View Full Version : Volvo Penta Intercheangability???

07-10-2012, 05:26 PM
I did several searches and read every thread I could find, but couldn't find an answer.

What is the intrechangeability of 250-270-280 Volvo Penta Drives?

I broke the Volvo 250 (B ratio) in my 1970 2+3 this past weekend, so I'm looking for options.
I knew it was a matter of time with my power!

From what I've read the 270's and 280's will bolt up to the Gimbal and Helmet that I have.
I have found a 270 and a 280 locally that are suposed to be in decent shape, but I want to make sure of fit before I go to far looking for a replacement.

My son is coming home from the other side of the country this weekend for his once a year vacation, so I HAVE TO get the boat back in action!! :yes:

Soooo...what will work, and what won't work for me?
What other info do I need to post that'll help?

Thanks for your help,

joseph m. hahnl
07-10-2012, 06:00 PM

07-10-2012, 07:01 PM
For the most part they are interchangeable parts. BUT there are some differences one would be the input shaft the older 250 used a course spline the newer 270 280 used a different spline pattern. The spline pattern for the steering yoke could also be different. The bolt on the helmet might be different as well. Check those things and get some spare parts. When you get your drive off count the splines on the female end of the input fork

Good luck

07-10-2012, 10:16 PM
Either one should bolt up. The 280 is waay more stable in the water so I would go that way as long as it has the right gearset in it. Be sure to keep the steering helmut with the drive it came with and the steering fork with the transom shield it came with. I have heard of the spline count issue but have never actually seen it. My boat was built with a 200 and I have run both 270 and 280 drives using the original primary shaft with no problem. Maybe the 250 is the odd one? Count the splines...

Good luck!

07-10-2012, 10:58 PM
for the most part the 270s have the course spline and the 280 is a 50/50 chance on being fine or course.

07-10-2012, 11:22 PM
Curious what let go? I just went through a situation here, a buddy was taking group skiing after a few hours the drive just stopped. He was shopping another not wanting miss boat time, I asked what happened. He nailed and it jumped then settled into the water, I asked if he checked the gear oil. Not having much experiance he had not, went and pulled the plug oil was pristine. We put it on the hose fired it up, I put my stethiscope to the upper to give a listen, sounded normal very smooth often upper gear mess does not make it down to the lower to be found in the oil. I had him shift it in and out of gear the cone was enaging fine nice and solid. Turned out he sheared upper to lower coupling, told him IMO the drive was fine. I just happened to have a 30+++ old coupling in my stash, the upper was perfect when I pulled it. Fishing out the lower half of the coupling always takes a little finess, about an hour and a half later we got it wet all went well.


07-11-2012, 05:39 AM
As penbroke said get has much stuff as possible like the tiller arm , helmet it makes things easier to swap out. Also remember the newer 280T used a different steering setup

07-11-2012, 07:31 AM
Also, if your upper is good, a 280 lower will bolt on to your 250 upper. The gear ratio is determined in the lower part, make sure you have the right one.

07-11-2012, 07:52 AM
All great info, thank you very much for the help guys!! :cool:

I'm going to check one of the units out tonight, if nothing else for spare parts at this point. We haven't pulled my 250 appart yet, but it sounds and feels like something in the bottom end.
I drained the oil and there were some real small pieces and a small amount of glitter.

Here's how it happened:
I have myself and 3 other "large" friends in the boat when I stepped on it a little harder than I usually do out of the hole. As it was planing I felt a hesitation for just a second almost like the feeling of something like a prop hub slipping. Then it seemed OK for the short ride over to the beach. That "slip" didn't feel right, so when I got to shore I spun the prop by hand and it felt a little gritty and had a couple of random tight spots like a gear was binding up.
I went back out for a spin and it seemed to run OK for a few minutes, I idled around for a few, then went to take off and just as I was coming up to plane, I felt and hurd a thud and it spun out completely, no forward, no reverse.

We got towed back to shore, I spun the prop and now it sounds like a ball of chains wrapped around the prop shaft. It even will bind up completely at some points.

What does this sound like to you guys?


07-11-2012, 09:38 PM
I pulled it apart, and can see what happened. The slip I felt was a tooth breaking on the lower vertical drive shaft gear. The final straw was obviously the lower gears bound up, and the vertical drive shaft snapped up at the top below the coupler.

I found a decent 270 local for OK $$ today. Some missing and broken parts, so I can't use as is, but the lower is all good, the rest will go in the spare parts bin.

I should have it finished up tomorrow, and back on the boat for the weekend...thank God for decent repair manuals and liking to take on new things, when I couldn't reach the guy who was going to fix it for me!

If all goes well...my son will get to do his once a year skiing and tubing this weekend...wish us luck!!! :)

Thanks again for your help guys! :cool:


07-12-2012, 05:34 AM
When you get the replacement lower off the donor drive confirm the ratio
A lot of 4 cyls lowers out there
Guess you could even confirm it with the drive whole before you tear it apart
Should be around one and a half turns on the top end to one on the bottom end

07-13-2012, 07:45 AM
No, it was the wrong ratio, but I had to grab it anyways since I can't find another, or the parts quick enough to get it going for this weekend. It ended up being a 2.15, but it'll work for what we're going to be doing...but no cheeks flopping in the wind this weekend!! haha

I'm still looking for a B ratio 250 or 270 complete or lower unit if anyone knows of one in the MA area.

07-13-2012, 05:51 PM
Before buying another of the same, make it worth the money and time and find yourself a 280T or a 290 drive. Little more work but well, well worth it. Trim is a very good thing in those boats. :yes:

07-13-2012, 08:32 PM
I agree 100% f in, I hate throwing money into it, but I'm just trying to get it through the season, then I'll do it up right.
I'm figuring it's goin to take some transome work with a newer drive, that I don't want to start now.

My son got in from CA tonight, and I have it all set to hit the lake tomorrow...YAHOO!!!
It'll be a LOT slower, but at least we'll be out and have fun skiing and tubing! :yes:

07-15-2012, 10:47 AM
If you have a 270 or 280 they will fit the 280T shield. I prefer the 270 to the 280T shield with thru hull exhaust. It's a cleaned look.