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Mercruiser vs Volvo Penta

Glassguy54Glassguy54 Member Posts: 588 ✭✭✭
Does anyone out there have or know of any data or empirical evidence regarding performance comparisons, reliability issues, and cost/ease of maintenance with these two power packages? For example, is it easier and less expensive to service one or the other? Is one or the other  more reliable? I have a 2007 Mercruiser 350 MAG MPI with Bravo III. We took the boat up to the Mississippi 2 weeks ago for the first time and shortly after launching the boat, I was getting a high temp warning alarm. Fortunately we were still within sight of the ramp, so I got it back to the dock and shut it down, then went to fetch the truck & trailer. When the trailer was in, Honey Bunny started the engine and got the boat on lickety-split. We came home and I took it to the marina for an impeller (nearly impossible to access on a 246 Captiva). The impeller was replaced and I thought all was good, so Sunday we went to the local reservoir where the marina happens to be located as well. Same scenario - within minutes the temp began to climb into the danger zone so I got it right back on the trailer and called the marina. Luckily, they were there on Sunday and I hightailed it over there and dropped off the boat. They got the pump off again and determined that it was scored too badly to be able to prime, so now I'm buying a whole new pump assembly ~$400.00. With the previous labor for the impeller (they are not charging me labor for pulling/replacing the pump this time, but I'm on the hook for the new pump) plus I also had the Gen 3 cool fuel module water separator/fuel fiter and the gear oil replaced, so all in all I'm up to a thousand bucks and haven't yet had the pleasure of even a 1/2 hour on the water. Our previous boat had a 5 liter Volvo Penta with single prop SX drive and I seem to recall that the impeller was right on the front of the crank pulley and very easy to service. So, on my next boat, should I stick with Merc or go back to V-P?  I know both have their admirers and detractors, but I'm looking for some unbiased opinions. Sorry this is so long!

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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sorry about your season opener delay. Your old water pump lasted 7 seasons. That can't be a bad thing. The water pump housing sure ain't cheap. I just did ours and it was 10y/o. Mercruiser had a clinker/defective set of impellers out there last year that wouldn't prime and I got one. After my effort and a few emails confirming my find they sent me a free $400 pump/housing/impeller assy for my trouble. I don't think VP would've done that.

    Hey, I don't want to break your heart but there is a SS water pump plate that can be found on Fleabay for about $50 that can/will replace a scored pump body wall.

     I'm a Merc supporter primarily for the ease of finding American made parts and the tough reputation of the B-III. I use ours in a saltwater environment and have to say if you follow the maintenance schedule it's a pretty sound design. That said, every boating dawg has his day.

    The VP bellows issues and other drive stories I've heard will keep me in a Merc unless their QC goes in the can which isn't there yet. Just sayin'. Mike


    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    Glassguy54Glassguy54 Member Posts: 588 ✭✭✭
    Gosh, that sure was nice of Merc to send you a new pump assy gratis. The marina called me after they removed the pump and I went to have a look and it was scored on both surfaces where the front and rear of the impeller rotate. I looked at the SS Hardin Marine pump and various rebuild kits etc, but looks as if many are either one half or the other or is not the correct replacement for my 2 pc brass pump assembly, SO,  fo hunnid dollas it is. I shall endeavor to not beach on the sandy banks of the Mississippi every weekend as the previous owner had done for 6 years!  
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    cettialpha6cettialpha6 Member Posts: 42 ✭✭

    Sorry about your pump assy. I have the same engine/drive setup. FYI  Mercruiser recommends changing that rubber impeller every two years. I change ours every 3 years. It sure is a pain in the **** to change and being low and out of sight makes putting the hoses on and off an adventure.If the impeller was that old, it may have cooked the unit being in so long. I can't believe Mercruiser hasn't change that water pump setup yet. Mercruiser parts seem easier and faster to get.

    Art

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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2014
    GG, Beached in the sand every weekend for 6yrs speaks pretty highly of that pumps tolerance of abuse. Hard to give Merc a ding for that one. Sorry about the $400 and the long journey to resolution.

    Here's a ((LINK)) to the other impeller thread for those who might need it. The reference to the inexpensive replacement backing plate that I'd run across should be in there somewhere too.

    I had that pump in/out so many times that I could get it out in a matter on mins. Not a skill set I really hoped to acquire. Those tolerences are really close to catch a good prime.
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    Glassguy54Glassguy54 Member Posts: 588 ✭✭✭
    Thanks Tiki & C-Alpha for the Merc vote of confidence. I don't know if the previous owner had ever had the impeller replaced or not. When I asked him about it, he was kind of evasive, and that leads me to believe he had not. Seems you'd remember something like that - I certainly would. We have only had the boat for a year, and had great times last summer and no issues. The mechanic said the impeller they took out the first time they pulled the pump was still intact, for the most part, but had a vane about to detach, and somewhat brittle too, I would imagine. !!!! I just this minute got a call from the marina. They say all is back together, operating fine, lake tested, running at 168* Can't wait to go pick it up today. I might even close early and go down and put it in the lake just to put around for an hour or two. It's June 6 already and we haven't really been boating yet, other than last sunday when we took the boat back to the marina. They said we could take one of their pontoons out for the day, so we did. HA!!! Not exactly sport boat handling. Maneuvered like a brick, and a terrible case of prop steer. My arm was sore all day.
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,468 admin
    I wish that is all it cost me to put the  boat in the water. I blew an outdrive and both water pumps on my 342 had the same problem with being scored on the inside. My pumps were $700 each. I had the bottom painted and my blower hoses replaced. My total bill was........ $12615.00 But I love my boat and now all the seats are being redone for another $2600,00 
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    Glassguy54Glassguy54 Member Posts: 588 ✭✭✭
    OUCH! I'm going to have to start making A LOT more money if we ever decide to move up to a cruiser. We're pretty satisfied with just day boating though. The 246 is big enough to get plenty of peole on board -O/R yacht certified, and we can trailer it to where ever we feel like boating, be it Lake of the Ozarks, the Mississippi, Lake Michigan, etc. We're taking it up to Door County, Wisconsin over July 4th. And now I know it will be a worry free trip. Would have been a travesty if the pump had given up 400 miiles from home!
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,468 admin
    I love my boat. I take weekend trips and its very roomy to sleep on or take showers and party. Its an awesome boat.
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    We love our 342. My son has walked bigger boats from other makers and still likes ours better, the enclosed shower is a big bonus. Great size, seaworthy, and can virtually live aboard for lond weekends or even weeks on trips.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,468 admin
    I lived on my boat for 10 months while going through a divorce. No problem at all. Actually it was pretty cool. 
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    midwestemidweste Member Posts: 135 ✭✭
    Wow Raybo,10 months? That's a quick divorce! Mine took almost six years and my ex wife went through 5 attorneys!

    2000 180 Bowrider, 135hp 3.0L Merc, 2.00 Alpha One Gen 2 OD, 14.5 x 19P prop

       Regular weekender, trailer stored indoors, Southern Ohio  

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    Lifes GoodLifes Good Member Posts: 465 ✭✭✭
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,468 admin
    My divorce lasted almost 5 years with a full court trial. Could not agree on anything. I have not spoken to my 18 year old daughter in 2 years because her mother used her like a pawn and gave me the "bad mouth". 27 years I was married and now if she was on fire I would not pee on her to put it our....LOL I live on my boat for 10 because when I had to sell my home she moved my 3 grown children into a 1 bed room apartment. My oldest son moved in with a friend and his family. So I bought a 4 bedroom 3 bathroom townhouse so my son would have a place to live. She took me back to court because she wanted half the price of the townhouse.......lol Judge laughed....... Sorry for going off thread and the rant......... 
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It's okay brother, may not be dead-on the thread, but only an a**hole wouldn't support your comments IMO :-)  Just one more reason to love a Rinker! MT
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Dana Point, California, USAPosts: 0 ✭✭✭
    I've got 2 years and 140 hours and counting of flawless performance out of my Volvo Penta XDP drive. Who knew?
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    Lifes GoodLifes Good Member Posts: 465 ✭✭✭
    Andy
    that's great news! An area that is also troublesome on the xdp is the stainless raw water connector. It's at the end of the raw water hose and attached to the inside of the upper transom plate. It is not bonded and electrolysis eats it away creating pin holes and water leaks. It needs a bonding wire from it to the block. I went thru two sets in two years until I got smart and bonded them. The next year I replaced the drives due to continued bellow and gear failures.

    Yours must have been built on a Wednesday. ..... far enough from the weekend that the techs were sober!
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Dana Point, California, USAPosts: 0 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the heads up Lifes Good. For some reason (up until now at least) I think I have the driest bilge I've ever seen. Maybe a pint or two every few weeks, but I used bilge pads that soak it all up.

    The composite housing on the drive has been continuously submerged in seawater since 2006 and is still in fine shape. Kudos to the Dana Point Boatyard for the competent maintenance work they did back in 2012. The reason my XDP hasn't blown to smithereens is probably the relative low power of the 5.0 and the lightness of my boat. Hooked up to a big block and pushing 10K lbs per motor around was where the first problems for XDP owners arose I believe. They just can't take that kind of duty.

    I know there is a new drive in my future. Just not sure when.

    Andy

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