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Discussion Starter #1
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.

Thanks.
 

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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:
http://www.volvo.com/volvopenta/na/en-us/applications/dealer_locator/. 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.

Contd......
 

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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.

Cheers,

Blue Eagle
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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,

Nicholas
 

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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: http://www.swainsons.com/gallery. 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!

Cheers,

Matt
 

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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.
 

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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?

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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.

Thanks,

Nicholas
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
It doesn't look like there was a any type of swan neck or anti surge on the exhaust in the boat. Looks pretty straight to the exhaust manifold. In any case now, the engine's out and will be redone.

I'll make sure to get an anti-surge solution before reinstalling.
 

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Hi,

I am in the middle of trying to resurrect my MD11C. It has had a variety of symptoms over a couple of years which I have finally traced to a blown cylinder head gasket on the front cylinder. Unfortunately I think the head needs to be skimmed as there is a deep groove in the head at the point where the gasket went.
On taking it apart I am amazed at the stuff which is in the manifold - it is almost like solid metal. Indeed it has reduced the size of the apertures in the water channels that lead from the head into the manifold by about 1/3.
I notice in Blue Eagle's pictures that the same has occurred in his manifold. In mine the channel from the manifold into the lower part of the thermostat housing is completely blocked and I had thought it was cast that way! This also explains some of the overheating problems I have had..
I am wondering whether there is any virtue in taking my barrels off while I am at it to clean out the water galleries or is this likely to be unrewarding. I am doing this with the engine in situ and dont want to give myself an impossible task.

Cheers
 

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Hi Crabbit,

CRABBIT said:
I notice in Blue Eagle's pictures that the same has occurred in his manifold. In mine the channel from the manifold into the lower part of the thermostat housing is completely blocked and I had thought it was cast that way!
Uh.... I think it might've been too! lol - I drilled the hole in the end of the manifold out when I rebuilt the engine - it was completely closed off on mine too (although it DID have a very manky rubber seal in there) However the tube it connects to in the housing doesn't seem to go anywhere .
if this hole isn't open though, there would be no water flow at all with the thermostat shut so I opened it up thinking that the worst that would happen is that I'd create an additional leak risk if it wasn't supposed to be open.

Interestingly, my engine is raw water cooled, and although I am based in Hong Kong where the ambient water temperature gets up to 24 or 25 degrees celsius (centigrade, whatever) in the summer, I never have any problems with overheating - quite the reverse in fact, the engine never seems to get really warm - about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the green band is the best I can manage.

If I were you, I'd deal with the wire-drawing on the cylinder head (assuming that it hasn't gone too deep, and remembering that the more material you take off the bottom of the cylinder head, the more shims you'll have to put under the cylinder to keep the compression ratio right (and to avoid having the piston smack into the valves at TDC) oops, big parenthesis) first. Then:
1) Check / clean your raw water through-hull inlet opening,
2) Check / clean the raw water filter,
3) Flush the heat exchanger if you have one,
4) Bleed the freshwater cooling loop of all air and top the expansion tank up (again, if you have a heat exchanger)
5) Replace the raw-water impeller,
6) Test / replace the thermostat - it should open at the temperature stamped on its body - about 70 degrees C?

I don't know how you plan on cleaning the waterways on the cylinders out, but when you figure it out, let me know! lol - I didn't bother and the engine seems to run ok.

It's a bit of a pig to start actually, but that's probably down to not having quite the right shimming under the mechanical fuel pump, or under the cylinders (I didn't have a depth-micrometer to hand for the rebuild) or the fact that the high pressure pump needs overhauling since I didn't do that at overhaul either, reasoning that I could save a couple of bob and some time and it wouldn't be difficult to do it later if necessary. As it turned out I probably only did save a couple of bob as the local Bosch agent turned out to be surprisingly cheap - about 90 US to have two injectors overhauled, one new nozzle fitted and two reground (I now have one emergency spare) - versus 250 odd pounds sterling (I seem to recall) from Volvo for a new one - however much it was it was more arms and legs than I could spare at the time!!

Cheers,

Blue Eagle
 

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Ntheyer...

As the owner of a Volvo MD17c (the later 3 cylinder version of your twin), you are going to get into some serious cost to ressurrect that engine of yours.

Volvo parts are shocking in price.... I mean absolutely shocking. In 1997 I split the exhaust manifold on my unit. Volvo wanted, back then, a staggering £1300 just for the manifold. That's about $2340.

A cylinder barrel, yesterday!, is £389.... $700. A cylinder head gasket, yesterday, £56... $100. The O-ring kit for one liner, yesterday, is also $100.

Imagine the gasket bill alone for your engine.

Once you start talking about crankshaft re-grinds and re-bores, you are going to be off the clock.

I really would think seriously about buying a new engine, or another unit, and I speak from experience, twice over. Every time you split one of those mating surfaces, that's the sort of cost you'll be into.

And be very careful about skimming heads. If that groove you speak of is deep, you really will upset your bumping clearances for the piston, and you will have to shim the cylinder base to accomodate the change. Don't over skim it. You are going to need a micrometer to re-set the bumping clearances, and it's not your average micrometer either.

I can speak highly of the power unit mechanically, but repairs can be so expensive you walk out of the dealer with a glaze, you will see with a squint, and talk hoarsely for about two weeks. You are warned.

Think it through there Ntheyer, and get that calculator out.
 

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Hi,

I have the warm glow today of a man with a working volvo though I am covered in bruises and my knees wont straighten.
I replaced my cylinder head and with a second hand one from ebay. I also cleared out the manifold galleries that were blocked. The orifices into the injector cooling galleries were completely blocked as was the one from the manifold to the thermostat bypass channel.
The hardest bit was refitting the water pipe from the pump to the manifold - a very nasty job in an enclosed space. When I got it done there was water leaking from every junction so I have also replaced all the hoses.
After setting the tappets etc it is now running sweet a nut. The only problem I have is that it is running too cold now and I am regretting dispensing with the thermostat.
The engine is now running better than it ever has with much better power output.


Cheers

Crabbit:)
 

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I have siezed my MD11C through overheating and oil loss during a particularly long chug to France.

I cannot decide whether to take the engine out and rebuild over winter, or to try to find a reconditioned one, or even to re-engine the boat with a yanmar, or similar.
I have the time and the abilty to rebuild, but I worry that I may have ruined the motor beyond repair..
Do you guys have any suggestions?
 

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Mike-

You'd probably be better off starting your own thread rather than reviving a dead thread on a similar subject.
 

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Mike, you'd need a mechanic with an experienced eye to take a look at the engine. Sometimes this means pulling the head and eyeballing the cylinder walls for damage. Sometimes they can pull an injector (or glow plug) and look inside with a borescope, so there's no head-pulling needed.

After that expert opinion on how much work is needed...you can make a more informed decision. If the engine WAS in good shape and WAS adequate for your needs, rebuilding might be the way to go, depending on estimates to do that. Whenever you replace an engine with a different model/type, there's almost always custom bedwork and fittings and other things that will add perhaps a couple of three grand more than you expected.

As to rebuilding yours vs swapping in another one...At least you know what your own engine history has been. With a swap out, there's no advantage unless it comes with a long strong warranty (ha) or your own engine really has been trashed.

First you need a reliable set of eyes to get inside the head and see what's doing in there.
 
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