#1 2011-02-24 20:39:54

Registered: 2011-02-24
Posts: 351

Volvo Replacement Engine

[Moved from 'Technical Advice' pages, dated 02/08/08]

This year I had to fit a new engine in Volante after less than 800 hours running on my previous engine.  This article may be of particular interest to members who own Victoria 800’s by alerting them to potential problems with their installation and highlighting issues associated with fitting a replacement engine. Limited space and access means that any serious engine work on this type of yacht is bound to be a challenge.

Like all Victoria 800’s Volante was fitted from new with a Volvo Penta 2010 engine.  Soon after taking delivery of Volante in June 1996, Victoria Yachts arranged for Volspec, my local Volvo agent, to fit a high rise exhaust outlet.  The reason given at the time being that this was to avoid problems which another owner had experienced.  Until 2007, the engine ran perfectly although I had noticed over time some reluctance to start particularly at the beginning of the season (boat and engine laid up ashore each winter).

In the spring of 2007, when we tried to commission the engine it would only fire on one cylinder and my mechanic who regularly services the engine suspected exhaust valve problems.  This was confirmed when he took off the cylinder head to reveal corroded exhaust valve seats and the rear cylinder exhaust valve.  He believed this corrosion had been caused by water ingress over a long period. One could not ignore the facts but I was never the less very surprised as I had always made a point of turning off the water inlet just before the engine was stopped. This being due to experienced with a previous yacht where water could be forced past the impeller of the raw water pump when sailing and heeling well over. After the valve seats were re-cut and new valves fitted, the engine ran better (quicker starting and smoother running when cold) than it had done for several years. As a result when the engine was winterised last autumn I was sure my engine problems had been solved.

However when the mechanic tried to commission the engine in the spring of 2008, the engine refused to start.  This time the problem was identified as being due to corrosion in the high rise exhaust which had become porous allowing a very small amount of water with antifreeze (from the winter lay-up) to enter the cylinder from the exhaust.  Whilst the mechanic assured me that this could be solved easily by fitting a new high rise exhaust outlet etc., I decided to opt for a new engine.

Having researched the market I decided to buy a Volvo D1-13, introduced in 2006 as a replacement for the 2010.  My main reasons for choosing the D1-13 being that the exhaust outlet on the engine was on the same side as the 2010 and given that it is based on the 2010, I concluded fitting would be both quick and simple.  Basically I expected a simple unbolt bolt in job.  Wrong!

When the 2010 was removed the mechanic pointed out that the water ingress problem I had experienced was probably due to two problems with the way original exhaust had been fitted.  Firstly when the exhaust hose left the water lock instead of continuing upwards, the exhaust hose went down and forward within the port locker before rising in a big loop prior to exiting the boat. This additional loop in the exhaust system created a reservoir for exhaust water in addition to the water lock. The second problem being that the exhaust outlet was on the port side of the boat which is the same side as the exhaust outlet on the engine.  The mechanic assured me (he has over 30 years experience with marine engines) that the exhaust outlet on the boat should always be on the opposite side to the exhaust outlet on the engine.  This ensures that when the exhaust outlet is below the sea water level the engine is much higher and when the boat is heeled the other way, the outlet from the boat is well clear of the water level whilst the engine is lower. Crossing the exhaust over to the opposite side of the yacht clearly reduces the risk of water entering the exhaust system when sailing.

When the mechanic started to install the D1-13 a number of problems progressively came to light. Whilst one should always expect some difficulties in these situations, some of those encountered were rather bewildering as to why.

Firstly the D1-13 comes with a different gearbox, which is shorter than the gearbox on the 2010.  No serious problem as the shaft length could be adjusted.

We then encountered a minor irritation when trying to fit the flexible engine mounts onto the engine beds, particularly as we could not see a rational reason for it. Whilst the bolts holding the two front flexible engine mounts fitted the original bolt positions and spacing the two rear mounts require about 10mm wider spacing between the securing bolts! An immediate solution was put on hold.

The third and potentially the most serious problem was caused by the rear engine brackets on the D1-13 being extended back from the engine bell housing by approximately 45 mm i.e. the spacing between the front and rear engine mounts was more than those on the 2010.  An obvious solution would be to extend the engine beds further aft but due to the hull shape this was impossible. This serious obstacle was overcome by locally manufacturing two rear engine mounts out of 10mm mild steel angle iron which took a full day to complete.

The final problem which had to be overcome was due to the D1-13 sitting lower on the engine mounts than the 2010.  Therefore to line up the engine to the prop shaft required the engine bed to be raised by approximately 15mm.  This was achieved by placing 15mm thick by 75mm wide aluminium strip on top of the existing engine beds.  These strips were first bolted to the existing engine beds before drilling and tapping both the aluminium and the original steel beds for the bolts holding the flexible engine mounts. This also overcame the problem caused by the 10mm additional spacing between the bolts securing the rear flexible engine mounts.  As a result the D1-13 is securely bolted to both the aluminium strips and the original steel beds glassed into the hull.

One minor issue for anyone replacing a Volvo engine concerns the engine control panel.  The 2010 range of engines come with a tachometer and start/ stop controls mounted in a black plastic panel often fitted into the GRP of the boat. With the D1 range the tachometer and the start/stop panel come separately and need to be mounted on something.  In my case the tachometer and start/stop control panel were mounted on a piece of teak which I happened to have.

Whilst some people might question whether the expense of  fitting a new engine was justified, so far I have no doubts; the performance of the D1-13 exceeding my expectations. The D1-13 engine combined with a new 14 x 10 right hand propeller (2010 required a left handed propeller) provides more thrust and power than the 2110 together with a very low noise level.

All this would not have been achieved without Stewart, my long suffering mechanic, who deserves my thanks for a job well done in the very confined space available Thanks also go to Volspec of Tollesbury my Volvo agent.

Volvo D1-13


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