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Thread: Anything to worry about with a Volvo Outdrive?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Anything to worry about with a Volvo Outdrive?

    I'm looking at an old Donzi that has a Volvo outdrive (270?). I'm familiar with Mercury stuff but don't have much experience with Volvo. Are there any negatives with strength and spare parts for the drive? Would a volvo equipped Donzi be worth less than a Merc? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
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    I would be more worried about the gas tank in a classic of that vintage
    The 270 is very strong but not as fast as a merc so if you want speed pass on this one. If you want a trouble free sub 60 mph classic a 270 will last a long time
    Parts are expensive and can be hard to find on some items but they are out there
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    There are a lot more 40+ year old volvo drive's still running strong than 40+year old mercs. Like Matty said, they are not as areodynamic so slower, but I'm running low 60's with stock power and a volvo 280. They do tend to have some torque in the steering unless it has power steering.
    1978 X-18, SBC, Volvo 280T
    Big Grizzly 21 Solas Prop
    Heart Bay, Lake George, NY

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    I'm gonna disagree with Matty just a tiny bit. I've listened to stories for years on how Merc's are faster then Volvo Penta. Maybe the newer Mercs are faster then the older Volvos but.... I have a Volvo 270 sitting right next to a Merc 898 (pre Alpha) in the garage and there is really not that much difference between the two. At least the parts that run in the water. After not having a Merc for years and hearing the stories I was expecting to see a difference of a eaton lower next to a penta but its not. IMHO I think the real issues between the 2 are that the Volvo doesn't have trim and the prop selection is very slim. Props have got better over the years with Solas and I hear they are now making Hubs that will fit the Penta for other props. Trim has not though. There is a couple folks that have made up their own trim systems with some off the shelf Merc parts but the easiest way is to get a Volvo 280T transom shield that does have trim and you still can use the 270 drive on the boat now.
    The down side,
    Merc cut outs are smaller then a Volvo Penta so you will have to do a transom for a swap.
    If the 270 has the "tilt system" .....I hate those f_ing tilt systems.
    There is no water pump in a Volvo Penta (I actually like that) so you will have to change the cooling system around to accommodate the W/P being in the Merc drive.
    I personally love Volvo and more then willing to give up the 1-2 mph difference. They are some of the simplest drives ever made. Tough as nails. No coupler to spin out. If you even need to replace a drive shaft boot or exhaust, after doing a Volvo you will hate Merc for what it takes to do the same on them.
    And before it is asked, nose cones will upset the balance of a Volvo Penta drive. They stick out to far forward past the steering pivot and its like when you put your hand out of a car window. Think of your wrist being the steering pivot and your finger tips being the tip of the nose cone. All it takes is a tiny bit to one side or the other and your hand flops that way. Now think of a outdrive doing that through something as solid as water all the time coming in and out of waves, hitting different currents and then there is the whole changing directions thing even if you are just making a wide bending turn. Hooking also becomes more of an issue.
    Now on the bright side, there is a lot beef on a Volvo lower and I "French" all my drives (I have kissed one when it worked after a rebuild but no tongue). My Volvo rebuild series on YouTube you can see I took a ton off of it just to clean up the case. I also have a water pick up in the bottom of the boat so I could also fill in the water p/u in the drive. Like I said there is not much difference between the two drives and with some upgrades to the Volvo they may even be a little bit better.
    A winner is just a loser that got up and did it one more time.
    1959 Biesemeyer - 4pt Hydro Drag - 2013 ACBS Winner - Best Race Boat
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    I can totally relate to everything that Matty , Kirby and f has said so far. And agree .
    I've run them all including the original OMC drive . My pops 2nd boat had 2x 170 Volvos with nontrim 270 drives and despite hammering them and them living in salt water not a penny was put into them except for oil over the course of 15 years .
    The pre Apha One that came in my St T cost me thousands over the course of just 7 seasons before I did a complete re-build and replaced the 351 Merc with the new high tech Volvo DPS/a drive.

    Where I am a Volvo boat is worth much more than a Merc boat because as the two makes developed we wern't swayed by the advertising hype or the black one is faster , parts are more available ,etc. With a Merc you're going to need that parts availability option anyway because you're going to NEED it .

    Yeah , you might lose a little top end with an older 250/270/280/290 drive compared to a Merc but at least you'll still be on the water when the other guys are going zero MPH.
    Just because something's old doesn't mean you throw it away !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Lots of great info here, thanks for the education.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    And don't forget that fuel tank.
    George Carter
    Central Florida

    “If you have to argue your science by using fraud, your science is not valid"
    Professor Ian Plimer, Adilaide and Melbourne Universities

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