FW: [AmelYachtOwners] Volvo D3 oil pressure


Hello Paul. I had Amel 54 # 14. I did all the maintenance myself and had the workshop manual for the Volvo. I actually read the whole thing to full familiarize myself with this engine as I also previously had a SM 53 with a Volvo diesel. It was plenty of trouble for a brand new engine. Volvo ended up giving me a new replacement. I had been pushing hard for years with Mr. Carteau , Amel’s Chairman and Technical Director, to try Yanmar engines. We  soon did for North America and for Europe a little bit later. Amel went back to Volvo for the Amel 54 as it was a FADAC/computer controlled diesel that met the new and stricter emissions regulations as Yanmar did not quite have an available emissions compliant diesel in the required horsepower range. My Volvo D3 had several sensor failures with the computer control sensors. The first one was with the first potential client on the first sea trial  and I was ignominiously towed back to the dock . Not a good start…

Never had any mechanical problems with it and it didn’t use any oil between 100 hour changes either. The sensor problems did persist though and then vanished never to return. I hate head scratchers like that.


Amel switched to Pathfinder/marinized Volkswagen diesels, not to get away from Volvo as many assume but rather because Volvo decided  suddenly and with scant warning to quit building the D3 with the isolated negative/full earth return electrical system that Amel required. I believe one 54 got a Steyr diesel which, in my opinion,  is one of the best designed and built marine diesel engine with dealers all over the world.


Comments below. See if you can get the details I outlined from the gentleman who took the mechanical gauge oil pressure test.


All the Best, Joel         



                                           THE  EXPERIENCED AMEL GUY


                                   Office 954-462-5869  Cell 954-812-2485



From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> On Behalf Of Paul Dowd and Sharon Brown
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 7:03 AM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Volvo oil pressure


Many thanks to all who have replied. I’ll try to reply to the feedback.


This problem occurred immediately after an oil and oil filter change. I got the engineer involved after a few days when it started giving the warning whilst still at 1100rpm. The first thing the engineer did was to change the filter again for a genuine Volvo filter. That would tend to eliminate the check valve in the oil filter. Was the fresh oil added 4 hours ago the correct viscosity? Was it quality/branded oil like Shell Rotella or similar?


Re. oil analysis: Joel, as the oil is fresh – probably no more than 4 hours –  I doubt an analysis will yield anything significant – or am I wrong about that? More hours is better until you exceed recommended intervals. However, if the pressure is failing because of the clearances increasing, you will be shedding metal and this will be discernible at 4 hours. If you change the oil save some for a test if it later becomes obvious that it would be the correct thing to do. Take the sample from the last third of the oil extracted for best results.

The fact that the oil pressure is gradually getting worse would make me opt for a spectrographic analysis before any parts come off the engine. It is not expensive.


Re. oil consumption: The engine does not burn or lose any oil. That is encouraging.


Re. hours: engine hours are 1975.Way too young for self-destruction internally unless the engine was severely overheated or overloaded. If it is internal failure it would probably be due to manufacturers defect.


Re. historic maintenance – I have no details but I do know the boat had been extremely well taken care of so I doubt there is an issue here.


Re. pressure: I about the pressure, I didn’t personally take notes, but the engineer did measure the pressure using the external gauge at different rpm, up to about 2500 if I remember correctly. I am away from the boat and have asked them to send me this info. So, the mechanical gauge, for certain, confirmed that oil pressure at idle and up to around 1100RPM was below safe limits? If you can get the fellow who took the measurements to comment  about the following as he ran the RPM higher than 1100RPM it would be quite helpful…

Was the pressure increase linear or was it ‘jerky’ with plateaus and jumps?

As RPMs were increased, did the oil pressure always seem lower than what would be normal at that RPM?

If the oil pressure caught up with what would be considered normal, at what RPM did that happen?


Re. Pressure relief valve – I know nothing about that and it was not mentioned. Re. pump safety valve – again I have no knowledge about this and it was not mentioned. Oil pumps and associated regulating equipment are usually  carefully engineered and built to exacting standards as if these units fail everything else immediately follows suit. They seldom fail and when they do it is usually an immediate and catastrophic failure and not an incremental one. There are always exceptions…


Unfortunately I am away from the boat now until October. It is being looked after and I have contacted a friend who is an engineer in Grenada to investigate further. My concern is that if there is any bad weather the boat is not mobile – not a good situation.


Latest from the engineer: I would recommend to proceed with the following  after an oil analysis is completed as if the oil analysis tells of a failing engine the rest of this is unnecessary. It is usually not cost effective to rebuild  modern FADEC diesel  engines, particularly one that was in self consumption mode.


We can simply change the oil and filter, using Volvo filter and 15W40 HD oil as recommended, install a new pressure sensor and see what happens. If that isn't effective, there is a valve in the oil pump which could be stuck but because of your poor access we don't think the pump can come out without lifting the engine. The pump is on the crankshaft, behind the timing belt pulley(best replace that belt too) and this needs to be extracted; Stef says he doubts there would be room to get a puller between the engine and the bulkhead. The suction tube has a strainer and this could be blocked. The engine sump must be removed for this so engine definitely needs to come out. The sensor is not expensive, Euro 26.33 + freight. The valve is E 61.33, belt E 207.78, strainer E 61.33, seal E 25.11, gaskets and o-rings not much. Pump is not cheap at E 368.89. You suggested a new pump; I have not seen one give trouble, but I haven't seen this problem on a D3 before.

 So, how would you like us to proceed? The prices I gave are list, exclusive of shipping and brokerage. We can order just the sensor and replace this, the oil and filter and run her up in a couple of hours. If the problem is still there then I think she's gonna need to come out. The freight for just one sensor won't be very efficient and unfortunately I don't have much else to order right now- I try to get a list of parts together and spread the freight costs around, but if you are in a hurry, which with a disabled engine and the boat in the water I guess there must be some sense of urgency...




S/Y Ya Fohi - Amel 54 #98 - Grenada


From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> On Behalf Of amelforme
Sent: 29 April 2020 22:05
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Cc: jfpottercys@...
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Volvo oil pressure


Paul, a bit more information is needed to give you some help.

How many hours are on the engine now?

How many hours are on the oil in the crankcase now?

Did you get maintenance logs at the purchase that showed good habits regarding regular oil changes? What were the months and hour intervals if so?

Did this problem started immediately after a new oil filter and fresh engine oil were installed? Or was it several hours or days later?

Testing with a mechanical/non-electric oil pressure gauge confirmed that what you were reading from the helm mounted instrumentation was correct ?

Did oil pressure increase with higher engine RPM in a linear pattern, not increase at all or very little, or immediately increase by a great deal? This is very important  

 to know.

Does the engine burn more than a liter of oil  in 50 hours of running time?

Did the Volvo dealer immediately suggest engine removal with out any other testing?

 Did anyone suggest that you have a spectrographic engine oil analysis performed ? Do a web search on this. Not expensive and extremely telling about the engines  

internal mechanical condition.

 Slowly decreasing oil pressure is most often an indication of internal engine wear that increases/opens the tolerances/gaps between components like bearings and bearing journals.       

  I will await and respond to your answers but I would strongly suggest changing the engine oil filter and if nothing changes then obtaining a spectrographic engine oil analysis before the engine  is removed. The oil analysis will, for sure, tell you plenty about the engines’ relative health. Much the same as getting your blood work done before a visit to your medical practitioner.


All The best, Joel





From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> On Behalf Of Paul Dowd an

d Sharon Brown
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 2:21 PM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] Volvo oil pressure


Hi all,


I have a Volvo D3-110i-C with low oil pressure. I’m told by the local Volvo dealer that the engine will have to be taken out in order to replace the oil pump. I’m wondering what other factor may cause low oil pressure. Any opinion on this would be most welcome.


A bit of history on the problem. I changed the oil and oil filter after 188 engine hours which was 3 years. I then started getting low pressure warning after reducing from 1100rpm to idle. I checked the oil level and topped up to the top of the mark. After a couple of days I started getting low pressure warning whilst running at 1100rpm (to heat water). This was confirmed when the engineer attached a pressure gauge.




S/Y Ya Fohi - Amel 54 #98 - Grenada


Ya Fohi - Amel 54 #98

Ya Fohi - Amel 54 #98

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