Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree26Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 08-22-2014
northoceanbeach's Avatar
first sailed january 2008
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,408
Thanks: 17
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 8
northoceanbeach is on a distinguished road
Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

I'm buying a boat soon, my first that has an inboard and I'm pretty terrified of them. Of the whole new boat thing the inboard scares me the most. I've only had outboards. I like outboard, I kind of trust outboard. If they break you can pull it and get a new one.

Inboards sound like a superior concept, but so many boats have in the listing repowered. Which is good, and makes sense. Many of them are 30 plus years old, I could see them biting the dust.

But how reliable are they? My friend said that when looking at boats, even having a mechanic come look at the engine, it's still a 50/50 chance he could tell if there is anything wrong with it.

Are they ok? One of the major reasons I fear them is that if it goes, I'm immediately out 10,000$ and would instantly regret having purchased that boat. I can get new sails if I need to, even deck hardware, rigging, buy some nice electronics to replace outdated stuff, but I really don't think I could get a whole new engine.

Plus I need an engine, I realize it's a sailboat, but I motor when I need to, I want a big fuel tank so I can motor for hours if the wind dies. I need an engine I can rely on.

How high should I prioritize a new, or rebuilt engine? The boat I want has the original Volvo md7a. It's had recent work done, water pump rebuilt, professionally flushed and a new exhaust system. What are your thoughts on this 1979 engine, a ticking time bomb? Or perhaps a well maintained engine, that could last me for years to come.

Believe this, I don't know much about diesel boat engines, but I will learn everything I can and will take the utmost care and do the proper maintenance of it once it's mine. But if it's already on its way out.....

Another boat high on my lost has a brand new beta to replace the old atomic 4. Should I be placing this higher in my criteria?
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 08-22-2014
GeorgeB's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
Posts: 1,744
Thanks: 1
Thanked 48 Times in 47 Posts
Rep Power: 11
GeorgeB is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

North,
Mexico is notorious for light air. My planning numbers is to be able to motor for 48 hours between refueling. Gas engines usually don’t have as good of fuel economy as diesel. I’ve been running diesels for the past 20-25 years. I was initially nervous switching over from gas but now I’m a really big fan of diesel. Very simple to maintain. Volvos have a bad reputation of being very, very expensive for parts. The Kubota has been very reliable for me (Universal “marineizes” them). Yanmars are about the most common engine brand in sailboats today. That means parts (think filters) are relatively easy to come by (remember that you will be doing oil changes in Mexico).
northoceanbeach likes this.
__________________
George B
2000 Catalina 34 MkII
Alameda, Ca.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 08-22-2014
christian.hess's Avatar
"Nubile Southern Sailor"
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Columbus, Ga
Posts: 4,515
Thanks: 181
Thanked 181 Times in 177 Posts
Rep Power: 2
christian.hess is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

I keep responding to your threads because I like you ocean however some on here see that as being biased and steering you one way or another(not you george)

but the md7a had some parts issues, and yes they are expensive to source some parts nowadays...some cant be except from other volvos but that applies even to yanmars...

however they ae very well built, heavy reliable and old school...

the betas are kubota blocks like many many diesels these days, and have some nice maintenance features like the built in oil pump to do oil changes, easy access of things in the front of the engine and are for all intents and purposes very global and parts available.

the atomic 4 while not ideal for a trip like this can be made to run forever, and those of us who have had them and used them know its pros and cons and how easy they are to work on.

a pro for example would be getting a mechanic to work on it in the boonies compared to a GOOD diesel mechanic

any car mechanic around the world will know the distributor, ignition and carb works based on old car experience.

cons is for cruising they can be GAS GUZZLERS...compared to a 1/4 galon an hour yanmar or similar.

they are gas of course and can be perceived as more of a hazzard but more hearsay than anything...

parts are easy to come by in automotive stores like napa for stuff like distributor caps, belts, ignitions even...

in any case the md7a has some known issues which can be:
overheating
bad comp and if watercooled only has a basic lifetime when the water passages eventually get eaten up

now here is a very nice blog talking about the md7a
Cruising and racing in the Baltic: To keep or trash my Volvo Penta MD7A?

and a sailnet one too!
Volvo MD7a

remember fear and hearsay are more powerful than facts, especially on the internet

so dont let anyone tell you differently jajajaja including me

again good luck in your search
northoceanbeach and Antibes like this.
__________________
Islander 36 now FOR SALE!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by christian.hess; 08-22-2014 at 04:33 PM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 08-22-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NH
Posts: 530
Thanks: 0
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 4
misfits is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
How high should I prioritize a new, or rebuilt engine? The boat I want has the original Volvo md7a.
Another boat high on my lost has a brand new beta to replace the old atomic 4. Should I be placing this higher in my criteria?
Some swear by the MD7A, some swear at them... It's a raw water cooled engine in a salt water environment so sooner or later, the gigs up. If you can purchase a "sound" boat at a reasonable with a MD7A, don't pass on it but start to save your $$ for a repower. If there's a boat out there in your price range that you desire with a new Beta in it & it survey's out good, no brainer.
__________________
I'm not happy unless I'm complaining about something.
I'm having a very good day!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 08-22-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,364
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Rockter will become famous soon enough
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

I have got a Volvo MD17C.
It is a sound engine but the price of spare parts is truly shocking.
In 1997, the price of an exhaust manifold was £1300, then about $2000, for one component for what was then a 20 year old motor. That is "old" to Volvo, apparently. So much for longevity.
Volvo were not interested in the idea of that being expensive.
Volvo have other tricks in store for you too. They would not sell me piston oversizes, and I had to source them from Mahle separately. No, they insist on selling you a piston and liner kit (3 of them needed, £900 right there (about $1300).
And don't even think of asking them for a seal for your gearbox (£50, $75). In my local bearing shop, £3.50, about $5, for the same seal.
My next motor will be the 40 hp Kubota-based beta Marine motor. It will have Japanese quality and Japanese spare part prices.
Never again a Volvo.
Never.

Last edited by Rockter; 08-22-2014 at 05:44 PM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 08-22-2014
northoceanbeach's Avatar
first sailed january 2008
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,408
Thanks: 17
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 8
northoceanbeach is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

****. So of I had a boat with a new beta, I probably wouldn't have to worry about it and could motor to my hearts content, assuming I took good care of it. With an old Volvo it could actually die on me at anytime, leaving me stranded with no wind and with a strong current sweeping me into the harbor break wall? I really came to just rely on my Yamaha outboards starting and running every time without fail.
whistlepig1 likes this.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 08-22-2014
christian.hess's Avatar
"Nubile Southern Sailor"
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Columbus, Ga
Posts: 4,515
Thanks: 181
Thanked 181 Times in 177 Posts
Rep Power: 2
christian.hess is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

are you a fast learner? learning a diesel isnt that complicated especially a simple old volvo

fwiw have your price some yanmar heat exhanchers or water pumps? not that far off from volvo prices

it really just depends what you are willing to budget for and make do...

if you dont want to deal with a diesel initially as you cruise down then yeah maybe look for repowered boats

oif you are compfortable and can do an overhaul before you set off on an old volvo, or yanmar or perkins or whatever you can do just fine

a rebuilt atomic 4 is smooth and a beauty to maintain...they are beyond simple!
__________________
Islander 36 now FOR SALE!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 08-22-2014
ECS-IB30's Avatar
Islander Yacht Fan
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kent Island
Posts: 60
Thanks: 1
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 4
ECS-IB30 is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

To The OP - MD7A is not a bad thing!
When I first got my boat (an abandoned salvage job) it was filled with water, mosquitoes, mold, and dead mice. A friend and fellow restorer of other people's forgotten stuff hooked a battery to the engine to see if it would even turn over, his theory being if it turns over we can likely rebuild it.
After about 3 rpms it not only turned over, but it started - we were shocked. This boat had been sitting neglected for nearly 2 years, open to the weather and unprotected. We took the boat based on this fact alone. Visit my album to see some of the many pictures of the boat and engine - we did not overhaul the engine - we checked compression, changed the filters and belt, cleaned and painted it - then re-installed. Its given 2 years of great service so far with no signs of giving up anytime soon.
I buy parts like belts, filters and such from the NAPA or anywhere else close and cheap - I use a Raycor now to further protect the engine, and am installing new gauges that work, to monitor performance when its running. Some little things is all it takes to keep these running. Namely, fuel, Oil and water - I check all three before each use.
Don't let a VP MD7A steer you away from an otherwise great boat - DO get the opinion of a qualified surveyor if you are not confident with diesel engines. The internet is a great resource for parts and there are several places on both the left and right coasts that can ship parts over night if you need.

Make sure you have clean fuel and oil, a sealed system between the tank and the injectors (the high pressure side of the system) and let her run! PM me if you have specific questions I can answer for you.

Oh yeah - this was my first diesel engine for a boat - the rest were all gas or ethanol! You can't beat how efficient these engines are!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 08-22-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern Shore MD
Posts: 135
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 9
saillife is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

If I had the choice I'd go with a Beta or Yanmar. Never had a volvo but I've heard the horror stories about part costs.

The real question on a diesel is hours. Seems 5000 hours is about the time people need to rebuild repower. Looking at used boats that's what I'd be thinking. You just don't know how well it's been cared for. If it's a new engine and you take good care of it you should get more like 10k hours. The most important thing on a diesel is oil changes! Don't skimp on those.

Brian
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 08-22-2014
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Slidell, LA
Posts: 63
Thanks: 0
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 2
sandy stone is on a distinguished road
Re: Scared of inboards and the Volvo md7a

Most of this is from Nigel Calder (you should read one or two of his books) -

When you get to the boat to look it over, the engine should be cold i. e. not run that day, otherwise be suspicious.
Does it look well maintained? Fairly clean, recent filters & belts, belts properly adjusted?
Take off the oil filler cap and see what you can on the inside of the engine, maybe poke your finger in & wipe an inside surface. Clean or covered with sludge?
Replace oil filler cap, check oil for level. On diesels oil will almost always be black, no worries unless it's thick with sludge.
Big test - start the motor. Shouldn't have to crank long, but probably have to advance the throttle. Does it smoke? One puff of blue smoke on startup isn't bad on an old engine. Continuous smoke, not so good.
Anything leaking? Nearly impossible to get rid of diesel odor if fuel has been leaking for a while.
Good water flow from exhaust? Any funny noises? Alternator charging? Motor mounts fairly solid?
Take boat out & run it a while. Shaft seal/packing gland OK? Any clunks from drivetrain, cutless bearing? Overheating? Reverse OK?
Now run the boat speed up. Any smoke now? Blue = probably worn rings, Black = possible clogged exhaust elbow, fouled prop, prop overpitched, White = possible head gasket leak. Overheating?
If possible, carefully remove oil filler cap while under load(it may blow off when loosened & probably will spit some oil when removed). See if there is pressure puffing out indicating blowby & worn rings.
If the motor runs decent when you test it, it probably will for years given proper maintenance. Only caveat - I would regard a 35 year old salt water cooled motor as a ticking time bomb. YMMV.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to sandy stone For This Useful Post:
BULLITT1829 (2 Weeks Ago)
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Volvo/Penta MD7A paulinet. Diesel 8 09-12-2014 10:25 AM
Volvo MD7a Grand River Raider Diesel 13 02-11-2013 02:07 AM
Volvo MD7A Not Starting itsme1414 Diesel 11 02-06-2013 04:27 PM
Volvo MD7A Thermostat simpsoned Diesel 4 05-06-2011 07:24 PM
Volvo MD7A BertV Gear & Maintenance 4 07-14-2003 07:59 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:00 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.