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Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:38 am
by shaunherd

the engine on my centaur, a MD11C is noisy and smokes quite a bit (more so on start up less after running a while). i bought the boat nov 2015 and am a newbie with regards to boat engines. Id like to give it a good service/reconditioning or whatever it needs (hopefully not scrapping!). Can anyone offer advice about what to do or check, or be able to help, or recommend someone or a service i could use. Boat is moored in the Swale.

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:09 am
by aquaplane
Welcome to the fun of MD11C fettling.

The noise I can't help with, they are quite a noisy beast.
To see if yours is unusually noisy all you can do is listen to a similar engine and compare what you hear.

I recon you need to be able to do the basics yourself just in case you have to when on passage so filter changes and bleeding/priming the fuel system as a minimum.

You will need some way to get the warmed oil out, I use a little pump, some folk prefer a Pella device.
An oil filter.
Suitable oil, about 4 pints IIRC.

Change the fuel filter and bleed the system.

Keep spare filters and oil aboard.

Be careful when overhauling. You could easily run up a largish bill which could go towards replacing the beast. With 20:20 hind sight I should have replaced my MD11C 8 yrs ago when I bought the boat then I would have had the benefit of the expense. I wouldn't have got my money back now I'm trying to sell the boat but it would be easier to sell her.

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:51 am
by Jolly Roger
The old Volvo engines were built to last and provided they are regularly serviced, they will continue working. They are noisy compared to modern deisels, but they are simpler to work on.

Here is the owners manual.

Here is the workshop manual. ... _17C_D.pdf

This is the official Volvo parts site with exploded views of many parts. ... 42230.aspx

If you are not willing to learn how to work on your engine then here is a choice of local marine engineers. ... te&curn=26

Hope this is of help.

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:28 pm
by Uncle Albert
Hoorah there is another MD out there. My suggestions are as follows:-
1. Use only mineral oil cheap Tesco or similar so long as its the right SAE/viscosity rating (same oil in both gearbox and engine). These engines were never designed for synthetics and............

2. Use only red diesel (unless going foreign) again these were never designed for bio-fuels and clean stuff.

3. Fit a speedy seal impeller cover, saves a lot of hassle trying to find a tiny bolt in the bilge, been there done that!

4. Change the oil and oil filter every year without fail.

They are 'work-on-able' in situ on the boat. I changed pistons and cylinder liners on mine a couple of years ago due to cylinder liner failure, internal corrosion. So have had it stripped down to the crank case housing.

I get a bit of smoke on start up but that is due to the nature of the cold start mechanism which chucks a load of extra fuel in to get the beast firing. Smoke ceases after about 30 secs.

As previously mentioned they are noisy, I heard once that they were a derivation of a dumper truck engine in the 1960/70s.

Oh one final thing the connection between gear box and prop shaft takes a bit of punishment as each cylinder fires and puts a lump of torque on the drive key, and, if fitted drive pin. I have a roll pin and ss plain bolt to take the loads on each 'thump' of the engine but the sprung steel (and hardened roll pin) breaks once during the season.

Hope this helps



Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:43 am
by shaunherd
all very helpful thanks, im going to start with one of the RYA day courses in engines and take it from there..

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:33 pm
by TyroSailor
You'll find that course very helpful I should think.

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:15 pm
by aquaplane
I haven't done a course, what do they entail?

I ask because I have serviced my cars until recently and a diesel boat engine is so simple compared to a car I can't see what a course could do for a reasonably competent DiYer.

You would have to be pretty ham fisted to fluff up an oil/filter change.

Make sure the drive bet works so the battery is charging, but during the day the engine will run even if the GPS runs out of juice, at night nav lights would be useful.

Changing the water pump impeller isn't hard, uncomfortable on my Centaur, but not hard.

Changing the fuel filter is sort of technical if you include the bleeding of the system. But I haven't changed one in 8 years so I'm probably overdue, what I am saying is you probably won't have to unless you want to find out how to. I have bled a fuel system, and it's not rocket science.

Re: Advice sought for MD11C TLC

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:47 am
by TyroSailor
When I did mine (15 years ago at a guess) I knew very little about diesels and hadn't even fiddled with a petrol engine for ages, so it was very useful. If you're used to servicing an engine, you may not need to do it :)

The course covered the principles of how the engine worked (which I sort of knew) including the Otto cycle of course; the various systems of the engine, what they did and how they did it; annual servicing and basic fault-finding and fixing. A full day, if i remember correctly, with hands on an engine and a cut-away one to see inside.

I once had to bleed a fuel system in anger - not long after the course, actually - when I chartered a boat. I was told that the engine would cut out if it was running when the boat was heeled. It did, of course. When we got into the harbour (that was interesting without the engine, especially as it was Portsmouth, and there was a SSE gale blowing) I left the mate on deck with the crew with instructions to reach back and forth, warning me when there was a tack imminent and went below to bleed the system. Worked brilliantly first time, so I was glad I'd done the course!