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ntheyer 08-31-2006 10:37 PM

Volvo Penta Marine Diesel MD11C Parts Source?
Any suggestions on good sources for parts to rebuild a 1980 Volvo Penta Marine Diesel MD11C? I have spoken with two local marinas, but their prices seem high (at least $2000 in parts alone!!?) and also a little unsure as to whether they can even get the parts in the first place.

I figured I'd tap into the experience pool out there.


Blue Eagle 09-01-2006 01:06 AM

Part 1 of 2
Hi there,

I suggest that you go direct to your local Volvo dealer. That way you're only paying one set of stock mark-up. Find the nearest one here: A word of warning: Volvo Penta parts *are* expensive.

If you have access to boatyards with old Volvo engines lying around, or to automotive breakers' yards (neither of which we have here in Hong Kong) you should be able to save a great deal on ancilliaries (starter motors, alternators and the like) and you may even be able to find annoying little bits like the ball-ended studs of the decompression levers, one of which had gone missing from my engine.

Assuming the engine runs at the moment, and you're just doing a 100,000 hour overhaul, I'd suggest the following:
Dismantle the whole unit having cleaned the outside very carefully with parafin, then a degreaser such as "Gunk" or something similar. As you take the engine apart, take lots and lots of photographs, clean each piece as you take it off, and bag pieces that go together (including the associated seals and nuts and bolts) altogether in clear plastic freezer bags. Label them with an alcohol or xylene-based permanent marker.

Things you'll want to inspect closely with a view to replacing / overhauling include:

The Crankshaft: Take it to a reputable workshop and have each of the journals measured for taper and ovality. They'll need to take at least four measurements (possibly 6) for each journal - ie: measure the diameter in the X and Y axes at the front, back and middle of each journal. They should record these figures and show them to you to enable you to reach a decision with them on the next steps. If any of the journals is more than 0.0015" (1.5 thousandths of an inch) oval or tapered, have that journal ground down to the next undersize. Record which journals have been ground and to what size and duplicate this information in your log book. Prices in the UK and Hong Kong indicate that you should expect to pay US$ 60-70 per journal for crank regrinding - ie US$320 ish for regrinding the whole crankshaft.

Crankshaft bearing shells and thrust washers: Replace as a matter of course, remembering to order oversized shells for the undersized journals. New bearing shells from Volvo are ludicrously expensive - mine set me back US$ 470 – try to get these OEM. I can dig out the part numbers and manufacturer for you.

Gaskets and seals: Replace all oil seals as a matter of course. Try to save as many gaskets as you can. The gaskets which seal two flat metal faces you can remanufacture yourself out of single-ply cardboard (ie not corrugated) smeared with hermetite (a red strawberry-smelling gasket sealant which is non-rubbery and sets hard) if you need to. Exceptions: You must use the proper thickness gasket beneath the mechanical high-pressure fuel pump / metering unit, as this controls the time of injection as well as the volume of fuel injected.


Blue Eagle 09-01-2006 01:07 AM

Part 2 of 2
Oil pump: Check for free-float and play as specified in the manual – replace rotors if necessary Oil Filter: Replace

Cooling water pump: Buy overhaul kit and fit, replace impeller

Fine fuel filter: Replace

Challenges you will face:
Getting the flywheel centre-nut undone – it’s done up to around 500 Ft Lbs force. It’s a right-hand thread, so comes undone anticlockwise, but I had to use an angle grinder to take a flat off mine, and than hit it hard with a club hammer and cold chisel to get it to move. Even then I had to get some help pulling the flywheel off.

Removing the centre mainbearing bearer retaining bolt – the central main bearing sits in a circular cage which is located in the main block casting by an allen-headed grub screw between the two inspection hatches. If it’s giving even the remotest amount of trouble, lie the block on its side, build a plasticine wall around the outside of the screw-hole and fill it with diesel fuel. Let it soak like this for a few days while you clean up other bits. I had to drill mine out oversize, re-tap it, and create a new grub screw – not fun. The existing part is obsolete – don’t break it!! If you are still having trouble getting the thing out, consider cleaning it vigorously with a wire brush attached to an angle grinder, and welding a piece of steel rod into the hexagonal hole. This should break any remaining rust seal, and with a nut welded to the top of the piece of rod, enable you to get a socket-set onto the job. When you put it back in, use lots of loctite on the threads – it stops the water getting in besides stopping it vibrating undone (the forward inspection hatch actually partially covers this grub screw when installed, so it will never fall out anyway.

One last piece of advice: please don’t ever, ever, ever use “easy-outs” on this bolt. Unless you are very, very careful, they are all too easy to shatter, and when they do, you are left with no option but to drill the thing out. That’s what had happened to my engine the last time someone tried to “rebuild” it and it took me close to eight hours to drill the thing out, freehand. I also broke a drill bit in the process.

If you’d like the detailed costing spreadsheet I used, I’m happy to send it over, just let me know.


Blue Eagle

ntheyer 09-02-2006 12:00 AM

That's a pretty fantastic reply!

Thanks for all of the invaluable information.

I just picked up the 'parts; that the previous owner removed. What a mess... :( It's a total jumble of pieces... no labeling, no photos of the finished product etc. It's really going to be a mess for me, but at least I have all winter to get it done.

If you could send the costing sheet, I would really appreciate it. It sounds like it's going to be a lot of work, but at least I'll really know the engine well when it's all done.

Thanks for your help again,


Blue Eagle 09-02-2006 07:36 PM

Happy to help :)

If you'd like, do post pics of the parts you're trying to identify, and I'll see if I can recognise them and help you figure out where they go :)

On the site I've put together so my wife's and my families could follow our boat rebuild, you'll find lots of pics of the engine and various components: The spreadsheet's on its way.

My thoughts re: getting to know your engine are exactly the same as yours. It took me over 2 months to strip, clean, repaint and rebuild on weekends with the Mrs helping too. Don't rush it!



hellosailor 09-03-2006 02:20 AM

Don't know where you are but I can recommend Vosbury Marine by Annapolis. You may be surprised at how large your local UPS "one day ground guaranteed" shipping zone is, if you can stick to a Volvo dealer who can ship the parts to you by UPS ground--and still be in the overnight delivery range for that--you can get fast shipping on the cheap, regular ground prices.

Dick Vosbury is on a lot of the Volvo marine forums, it is a family business, a busy one, but he finds time to talk & help. Good folks, but Volvo parts are Volvo parts---damned expensive, often shipped from Sweden.

ntheyer 09-04-2006 07:20 PM

Thanks for the replies.

here are some photos of what I did this weekend.

Blue Eagle 09-05-2006 02:17 AM

Looks like you've got the original alternator / dynamo and starter - and they're in pretty good condition!

I notice you don't seem to have the hand-cranking lug on the right-hand side as you look at the flywheel though? Did you manage to get the cylinder heads and cylinders off - I see that you've withdrawn the rocker gear, pushrods and cam followers - or three of them anyway.

It looks as though it's in great condition - why the rebuild?


ntheyer 09-06-2006 12:00 AM

The two cylinders are off already. They were taken off by the previous owner. Water leaked into the back cylinder either via the companionway hatch or through the exhaust when the boat was pulled out of the water by not keeping the boat level? The cylinder was supposedly rusted and the engine would not crank. In general, the engine looks good.

I will pull the engine tomorrow and start a nw thread in the maintenance area most likely to show the status of the project.



Blue Eagle 09-07-2006 02:31 AM

I had exactly the same problem - the engine was seized until I took the whole thing out, removed the cylinder heads and freed the cylinders up (again, the rear-most one was the worst) by pouring diesel oil into the bores and sump and leaving it to soak. I then turned the engine over by hand using the flywheel as a handle until it was spinning relatively freely.

In my case the reason for the corrosion was that the coachroof and the Lord only knows what else had been leaking, and over months and years of neglect, the water had built up to about 8" above the cabin sole. Since none of the seacocks had been shut, the resulting lowered floating level of the boat allowed seawater to back up the exhaust pipe, through the swan-neck and into the exhaust manifold. Here it must have found No.2 cylinder exhaust valve open and drained into the cylinder, gradually running past the compression and oil control rings to drain into the sump where it slowly displaced the oil.

Still, It's working now! lol

The thing about these old diesels is: Handled sympathetically, they're nearly impossible to kill. That's why I like slightly agricultural safety equipment!

I'd be surprised if you got water in the cylinder during lift-out - unless they used a travel hoist with a very steep incline and the stern of the boat was depressed a long way beneath the water. Do you have a swan-neck and a big anti-surge loop?

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