Active member
16 May 2001
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On the boat I have just jointly bought is a 27 year old Volvo MB2A (or something like), which at the very least needs a service and the engine mounts changing, I believe the tank has a leak, and the stuffing box needs restuffing. We have had a comprehensive estimate for all sorts of (probably) necessary work to be done for nearly £4000, yes, c £4000. And I dont think the yard are trying to make work for themselves, they have enough of the really pricey stuff queueing up to fuss about the shrimps.

I'm not very happy spending this sort of money on an old engine, and one which the surveyor said would be OK for another season, and think ourselves lucky. I think this points to a replacement.

Ideas and suggestions please - the boat weighs c 9 tons TM, and the current engine is c 40 hp. Do we need such a big engine this time round, as I understand diesel technology has improved over the last 27 years? Access to the engine area is extremely good - it's under the cockpit, which is basically 2 large traps, and from the saloon behind removable steps (I also think you can get at one side via a big cockpit locker). Is there a preferred make? Price? AOB?


Hi There, If it's an MD2 then it's 23hp twin. MD3 was a 3 cyl 36hp.

You've got a bit of a dilemma, but I would not pay 4K for work on an old volvo. Last year I rebuilt a seized MD2 for a friend. Initial costings came to over 1K for parts alone, so it's not difficult to see how the cost mounts up. There's more than one way of skinning a puss and I did the whole thing for £550. (Yes, he's still a mate and is delighted with his 'new' engine!) List the work needing done and you'll probably get good advice from this forum.

For 9T you probably want about 45hp. Perkins?

Good luck whatever you decide.


Well-known member
19 Aug 2001
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I am not sure what HP the MB2A was but my MB2B was reported to be 25 HP, (when it would eventually start) I think the A was about 18HP. Having rebuilt my MB2B I would never never never never never never do it again as although I eventually got the engine to run well, the heartache and cost was not worth it. Even if you fit new pistons at over £250 each, main bearing at 75 per bearing, valves at £40 each, gaskets sets at over £200 (£100 for the top end and £100 for the bottom end) you still have engine blocks which are anything up to 30 years old and ready to rust through.

I would suggest that you look at a Perkins, Nani or Beta, Try phoning Tolley Marine who build a very nice 3 cylinder 30 HP engine based on a British built Perkins. I saw the engines at a boat show recently and they looked very well put together. Phone number for Tolley is 0151 632 4346, think you will be surprised with the price.