About to p[ull the trigger on a 2006 320 EC...

RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
Hi all,

First post here.  As stated, we are about to buy a '06 230 Express Cruiser.  We have been boating the upper Potomac River for the past 25 years.  Our most recent and current boat is a '97 Bayliner 2355.  It's been a great boat for 15 years and about a thousand hours.  Over the years we have added many motor and boat upgrades in general.  Some of which include an aluminum radar arch with radar, vortec heads and 4bbl man/carb, extended swim platform, inverters, modern electronics, custom canvas...etc...etc...(we have always done our own work).  We've resisted going bigger for a while but the time is now;-)  We keep our boat on the Occoquan River in Woodbridge, VA.  This will be our first boat without the option to trailer. 

Believe it or not this 320 has less than 20 hours on it! Before this summer the boat had been dry docked for about 4 years.  It is in very good condition....darn near new.  I know that sitting for 4 years is not necessarily a good thing but before they put it back in the water they did about $7k of work to the boat including:
  • wash/wax
  • new bottom paint
  • new outdrive paint
  • new oil and filters in engines and outdrives
  • pumped out old gas and replace separators etc. (several times)
  • Replaced impellers and bellows on both drives and gen.
  • Inspected gimbal bearings etc.
  • replaced zincs etc.
  • serviced generator...changed oil/filters etc.
  • 4 new batteries

The boat is in the water now.  We checked it out last weekend...started the motors etc.  There were a few electrical querks etc that they are going to address but all will be functional before closing.  We are going to do a sea trial this coming weekend.  Any suggestions on things we should look for?  We are getting it at what seems to be a very reasonable price.

It has Volvo Penta 5.7 Osi motors with the 5kw Kohler gen etc.  It does not have the Plasteak flooring...this is something I may add myself down the road.

We've always had Mercruiser powerplants so I don't know too much about the Volvo Penta world.  After some poking around on the web it looks like the outdrives may be XDP's which from what I can tell have had their issues (how do I tell? I have pictures of the drives).  It looks like the engines are 280HP.  Couple of questions:
  • These have closed engine cooling...did they all come with that?
  • Do these engines have multi-port FI?
  • Anyone have performance data on this set up?
Sorry for the long post.  I'd love to hear any advice or suggestions from you all.  I'm sure I will have many questions going forward!

Thanks!
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Comments

  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great Boat, and it should be FI. Lots of posts on here regarding both power plants. Did Prince Willam marina take care of you?
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 6,664Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2015

    Great post! GREAT detail, that always helps. I hope you join the Rinker owners fraternity. Except for one OMC engine product I have always been a Mercury engine owner.

    I have no issue with the Volvo engines. Friends who own them like them a lot. There has been a lot of talk on the forum about the Volvo XDP drives and you will get a lot of good advice soon from forum members.

    I have no worry about a boat that has been laid-up for awhile other than some of the issues you mention - which look like they have been taken care of.

    My concern would be seals and hoses that have lost their integrity. I might look at having the seller price-in reductions for the cost of replacing gas line hoses and also have a look at the hoses from sea cocks.

    You sound like you know a lot about boating. If you didn't I'd say to 100% get a survey. It's still probably a good idea to at least have the hull surveyed.

    Did the previous owner/marina keep service logs?

    If the advice you receive on here indicates you can deal with the XDPs then it sounds like you have a good potential deal.

    My advice, listen to the Volvo owners on this site they are a very savvy bunch and will "steer you straight".

    Good luck!



  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Great Boat, and it should be FI. Lots of posts on here regarding both power plants. Did Prince Willam marina take care of you?

    Thanks Handyman...but no, not Prince William Marina.  We have a slip at John S. Beach Marina down the road.  We have kept our 2355 in a slip there for a number of years.  We typically pull the boat in the winter and take it home (as we did this year).  We have left it in the water a couple of seasons though.  The 2355 is still a pretty big boat on the trailer though I have hauled it around the East Coast a few times.  Towed it up to the finger lakes in and the Thousand Islands in NY a few times.  Great trips.  We may hold on to that boat on to the trailer for a bit (in case we get the urge to go somewhere more exotic)....not sure yet.
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Thanks Michael....actually, my first boat did have an OMC outdrive on it.  It was an '86 Renken 17' open bow with a four banger in it.  That motor and outdrive was junk!...and anemic power wise!  We did use the heck out of it for a few years though.

    Thanks for the advice.  I'm pretty good with a wrench so I'm not too worried about minor engine maintenance as you mention.  I'll have to climb down into the engine compartment and inspect all the hoses and belts etc.  The electric engine hatch worries me a little (if it were to fail)...though I think there is way to open it manually.
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thats Funny. My first boat was also a 1984 Renken 16' bowrider with a 2 cylinder 50HP junk motor. I upgraded to a 115 Merc. WOW
  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 5,356Member, Moderator mod

    River, first off, welcome to the forum.  You sound very knowledgeable and I'm sure will add lots to this forum.  I've owned a 2002 310 for 6-7 years (basically the same boat) & I have to say it is a great boat for almost everything.  You sound like a hands-on guy, so this boat will be perfect for you.  Everything is very accessible, especially the items you will need to maintain often. 

    Let's see if I can answer some questions.  Closed cooling. That is an option depending on engine package.  For you, on the Potomac/Ches bay, that is a good thing.  I don't know squat about Volvo unfortunately.  I would be very concerned about those drives & as said, people on here have dealt with it and will be best advice you can get.  (IMO, I'm not sure I'd buy a boat with them.  Again, just my opinion).

    Multi-port fuel injection, yes that is what they'd have.  Mine had the 5.0 MPI and the boat had plenty of HP and hole-shot.  The 5.7s will be very nice and you should easily top over 45mph.  If I remember right, I burned around 22gph at ~32mph. 

    Hmmm, what to look for.  Small things, but here goes.  Any signs of water leaks, rub rails are known for leaking.  Arch, water intrusion has been known to happen and then freezing and causing cracks at lower portion.  I believe the hardware is fixed in the arch by that year (SS hardware on the access panels caused corrosion).  For that age, check the water heater connections for corrosion (it is located on port side, access thru mid-cabin, remove cushion - which is a nice storage hole - and then small circle access panel in aft.  The connections going to the heater from engine tends to corrode.  Make sure all seacocks move easily.  I believe that year still has the electric head, which works nicely (except loud in middle of night).

    We always loved the layout of the boat and she cruised great on the bay.  We took her to VA beach from Annapolis area with no issues.

    Let us know how things go!  Good luck!

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 6,664Member ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RiverJunkie, Rinker hatches can be opened manually - some by removing the in-floor support for the cockpit table leg. As well, you probably have seen the posts in the cockpit area to attach a battery to open the hatch in the event that your boat's batteries run down. IMO the 320 is a great boat for ride in rough water, fuel economy due to a very well designed hull and great sized cockpit and cabin space for a boat of its size. It sounds like you are on to a winner.

    Just a thought.....If you had concerns about the condition of the drives would the seller offer you a 50-50 warranty? if there is a failure within one year he pays 50% of the repair.If he says yes, that's piece of mind if he says no that may be a flag.

    I sold a cottage one time with a 50-50 warranty on the septic system. The buyer wanted the cottage but he was afraid of the septic system, as was his mortgage lender. I said I know it's fine so I'll give you a 50-50 warranty on that system for two years. Deal done, there never was a problem with it.


  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,388Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2015
    Welcome to the forum. As I have said before, you will get feedback if you like it or not......JK, sounds like a great boat for what we can assume is a deal. For me, I think I can listen go a motor and tell if it is fixing to blow. With the low hours, you can assume if something else does not work' its probably a fuses or a connection. Our 270 purchased almost two years ago' 2005 model, had 100 hours on it. Kind of similar perhaps to what hour working with. There was a laundry list of stuff' if your doing this all yourself it is not for the faint of heart. On the plus side, you really get to know how it works. Good luck, I would have it surveyed by someone that really can look at the null pulled out of the water and just really have another set of eyes your paying to find the problems. After all' if if has a bad fuel tank and it costs 15 grand to fix it, your deal can fade fast.

    Post edited by rasbury on
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Thanks for all the great advice guys!  A couple of things that come to mind based on your comments.
    • I did notice some gel coat cracking on the radar arch on one side where it curves from vertical to horizontal overhead on the starboard side.  I think I may have seen a post from someone on this happening for others.
    • The boat had the bimini tops on but the camper sides were no on when we looked at it.  There has been a bunch of rain recently.  When I opened the engine hatch...there was some water down in the bilge (as expected with it having been open in the rain) I could see the water was over the top of the bilge pump.  From what I could see...it looked like the float switch was submerged as well.  I hit the bilge switch and it pumped out...but it seems to me that the float switch should have kicked on prior.  I outlined this in my comments to the owner.  The good news is the water that pumped did not have any oil/gas sheen to it.  I need to make sure that float switch is functioning properly.
    • The bimini tops looked near perfect.  The rest of the canvas was there but not installed.  The windows were pretty dirty and cloudy looking.  We are willing to clean these up as best as possible and take them as is.  It had been stored with the mooring cover on with the camper canvas stored in the back compartment.  I think they were just sitting in a bit of water from time to time and collected dirt/dust from having been sitting in the lot for 4 years.  I don't have a problem replacing canvas pieces as necessary if needed.  The windows may clean up with the right product....I don't think it is sun damage.
    • Also...the self bailing drain for the bottom step on deck (before entering the cabin) seemed to be a bit clogged.  There was some water pooled there.  That drain is way over to the starboard side under the helm.  Hard to get to.  They are going to fix this.  Seems like a weird design though.
    Thanks!
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Thats Funny. My first boat was also a 1984 Renken 16' bowrider with a 2 cylinder 50HP junk motor. I upgraded to a 115 Merc. WOW
    Ok...getting a little off topic here but since you/we brought it up...here is a pic of the sluggish '86 Renken that infected me ;-)  Did a lot of water skiing on that boat...had to have everyone up in the bow to get a skier out of the hole;P
  • LaReaLaRea Alexandria VirginiaPosts: 3,519Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Find out which products they used to paint the hull and outdrives (specific brands and product names).  If they perform well, you can use the same products next time.  If not, you'll know what NOT to use.  

    Verify that they used magnesium anodes (not zinc or aluminum).  

    Check the shore power receptacles for any signs of charring or heat damage.

    Welcome to the forum!
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2015
    were you on the Anacostia river there? Look at that mud ring!
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    I think you are right Handyman...you can see Alexandria off center to the right.  I think at that time we were keeping that boat at James Creek Marina in DC (on the Anacostia).  I think this photo was taken from the fuel dock there.  Mud ring is right!
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Hmmm...after doing a bunch of research it looks like this boat does have the xdp drives on it.  And...the many horror stories about these drives gives me pause...and a headache;->

    However...we'd be getting this boat with 18 hours on it and in immaculate condition for about $40k.  That is at least $20k less than any of the others of the same model and approximate year that i've found for sale out there...many with the same drives and a lot more hours and wear and tear.  Many are priced 30k or 40k higher.  Of course...they may not get that price in the end.

    I read somewhere that 40% of xdp owners have problems with the drives.  Of course you don't hear from the 60% of owners that have no problems.  If that figure is in fact correct.

    I did some quick pricing and it looks like it would cost about $17k between two new DPS drives and new transom shield for parts....to do a swap.   That doesn't include labor which could easily be 3k...unless I were to do it myself.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Maybe these drives work fine for a while or a long while.  Anyway...gotta think on this I guess...
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well you could use the boat till the drives crap out or put new ones on now. Then you would have a new boat basically
  • gradywhite2424gradywhite2424 Posts: 1Member
    edited December 2015
    Yes those drives can be a nightmare... have seen two friends shell out 20 large to replace them... I've always been an observer on this forum but this topic I had to post. If it's that good of a deal and you have the liquid cash set aside to redo the only concern is the next person will probably not want the boat with those plastic drives. There is a reason Volvo completely abandoned the drive and made people sign agreements not to speak against them. It's a shame when they came out... I thought they were a great concept. However after several belows revisions they are still having the same issues. You can Google it and read for hours. It's well known at this point.
  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 744Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2015
    The drives on my 06 342 were a constant source of problems, all the ones experienced by everyone else who had them.  I doubt that there are many still in service.  The OceanX replacements on our boat, paid for on my dime, are awesome.             Visit http://www.boattest.com/engine-review/Volvo-Penta/320016_OceanX to see all the issues with the plastic ones and the improvements that make the OceanX drives so good.

  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 744Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2015
    I guess I should point out that when I replaced the drives, I also replaced the engines.  The package deal made some sort of economic sense.  The new engines are about 10 hp more than the originals.  The originals were mid life engines.  They pushed us around the great loop in 2010.  6000 miles give or take.  I did not realize how big the risk of drive failure really was.  We were in some situations where that would not have been good.
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Thanks for the info Tony. So how many hours did you have before replacing your drives?

    did you have to replace the XDP drives at any point or just bellows?

    thanks
  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 5,356Member, Moderator mod

    Definitely an interesting on-going topic with the drives.  River, please keep us updated with your decision.

    gradywhite, welcome to the forum and great to hear you speak up!

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    edited December 2015
    Dream_Inn said:

    Definitely an interesting on-going topic with the drives.  River, please keep us updated with your decision.

    gradywhite, welcome to the forum and great to hear you speak up!

    Well....after a ridiculous amount of research/reading and careful consideration...CLICK CLICK BOOM...the trigger has been pulled;-)  We put down a deposit but it will all hinge on a successful sea trial this weekend.

    I checked the part numbers on the bellows replacement they installed last summer and it is the latest recall bellows from VP....for what that is worth.  That recall came out around 2010.  Interestingly when I google the XDP problem....there are a ton of forum posts on the subject but...there is relatively little chatter after about 2011.  So, not sure if the last bellows recall solved some of the problems.

    The biggest factor in the decision to go ahead with it is that in looking at other boats, I couldn't really find another boat as new and in as good a shape that I liked as much, for less than about $20k more....and that's on the low side.  And some of those boats had the xdp's as well!  The NADA book shows an average retail for this boat of about $70k.  Not sure how accurate those numbers are in the boat world?

    So...Eff it...life is short and full of risk;-)  If we have to spend 20k at some point to upgrade the drives, I figure we'll break even to some degree. As far as I can tell this was a $160k boat new 10 years ago.  It's barely been used, decals still on the appliances etc.  If I get it for 25% of that but have to put some extra dollars in to it...I'm ok with that.  If catastrophic failure happened next week...I'd still be below book value.

    Ok...this is ridiculous...I'm really rationalizing aren't I :P  Anyway, I'm putting this worry behind me and will explore the Bay a bit further with no fear this summer!  I'll stay away from triming the drives out too far and making stupid sharp turns...and make sure my BoatUS Towing insurance has plenty of free towing range ;-)

    Looking forward to being active in the community here!
  • Glassguy54Glassguy54 Posts: 537Member ✭✭✭
    I have a Merc Bravo III drive, but just out of curiosity, I started googling VP XDP drive problems and have learned there are class action law suits pending and tons of stories regarding this issue. Seems the bellows is just one failure amongst many others with these drives. Scary stuff!
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think if AL reads this he would have some great advice for you. I am sure he has changed out a few. 
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,515Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    River, do you have any pictures to post? Maybe drive pictures?
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Yep...I'll post some pics in a bit...
  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 744Member ✭✭✭
    RJ  Congrats on your purchase.  You will have a lot of fun with it.  You have one amazing good support group on this site.  I doubt you can ask a technical question that someone will not have a good answer for.  Photos when you can.  What will her name be?

    Tony
    Salt Shaker 342
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Our current boat is named Nordic Finn.  I'm half Finnish and a quarter Norwegian...so it fits :)  We may just go with Nordic Finn II.  We may keep the Bayliner for a while...not sure.  Here's a pic of the Nordic Finn w/name from the water...I'm the "long hair" hanging on to the swim platform :P
  • wm61356wm61356 Harrison Twp., MIPosts: 201Member ✭✭✭
    Hi River Junkie, 
    I own a 2009 320. I purchased her used with 150 hours on her and have owned her for the past 3 years. I think you will absolutely love the 320. It is a great boat. I do most of my own maintenance and repair so if I can answer any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Equal  to the great experience owning my 320 is the camaraderie and support of this forum. You will find a wealth of information available from the members here and everyone is more than willing to help and answer questions. 

    The one thing about the 320 you are purchasing that gives me pause is the XDP drive units. I owned a previous boat with those drives and unfortunately, they cost me many many hours of boating time because of down time waiting for parts and service calls for the 3 or so upgraded versions of repair kits specified by Volvo Penta. Even after Volvo installed the latest and greatest upgraded repair parts, I continued to experience failure due to water intrusion which damaged the gimbal bearings and drive shafts. Volvo never admitted that the XDP was a flawed design, however they stopped making those drives and offered different drives to XDP owners at a discounted price, however the swap is still very expensive. I suspect that may be why you found that the complaints died down after 2011.

    If you can get a good enough deal on the boat to make it worth while with regard to the expense of replacing the drives then you'll be ok. Just keep in mind that the general public is aware of the issues with those drives and that any boat equipped with them will suffer a significantly reduced resale value for that reason.

    I'm not bashing VP, they make a great product, but the XDP didnt live up to VP' s otherwise great reputation.
    My apologies to all for my long post.
  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 744Member ✭✭✭
    RJ,  I attempted to fix/rebuild the original drives but it became a case of throwing good money after bad.  We were on our second loop trip in 2013, I am thinking that was the year.  Got as far as Stuart FL, across the state from where we live when they really crapped out.  Had the boat trucked back home.  Replaced everything as I indicated in a prior post.  The engines as well as the drives.  Kept the same propellers.  But they had to be rehubbed to fit the new drive shafts.  Now we have a boat that is awesome.  Expensive to get her to that point.  Now I have no hesitation from a mechanical point of view for planning any trip that is within her gas range.  That was a small victory about the propellers but I had to recognize that was a "win" of sorts. 
     
    No comments from our solitary diesel captain.  Well if you must!
     
    Tony
    Salt Shaker 342
  • RiverJunkieRiverJunkie Woodbridge, VAPosts: 30Member
    Here are some pics...
    wm61356 said:
    Hi River Junkie, 
    I own a 2009 320. I purchased her used with 150 hours on her and have owned her for the past 3 years. I think you will absolutely love the 320. It is a great boat. I do most of my own maintenance and repair so if I can answer any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Equal  to the great experience owning my 320 is the camaraderie and support of this forum. You will find a wealth of information available from the members here and everyone is more than willing to help and answer questions. 

    The one thing about the 320 you are purchasing that gives me pause is the XDP drive units. I owned a previous boat with those drives and unfortunately, they cost me many many hours of boating time because of down time waiting for parts and service calls for the 3 or so upgraded versions of repair kits specified by Volvo Penta. Even after Volvo installed the latest and greatest upgraded repair parts, I continued to experience failure due to water intrusion which damaged the gimbal bearings and drive shafts. Volvo never admitted that the XDP was a flawed design, however they stopped making those drives and offered different drives to XDP owners at a discounted price, however the swap is still very expensive. I suspect that may be why you found that the complaints died down after 2011.

    If you can get a good enough deal on the boat to make it worth while with regard to the expense of replacing the drives then you'll be ok. Just keep in mind that the general public is aware of the issues with those drives and that any boat equipped with them will suffer a significantly reduced resale value for that reason.

    I'm not bashing VP, they make a great product, but the XDP didnt live up to VP' s otherwise great reputation.
    My apologies to all for my long post.
    Thanks for the input!  So I ask you and anyone else here...what is the going price for a 2006 320 in excellent condition and with low hours...and without the XDP drives?  I can't seem to find one listed for much less than about $60k...and that typically comes with a few hundred hours.
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