I usually have my Volvo MD2030 Diesel saildrive serviced during the off season when the mechanic is not too busy. My average annual motoring hours are 100-120 so it is a once a year procedure. BTW the engine now has about 2800 total hours and runs like new. It uses one liter of oil in 120 hours, and has done since new. Average fuel consumption is 2.5 l/h.
The last service was October 2020. I used the boat a lot this year (stuck in British Columbia due to Covid-19). At the end of our 4 week vacation, July 29, 2021 I had put 140 hours on. I decided to do a mid season service, but the mechanic has along wait list. I decided to do it myself. In addition I decided to make the switch to synthetic oil, and extend the oil change interval to a maximum of 200 hours or annually, whichever comes first. Thus I hope to avoid a mid-season service in future.
The last time I serviced the engine myself was 2008 when we sailed to Alaska, and had 120 hours on the motor when we got to Prince Rupert. I changed the oil and put another 120 hours on by the time we got back to Vancouver.
I have a Pela 650 oil extractor and a filter wrench, both of which work great.
The Pela 650 sucked the oil out through the dipstick, cleanly and smoothly. Then I took the whole thing up to the oil disposal and emptied it. Then I loosened the filter and put a plastic bag over it and managed to change it with no more than a couple of drops to wipe up.
The easy part was done.
My big mistake
I bought a 5 liter jug of Pennzoil 10W-40 synthetic oil. The oil is fine, the mistake was the container! I should have bought 1 liter bottles.
The engine is under the cockpit floor and the height above the filler is very limited. I knew this, but onboard I had a funnel with flexible hose(it looked unused) which I assumed would snake in so I could pour from the jug. However, the hose was too short, and made of such soft material that it kinked when trying to lead it properly. The funnel holds one liter and has a shutoff, so It seemed ideal. The hose is a standard 1/2 inch size, and if had not been a holiday with all stores closed, I could have just replaced it with a longer and sturdier one.
The workaround was tedious. By the oil dump I found a used one liter oil bottle, and used the funnel with the hose removed to fill it from the big jug. I did this on the dock, to prevents spills onboard. It was possible to pour from the 1 liter bottle directly into the Volvo engine filler. However, there was a lot of climbing on and off the boat. I did get it done.
The water pump impeller.
Volvo seems to have improved the quality of their impellers, as in the early years, by 100 hours use they usually had a cracked fin, and in one case, a broken fin. The last few years they have looked great when changed. I changed the impeller today, but the old one looked brand new and I kept it as a spare. I have about 4 spares now!
Step 1: Shut off the seacock for the raw water intake.
Step 2 : Remove the impeller cover. The crews are small but have slot/hex heads so I used a small socket on a screwdriver handle to remove them. I remembered to but them in a bowl to avoid losing any.
Step 3: Lever the old impeller out with two screwdrivers. It was reluctant to move at first but eventually yielded. Before removing observe the direction of the fins, so you can put the new one in the same way.
Step 4: Lubricate the impeller with the Volvo supplied lubricant, Then rotate it into place so the fins twist the same way the old one did.
Step 5: Replace the paper gasket, lubricating the new one to make it stick to the lid. Then insert the screws and tighten. Be careful not to overdo it.
Step 6: Open the seacock.
Step 7: Start the engine and make sure water oif flowing out the exhaust. Check for water leaks and oil leaking around the filter.
The reason step 6 is BOLD is that I forgot that step, no water came out the exhaust. I shut it down before damage was done, but next time I’ll use this check list!
The service bill is usually about $900 CDN which includes the fuel filters, which I didn’t change. So even if I had to buy all the tools, I would have saved hundreds of dollars. It took me about four hours altogether. Next time it will be easier…
1 thought on “What I Learned Servicing My Own Engine.”
In spring 2022 I had the engine serviced again. The mechanic switched back to regular Volvo oil. he is a “by-the-book” guy.