be sure it's a head gasket and not the cylinder base O-rings?

I have the Volvo MD17C, the later 3-cylinder version.

On the picture you include, I notice what appears to be a stainless steel (?) exhaust manifold. That caught me off-guard as it is not an original equipment item.

If you have coolant in the oil, then the cooling system has breached. That happened to me, and it turned out to be the cylinder base O-rings on one of the cylinders. We had to pressure test all three barrels to find it, which meant having to take all three off.

Volvo want about $75 for the O-ring kit for a single liner.

Remember that you will also need a gasket set for the exhaust manifold. They are expensive.

Make sure you budget for all these items.

At the outside, you need to be thinking of about perhaps $200 for gaskets and you have to be sure you have found the leak.

If and when you take the cylinder heads off, look at the coolant levels you see there. If one (or both) of them is not at the top of the liner, then you have a cylinder base leak.

Personally, I would not touch it. I have been caught, and caught badly, by hearing (and trusting) that something "just" needs done.

The last lesson for that (not with an engine), cost me 72 days to fix.
.

Last edited by Rockter; 01-23-2013 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Volvo MD 2B

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
My friend, be very careful.

If it "just" needed the head gasket, then why has he not done it? How can he be sure it's a head gasket and not the cylinder base O-rings?

I have the Volvo MD17C, the later 3-cylinder version.

On the picture you include, I notice what appears to be a stainless steel (?) exhaust manifold. That caught me off-guard as it is not an original equipment item.

If you have coolant in the oil, then the cooling system has breached. That happened to me, and it turned out to be the cylinder base O-rings on one of the cylinders. We had to pressure test all three barrels to find it, which meant having to take all three off.

Volvo want about $75 for the O-ring kit for a single liner.

Remember that you will also need a gasket set for the exhaust manifold. They are expensive.

Make sure you budget for all these items.

At the outside, you need to be thinking of about perhaps $200 for gaskets and you have to be sure you have found the leak.

If and when you take the cylinder heads off, look at the coolant levels you see there. If one (or both) of them is not at the top of the liner, then you have a cylinder base leak.

Personally, I would not touch it. I have been caught, and caught badly, by hearing (and trusting) that something "just" needs done.

The last lesson for that (not with an engine), cost me 72 days to fix.
.
Thanks - I AM being extra careful for the reasons you state. He hasn't fixed it because he isn't capable of doing it himself and he's too broke to pay someone.

I'm still "thinkin' about it" That's why I mentioned spending a few bucks to have the pro's look at it/fix it. I don't need to pay for a survey of the boat so spending some money on the engine instead might be worth it.

"proceed with caution" are my watch words in this case.

P.S. Even if it needed a new engine it wouldn't be a bad buy but I don't want to get in that deep anymore.
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Last edited by SloopJonB; 01-23-2013 at 01:55 PM.
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