Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Long block failure on a Volvo D3-110 Amel 54-152

Sv Garulfo

Hi Porter,

I can’t see anything wrong in what you do or have done.

Thanks for sharing your experience, as we need to build up the knowledge on those D3 engine of ours. 

One thing we’ve learned in our short but eventful experience of our engine is that they are quite different beasts than more classic boat engines and a lot of the great advice available needs to be carefully analysed for adequacy. 

By the way, what engine type do you have? The Volvo guy in Martinique told us the D3-110i-C (ours on A54-122) was no longer available. He said the newer type were harder to work on because of the access to various components.

One thing I noted: he recommended leaving a bit of headroom on the dipstick when filling up the oil (and dipstick firmly pushed in to take the measurement). 

Hope things will improve for you very soon


away from

On Wed, 15 Aug 2018 at 04:41, Porter McRoberts portermcroberts@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:
My dear Amelians,

I ask your insight into my motor issue if you’d please lend me your minds for a few minutes. 
I condense a much longer story into the following:

We own a fantastic Amel 54-152 “IBIS”  Purchased back in April 2017, Maritinique.  Some of you might remember a video i posted of a “smoking engine”and my pre-purchase concerns back then.  Lots of great suggestions from dirty prop to others.  Our former owner, the most gracious of sailors, sought the help of Volvo Martinique: (who had given his engine a clean bill of health a month prior) to look into it.  Ultimately they found pitting in the cylinder linings and high pressure on the crank case side, oil in the breather etc.  He>$$>>I put in a new long block, injectors etc. 1100hrs at the time. Nearly a new complete engine.  16000 Euro.

I picked up the boat with the freshly painted engine and sailed back to Florida in April  (engine oddly still smoking in just the same way!) and when I say smoking: a now smaller puff of black smoke for a half second when I rapidly increase throttle.  The Guadeloupe volvo tech confiding in me that half of all the D3-110s do such a thing and not to worry (Nigel Calder disagreeing all the way).  Some time later…September the motor stopped working.  Just stopped.  motoring along… no issues and then would loose power, sputter to a stop.  Rather frustrating when sailing against Irma back to Florida!!  Much head scratching lead to a diagnosis of clogged injectors.  1400hrs. Got new injectors, problem fixed.  

On we sailed (motored in February 2018 out to the 65 and then sailed down for many months in the carribean.  All ok.  May of this year after sailing to Cartagena-motoring to Colon panama fired up the engine to find a system fault.  filters cleaned, oil good, temps fine.  Turbo spinning all great.  Went through Canal.  8 weeks of waiting and “working” with CDM Commercial Motores of Panama finally revealed oil on the most pressure sensor: (CDM took to 6 weeks to get a new one put in, despite my protest as to find out why there is so much oil on the BPS to kill it) They then sent us on our way with a new BPS, “problem fixed.”  Trusting them no more than Mr. Bean to fix my engine we did a test sail/motor to Las Perlas: not surprisingly sensor failed again.  Back to mainland, finally with CDM tearing onto the aftercooler etc found oil in there, normal turbo, breather hose full and sputtering oil at the dipstick while running.  

I finally re-called Volvo Americas.  Carlos Corgo, a very encouraging young man actually came to the boat at Vist Mar in Panama and chatted with me.  We discussed long block #3 i.e. another LB replacement vs whole new engine.  His higher ups only approved the long lock replacement under warranty. We’re now at 1800hrs.

He said D3-110s are prone to this problem when paired to a boat too big for the engine.  I know we 54s are slightly over propped.  He noted this D3 should WOT at 3200rpm: i would WOT around 2700-2800.

Now please let me confide in you I knew very little about diesels when we bought this boat, and its been a steep learning curve and thanks to Nigel Calder whose course i took, to Bill Rouse and his endless patience with me, and this forum.  

I have changed the racors about every 200hrs. They never look that bad. I’ve never had the needle budge on the pressure indicator.   I’ve changed as well as the metal volvo micro filters about the same.   I polished the tank and fuel not long after we got the boat back.  I am on the nose with oil and filter and impeller changes.  Perhaps I’ve gone 300 hrs on the air filter, which always looks good.

When changing, I usually fill the oil right up to the last notch on the dipstick.

While running the engine, i typically run in the 1300-1800 range.  At the end of a trip i goto 24-2700 for about five minutes then let engine idle for 5-10 minutes before shutting down.  The autoprop is spotless and flexible. 

What might I have done to contribute to this?
What should i do differently so it doesn’t occur somewhere in the South Pacific?

As always your great advice and insights are very appreciated.


Porter McRoberts
Amel 54-152 S/V IBIS
Vista Mar, Panama

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