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Hello all! My girlfriend and I just purchased our first boat and we couldn't be happier! We bought a 1978 Newport 30 MKII. I knew there was issues with the volvo md7a when I bought her, so no big surprise there. I am thinking I am either going to try and rebuild it or repower. I spoke with a gentlemen the other day and he put a thought into my head but I just can't seem to figure out exactly how it would work and how much it would cost me....he suggested doing a diesel generator and electric motor. I looked into the electric motor and while I am intrigued, I just don't love the idea of doing just electric and not having a source of power like from a diesel engine or generator. What has everyone seen with doing this sort of combination instead of just a diesel engine? Just trying to get a feel of what I'll end up on doing in the next year or so...
 

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Rob,

This is a big argument right now in the sailing community. In my eyes for very limited purposes they work fine, but have some real restrictions. Assuming you are ok with them, then there is a good argument for going electrical.

The primary concern is with the available range on battery power, the weight of the batteries, and the shore side electrical connections.

There are a few reputable suppliers, and quite a few who aren't. Make sure of who you a re doing business with before spending any money on the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've gathered that there is some controversy with this subject...that's why I'm thinking of a diesel generator...recharging the batteries on board for not only lights and appliances but batteries for the electric motor...run the generator when I need to top off batteries...

There is also the idea of doing a hybrid version...but that would be if I was going to throw in another diesel motor, or rebuild the MD7A I currently have...
 

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I think the biggest issue is what is the intended use of the boat? For ocean crossings I wouldn't consider it, for a day sailor I have already done it. For anything in between it depends.
 

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If I were in your shoes I would definitely rebuild the existing engine. More efficient, more power, greater range, less headaches.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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What are the issues with the engine?
 

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Not entirely 100% sure what the issues are...could be a couple of things. It could be an injector pump issue. It could need new seals. As of right now, I'm pretty sure it's only running off of one cylinder. I had it in SF for two weeks before I moved it further inland. It's now closer to my house and as soon as it stops being absolutely freaking cold here, I'm going to dive into the engine and troubleshoot it some more.
The reason I am even considering a repower is because Volvo parts are expensive. Ridiculously expensive. I was thinking it was an injector problem so I pulled them and had them serviced. Just in case they were completely bad, I looked at replacing them an just one injector was $600. Not cheap. If I have a bad injector pump, that's not going to be cheap. So I figured I would look into other engines/alternatives because rebuilding my MD7A could cost me just as much as purchasing a new/rebuilt motor, if not more. Just keeping my options open.
As for right now, I have my little outboard which will get me in and out of the marina just fine. But in a couple of years when I'm coastal cruising down to Mexico, my little outboard just won't cut it...
 

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Some engines you can get parts for that are not too much money. The volvo is not one of them.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/diesel-engine-forum/108185-erics-5416-rebuild.html

Electric power with Diesel Genset is a very cool idea. It can give you a lot of options.
A good price is not one of them.
The genset will cost as much as an engine plus you have to add, electic motor, batteries and charging.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/84617-engines-would-you-think-twice-about.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-...up-electric-boat-repower-sept-oct-2013-a.html
 
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Not entirely 100% sure what the issues are...could be a couple of things. It could be an injector pump issue. It could need new seals. As of right now, I'm pretty sure it's only running off of one cylinder. I had it in SF for two weeks before I moved it further inland. It's now closer to my house and as soon as it stops being absolutely freaking cold here, I'm going to dive into the engine and troubleshoot it some more.
The reason I am even considering a repower is because Volvo parts are expensive. Ridiculously expensive. I was thinking it was an injector problem so I pulled them and had them serviced. Just in case they were completely bad, I looked at replacing them an just one injector was $600. Not cheap. If I have a bad injector pump, that's not going to be cheap. So I figured I would look into other engines/alternatives because rebuilding my MD7A could cost me just as much as purchasing a new/rebuilt motor, if not more. Just keeping my options open.
As for right now, I have my little outboard which will get me in and out of the marina just fine. But in a couple of years when I'm coastal cruising down to Mexico, my little outboard just won't cut it...
Now that your out in the 'country", perhaps a trip to the local tractor/diesel repair shop will save you a few Volvo bucks. Could be worth poking around in the back of some of those shops and see what's just laying around.
 

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Now that your out in the 'country", perhaps a trip to the local tractor/diesel repair shop will save you a few Volvo bucks. Could be worth poking around in the back of some of those shops and see what's just laying around.
Is that even possible with a Volvo?
I know several other engines are based on the Kuboto block but are the marine Volvo's based on blocks that are used elseware and cheaper if you know the part numbers.
Seems plausible but never heard about it before?
 

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Just trying to get a feel of what I'll end up on doing in the next year or so...
Can't answer that with much certainty, but if you decide to go the generator/electric propulsion route, I'm pretty sure there won't be much sailing involved.
 

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I am seriously considering going with one of the Chinese made diesels. A mate just put one in his boat. From what I have seen of it so far it looks good. Way cheaper than rebuild and 3 year or 3000 hours warranty.
 
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Repair a Volvo? Maybe.
Rebuild a Volvo? Too expensive.

Do some research, and see if you can fit a Beta in there.
 

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Diesel electric power has always had a strong appeal, the idea of running the motor at peak efficiency all the time combined with the generation of electric power for other uses makes sense, and if done right can save fuel. The newest honda accord hybrid has no mechanicle connection between the gas and electric motors, no transmision, and gets 50MPG in town.

The reality in a pleasure boat is different, the electric motor, big batteries needed for reserve power, controllers etc make for a complex instal. All of this is on top of the diesel motor, exaust and fuel systems already in place. Fitting all this in a train or ocean going cargo ship is one thing, a 30 foot sailboat is another. It still holds a lot of promise, but for now it seems hard to beat a 20 hp diesel tractor motor, which in your boat will burn 1/3-1/2 gal an hour.

For a good read of the complexities of all this try http://www.trybrid.org/trimaran/about-2/how-does-diesel-electric-save-fuel/
 

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I think a diesel generator/electric motor is going to cost more than a new diesel for sure. Not to mention added complexity. Now an electric drive with batteries and shore power charging is not all bad as long as you are just going to use it to get in and out of port. You will have to plan on no more than a couple of hours run time max between a lengthy charge. But if that fits your plans then go for it. If you want to be able to go to distant places that may work, but understand you will likely be sitting bobbing if the wind dies with little emergency range.

The real advantage of diesel and even gas is the fact that just a gallon of fuel is equivalent to several thousand pounds of batteries. If you want to be able to run the electric motor off the generator, you will have to generally have a generator almost the same size as your diesel would have to be (and cost more than just a diesel would cost), so you really don't gain much other than getting to claim you have a homemade hybrid.

So unless you want to put several times more money into the system than the boat is worth then you are likely going to have to look into a rebuild/replacement. Keep in mind for new you are looking at about 10 grand, and that is with you doing most of the work. To pay to have it put in then you are likely looking at 14 to 15 boat bucks or more. You can likely cobble together an electric motor set up for a couple of grand if you are a do it your self type. A rebuild on a Volvo will likely be quite expensive, and I don't think there really is any alternative part sources here in the US as they were not used for anything but marine here. Others have industrial motors that can find parts like Kbuta for Universal and Beta engines that were used in tractors.
 

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I think a diesel generator/electric motor is going to cost more than a new diesel for sure. Not to mention added complexity. Now an electric drive with batteries and shore power charging is not all bad as long as you are just going to use it to get in and out of port. You will have to plan on no more than a couple of hours run time max between a lengthy charge. But if that fits your plans then go for it. If you want to be able to go to distant places that may work, but understand you will likely be sitting bobbing if the wind dies with little emergency range. .................
I agree if your plan is to have the electric engine run for your short move away and back to the dock the electric motor may suit. Otherwise, I would fit the direct mechanial drive from a Beta or Yanmar, etc. Remember that there is a price with a loss of efficiency for each time you tranfer energy from one form to another. With the diesel propulsion system your are changing from the fuel's chemical energy to the mechanical energy at the shaft. With the other plan you are going from the chemical energy of the fuel to the mechanical energy of the generator, to then change it to electrical energy and then back to mechanical energy. This is not a wise method of using your diesel fuel; however, if you just use the shore power to boost your electrical stored energy or if you are using solar and not requiring the large fuel supply, then you may do well with the electric motor.
 

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I had to choose between rebuild or replace on my Volvo md2c. The only way to start it from cold was to squirt some oil into the intake ports. Fired up straight away then , when hot no problems . The final straw was when the anti symphon valve packed it in and it was flooded with sea water . So I figured it was time to do some thing , tore it down in the boat ( that's when I found the sea **** leaked when it was closed ) not really decided what I was going to do . The heads on mine are usually the problem sent them out for a pressure test and service $200. Cleaned the water passeges out on the block , course hone new rings , bolted it back together . Gaskets and rings were around $800 , ran it in tied to the dock best $1000 I spent on the boat . No I don't expect it to last another 40 years but if I get 5 out of it the budget will allow for a new one then . I might have been lucky but if you can do most of it yourself the cost is not to bad . If you have to pay some one i would put the money towards a new motor , I suppose it depends on how much of a gambler you are I could have thrown $ 1000 away if it didn't work .
 

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I am seriously considering going with one of the Chinese made diesels. A mate just put one in his boat. From what I have seen of it so far it looks good. Way cheaper than rebuild and 3 year or 3000 hours warranty.
Looks like the Kubota and Beta marine diesels are winning the re power race here in Asia. Marine diesels are duty free in Langkawi. I know of an excellent yard to install one for you....
 
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