Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] After 187 days working on our Volvo D3-110, HAS A MIRACLE OCCURRED?. But I have some questions!...

Porter McRoberts

Thank you Gents!
Well... my adulation was premature. 
While I was able to generate 2500 rpm underway the engine faulted after about an hour and then reduced to 700 rpm to “protect the engine”.   The fault goes back to the throttle position sensor. Which has been replaced. 
Now limited to 700 rpm. Good thing it wasn’t windy coming back in the marina. 

Volvo reports they’ve found a replacement engine. That’s the good news. 

Ibis 54-152

Excuse the errors.  
Sent from my IPhone 

On Nov 27, 2018, at 7:04 PM, Alexandre Uster von Baar uster@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


Good afternoon Porter,

Before declaring victory, you need to do a sea trial.
With my SM2K, when I was tied to the dock or standing still, I was able to get high rpm, but then once the boat kept moving the rpm dropped (to 2250 from memory).
So please do a sea trial, to see if you can still reach higher rpm.
But I sincerely hope for you, fighting the intercooler help…

Personally, probably too overcautious, I would do several long motoring along the coast to make sure it is constant.

Good luck! Sincerely, Alexandre

On Tue, 11/27/18, Porter McRoberts portermcroberts@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] After 187 days working on our Volvo D3-110, HAS A MIRACLE OCCURRED?. But I have some questions!...
To: "Yachownersgroupatyahoo Amel" <amelyachtowners@...>
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 9:05 AM


Dear Amelgroup:
It's Porter, S/V IBIS Amel
54-152 again.  May I please impose on you a few questions,
if you’d be so kind, regarding our engine issue? We’ve
had a MAJOR breakthrough.
As some of you may know we have
been wrestling with a Volvo D3-110 engine issue for 6+
months here in Panama.  It has been a very long, and
complicated ordeal, detailed in a chronology of events
included below.  
breakthrough:After 187 days in Panama working
on this issue and essentially a completely new engine: new
blocks, valves, pistons, computers, wiring harnesses, rings,
turbo, rails, injectors, high pressure pump, filters,
impellers, timing chain etc… At the end of the last sea
trial with Volvo, the local rep realized that the
aftercooler had not been secured and thus he tightened it
down.  (I had mentioned to him that the engine also had
great RPM variability, and he went looking for the cause.) 
He tightened the bolts and the variability ceased..  We
were heading back in from the trial, heads low, after making only
2100 RPM at WOT, even with new fuel system and bypassing the
fuel filters with fresh filtered diesel in a jug. They then
inadvertently broke the diesel return line to the fuel tank.
Returning the next day they replaced the line and we cleaned
the bilge.  YESTERDAY: I have the rebuilt H6 Autoprop back
and changed out the supplied fixed prop for the beautiful
working Autoprop.  I fire up the engine at the dock just to
rattle the prop and reseat it.  I put the Volvo in gear and
run it up to… 3150RPM?!? sustained! with an amazing amount
of thrust and water shooting out the back.  Docklines
straining!  Purrs like a kitten?!?  No
more whooshing sound or a RPM limit at 2100, with
still 40% of the throttle throw arc left—without the
expected increase in power and rpm.  RATHER: The throttle
lever continues on, adding power smoothly and effectively
till the lever is horizontal and we’re spinning 3100+ (in

The questions

Can an engine with only 25 hours
on it exhibit a low compression test and still be
“normal”, i.e. safe with a normal life expectancy? (the
cylinders’ compression were all within about 3-5% of each
other) Does the engineer’s explanation hold water? (See
next paragraph below)Can an after cooler leak affect
compression testing? (I can’t think how it
would)Can an after cooler leak
completely explain the situation? (if the fresh turbo gasses
are just pouring into the engine compartment, then its like
not having a turo, right?)Would you take this engine across
the pacific?What more testing needs to be
done to confirm readiness (were planning a 5-7 day sail and
motor around Islas de las Perlas)?More of a comment: If the after
cooler was the cause of low RPM and the bolts had been tightened
when they assembled the engine in Panama, I would have never
gotten a compression test, and we’d be in the Gambier’s
right now.

The above questions arise from
the condensed events:Volvo D3-110 on an Amel 54.  New
block, completed with valves, pistons, header, long block
etc installed in September.  Engine fails to make RPM above
1800.  Local Volvo performs compression test: all five
cylinders test around 19.5-20.5  Normal is printed at 23-30
Bar.  I call Volvo and speak with the engineer who designed
the Volvo D3-110. He says, “low compression like that is
normal given the circumstances, new engine without  seating
of piston rings, you wont see normal compression until you
have at least 500 hours or more.”  Next interesting
comment: “Many diesel companies do not even publish
compression values, only normative values for cylinders
relationship to each other in terms of compression %.”
Only 2 interpretations of his statements existed: 1)
that’s BS, and he’s simply placating the situation, 2)
he knows his engine.  5 compression tests were performed
all with a topped up starting battery, all compression tests
gave the same results.

Many many thanks for all and any
Porter McRobertsVista Mar,
PanamaS/V IBIS, Amel

Below is a (still condensed)
summary of events:

April 2017, We buy S/V IBIS. Engine
1100hrs at purchase of our Amel 54 sailboat we replace with
new long block, injectors and a variety of other items at
the suggestion of Volvo, following the prescribed break-in
procedures and early oil changes etc.  Long block was
replaced (19,000+Euro) Volvo Martinique identified loss of
compression in the cylinders, and engine smoke at the engine
survey.September 2017, 1500 engine hours,
Injectors fail and I refurbish them (despite being under
2018, Travel, motor and sail
without issue, save routine maintenance until arrival in
Colon, Panama when a “engine fault” light appears on the
dash. ~1800hrs.  I ask 2 local mechanics in Colon, Panama 
(Northern Caribbean Panama)  have a look.  Neither can
identify the issue as the fault requires a Volvo specific
VODIA computer, of which only Volvo approved shops have. 
The only Volvo dealer is in Panama City, and thus we need to
transit the canal to find the appropriate
mechanics.June 8th, we’ve obtained transit
date and transit the canal to meet CDM of Panama
City.June 10th, we meet with CDM
(Commerciales de Motores) who come to La Playita Marina to
evaluate.  They find outdated software, and a Boost
pressure sensor failure and tell me, we need a software
update (and now a new computer, because our computer was
ruined with the attempted CDM update.)  Week of June 10th While attempting to update
computer computer is ruined. We wait 2 weeks for new
computer to be sent to panama. (fed-ex is overnight but
costs 40$ more (i later learn from a local employee))  I
ask another mechanic recommended by the marina: his
assessment: boost pressor sense is failing because there is
oil on the sensor, which should not be there.  I
communicate this to CDM.  They refuse to find reason for
oil, stating computer is the problem.July 2018, New Computer arrives and
they install but then find that the wiring harness has
somehow failed.  I must buy new wiring harness. Also Boost
Pressure Sensor still bad.  Need to order new of both.  2
weeks pass.. (fed-ex is overnight but costs 40$ more (i 
again later learn from a local employee))  Both arrive. 
They install both and tell me the engine is fixed, it is
safe to continue on to Tahiti.  July 2018, I test motor by motoring
to local islands a few hours away, on way back, sensor light
and alarm goes off.  We motor back with reduced rpm
 a week or so later technicians
come to boat: (New) boost pressor sensor has failed.  They
determine oil has traveled from crankcase housing, up
breather tube, through turbo to the aftercooler and recoated
the new BPS with oil.  Carlos
Corgo happens to be in Panama.  He comes to boat, at
this time it is determined that the replacement long lock
has failed (LB#2)  It is under warranty and Volvo will
replace. Long block failure is the reason for BPS failure.
Replacement set up for August, must return back to Panama
City.August 2018 We sail back to Panama
City.  I communicate engine realignment procedure from AMEL
to mechanics and give them the
30 step worksheet.  Haul boat out of water, take out
engine, 2 days later return engine.  Long Block #3
allegedly installed.  But
LB#3 has same serial number as LB#2.  The mechanics, whom I choose to
trust, tell me that the belt cover from LB2 was used on LB3,
because the cover on 3 had broken in transit.    Motor
reinstalled with CDM mechanics confirming realignment
procedure. We sea trial LB#3 with CDM
mechanics: we note new occurrences of the following: motor
surging, and abnormally low RPM and vibration.  Mechanics
and Corgo argue: must be the propeller.  I note to
mechanics propeller is clean and OEM to the boat and
motor.  (I later Call AMEL (boat manufacturer who tells me
both props were picked by Volvo France for the boat and are
OEM and are to spec)) With long block
replaced, and boat blessed by mechanics, safe to travel to Tahiti, we
then retest by sailing to local islands.  On way to local
islands, a terrible noise occurs en route with violent
vibration and engine surges violently, changing, by itself,
500-1000 rpm
rapidly.  I take video.  Next day I call CDM. and Corgo:
they suggest prop still the issue.  I call AMEL France.  I
change prop to unused, OEM, Volvo selected spare
prop with fixed blades.  Symptoms are mildly better, as
surging less violent, but vibration is horrible, Also RPM
wandering-variability unchanged.  Corgo continues to blame
drivetrain.  I do test at anchor: Engine in neutral: 3200
rpm (the suggested), Engine with gears engaged but without
prop: 3190rpm., Engine with new prop 1800 rpm. This test
exonerates the drivetrain.September 4th, We motor and sail back to
Vista Mar Marina with great vibration and engine RPM
variability.  Corgo blames the weight of the
boat.September 4th week Sea trial absent 1300kg
fuel, water and spare parts.  Boat 1/4 kt faster (9.2 to
9.5kts) but 1800rpm unchanged from loaded
boat.Sept 26.  CDM mechanics return to
boat to do realignment procedure.  In starting procedure
find the drive shaft of the boat broken, and the coupling
broken, and the motor out of alignment by >3mm (.025mm
noted as maximum) .  CDM blames previous installation of
motor ((done at Volvo
Martinique) and 10,000 miles ago with vibration free
service.)  CDM
and Corgo then tells me they are unwilling to help in any
form or fashion.  I write Volvo with the help of
Amel School President, Admiral Bill Rouse.  Volvo responds
by assuming responsibility for the installation and commit
to reimburse me the costs of new shaft, new coupling, and
labor. (I still need to submit the costs)Sept 27th-October 12th  I
hire a new engineer since volvo/CDM refuses to fix the drive
train damage they caused. With new engineer, mill new parts
out of steel, order and receive and install OEM coupling and
new drive shaft to AMEL OEM specs.October 15th Seatrial with engineer. 
Engine, Transmission, and Driveshaft at 1000rpm can now
balance a penlight.  But this seatrial reveals top RPM at
1500 before engine faults yet again reducing WOT rpm to
700rpm.  CDM contacted. They setup visit for Oct 19.
 October 18th CDM returns to boat. 
Luis, lead technician runs a series of 2 compression tests
on the motor.  I pay engineer to be present.  CDM finds
the long block, LB#3 (with 25 hours) has failed.  All
cylinders fail: (24-31 bar listed in manual at starter
speed.) Results by Cylinder:bar——Cyl 1:19.3bar, Cyl
2:20.7bar , Cyl 3:20.7bar, Cyl 4:19bar  Cyl 5:19..3bar. 
All cylinders are performing at 62-80% of recommended
pressures.  CDM repeats test and finds same, confirmatory
and surprising, results.October 22nd, 2018 Volvo/CDM
suggests they order new injectors and injection system. 
(Dispite low compression test) November 19-21 is given as
expected arrival date. October 29th At the
suggestion of a former patient who has been following our
trip I reach out to Ron Huibers, president of Volvo USA. 
He communicates back, and like a light switch things start
happening much faster.  
5-9 week Volvo USA comes to boat, replace Injectors and
rail: RPM increases from 1800 to 2100rpm (3000-3100 Normal)
on .  Fail to repeat compression test.
12-16 week.  Volvo sends back CDM to repeat Compression
test 9as doesn’t believe values) Now with Volvo specific
tool and standard tool and 2 different gauges CDM repeats
Tests.  ALL CONFIGURATIONS confirm original low compression
test with 2 more repetitions.  Engine warm, battery charged
etc.  Volvo suggests a 4th long block. I refuse as we cross
the 6 month mark waiting for Volvo.  The only reasonable
solution is a new model engine.  Nov
19-23 week  Volvo USA still cannot believe the
compression test.  Sends another mechanic and CDM back to
the boat to complete a 5th compression test and change the
high pressure fuel pump, and rail and test the engine with
direct access fuel (without using the existing filtration
system and boat fuel)  No change on 5th compression test,
no change on sea trial or engine performance with fuel
bypass test. (however, on the way back to dock, the local
CDM mechanic notices the after cooler is loose and tightens
it. Engine RPM variability goes away.)  Mechanics
inadvertently break the diesel return line from injectors to
tank and spill out a gallon of diesel in the bilge.  They
return next day to clean the bilge and replace the diesel
return line.Nov
21- Leon Baylor informs me no new H model D3 exist. 
March 2019, will be the delivery date.  I consider buying a
Beta.  Nov
26th: Engine miracle occurs.  First time get 3100 RPM
at WOT.  What’s different from previous 2100RPM/WOT
trial: Fixed prop changed to rebuilt Autoprop, fuel return
line from injectors back to fuel tank replaced, after cooler
screws tightened and after cooler now tight. Also trial
performed at the dock: we do seatrial today

Join to automatically receive all group messages.