good advice for successful repowering
Repowering. A good idea?
Thinking about a new engine for your boat?
How do you benefit from a new engine?
Planning ahead
When is the right time?
Repowering involves more than just the engine
You need a competent partner
How can you be sure you are getting the right price? 11
Choosing an engine
Sailing boats and displacement boats
Planing boats with sterndrive engines
Planing boats with inboard engines
More opportunities
An entirely new feel to the controls and instruments 25
When repowering is complete
Ready to enjoy many trouble-free seasons!
Thinking about a new engine for your boat?
This publication is about engine replacement and all the questions
the boat owner faces. We want to guide you through the various
stages of repowering and offer a little sound advice about the
various choices you face.
We hope you will benefit from the advice and we wish you
good luck with your repowering!
how do you benefit from a new engine?
The engine is the heart of your boat. Without a reliable and
durable engine that does its job in any situation, owning a boat is
no pleasure but instead a neverending struggle against the
elements – irrespective of whether you have a sailing boat or a
If you have a boat you like and are satisfied with but find that
it is powered by an engine that no longer meets your requirements,
you stand to gain a lot by replacing it. Thanks to the fast pace of
technological developments in recent years, you are going to
notice some major changes when you change to a new engine:
˛ Increased safety and reliability
˛ Improved comfort
˛ Better driving pleasure and
more secure manoeuvring
Higher performance
Immensely reduced environmental impact
Easier adaptation to modern accessories
Better fuel economy
Increased value for your boat
A new engine increases your boat’s value. By just how much
depends on the type of boat and how attractive your particular
boat model is on the market. Having said that, it is unusual for
the entire cost of repowering to be recovered in terms of
enhanced resale value. However, if you make a comparison over
a number of years between having a new engine with all that
means in terms of high operating reliability, and running an old
engine that may require major and perhaps even recurring repairs,
repowering may well make sound economic sense. The main
reason for repowering, however, is quite simply because it gives
you so much more enjoyment out of your boat. You invest in
security and peace of mind, knowing that your boat will power
you safely every time you want to head out to sea.
Reconditioning instead of fitting a new engine is an alternative to
consider. However, no matter how you look at it, an engine ages
and there comes a time when it simply doesn’t make economic
sense to repair or recondition it. The challenge is to avoid repairs
and reconditioning that involve major investments in an engine
that will still never be able to deliver the performance and
reliability you want.
A new marine engine from one of the established manufacturers
gives you reliability and the protection of a warranty and support
from your dealer, on a scale unlike anything you might get from an
old engine fitted with new internal components. The risk is that a
reconditioned, but still old, engine might soon have to be
reconditioned again.
In order to decide whether reconditioning is suitable or not, the
best solution is to have a thorough discussion with a reputable
engine dealer or boatyard.
When is the right time?
The ideal situation would be if you could predict exactly when your
engine has given all it can, but this is not possible. So, the best
advice is to change before the old one gives up the ghost. You
avoid being left without a boat in the middle of the season, you
can receive a trade-in price for your old engine and, if you plan the
exchange carefully, you will also have the time to check other
important parts of your boat.
The marine industry is seasonal and everyone works flatout
during the boating season. This makes it more difficult to repower
your boat during the busy season, at the same time as this is
precisely when you want to have a properly functioning engine so
you can enjoy your boat. It is therefore best to schedule your
repowering for the off season. If you plan your repowering and
your old engine still works, you can in fact usually trade it in when
buying a new engine.
Repowering involves more than just the engine
A marine engine installation consists of more than just the engine.
It is connected to several systems that must all be optimised to suit
both the engine’s and the boat’s characteristics. Planning well ahead
with a competent partner is the key to getting a proper installation.
Electrical. The electrical system is vital for engine
reliability. It must be dimensioned correctly and with
reliable connectors throughout. Electrical cables age
with time and lose both conductivity and insulation
properties. For safety reasons, they should be
checked and replaced when needed.
Air. For optimum performance, the engine must have
a clean, undisturbed air supply. The needs of the new
engine may be different from the one replaced.
Fuel. A reliable supply of clean fuel is crucial and the
fuel system should be thoroughly checked. Also, since
fuel is flammable, there must be no leakage. If
converting from gasoline to diesel, the tank and fuel
lines may have to be changed.
Exhaust. The exhaust system affects engine
performance, engine sound and onboard comfort and
must be dimensioned for the new engine. Rubber
hoses should be checked for wear.
The illustration shows two optional exhaust
solutions for an inboard installation.
You need a competent partner
Choosing a suitable partner for your repowering is as important as
choosing the right engine. No matter whether you intended to subcontract the entire job or do it all yourself, you will need to have contact
with a dealer or boatyard that has experience and competence.
Look for a reputable dealer with experience of repowering jobs
like the one you are planning. A competent partner is indispensable
to a successful result, not least when the time comes for start-up and
a test run. If you choose one of Volvo Penta’s authorised dealers, you
can take advantage of all the competence at their disposal, with
detailed and continuously updated installation literature, tools for
propeller calculation and so on. They also work with comprehensive
programmes for quality-assuring the entire installation.
Competent dealers close to you
Volvo Penta has the widest network of dealers on
the market, so you are always close to service and
support. Thanks to intensive and far-ranging training
and easy access to online documentation, the staff
is updated on the full range of products and the very
latest technologies. Volvo Penta’s dealers have access
to all the necessary special tools, vital for correct
calibration and diagnosis of modern electronically
controlled engines. Fast access to parts and
accessories and quality assurance programmes make
them a complete, dependable partner.
You can find your nearest dealer by visiting Use the “Dealer locator” function
and choose Marine Leisure engines.
How can you be sure you’re getting the right price?
It may seem simplicity itself to find out what a new engine should
cost, especially with all the information that is so easily accessible
in today’s modern electronic society. However, just don’t forget to
compare like with like!
The price of the engine itself is one part of the cost. The cost
of installation, trade-in value, any additional components that are
required and modifications to permit installation in your particular
boat must also be considered. Once again it is the choice of dealer
that is crucial.
Make sure you get a detailed and all-inclusive proposal from
your dealer. The proposal should be based on a complete
inspection of your boat that you and the dealer carry out together.
Here, you should go through all the systems that are affected:
water, exhaust, air, fuel, electrics/electronics as well as any other
work that you may want to have done at the same time. Take
advantage of the dealer’s experience to find out what your
possibilities are, and think carefully about exactly what you want
improved in your boat.
The most secure solution for you is a “turnkey job” that
includes everything. The dealer will carry out the entire
repowering operation and guarantees that the boat will function
correctly with the new engine. If you want more work carried out,
this must be specified in the proposal. The same thing applies if
you want to do all or part of the job yourself. Draw up an
agreement that specifies exactly who does what and what the
dealer’s responsibility is regarding the final result.
an engine
The right engine for your boat depends on a variety of factors:
how fast you want to go, how much power margin you want, how
important comfort is for you, how many passengers/how much
load you generally carry and so on.
The engine must naturally fit as regards size and weight, and in
addition the air and water supply must be matched to the needs of
the new engine, the fuel system has to be appropriately
dimensioned, instruments and controls must be added, and much
more besides. If you switch to an engine with higher power, you
need to examine the engine mountings, the transmission and
propshaft or drive.
The correct choice of transmission and propeller requires
specialist know-how and here, you really need the help of a highly
competent partner. Some boats are also certified for a specific
power range, which limits the choice.
These are important issues that have to be dealt with correctly
right from the start. Volvo Penta’s dealers have the experience as
well as the tools and support needed to recommend the right engine.
The following pages contain information about what you need
to think about, depending on the type of boat you have.
Electronically managed engines
For many boat owners, repowering means switching from
a mechanically governed engine to one with electronic
management. It’s a change that offers many benefits.
Electronic engine management is a precondition for
being able to combine low emissions with high
performance and low fuel consumption. Integrated safety
functions provide effective engine protection, along with
easier and better service. Routine service requirements
are minimal.
Volvo Penta introduced electronic diesel control in
1995 and electronic fuel injection for gasoline engines
in 1994. With today’s Volvo Penta EVC system,
the electronics have been further enhanced and many of
the boat’s functions can now be integrated into a single
common system. The EVC system is based on the same
technology that is employed in cars, aircraft and ships.
EVC can also communicate with equipment supplied
by other manufacturers.
EVC makes the installation of engines, controls and
instruments far simpler thanks to the use of plug-in
connectors. With fewer cables and fewer, more robust
connections, reliability is also far better. The entire system
is standardised and extremely easy to use. Engine service
is easy, thanks to efficient diagnostic functions.
The newest and cleanest engines
Volvo Penta’s D series marine diesel engines are a
comprehensive range with power outputs from 13 to
775 hp. They are an all-new generation of engines that
combine fantastic performance with high reliability and
exhaust emissions that meet the US/EU 2006/2007
emission standards.
For a boat owner who changes from a traditional
diesel engine, the difference is enormous in every respect.
Smoke and harmful exhaust emissions are as much as
90 percent lower and at the same time the engine offers
far better operating characteristics. The unique marine
torque offers fast and safe acceleration, even with a
heavily laden boat and, with power in reserve to back you
up in rough seas.
When it comes to gasoline engines, electronic fuel
injection offer major advantages compared with engines
equipped with carburettors – reliable starting, far better
response to the driver’s commands and low emissions that
meet CARB’s Ultra Low Emission requirements.
Diesel engines are the usual alternative for these boat types. If
you have a gasoline engine and switch to diesel, you get better
operating properties, increased reliability and higher safety.
Choosing the right power output is important. The engine
must have sufficient power for the cruising speed of your choice
without needing to climb to max revs. This gives you a valuable
power reserve, useful for example if you are running against a
strong head wind. However, installing an engine that is too
powerful doesn’t give any benefits – it is unnecessarily heavy and
uses more fuel without giving you any additional speed.
If you switch to an engine with higher power, you need to
check the engine mountings, transmission and propshaft or drive.
The engine must naturally also fit into the space available. The
correct choice of propeller is essential for getting the maximum
possible out of the engine’s power potential.
Power for manoeuvring and charging
The engine’s torque is as important as its power output,
particularly at low revs. An engine with high torque at low revs
gives you power to manoeuvre and it also has sufficient reserves
to charge your batteries at idling speed.
Be careful with the engine’s optimum revs at cruising speed
– the lower the better. An engine built to run at 2500–3000 rpm
gives a totally different sense of onboard comfort, with lower noise
and vibration levels, than a high-revving engine does.
For sailing boats that only use the engine sporadically, charging
capacity is particularly important. Increasing amounts of
electronics and other electrical equipment require more powerful
alternators and larger battery banks than what is usually standard
on a boat older than 10 years. To be adequate, the alternator
output should be at least 25 percent of the battery bank capacity.
An efficient charging regulator that guarantees full voltage at the
battery is also crucial in order to gain the benefit of charging
The engine, transmission and propeller must be perfectly
matched to create a successful installation. On a sailing boat you
can benefit from the 3- and 4-blade folding propellers that give you
high thrust in forward and reverse combined with very little drag
under sail. Talk to your Volvo Penta dealer to learn more.
A new engine gives you:
˛ Increased reliability. Secure starts and
reliable operation.
˛ Quieter, lower emissions, less vibration.
Increases onboard comfort.
˛ Better charging. Even Volvo Penta’s smallest
engine has a 115 A alternator.
˛ Freshwater cooling as standard. Longer service
life and the possibility of hot water or heating.
˛ More power. Straight from low revs, for easier
manoeuvring, acceleration, stopping ability and
power in strong head winds.
˛ Increased value for your boat.
˛ Peace and quiet with an engine you can rely on.
Boats in this category stand to gain a lot with a new engine/drive
unit. There have been extensive improvements in the field of
engines and drives and today’s products are better in every respect.
Engines with superior characteristics and more efficient drives with
power steering offer immense pleasure behind the wheel.
In a planing boat, higher power means higher top speed. Better
torque means faster acceleration up to planing speed and improved
handling when the boat is heavily laden. Decide whether you are
satisfied with your boat’s current performance and discuss various
engine alternatives with your dealer!
Gasoline or diesel?
The greatest achievements in technical development have taken
place with diesel engines. For example, the new Volvo Penta D
series has electronically controlled common rail fuel injection, four
valves per cylinder and various types of optimised supercharging
with turbo and sometimes also compressor. All this gives performance
equal to, sometimes even better than, that of gasoline engines of
corresponding power. At the same time, fuel consumption is lower,
reliability is greater, service life longer and second-hand value higher.
Gasoline engines offer high performance and relatively low
weight. Electronic fuel injection gives high reliability, low emissions
and fast response for an enjoyable experience at the helm. The price
of a gasoline engine is generally lower than that of a diesel engine.
If you switch from gasoline to diesel, you can often specify a
lower power output without actually losing anything in terms of
performance, apart from outright top speed, since a diesel engine
offers better torque as well as being designed to operate closer to
its max rev limit. When changing from gasoline to diesel, the air,
fuel and cooling systems need to be checked. Talk to your dealer to
find out what exactly is necessary for your particular boat. He has
the necessary specifications and documentation if you want to find
out more for yourself.
Single prop or Duoprop?
Duoprop with its twin counter-rotating propellers has several
major advantages compared to drives with single props:
Better acceleration
Higher top speed
Better fuel economy
Directional stability and better grip
when turning at high speed
• Easier low-speed manoeuvring since the boat
steers entirely straight, even when reversing
• Better comfort thanks to lower vibration
Today, most Volvo Penta engines with sterndrive come with
Duoprop technology.
A new engine/drive gives you:
˛ Increased reliability. Secure starts and
reliable operation.
˛ Better operating economy. Lower fuel consumption.
˛ Better performance. Immediate response to the
driver’s commands.
˛ Fast acceleration. Quickly reaches planing speed.
˛ Better grip. More stable at speed, easier manoeuvring.
˛ Lower noise, emission and vibration levels.
Increased comfort onboard.
˛ Increased value for your boat.
˛ Peace and quiet with an engine you can rely on.
Planing boats with inboard engines
Today, most inboard engines, whether gasoline or diesel, are
electronically controlled. This offers many advantages, not least
higher onboard comfort since the new engines are quieter, vibrate
less and produce lower exhaust emissions. The latter results in
greater comfort under way.
Diesel engines have undergone unparalleled development
in recent years, and now offer an almost unbelievable combination
of performance, comfort and environmental suitability. A modern
diesel engine in an optimised installation is an unforgettable
experience for any boat owner who has made the switch.
Choose the right engine power output
Since your boat has a planing hull, increased power usually means
higher top speed. In general, however, every hull is developed for
a specific speed range and significantly exceeding this may in fact
give the boat poorer operating characteristics. It is also important
to think about the overall result. A more powerful engine may
need sturdier engine mountings and a stronger transmission,
propshaft propeller, etc. These are important details with which
your Volvo Penta dealer can help you.
For inboard engines, the engine, transmission and propeller must be
perfectly matched to create a successful installation. Here, there are
many different ways of meeting every challenge; your Volvo Penta
dealer has both the experience and a wide range of support systems
to help you make an informed choice.
Distinct manoeuvring and quieter operation
Electronically managed engines with electronic throttle and gear
controls offer many advantages, particularly if you have a large
boat with twin engines. Mechanical control cables are replaced
with electric cables so vibration and noise is not passed on from
the engine. Manoeuvring is uncomplicated with clear and distinct
gear positions. Reliability is excellent and maintenance requirements
are minimal.
Repowering on the Internet
You can obtain more information about repowering on
the Internet. At you will find
detailed information including a configurator that
guides you to a suitable engine choice. Here, you can
also obtain in-depth information including drawings,
dimensions, weights and comprehensive engine
specifications for the entire Volvo Penta range.
Information about older engines also makes it possible
for you to make comparisons between your current
powerplant and the most modern alternatives.
A new engine gives you:
˛ Increased reliability. Secure starts and
reliable operation.
˛ Better operating economy. Lower fuel consumption.
˛ Electronic controls for distinct manoeuvring and
quieter operation.
˛ Better performance. Immediate response to the
driver’s commands.
˛ Less noise, lower exhaust emissions and vibration.
Increases onboard comfort.
˛ Fast acceleration. Quickly and securely up to planing
speeds and less sensitive to heavy loads.
˛ Increased value for your boat.
˛ Peace and quiet with an engine you can rely on.
Properly planned repowering opens the door to several other
improvements. Not least since it is easier to access certain parts
of the boat once the engine has been removed.
Go through the boat system by system (air, seawater, electrics,
etc.) together with your dealer, and agree on what should be done.
Then think about which comfort improvements you would like.
If you want to have everything done at the same time, you can
usually negotiate a good total price. You also have the advantage
of just one contact who can answer all your questions and attend
to all your servicing requirements, whether they relate to the
engine or any of your accessories.
One thing you should definitely take the opportunity to check is
the sound insulation in the engine compartment. Old insulation
exposed to years of oil and dirt should be removed. Clean things
up and fit new insulation and you will enjoy a pleasantly reduced
sound level onboard.
The electrical system probably needs to be modernised. The
new engine most likely has a more powerful alternator than the old
one and a new, properly dimensioned electrical system increases
reliability onboard. Better charging capacity also makes it possible
to add various other electrical devices onboard, such as a bow
thruster and anchor winch.
A new engine also makes it possible to increase comfort
onboard. Facilities such as hot water, heating, defroster and so on
can all be seen at your dealer or at
an Entirely new feel to the controls and instruments
Electronic controls give an entirely new feel with precise and distinct
manoeuvring. They come as standard on most of Volvo Penta’s
electronically controlled diesel engines and are otherwise available
on the options list. Electronic controls offer high reliability and
minimum service needs.
The engine is delivered complete with a basic set of
instruments. If you want to add more instruments, this is the
perfect opportunity. Electronically controlled engines open up
entirely new possibilities for intelligent instrumentation with
displays that you can modify to suit your particular requirements.
Think also about what you want your instrument panel layout
to look like, where the engine controls should be located and so on,
so you get everything just the way you want.
ready to enjoy many trouble-free seasons!
When the repowering procedure has been completed it is important
that you satisfy yourself that everything you specified has actually
been done, and also to familiarise yourself with the new features
on your boat. Volvo Penta has working procedures for handing
over the boat and for supplying you with all the information you
need so you can quickly and correctly come to terms with your
boat’s latest innovations. Make sure all your questions are
answered, and also make sure that the boat behaves as you expect.
See to it that you receive complete documentation and manuals
for all the newly installed components, and do read through the
information. Pay special attention to instructions related to
running-in, daily inspection, warranty requirements and service.
You should receive the following documents together with your
new engine:
˛ Operator’s manual
˛ Warranty and service booklet
˛ Customer copy of the warranty card
These three documents are vital if you are to be able to look after
your new engine properly, and also so you can back up any
warranty claim you may want to make. For other components and
accessories, the documentation varies. In general, however, you
should have a manual or user instructions as well as a warranty
certificate. And of course you should file the receipts for everything
you have paid for.
You are now ready for a new chapter in your boating life!
Ahead of you are many enjoyable and trouble-free seasons.
Take care of your engine from the beginning! The investment
you make in preventive maintenance is something you will be able
to get back several times over in terms of better reliability and
longer service life.
˛ Play it safe. Plan your engine change well before your old
engine breaks down.
˛ Make the change during the off season.
˛ Choose a reputable dealer with experience on your type of boat.
˛ Together with the dealer, choose the engine that is best
suited to your boat – not necessarily one with the same
power output, size or fuel as you have today.
˛ Together with your dealer, go through the other possibilities
you have, for example sound insulation, the electrical system,
controls, instruments and layout of the driver’s area.
˛ Ask for a comprehensive, all-inclusive proposal based on a
joint inspection, where everything is included and who does
what is clearly specified.
˛ Test-drive the boat after the repowering together with the
dealer, and make sure all the new engine’s functions are
properly demonstrated to you. Make sure you have all the
necessary documentation, and go through it.
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˛ Enjoy your boat for many trouble-free seasons to come!