Choosing between Volvo & Merc

Discussion in 'Sterndrives' started by malfar, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. malfar
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    malfar Junior Member

    Always been an OB fan, but sold the old OB and looking at used I/O's. Have a choice between a 1997 18.5 Rinker boat with 135 Mercruiser 3.0L Alpha 1 Gas or a 1994 Campion (better boat) with a Volvo Penta 3.0 motor and drive. Both in good shape, but the 94 is a fair bit less. Any advice on which I/O would be the best bet. Any problems with one over the other? Do they both use the same 3.0 - I believe the Merc 3.0 is pretty well proven, and is basically a chevy v'8 cut in half.

    Thanks Mal
  2. Jango
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Jango Senior Enthusiast

    I believe they both use the same basic engine, Cam specs could be different as well as cooling system. The 3.0, 4 cylinder began life in the Chevy II car in the 1960,s. Bore,stroke and Bore spacing are different then The V8,s
  3. redtech
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    redtech Senior Member

    both have the same engine more or less and both good drives its ford vrs chevy it's up you
  4. Gary Gear Ph.D
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Gary Gear Ph.D Professor

    I don't know if you do your own mechanical work but the merc out drive is far more popular and parts far more readily availble than the Volvo. If you have a shop do all your out drive work then I'm not sure it really matters.

  5. Luchog
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Luchog Junior Member

    you wont need parts for the volvo because it wont break.

    and if it did labour is simpler therefore cheaper.

    my two cents.
  6. Bergalia
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Choosing between Volvo and Merc

    No contest. Volvo everytime. But put a nodding-dog in the rear window...;)
  7. Jet A1
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    Jet A1 Junior Member


    no contest, both are good engines, but the Volvo has the waterpump at the engine and not in the drive. This may save your sunday out with the boat.
  8. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    The engine is pretty similar in both, cam and auxiliary systems might be different. The Volvo has a reputation as being a higher-quality drive, the Alpha is more common mainly because it's pretty cheap. But because they're everywhere, they're also easier to get fixed. You say the Campion (with the Volvo) is a better boat than the Rinker (with the Alpha)? Better boat, better drive, cheaper. Seems an easy choice.
  9. Gary Gear Ph.D
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Gary Gear Ph.D Professor

    If you don't do your own work, and I assume from this thread that you don't, my bias toward Mercruiser should not be a consideration. I do all my own work, and I choose Mercruiser because they are popular, comparatively cheap, and I know them inside-out. I can't be an expert on all out drives, so I picked one.

  10. jimslade
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    jimslade Senior Member

    both 3.0s are identical. No they are not a v8 cut in half. Volvos are bullet proof. Mercs have a large dealer network. Many choices.
  11. ford-m
    Joined: May 2007
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    ford-m I love Epoxy

  12. StianM
    Joined: May 2006
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    StianM Senior Member

    I think Volvo has a bether reputation than it deserve.

    My father had a 30fet boat powered by 2x volvo kad 213hp.

    Not long after he got it cooling water started leaking and he had to get a new redesigned head gasket.

    After 4 years he lost power on one engine and it turned out 1 cylinder was gone and the oil was full off piston parts. We trew them out and replaced them by two new pentas since a repair would be take longer time then puting in two new ones with 20 extra hp(we got the old ones fixed and sold them second had). Just a few week's after the warenty expired it started leaking and it turned out to be a badly designed head bolt(atleast acording to one local volvo engineer) but we had to pay the bill our self and last year we had a expensive engine repair befour he sold it earlier this year after owning it for 11 years.

    The penta from the last 20 years are over rated compared to other engines.
    My father had decided that he would not go for penta again if he had to replace engines once more. If the boat with the pentas is the bether boat buy it, but not because off the pentas.
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