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  1. #1

    Default D3 160-AA Limp Mode issue

    Hi all,

    The other day we were out on our boat. After around 30mins of cruising around 3200rpm, the port engine went into limp mode with a fault saying ´Engine Elec Fault - Service Soon´

    We shut down the engine and restarted it, it went straight into limp mode again. We then shut off the engine and then waited a few minutes before restarting and we were able to rev back up to around 3000rpm before the limp mode kicked back in.

    After restarting a few more times it seemed that the engine just did not want to go past 3000rpm or above 1.0 bar of boost. So we kept both engines below 3000 rpm and finished our journey to the destination.

    Both engines remained the same in terms of temperatures, voltage, noise, etc. Although slightly erratic rpm from the troubled engine +/- 80rmp

    The next day we were en route back to port however we stopped of at a small group of islands for the afternoon. We cruised over for around 30mins at just a tad under 3000rpm and no problems.

    Once the tide had turned we decided to make our way back to port (a journey of around 40mins at normal speed). No sooner had we just left, upon pushing the throttles forward to get up onto the plane and off, the port engine went back into limp mode.

    We got it going again and decided to cruise back around 2500rpm 14kts just to get home. The engine did cut out around 4 times during that journey however bringing the revs back up slowly we could maintain a speed that wasn´t so bad.

    Upon arrival to the marina (yay) I opened up the engine cover to be greeted by a haze of diesel smoke and the very pronounced smell of diesel. Going over the engine it appeared that the leak off line had perished which caused the diesel to leak over the top of the injectors and down the gully onto the hot turbo. presumably there, meeting the hot turbo, the diesel slowly burnt away, hence the haze of smoke.

    I booked this in to get sorted out and presumed that the line had a connection with the fault and limo mode situation. Job was done and happy days. or so i thought!

    So, this morning, I went down to the marina, got on the boat and decided to take it out for a little spin to see if all is well. Started fine, both engines, sounds fine etc. Rpm´s looked good too.

    motored out to sea then pushed the throttles forward onwards to 3000rpm and the port engine went back into limp mode.

    I did this a couple of times to make sure it wasn´t an airlock of some sorts. but no, back into limp mode.

    So i have now put it back on the pontoon and had a look. Sure enough the fuel leak has been sorted at the top of the injectors so I can now take that out of the equation.

    I do however want to try and troubleshoot as much as possible before the mechanics have a look at it next week as I want to take it away next weekend.

    This is an annoying issue. so,

    Anyone have any thoughts on what may cause this? It seems to rev out fine although under load going up through the revs is where the problem hits.

    Could it be sensor related?

    Turbo related?

    Engines are only 205hrs each

    Serial number 229470 (on problem engine)

    Any ideas, would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: D3 160-AA Limp Mode issue

    We had a pair of D3 160's but only for as long as it took for me to get rid of them once I worked out how rubbish they were. Here is a short list of issues we had with a few that caused safe mode style failures :
    1) The variable vane turbos used are rubbish and can often stick causing boost issues and various reactions from the engine control software. This could be your issue. This is also why I think so many D3's grenade themselves at low hours. Volvo solution is usually to replace the very expensive turbo. My solution after paying $moon beams for the first replacement was to pull the turbo, strip it down, clean the vanes, and reinstall it. Took around 3 hours and cost a few $'s for gaskets if they need replacing. Best to learn to do it if you are going to hang onto those engines. It is actually really simple but needs attention to detail the first time to make sure you get everything back together right. The other possible similar failure is the variable vane actuator which is the vacuum/boost controlled unit that sits in by the turbo. They can corrode and need cleaning/replacing as well.
    2) Depending on the age of your engine it may have the really cute software version that puts the engine into safe mode when the trim sensor on the drive fails and thinks the leg is in the trailer position. They fail a lot so I think Volvo may have altered this 'feature' in later software versions. The sensors are expensive and ridiculously hard to replace.
    3) Some of these engines have had issues with the connectors in the wiring looms causing funny issues. One friend had 3 different looms put in his boat before he also sold it to get away from the engines.
    4) The Crank Angle Sensor failed on one of our engines causing intermittent non-start and safe mode issues. Pity it was 30 miles from home and that engine had the power steering unit on it. Fortunately we had just enough spare fluid between our boat and a companion boat to get home as for some reason the Volvo steering spat fluid when trying to use it with the power assist not working.
    5) The intake tube that runs across the back of the engines on ours was mild steel or similar and rusted out in no time. Get them rebuilt in stainless like Volvo should have done from the start.
    6) On both our engines and on every other D3 I knew about at the time the rubber hose intake feed to the water pump was shaped/installed so that it rubbed on the forward engine mount. We found ours just before it rubbed through and potentially sunk the boat. I told 2 other owners of twins I knew and they were also nearly rubbed through in the same same spot. When we fitted the new replacement hoses they rubbed in the same place so needed to be altered and tied back to avoid a repeat of the problem. We had a similar rubbing through issue with a water hose on the other side of both of our engines that needed the hoses replaced and altered as well, but that was less common on other engines I know about. Interesting thing when we tried to replace those rubber hoses there was a perfect fit on one engine and the hose wouldn't fit at all on one end on the other engine. Eventually put a vernier gauge on the comparable metal pipe ends on the two engines and the sizes were so far apart that they can't have come from the same factory. Sweden and Mexico is what I was told but how that happens on what are meant to be a matched pair of engines I don't know.

    There were other issues as well but those are the ones I remember the details of. Volvo here of course denied all knowledge of any generic problems with the engines and as usual provided the worlds crappiest support. The only green engine in our fleet today is a Detroit.

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