MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

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MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby irish86 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:48 am

I am looking for perspective from other's experience. Looking at two different boats - one has a pair of MerCruiser 496 Mags and the other a pair of VP 8.1. I hear from some that VP are more reliable, but when they do need work the parts can be harder to get and are more expensive. I similarly hear that for the Merc, parts are more readily available and less expensive, but that the engines are less reliable and require work more frequently. I have been reading a lot of different blogs and review sites and no surprise am seeing both sides of the discussion. Any opinions from this group? Especially interested if there are any things I should absolutely be aware of or stay away from for either engine.

Thanks
John

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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:04 am

Few things, its the ford vs chevy type argument. Both make a good product, and you get a lemon on both sides from time to time. Other times they work great for the owners.

That being said, Regal like VP for the most part, because they aren't part of Brunswick, which owns many other boat manufactures as well including a main competitor Sea Ray. They will use them if ordered with Merc engines in them, so you do have the option. The biggest factor should be what does the dealer service and are certified for? This is the biggest question that needs to be answered. If your dealer is a Merc people then that answers your question.

They both have pluses and minuses, from technology to engine blocks. Typically overall the Merc's are a bit cheaper and for the money get more features like the Axius feature set is better, and will cost much more to get in VP. ;)
Thanks, Chris

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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby lg260ss » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:37 am

The 496 and 8.1 are essentially the same engine.

What drive systems are we talking about?
Inboards or Sterndrives?
What year? This makes a big difference with Merc. Before 2006, Merc had some pretty major issues with corrosion on Bravo 3 outdrives. (even in fresh water) They have since added additional anode protection to help with the issues.

Volvo has had issues with the fuel pumps on these engines with paint clogging the fuel system

Do you plan on maintaining them yourself?
If so, the Volvo Impeller is much easier the replace
The rest of the maintenance is about the same.
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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby Muddy Blues » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:50 pm

I can't comment on which is better, but I can share my experiences with VP over the last 16 years.

My last 3 boats have been VP powered. The first 2 were purchased new: 1) 2002 twin 5.0 GXi SX, 2) 2007 5.7 GXi SX. I am the 2nd owner of boat #3) 2007 8.1 Gxi DP.

My VP related issues are as follows:

1) Boat #1: Failed fuel pump on one engine after about 4 years.
2) Boat #2: SX Drive replaced at the 9 hour mark. No cost to me. Apparently metal fragments from the mfg process got into the drive, caused lots of damage to bearings and what not as the frags flowed around with the lube. I got a newer/better model drive out of the deal (exhaust out of cavitation plate instead of prop hub). No cost to me.
3) Boat #2. Fuel Injection issues that lg260ss described. These parts are very expensive, and you often times have to buy the entire assembly to get the part you need. Luckily VP covered the parts even though I was out of warranty. It still cost me a lot of $ and time, and ruined a July 4th vacation that was planned around boating (including rented slip that I could not use). There is another member on this site that is still struggling with an 8.1 motor that was replaced when a FI issue destroyed his pistons (running too lean?). I don't know what years or motors have the issues. My symptom was a very loud (and hot) fuel pump.
4) Boat #3. Power Steering issue - plastic cap cracked allowing PS fluid to escape. Simple and cheep fix, still running on original PS pump.

Boat #4 is on order for 2019 delivery with a VP 380.


Hope this helps.
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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby irish86 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:14 am

lg260ss wrote:The 496 and 8.1 are essentially the same engine.

What drive systems are we talking about?
Inboards or Sterndrives?
What year? This makes a big difference with Merc. Before 2006, Merc had some pretty major issues with corrosion on Bravo 3 outdrives. (even in fresh water) They have since added additional anode protection to help with the issues.

Volvo has had issues with the fuel pumps on these engines with paint clogging the fuel system

Do you plan on maintaining them yourself?
If so, the Volvo Impeller is much easier the replace
The rest of the maintenance is about the same.


So the Merc is a 2010 with Bravo 3 Sea Core drives and the VP is a 2006 with standard XDP drives. My gut tells me that in spite of the low hours on the VP (under 300) I may be looking at a drive replacement - but a good survey and inspection with confirm/deny that concern.
John

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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby cbsmith » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:36 am

Don’t touch a Volvo 8.1 with the composite XDP drives. Either get the seller to replace them or walk away. The big block engine kills them.
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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:38 am

Yes you can figure at least $20-30K+ for drive replacements as new transom shields are needed as well. According to VP you need about 10hrs of shop time to do the engines. That can really be + or - depending if the people have done the swaps before. The XDP's with 8.1 will break all sorts of stuff in the drives. like the casings as well. Myself I would gamble on the newer with Mercs if it were me, the sea core drives will help quite a bit with corrosion issues.
Thanks, Chris

2012 - Regal 35 Sports Coupe - Twin VP 5.7GiCE-300-P - DP-SA - SOLD
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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby Texdoc8953 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:52 pm

The issues are well documented.
Stay away from XDP drives. Especially with the big blocks.
No more needs to be said...
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Re: MerCruiser or Volvo Penta

Postby irish86 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:25 pm

Thanks for all the help!
John

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