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Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser

Old 06-19-2019, 07:39 PM
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Default Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser

I am considering buying a new to me boat that has a Volvo Penta 5.0 gxi. I have always had Mercruiser motors. What are the upside/downside of the Volvo engine and outdrive vs Mercruiser?
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:30 PM
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If either is relatively new, in perfect condition and maintained, no problem.
If either is old, corroded and never maintained, it's a nightmare. Get ready to spend $$$.
Parts is parts.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:39 AM
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I know nothing about Volvo I/O's and a lot about Mercruisers.
I have been shopping for a runabout/lake boat and see Volvo drives stay on the market and are priced a lot lower than Mercruiser.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:57 AM
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Volvo SX are excellent outdrives, but parts are stupid expensive. Plastic ones are junk. Everyone uses GM engines, and makes their own add on parts.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:57 AM
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I had a Volvo 5.0 Gxi on a Crownline ski boat.

To me, the Motor was very quiet and it shifted from D-N-R very smoothly. Access to all 4 sides of the motor was very tight. This was Crownlines fault.

Do you have a mechanic willing to work on Volvo’s?
i called my local guy and he was fine working on a single prop, but said I would have to drive 2 hours for service on the duo-prop.

We sold it after 1.5 yrs and bought a fishing boat with an outboard.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by scboating26 View Post
I am considering buying a new to me boat that has a Volvo Penta 5.0 gxi. I have always had Mercruiser motors. What are the upside/downside of the Volvo engine and outdrive vs Mercruiser?
what outdrives specifically for each?
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:29 AM
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I have only had the alpha drives. The Volvo is single screw I don’t have any other specifics other than a 2007.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:30 AM
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Have owned bow riders with both when younger. As others have said the GM blocks are all same and VP drives are far superior to alpha . Besides the XP’s those we’re junk and engineering fail.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:55 AM
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Very low maintenance. They use the SX on everything from 115hp 3.0s to 360hp big blocks. Very robust design. I don’t know about parts as mine is still in new condition.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:16 PM
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I'm pretty happy with my Volvo Penta SX drive. Pretty much as bullet proof as you can get. Only real preventive maintenance is changing the lower unit gear oil out every season with EOM fluid. A huge plus is that the impeller is mounted in front of the engine instead of in the lower drive itself. That alone would make me choose the VP again over the Merc.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:34 PM
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VP parts are more expensive and not as readily available. If an alpha outdrive totally shits the bed, within minutes on Craigslist you can find a replacement that may not be perfect, but will get you back on the water for minimal time and money. The alpha has some annoying quirks, but everyone is familiar with them.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:47 PM
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The one thing I like about the VP is that the impeller is on the front of the engine, whereas with the Mercs you have to take the outdrive apart to change/check the impeller.
Especially when you are out on the water and suspect a water flow problem, you can check the impeller with a single phillips head screwdriver.
Other than that, the engines are both identical GM blocks.

For repairs it is more difficult to find a mechanic wanting to work on a VP. Most of them do not have the software to diagnose. The ones that do tend to have a long waiting list.
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