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  1. #1
    Cadet
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    Default Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    I've been a boat owner for 36 years. Owned lots of different boats. Grew up around them and taking care of them. I bought a brand new Larson with a Volvo/Penta 5.7 GSI in 2003. I have yet to go through an entire summer without a breakdown of some kind. Computer pack failed 4 years ago. Engine failed 2 years ago with a head-gasket failure and valve damage. I don't pull tubes or skiers. Engine is always run between 3000 and 3400 rpm when up on plane, and that's usually rare. First engine failure occurred at 370 hours. Now, the engine has failed again at 500 hours. This time, it's more serious. The engine has, apparently, siezed up. The first time the engine blew, the service technician said that the boat is "over-propped". This means that the wrong propeller was installed on the boat. I called Larson. (They're USELESS when you talk to them on the phone). Larson blamed Volvo for the error. When I called Volvo, they blamed Larson. Back and forth it went. It cost me $5000 to get things "right". It's now 2 years and a little more than 100 hours of running time later, and I have my second engine failure. The technician in tearing down the engine to find the root cause. In my opinion, if this is engine is just a "lemon", I should be compensated by Volvo, warrenty or no warrenty. (Warrenty's, extended or not, don't cover much anyway). If engine failure is a pretty common occurrance with this model, then there should be a a class action lawsuit formed as soon as possible. I'm not giving up on this without a fight. Anyone who reads this can comment. I don't need sympathy. Just some advice, information, or help on what to do would be nice. Thanks to all.

  2. #2
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    The first time the engine blew, the service technician said that the boat is "over-propped". This means that the wrong propeller was installed on the boat. I called Larson. (They're USELESS when you talk to them on the phone). Larson blamed Volvo for the error. When I called Volvo, they blamed Larson.
    Volvo has nothing to do with what prop is installed, same as they have no controls over what boat it's installed in. Volvo doesn't know if that engine and drive package will be installed in a 23' runabout, or a 28' cruiser. Let alone which prop.
    Even Larson can only test the engine an put a prop on the boat that is within the WOT range for that engine at that location. If you load the boat with a lot of equipment not on the test boat (Larson nor any other manufacturer water tests every boat they manufacturer. The final prop test should be at the selling dealer during your deliver test run with your dealer. From there, it's up to you to keep an eye on WOT rpm as you load the boat.

    In my opinion, if this is engine is just a "lemon", I should be compensated by Volvo, warrenty or no warrenty.
    If the tech hasn't found what caused the failure how can you call it a lemon? If you repropped it from the first failure, then you won't have the same cause for failure.

    If engine failure is a pretty common occurrance with this model, then there should be a a class action lawsuit formed as soon as possible.
    The 350 is used in thousands of boats with no problem. It's also used by Mercruiser and other marinizers like KEM, Kodiac, Marine Power, Crusader etc. so it's not a problem engine in itself. If it's actually an engine problem, you have to go after GM, not Volvo, as Volvo does not make the 5.7 engine, just some of the accesories and the outdrive.
    Don S.


    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

  3. #3
    Cadet
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don S View Post
    Volvo has nothing to do with what prop is installed, same as they have no controls over what boat it's installed in. Volvo doesn't know if that engine and drive package will be installed in a 23' runabout, or a 28' cruiser. Let alone which prop.
    Even Larson can only test the engine an put a prop on the boat that is within the WOT range for that engine at that location. If you load the boat with a lot of equipment not on the test boat (Larson nor any other manufacturer water tests every boat they manufacturer. The final prop test should be at the selling dealer during your deliver test run with your dealer. From there, it's up to you to keep an eye on WOT rpm as you load the boat.



    If the tech hasn't found what caused the failure how can you call it a lemon? If you repropped it from the first failure, then you won't have the same cause for failure.



    The 350 is used in thousands of boats with no problem. It's also used by Mercruiser and other marinizers like KEM, Kodiac, Marine Power, Crusader etc. so it's not a problem engine in itself. If it's actually an engine problem, you have to go after GM, not Volvo, as Volvo does not make the 5.7 engine, just some of the accesories and the outdrive.

    Dear Don. Thank you for responding. I read lots of your responses to people with great interest. I understand that an engine has many components made from several companies. But who's name is most visible? It is Volvo. They should accept the scrutiny of evaluation when things go bad, as well as good. I'm not questioning the historical performance record or reliability of the GM 350 for auto or marine use. My GM 350 truck has 272,000 miles on it and I've never had a problem. Is it possible that just this particular 350 is a "lemon" or perhaps inappropriate for this boat? Several of my boat owner friends have 350's under names other than Volvo in their rigs and haven't had these problems. I just spoke to another friend who has owned several types of boats for almost 50 years (GM 350's included), and told me that he hasn't seen many Volvo engines that DIDN'T have cronic performance and reliability issues. I am still waiting for the "autopsy" on my engine. I will post the results when available. Thank you again for your insight.

  4. #4
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    The first time the engine blew, the service technician said that the boat is "over-propped".
    Ayuh,... So was the prop changed,..?? to what,..??
    What are the before, 'n after numbers,..??

    If they come up with more Detonation as the cause of the latest failure,..
    I'd be lookin' into the boat's fuel system...
    Detonation, induced by a lean condition will turn a good runnin' motor, into an Anchor in No time Flat...

    Yer postin' here, Only to lay Blame...
    There maybe plenty of it to go around, but I think yer lookin' in the wrong directions...
    I'm also guessin' there's more to the story...
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  5. #5
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    It's a GM engine, Volvo adds the drive unit, same as Mercruiser and the rest. You need to find out what the cause of the engine failure was before you go off halfcocked. Like Don said, something has to be happening that is not normal for the engine to go. There are literally thousands of these engines around, could be a lemon but I'd bet there is another problem. Do you run it at WOT often?? If so, for a long time or only for a few seconds??? Is your timing correct?? Could there be a problem with the fuel delivery system causing the engine to run too lean?? Was it properly winterized if you are in the frozen wasteland of the North (I'm in Canada so it's even worse here)?? Lots of questions and not too much info. Get the 'autopsy' results and go from there.

  6. #6
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    my GSI has been perfect all summer, had it out about 15 times so far.... its how you take care of it that makes it perform when you need it to
    1989 INVADER 204 ELAN
    WHITE, CRIMSON, AND BLACK
    5.7 GSi/DP-A/ STAINLESS MARINE EXHAUST
    SWEET AUDIO SETUP

  7. #7
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mnypitboat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    Its just a GM 350. Makes no differance that it is a Volvo.

    Did they do a complete rebuild the first time around or did they just pull the heads, have a valve job done and replace head gaskets. If this is the case, you may have caused this problem from that water in the cylinders the first time around. If it bent valves it was definately putting additional stress on the bottom end. Could have possibly caused this issue. $5000 at some marinas barely pays for a used engine with install. So maybe it wasnt rebuilt. Maybe a used engine?? maybe a patch job?? maybe a poor rebuild?? Lots of possibilities. Once you rebuild an engine it takes the manufactorer out of the picture. Then you go back to the rebuilder. Unless they bought a new one from Volvo, but I doubt that happened at $5000 total cost. I bet a new one from Volvo costs more than that just for the engine.

    It also could have been a half baked rebuild. I am always nervous about paying someone else to build my engines. It is cheaper, and I have done it, but it still makes me nervous. You never know what they have done, or didnt do.

  8. #8
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Blown engine, again! All Volvo 5.7 GSI's this bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by mnypitboat View Post
    Its just a GM 350. Makes no differance that it is a Volvo.

    Did they do a complete rebuild the first time around or did they just pull the heads, have a valve job done and replace head gaskets. If this is the case, you may have caused this problem from that water in the cylinders the first time around. If it bent valves it was definately putting additional stress on the bottom end. Could have possibly caused this issue. $5000 at some marinas barely pays for a used engine with install. So maybe it wasnt rebuilt. Maybe a used engine?? maybe a patch job?? maybe a poor rebuild?? Lots of possibilities. Once you rebuild an engine it takes the manufactorer out of the picture. Then you go back to the rebuilder. Unless they bought a new one from Volvo, but I doubt that happened at $5000 total cost. I bet a new one from Volvo costs more than that just for the engine.

    It also could have been a half baked rebuild. I am always nervous about paying someone else to build my engines. It is cheaper, and I have done it, but it still makes me nervous. You never know what they have done, or didnt do.
    Totally agree ^^. your questions need to be directed towards the builder. I have been building engines and race engines for years and I am amazed at how some so called engine builders throw together a engine. How long was the boat in the shop after the first rebuild? Did he provide a parts list of all the engine parts for the rebuild replaced or if they replaced the entire engine where was it purchased? from a local salvage yard? Did he prime the engine before starting it? Several factors come into play when rebuilding a engine especially a marine or race engine. If the proper procedures were not followed this could cause the engine to fail premature sometimes on the first start up and others will last a bit longer, but will fail sooner than supposed to. From my understanding most inboard marine engines are built to a higher standard than just a regular engine for a vehicle due to the constant higher rpms. I would also ask the builder for some ASE certifications or ask him were he learned his building skills, daddys salvage yard? To build marine or race engines you must go to school to learn the correct way or learn from a professional builder for a couple of years before you are considered a builder.
    2000 larson 4.3L 43GL PEFS 4012016908

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