Volvo Penta MD11C issues

  • February 28, 2015 3:22 PM
    Message # 3238016
    Deleted user

    Hi all,

    I have a Volvo Penta MD11C engine in my boat. I had it surveyed by a Volvo Penta certified mechanic who said that it was in good condition in his opinion, but the transmission looked like it had never had an oil change and the oil contained metal shavings, so it should be rebuilt.

    Based on that advice I decided to have them rebuild the transmission. With Volvo parts being expensive and difficult to source, and the high labor costs in this area, the task has taken close to a year and the bill will be close to $7K.

    If I had known that it would be so long and expensive I think I might have looked into replacing the engine. This is my first boat, so I don't know how common this situation is or what my options are. I could definitely use advice / feedback from more experienced members here.

    There's another issue with the engine that I'm concerned about. Before I removed the transmission, I noticed that I could run the engine at the dock for hours, but if I take the boat out into the river the engine would stall. Fortunately the engine started up again each time this has happened, but I'm not sure what this is about. My plan is to replace all hoses and clean filters since that needs to be done anyway and hope that resolves the stalling issue. Is this a sound approach?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • February 28, 2015 4:22 PM
    Reply # 3238033 on 3238016

    7K  for a tranny rebuild sounds pretty steep . What parts had to be replaced ? Have you heard of this place ? These guys have a engine and trans. w/1000 hrs. on it for $1,800.

    A lot of good this does you now . I mean if the guy is almost finished it wouldn't be right to walk away from it  . But if you could talk to the guy , maybe you could get him to ease up a bit . 

     As far as your engine stalling while under way but not in the slip, that's kind of strange. When you were running the engine at the slip was it in gear ?  And yes I would say going through the fuel sys. would be the first place to start . Also clean the fuel tank , or at least inspect it . Possibly when you were out on the rio some junk got stirred up  in the tank . Also one time due to my negligence the stuffing box seized my prop shaft and stalled the engine . But I was at a very low RPM . 

    Last modified: February 28, 2015 6:34 PM | Anonymous member
  • February 28, 2015 6:35 PM
    Reply # 3238082 on 3238016

    It's unfair for me to weigh in with my $0.02 without know all the details, but (t ... yes everyone has one and an opinion) I've been tending to my 77-vintage MD11 for 25 years. 

    If I recall, the transmission holds less than a quart of 30 weight oil, and its innards consists of brick s-house-sized rotating parts. Unless there are broken gear teeth, I'd just flush the transmission with diesel fuel, and refill it with oil (maybe add some STP oil treatment) and if it doesn't sound like it is grinding gravel, it might run another 20 years ! 

    Volvo parts cost too much. Look for a junker engine at scrap metal price. If you look hard, they can be found. Most MDs are trashed because of raw water cooling issues; most of their rotating parts are far from worn out.

    I too, had a recent issue of "it stopped and after a while, would start again." After months of changing everything, I discovered that wasps (or some other insects) clogged the vent lines on both fuel tanks.  The clogs weren't perfect, so after a while the air would seep past the clogs and the engine would start. 

    I have two fuel tanks, two filters, two of everything feeding the lift pump on the MD11. With all lines open, I figured that if one fuel system (side) failed the other side would take over. And, I was right. When one side failed (clogged vent line) the engine kept on running using the other side..... until that side failed. Since I don't burn a lot of fuel, I had no way to know that the first side failed when it did.


    Caprica #687


  • March 01, 2015 5:36 AM
    Reply # 3238203 on 3238016
    Deleted user

    Five of the replacement parts were over $500: ball bearing, two gears, housing and intermediate housing. Materials are $3648, work to date $1040, estimated work to complete $1800. The transmission did kinda sound like it was griding gravel.

    Interesting about that used engine. I'll hunt around for a scrap engine or look on that site next time I have to replace something. The wasp nest seems like a definite possibility. I find their little nests every year in various places.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • March 02, 2015 10:06 AM
    Reply # 3239210 on 3238016

    There is a W32 owner in Florida that is replacing his Volvo MD11 with a new engine I am supplying.  He is looking to sell his Volvo, which still runs, but he does not want to depend on it.  Contact me and I can put you in touch with him. 

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